Miss North Carolina 1933 Leola Councilman

Leola has the distinction of being crowned at one of the longest state contests -- the 1933 Miss North Carolina contest went on for five days! Although 1933 was the first state pageant in North Carolina, the state records do not include Leola or this state pageant, and many articles simply overlook this contest. Leola herself did not brag about her participation; her husband did not know of it until after their marriage!

1930 Councilman family census form - Bear Creek, NC
1930 census data: Bonlee town, Bear Creek township, Chatham County, NC
John Councilman, 48 (NC) salesman in a hardware store
Oppie 42 (NC), Leola 17 (NC), Odell 14 (NC), Marie S. 11 (NC), Ledford J. 9 (NC), Howard L. 8 (NC), Osborn 6 (NC) Martha J. 4 6/12 (NC), Lester D. 3 1/2 (NC). Note: on the 1920 census (p.1, p.2) Leola had four older brothers: Charlie M, Milo M, Caleb W. and Herbert N.
Leola was born in North Carolina in 1913, the oldest daughter of twelve children of John and Oppie Councilman.

Leola from the panorama shot - age 20
Leola, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, was crowned at a contest at Wrightsville Beach. The state pageant apparently went on for five days, and included a parade down Main Street and photographs in the surf. The competition itself took place at the Lumina Pavilion on July 21, 1933, with an evening gown competition at 10pm and swimsuit competition at 11pm, followed by dancing to the music of Jelly Leftwich by the 4000 strong crowd (see article circa 1987 for more information). The Lumina, known as the "Fun Spot of the South" was the place to go for 50 years. She is thought to be the first-ever Miss North Carolina. (Although the Miss America Organization historian Ric Ferentz lists Leola as Miss North Carolina in 1933, the Miss North Carolina history of past winners -- http://www.missnc.org/about/our-history -- does not! The first state queen they list as of 2014 is for 1937. Leola's relatives have written letters to try to correct the numerous articles that have overlooked her.)

There is no specific mention of Leola in the Atlantic City newspapers.

After the Pageant, Leola (also known as "Lee") returned home to North Carolina and continued to work as a telephone operator for nine years. In 1940 she was not living at home with her family; it is thought she might be listed under a married name as she had a brief marriage (to a Howard?), although this information as not sufficient to find her on the 1940 census in NC. After her divorce she married Harold Haught in 1946 at Camp LeJeune, Onslow County, North Carolina. The family story is that she had not told Harold, a Marine officer, that she had been in the Pageant. In fact, she never did tell him, but her sisters "spilled the beans" a year after the marriage! They were married 45 years, until Leola's death in 1991, in her sleep at the Sea Level nursing home at age 77.

Leola suffered her first stroke at the early age of 40; she lost control of her right hand, so she learned to play golf left handed. According to her neice Shirley Lindley, after that first stroke, Leola recovered well enough to continue to play golf and even won at least one base tournament. She and her husband had a boat at Havelock and enjoyed fishing.

Leola's crown and several photographs were passed on to her relatives, likely younger sisters, who apparently guard the items carefully. The family story by an elderly aunt (in 2006) is that Leola was 5th, and some sort of book was written about her or the competition. Her album contains a picture of her on a float. The Greensboro News Record of Sep 14, 1995 ran an article about NC Miss America contests upon the occasion of the crowing of the first NC Miss America,, and featured a paragraph about Leola: (abstract) -- ... But Marie Allred of Bonlee says that her sister, Leola Councilman Haught, ... Articles in the Wilmington Star in July 1933 describe Leola Councilman being ... Leola Councilman Haught died in 1992, and her brother has her Miss North..." (more information would be available from both the July 1933 Wilmington Star and the Sep 14 1995 Greensboro News Record)(1970 article)

Social Security Death Index: LEOLA C HAUGHT, date of birth: 29 Jul 1913, date of death: May 1991, last residence: (not specified), last benefit: (none specified), social security number: 244-01-3165, state issued: North Carolina

North Carolina Death Collection, 1908-2004; Name: Leola Catherine Haught [Leola Catherine Councilman] Gender: Female Race: White Marital Status: Married Social Security Number: 244013165 Father's Last Name: Councilman Age: 77 Date of Birth: 29 Jul 1913 Birth Location: North Carolina Birth State: North Carolina Residence City: Havelock Residence County: Craven Residence State: North Carolina Date of Death: 26 May 1991 Death County: Carteret Death State: North Carolina Autopsy: No institution: General Hospital Attendant: Physician Burial Location: Burial in state Source Vendor: NC Department of Health. North Carolina Deaths, 1988-92

HAUGHT, HAROLD E 07 Aug 1915 09 Oct 1994 79 34769 (Saint Cloud, Osceola, FL) (none specified) Virginia 224-52-3339
Genealogy. Newspaper obituary requested of the New Bern Sun Journal newspaper. 1933 Wrightsville Beach articles requested of the Star News in Wilmington, NC. It is known that there are articles written about the North Carolina contest.
-- I simply called the Councilmans in Bear Creek, NC to find the family! :)

On May 2, 2011, Lew Powell featured Leola and the 1933 pageant in his blog about History of the Tar Heel state; hopefully this may turn up some more original documents. Thanks Lew!
-- The Leola Lambert on the 1940 census in Bear Creek is not thought to be a match as this Leola has a 5-year old son Arnold Dean, and his mother is supposed to be Leola Elizabeth Kennedy (1913 Moore,NC-2010 Randolph,NC)(per RootsWeb).