Flora Jane Coutts

Flora Coutts teaches Chinese cooks about hamburgers.
Flora Coutts teaches Chinese cooks about hamburgers.

Time Period

1940 to Today

Notable Facts

Taught in Vermont and Korea. Served as a Vermont State Representative and Vermont State Senator. Volunteered with the American Red Cross in India and China during WWII. Worked with the Vermont Extension Service and was the first Executive Secretary of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association. Extensive collection of diaries, letters, postcards and photographs is located at the Vermont Historical Society.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

09/25/1897

Date of Death

03/13/1983

Primary Residence

West Charleston

Ethnicity

Caucasian

Historical Significance

Flora Coutts was the oldest daughter, (and one of eight children) of Flora Mable Longeway and Robert M. Coutts. Her father emigrated from Scotland and worked as a granite cutter in Hardwick. He died early from "stone cutters' disease", leaving his wife to support all eight children by taking in washing.

Born in West Charleston, Vermont, Flora graduated from Hardwick Academy and went on to receive a teaching certificate from Johnson Normal School in 1917. (All of her brothers and sisters also went on to higher education.)

She began her career teaching in Vermont and Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Korea from 1922 to 1925 to teach at the Pyengyang Foreign School, sponsored by the Presbyterian Church of the USA.

Coutts returned to Vermont in 1925 where she worked for the Vermont Extension Service as a Club Agent from 1925-1936. She also ran her own business from 1936-37.

Coutts was elected to the Vermont Senate from Orleans County for two terms (1937-8, 1939-40). After that, Coutts was the Executive Secretary of the Orleans County Development Association and the Vermont Association for the Crippled.

During WWII, Coutts worked for the American Red Cross in India and China (1943-45). This time, when she returned from being abroad, she became the first Executive Secretary of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association. She also served six terms in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1961-72.

Coutts held office in many groups including: President of the Vermont Business and Professional Women's Club; Assistant Director of the 350th Champlain Valley Festival; Vice Chair of the Vermont Republican Party Executive Committee, and a delegate to the 1940 Republican Convention in Philadelphia.

Coutts maintained a substantial collection of photographs, postcards, and letters from both her trips abroad and her life in Vermont. She also collected many pieces of Vermont memorabilia related to the special occasions and celebrations she participated in as a legislator and civic leader. This collection, which also includes diaries, letters and notebooks, is housed at the Vermont Historical Society.

Organizations or Movements

  • Vermont Extension Service
  • American Red Cross
  • Northeastern Vermont Development Association
  • Vermont Business and Professional Women's Club
  • Vermont Republican Party.

Occupations

  • Teacher
  • American Red Cross
  • Vermont State Representative and Senator
  • Executive Secretary of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association
  • collector

Education

  • Hardwick Academy, Hardwick, Vermont
  • Teaching Certificate, Johnson Normal School, Johnson, Vermont 1917

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Vermont Historical Society Collection of Flora Coutts' memorabilia Link

  • Coutts-Moriarty Camp Link