Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Willie (Mrs. Albert F) Storm, 1872-1967
By Haley Hampton, independent historian
Mrs. A.F. Storm was born William Groesbeck Chapman on January 4, 1872 in Jackson, Alabama. Her name and female gender are recorded consistently across many censuses, and some articles refer to her diminutively as Willie. At some point between the ages of 8 and 30, she took up residence in Morgan City, Louisiana. She married businessman Albert Florens Storm in 1902. According to a South Carolina entry in the 1940 census, she had a higher level of education than him-- two years of college to his one year. The couple do not appear to have had children.
In 1905 she was first mentioned in the Louisiana press under her husband's name--as “a worthy matron,”--when she was elected as the secretary in the Morgan City chapter of Order of the Eastern Star, a co-ed Masonic body. Elected Grand Matron in 1911, she led the chapter until 1915. She was active in local chapters of both Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Confederacy. Storm was involved in and held leadership roles in other, female-only organizations as well. She was president of Louisiana's Federation of Women's Clubs for over a decade, starting as early as 1917 until after 1929. In 1918, Storm co-signed, along with 97 professional men and women from Morgan City (including her husband), the memorial to the 65th congress of the United States, demanding Federal woman suffrage.
Outside of suffrage, environmentalism was another passion of Storm's. While still living in Louisiana, the pioneer environmentalist Caroline Dormon visited Storm--a self described “naturalist”--in 1920 to discuss preserving forest land and promoting conservation. Storm invited Dormon to head the Louisiana Federation of Women's Clubs Forestry Division.
Sometime after 1920, Storm and her husband moved to South Carolina--referring to herself as an “adopted Carolinian.” Even after moving on from Louisiana, she continued to speak about the history of her native state and its people at occasions such as meetings of the Dixie Club. She also continued to do environmental conservation work. Additionally, she served as secretary for the Orangeburg County Library Commission, whose purpose was to arrange the first circulatory library for the county in 1937. A widow for the last two decades of her life, she passed away on December 26th, 1967 and is laid to rest in Berkeley County, South Carolina.
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:
“Delegates Gather for Convention.” The Times Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana). 18 May 1911. Page 15.
Extending the Right of Suffrage to Women. Hearings ... on H.J. Res. 200 ... Jan. 3-7, 1918. 1918.
“Federation of Women's Clubs.” The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana). 29 October 1916. Page 16.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 14 December 2018), memorial page for Willie Chapman Storm (4 Jan 1872–29 Dec 1967), Find A Grave Memorial no. 35235381, citing Bluff Plantation Cemetery, Moncks Corner, Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Tonya Sapp Hames (contributor 46793226) .
“Grand Officers and Their Addresses For 1909.” The Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana). 19 May 1910. Page 10.
Johnson, Fran Holman. The Gift of the wild things: the life of Caroline Dormon. Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1990. Page 28.
“Library Group Holds Meeting.” The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, South Carolina). 23 July 1937. Page 8.
Winslow, Helen M, editor. The Register of Women's Clubs. Vol. 23, Essex Pub. Co., 1933.
“Mrs. A.F. Storm Guest Speaker at Splendid Meeting of Dixie Club on Monday at Mrs. Ross Johnson's.” The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, South Carolina). 09 October 1946. Page 2.
“Officers Elected by Order of the Eastern Star.” The Semi-weekly Times Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana). 13 January 1905. Page 3.
“Opening of State Convention Daughters of the American Revolution and its Happenings.” The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana). 22 March 1912. Page 4.
“Preliminary Services Held Last Night at Masonic Hall and Visitors Entertained.” The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana). 13 May 1915. Page 11.
“Third District Convention of Federated Clubs.” The Jennings Daily Times-Record (Jennings, Louisiana). 26 October 1916. Page 1.
“Seventh District Ladies Hold Annual Session in Oakdale May 2nd to 4th.” The Oakdale Journal (Oakdale, Louisiana). 05 May 1921. Page 1.
The Morgan City Daily Review (Morgan City, Louisiana). 14 December 1907. Page 1.