Ethel McWilliams was a pioneer in Norwich

Deberey Hinchey was recently sworn in as the first female mayor of Norwich, ("Norwich swears in first female mayor," Dec. 3). She is indeed the first female mayor, but she is not the first female to lead the city of Norwich.

That distinction belongs to Ethel V. McWilliams, who was the first female to hold the city's highest elective office, that of council president. At the time, Norwich had a council-manager form of government, so there was no mayor. The council president was the city leader. Beginning in 1953, she was elected to five terms on the council and was council president from 1963 to 1965. Congratulations to Ms. Hinchey, but it was Ethel McWilliams who was the first woman in 319 years to hold the highest elected office in Norwich.

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