E: Extension Educators
Early Extension educators, home demonstration agents, taught rural women practical and useful household management skills. The AgriLife Extension is an educational outreach agency of The Teas A&M University System.
Home demonstration agents started clubs across Texas to teach household-related skills, primarily to rural families. One women, Edna Trigg, was the state’s first home demonstration agent. She was hired in 1912 to teach and give advice on vegetable gardening, canning, sewing, cooking, household management, family health, poultry-raising and other aspects of daily life to rural residents in Milan County. Her duties were to be conducted during evenings and weekends in addition to her existing school responsibilities. Her salary was $100 per month, out of which she had to pay work-related expenses, including room and board.
Edna Trigg’s primary duties were to coordinate, organize and supervise Girls’ Tomato Clubs throughout the county and put on practical demonstrations about the production and canning of tomatoes. Club members, consisting of girls 10-18 years old, grew tomatoes on small plots of land and sold or canned them.
In 1916, she was hired by Extension as a home demonstration agent for Denton County. She played a key role in helping make the county agriculturally self-sufficient by working with area farmers to grow more vegetables. She also did in-home demonstrations and held canning schools to show rural residents how to properly preserve and protect the food they had grown. Later, she added nutrition education to her teaching program.
By the 1930’s agents started providing information on parenting, family resource management, child development and family life. Following The Depression, they helped families learn how to preserve more of their own food, stretching their financial resources and how to make their own clothes.
Edna passed away in 1946 and lays to rest at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Denton, Texas. In 1970, a historical marker at the Milan County Courthouse was dedicated, commemorating Trigg as the first home demonstration agent. In 1991, she was inducted into America’s Agricultural Hall of Fame.
The Texas State Historical Association has more information on Edna Trigg here.
Today, we celebrate the many women, including Edna Trigg, which helped improve lives of rural women and families across Texas.
Information from Texas Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences