Isabelle was born on November 20, 1901 near Hereford, Texas in a dugout. Her parents were Walter Clark Baird and Mary Baird. After her birth they moved to a ranch in Potter County, Texas on the Canadian River. She loved to ride horses on the ranch. Her family and friends call her Izzy.
Formal education for Isabelle and her two sisters Ann Leigh and Lena Harvey began with a teacher that lived at the ranch. Later they had a home in Amarillo where Isabelle, her mother and sisters lived during the school year. Isabelle attended West Texas State Teachers College at Canyon for two years, where she received an associate degree and a teaching certificate. She first taught at a rural school near Borger, Texas. She met the love of her life Charlie Perkins and they ranched and farmed in Hartley County, Texas. Isabelle lived the majority of her life in Channing, Texas. Isabelle was an active citizen of the town of Channing. She was a member of the Channing United Methodist Church where she served as Chairman of the board, Secretary of Sunday School, teacher, President of Women’s Society, and keeper of the Church’s historical records. Isabelle had several political achievements. She was elected Precinct Chairman #2. She was chosen Election Judge in 1936 and held many elections. She served on Channing City Council for 3 ½ years where she then accepted the office of Mayor after the Mayor resigned. She was elected twice as Mayor and served for 4 ½ years. She was the first woman Mayor of Channing, TX. Under her leadership as Mayor the town of Channing added streetlights and took over the management of the cemetery. She took a leadership role in improving the Channing Cemetery where with the Cub Scouts she planted trees, and also placed grave markers on many unmarked graves. She worked as a substitute teacher. She worked with the Boys Scouts and the Girl Scouts even though she did not have any children of her own. Her home in Channing used to be the XIT kitchen.
She holds a Life membership in the Channing PTA, was a charter member of the Channing Home Extension Service – an organization the selected her “Woman of the Year’ several times. She was chosen to represent Hartley County in the Panhandle Awards for Distinguished Women in Canyon in 1977 and 1979. Mrs. Perkins is included in the 1972 edition Personalities of the South. She was elected secretary and treasurer of Channing Community building and held the office for 12 years. She is a member of the Hartley County Historical Society and the Channing Eastern Star, #1078.
Everyone describes her as a very happy person. She likes everyone that she meets. Isabelle also has the distinction of being a distant cousin to the famous Will Rogers.
She presently resides in a retirement home in Clovis, NM. She is truly a Texas Pioneer Woman.