Born in Mt. Sterling, Ky., on November 6, 1852, Bettie Tipton attended local schools and was known for her aptitude in mathematics and science. Her maternal grandfather moved to Greencastle, Ind., soon after Bettie's birth. During a visit, she became aware of Indiana Asbury College (later known as DePauw University). Her schoolwork was complete enough that it allowed her to start in in the fall of 1869 as a sophomore, which is when she became friends with Bettie Locke and Alice Allen.
Bettie did not return to Indiana Asbury in the fall of 1870, and instead attended Millersburg College in Kentucky, along with her sister, graduating in 1871. She established a short-lived chapter at Millersburg, and wore her Theta badge at the graduation ceremonies. She was married in 1873 to John Lindsey, first residing in Mt. Sterling, and then in 1883, moving to Sturgeon, Mo.
In Sturgeon, she became active in church groups and in the community. One story says that a friend of Bettie’s stepped on a loose board on the town sidewalk and injured herself. Bettie reportedly encouraged her friend to sue the city, and then took up the case in her friend’s name, pled the case, and won.
Bettie passed away in 1909, and is buried in Mt. Sterling, Ky.
A Look Through Bettie Tipton's Life
Mahala Elizabeth Tipton Born
Born in Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Ky., to Burwell and Amanda Black Tipton.
Bettie Lived in Kentucky
Bettie lived with her parents. "Bella Houton, school mistress" lived with the family.
Entered Indiana Asbury (DePauw University)
Bettie lived with her grandparents while attending Indiana Asbury.
Resided in Greencastle, Ind.
Bettie lived at the home of Miller Black, her maternal grandfather, a farmer, along with George and Sara A. Miller.
Kappa Alpha Theta Founded
Along with Bettie Locke, Alice Allen, and Hannah Fitch, Bettie was initiated.
Wore Badge Publicly
All four founders wore their badges for the first time during chapel.
Attended Millersburg College in Kentucky
Bettie did not return to Indiana Asbury, but joined her sister, Maggie, at Millersburg College. She established a short-lived chapter at the school, and it is said she wore her badge at her graduation.
Married John H. Lindsey
The ceremony took place in their hometown of Mt. Sterling, Ky., where they resided for several years.
Bettie lived with her husband in Camargo, Ky.
Moved to Sturgeon, Mo.
Bettie and her husband were farmers. At this time they adopted Cora Johnson.
Visited Mt. Sterling, Ky.
They traveled from Sturgeon, Mo., to visit family in Kentucky. This was one of many trips between Sturgeon and Mt. Sterling.
The couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with a party.
1900 U.S. Census
U.S. Census showed that she lived in Bourbon Township, Boone County, Mo., with her husband and two wards, Oscar Alcorn and Addie Gentry.
Bettie Tipton Lindsey Died
Bettie died while visiting her sister in Mt. Sterling, Ky. She was buried at Machpelah Cemetery, Montgomery County, Ky.
Bettie Tipton Lindsey Fellowship Awarded
Esther Porter Lane, Alpha Nu/Montana, was the first recipient. She used the fellowship to travel in China, studying theater. She returned to the U.S. and worked in the Federal Theater Project during the Depression, serving as director of the Seattle Negro Theater and Children's Theater. During World War II, she served as director of the Henry Street Settlement Playhouse in New York. After Lane's death in 1993, a scholarship in her name was established at the Santa Fe Community College for non-traditional female college students over age 25.
Bettie's Badge Donated to the Fraternity
Betty Cason Daily, daughter of Cora Johnson Cason (adopted daughter of Bettie Tipton Lindsey), donated badge.
Marker Placed at Bettie's Gravesite on Theta's 100th Anniversary
Local Thetas gathered at the Machpelah Cemetery in Mt. Sterling, Ky., for the dedication.
Founders Memorial Scholarship First Awarded
Gloria McVay Cochran, Beta/Indiana, was selected as the first Bettie Tipton Lindsey Scholar.
150 Day Celebration of Service Kicks Off Theta's 150th Anniversary Celebration
The first of four years leading up to the 150th celebration honored Bettie Tipton Lindsey.
A message from Bettie Tipton Lindsey's great-niece:
“Bettie would be so proud that Theta has blossomed.”
Susanne Bush Heusner
Gamma Pi/Iowa State