Margaret Winn Monfort Holt, a lifelong resident of Lawrenceville, was born
in her parents' home one block from the courthouse square, on September 26,
1924. She was the great, great granddaughter of Elisha Winn, considered the
father of Gwinnett County, who built his home in Dacula in 1812. The first
elections in Gwinnett County were held in his parlor in 1819. Winn
personally selected the geographical center at that time for the county
seat. He assisted in naming the new town Lawrenceville as well as laying out
the streets. Elisha Winn helped start the Lawrenceville Academy for Boys in
1824 and the Female Seminary in 1836.
As part of the Lawrenceville Public Schools Centennial in 1995, Margaret
Winn Monfort Holt began presenting the Elisha Winn Cup to the Most
Outstanding Senior in History at Central Gwinnett-Lawrenceville High School.
The recipient of this award is selected by the social studies department at
Central and must have attended Gwinnett High School school all four years.
After her death in 1996, her family has continued presenting this award in
her memory. This award represents the love and devotion she had for the
Lawrenceville area schools. Below is list of Margaret Winn's activities,
honors, and community involvement:
Valedictorian of the Class of 1941 at Lawrenceville High School
Member of the region championship teams in basketball and track
Held state honors in debate, theatre, drama, art, and music
In 1945 became the second woman in the history of the University of Georgia
to be named Valedictorian, earning a BA in Political Science with honors in
English and Spanish
Selected to Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta,
and Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities
Served as Vice President of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and Pandora yearbook
Taught English and Spanish at UGA in 1946 to returning servicemen
Taught Spanish and English at Lawrenceville High School
Coached the girls' debate team and was the first female girls' basketball
coach in Gwinnett County, winning region and state honors
Married to William Grady Holt, Jr. also of Lawrenceville, and raised three
children: Rebecca Winn Holt Robers and Margaret Winn Holt Mathis of
Lawrenceville, and William Grady Holt, III of New Haven, Connecticut.
Margaret has four grandchildren: Rebecca Elizabeth Mathis, Christopher Reed
Holt Roberts, Margaret Annette Mathis Bryant, and William David Roberts, Jr.
She has four great grandchildren: Devan, Justin, Nicole, and Dalton Roberts.
Her husband, three children, four grandchildren, and four great
grandchildren attend or attended Lawrenceville or Gwinnett County Public
In the 1950's, she helped establish the PTA at Lawrenceville Elementary
School and worked with Dora Gunter to help build a modern lunchroom for
the "school on the hill". She worked on fundraisers and helped plant the
landscaping around the high school grounds. She was active with the PTA from
1954 through 1985 and continued to work with the schools until her death in
1996. At one time, she served on the Local School Advisory Board at Cedar
Hill Elementary as a Senior Citizen Representative and tutored students at
the high school in Spanish and English.
Board of Trustees for the Gwinnett Historical Society where she worked
tirelessly on fund-raising for the Elisha Winn House. Prior to her death,
she requested funds to be given to the Elisha Winn House. In her memory,
enough money was raised to put in a new heating and air conditioning system
to help preserve the home.
Gwinnett Council for the Arts Board of Trustees where she helped establish
the County Seat Players, a local theatrical group, which is still performing
as the Gwinnett County Theater Group.
Board Member of Families First Foundation where she assisted in obtaining
funds and grants to start the Lawrenceville Girls' and Boys' Club.
Chairman of the Lawrenceville Municipal Housing Board where she was
instrumental in funding the establishment of the on site Community Police
Station in the Sally Craig Apartment Complex. She helped secure the grants
to modernize all of the public housing developments in Lawrenceville. She
continued to be board chairman until her death in August 1996. She made sure
that her work would continue for generations to follow.
Council Member of the Gwinnett County Swim League where she assisted in the
formation of this summer recreation league in Gwinnett County, which is now
one of the largest summer leagues in the country. Also, Margaret organized
the first high school varsity swimming program in the Gwinnett County Public
Schools. She worked with the County Commissioners to establish the first
indoor aquatic center at Mountain Park.
She campaigned to keep the name Lawrenceville on the front of Central
Gwinnett - Lawrenceville High School and lobbied to ensure that the high
school received a theatre. Art, Music, and Drama Departments throughout
Gwinnett County contacted her to help organize a group to lobby to keep
those departments in the school curriculum. She worked many hours with them
to help reach an agreement with the school board that would work to
everyone's advantage. She continued for months to receive letters from
people thanking her for caring about ALL of the children.
As a member of the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church, Margaret volunteered
as a Sunday School teacher and church pianist for many years.
Margaret Holt's legacy will continue though her children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren, who continue to live in Lawrenceville and attend
schools in the area. She never refused anyone who needed her help improving
her hometown, local schools, or her surrounding community. In 2000, the
Gwinnett Daily Post selected Margaret as one of the county's Top 100 Shapers
for the 20th Century. Even in her death, her love for her community
continues through all of the lives that she has touched.