May Cornwell


Born: Ap­ril 29, 1871, Ches­ter Coun­ty, South Ca­ro­li­na.

Died: Feb­ru­ary 2, 1951, South Ca­ro­li­na.

Buried: Laur­el­wood Ce­me­te­ry, Rock Hill, South Ca­ro­li­na.

Pseudonym: Lyn­wood.


May was the daugh­ter of Will­iam Jes­se Will­iams Corn­well (rul­ing el­der at Plea­sant Grove Pres­by­ter­ian Church, and the com­mu­ni­ty phy­si­cian) and Mar­ga­ret Levica Walk­er, and wife of Me­tho­dist min­is­ter Ad­lai Ell­wood Holl­er (mar­ried De­cem­ber 1896).

May at­tend­ed the Ches­ter Fe­male In­sti­tute in Vir­gin­ia, where she gra­du­at­ed with hon­ors and was the com­mence­ment speak­er.

After gra­du­ation, she be­came a teach­er, first for a lo­cal school, then for an or­phan­age. She al­so taught Sun­day school for 63 years.

In 1945, the state of South Ca­ro­li­na named May Corn­well Holl­er as the state’s Mo­ther of the Year, stat­ing, Through sac­ri­fice, pray­er, and de­ter­mi­na­tion, she and her hus­band man­aged to send all eight child­ren to col­lege and en­joyed the pri­vi­lege of see­ing all gra­du­ate. The gov­er­nor of South Ca­ro­li­na said:

Yours is a life of ser­vice—ser­vice to your God, to your coun­try, to your state, and to your com­mu­ni­ty; ser­vice to your church, and to your home; serv­ice to friend and to stran­ger; ser­vice for the sheer joy of serv­ing. Yours is a life of sweet­ness and gra­cious­ness, of strength and kind­ness, of de­vo­tion to du­ty. Yours is a life sym­bol­ic of the fin­est South Ca­ro­li­na wo­man­hood.



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