|Birth: ||Jan. 2, 1875|
|Death: ||Dec. 2, 1958|
North Carolina, USA
Cora Wilson Stewart was born in Farmers, Kentucky, on 17 Jan 1875. Her parents
were Dr. Jeremiah Wilson and Ann Halley Wilson. Cora was one of 12 children of
Ann Halley Wilson. Her siblings were: Everett, Viola, Burwell Clefford, Bunyan
Spratt, Homer Lee, Preston, Stella, Cleveland, Henricks, Flora, and Glenmore.
After Annie's death, Jeremiah Wilson wed Virginia, who gave him two more
children: William Allie and Marvin Holt.
Cora attended Morehead Normal School (later Morehead State University) and the
University of Kentucky. She taught school in Rowan County. In 1901, at the age
of 26, Cora was elected to the position of county school superintendent and
reelected in 1909. Stewart was the first woman president of the Kentucky
Education Association and in 1926, was named director of the National Illiteracy
Crusade. From 1929-1933 Cora Wilson Stewart was named chairperson of President
Hoover's Commission on Illiteracy. Cora was a delegate to the 1920 Democratic
Convention in San Francisco, where she was nominated for President of the United
In 1911, she founded the Moonlight School movement in Rowan County to educate
adult illiterates during the evenings. Adults attended school at night while
their children were taught during the day. Teachers volunteered their time to
teach at the Moonlight Schools and Cora wrote the texts, called "The Country
Life Readers." At first, the evening schools were held only on moonlit nights
so that the adults could find their way to school; hence, the name Moonlight
Schools. The Moonlight Schools opened on September 5, 1911. Twelve hundred
people, ranging in age from 18 to 86, showed up at the 50 schools on that first
moonlit night. Her efforts were successful resulting in more than 1200 adults
learning basic reading and writing skills. One of the schools that served as a
Moonlight School now stands on the campus of Morehead State University. The
Moonlight School program became the model for adult education and fighting
At the age of twenty, she married Ulysses Grant Carey on June 4, 1895. He was the son of the owner of the Gault Hotel in Morehead where Cora's father had his medical office. After three years, Carey and Wilson were divorced on June 9,1898. They had no children.
On September 2, 1902, she married Alexander Thomas Stewart, a son of William G.
and Elizabeth Patton Stewart. They were divorced on March 7, 1904; but remarried three months later on June 22, 1904. In 1907, they had their only child, William Holley Stewart. But his life was short and he died on June 7, 1908, and was buried in the Lee Cemetery in Morehead. (Cora's great grandmother was Doshia
Lee Wilson.) Cora and Alexander were divorced on June 8, 1910.
Cora was a great photographer. Many of her photos are of Rowan County, Kentucky, at the end of the 19th century. Sadly, in her later years, Cora became blind due to glaucoma. She lived for awhile near her sister, Stella Wilson McGlone, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Before
her death she decided she wanted to spend the remainder of her life in North
Cora died in Columbus, North Carolina, on 2 Dec 1958. She is buried at Polk Memorial Gardens in Tryon, North Carolina. Her burial was paid for by her
brother-in-law, E. B. McGlone, whom she had helped elect to the legislature.
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Polk Memorial Gardens
North Carolina, USA
Plot: Front-Left Section
Created by: Elizabeth Olmstead
Record added: Nov 02, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 22625192