Celebrating a phenomenal woman
Published 11:09 am Monday, March 28, 2022
By Mae Carolyn Jackson Williams
Della Hayden Davenport Jackson was a teacher, principal, community philanthropist, church worker, wife and mother. She was a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. She was born on March 2, 1905 in Mill Spring, and died on April 4, 1993. Della provided an enormous amount of service to the people of her community and made Stony Knoll a better place. Stony Knoll Community is located in Mill Spring. Della was able to serve her neighbors by initiating and completing several projects that she knew would help people and make her community a better place for its residents. Did she do it by herself? No indeed! There were people who supported each of her projects. The projects that Della initiated and completed helped the people of Stony Knoll enrich their lives, uplift their spirits and improve their interactions with each other. The following projects were done over many years.
- In 1936, Della initiated and established an evening Adult Education class for adults who wanted to learn how to read and write. It was housed in the CME Church parsonage. The project was financed by the State of North Carolina’s Work Progress Administration.
- In 1937, Della initiated and established a community library in the CME Church parsonage for the students in the evening Adult Education Class and the other people in the community. The adult students helped set-up the library.
- In 1939, Della initiated and had a building built for the library to house the 1,500 books of the community library. The land for the new library was paid for by Mrs. Russell Walcott and her friends. The library building was built by Mr. Clarence Thompson for free. He was a trained carpenter and block mason.
- In 1954, Della initiated and had a well dug for the library because there was no water on the property. The well was special because water was now on the property, so a gazebo was built around it.
- In 1957, Della initiated and purchased a bus for the community so that the residents could get to activities in the community and to activities in other areas of the county. The bus was paid for through fundraisers in the community.
- In 1957, Della initiated and had a community center built for the residents of the community because the residents needed a place where they could go to have fun and enjoy themselves. The community center was paid for through donations and fundraisers in the community.
- In 1963, Della initiated and started a 4-H Club for the young people of Stony Knoll. The 4-H Club provided activities for the young people to help them develop positive traits.
- In 1964, Della initiated and completed the construction of a baseball field for the boys, girls, men and women of Stony Knoll. The men of Stony Knoll formed a baseball team to compete with the baseball teams in the other communities. Mr. Joe Thomas was the coach of the baseball team. The baseball field was constructed on part of the property of the Community Center.
- In 1971, Della initiated and established a Community Child Care Center for the pre-school children of Stony Knoll. The Day Care Center was housed in the Community Center.
- In 1972, Della initiated and established a Summer Free Lunch Program for the children of Stony Knoll. The State of North Carolina offered a free lunch program for the children of rural North Carolina. Della applied for the program and the application was accepted. The free lunch program was in the parsonage of the CME Church.
- In 1982, Della initiated and was successful in getting the Stony Knoll Community accepted into membership of the North Carolina Community Development Association. Over the years Stony Knoll Community won several awards from the North Carolina Community Development Association for its excellent community projects.
- In 1983, Della initiated and carried out a Community Roadside Project of “Matching Mailboxes” along Fox Mountain Road in the Stony Knoll Community. The “Matching Mailboxes” made the community look like one cohesive community. Mr. Counselor McClure made the post for the mailboxes free. Residents of Stony Knoll helped to put up the mailboxes.
- In 1984, Della initiated and was successful in getting the Summer Work Program for youth in the Stony Knoll Community. The program was sponsored by the State of North Carolina which paid a stipend to each youth who was provided a job in his community. The Stony Knoll Community participated in this program for several years.
- In 1985, Della initiated and created a Stony Knoll Community Heritage Museum. In the Heritage Museum you will find artifacts and information about the Stony Knoll Community and its residents. Items were provided for display by the residents of Stony Knoll. The Heritage Museum is located in a room in the Community Center. In this year she also initiated and established the scholarship Project for graduating High School Seniors who lived in the Stony Knoll Community. The scholarship shows that the community is proud of their graduates. The money for the scholarships was raised through fund raisers in the community.
- In 1986, Della initiated and was successful in getting the Merrill Conference Building built. The Merrill Conference Building was built on part of the property of the Stony Knoll Library. Mr. and Mrs. Merrill donated all of the money for the building of the Conference Building.
- In 1987, Della initiated and was successful in giving two acres of her land to Habitat for Humanity so that two houses could be built for two families in Stony Knoll by Habitat for Humanity. Two homes were built for two members of the Miller family.
- Della did not forget her church, the Stony Knoll CME Church. She was a member of that church all of her life. She worked just as hard for her church as she did for the community. She was the church musician, church secretary, a stewardess, a Sunday school teacher, leader of the missionary society, leader of Christian education, leader of the Christian Youth Fellowship and the delegate to the church conferences. She led many church projects to help the congregation’s growth, and to improve the appearance of the church property.
There is a quote that says, “Never miss an opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face!” Della Hayden Davenport Jackson never missed an opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face.
Submitted by Mae Williams