We’d like to think that following the passage of the 19th Amendment that New Hampshire women were being voted into all positions. We weren’t–we were late bloomers.
By 1948 only four women had served in the New Hampshire Senate. Mrs. E. Maude Ferguson of Bristol was the first, in 1931. Six years passed before Mrs. Lula J.A. Morris of Lancaster became a Senator in 1937. Mrs. Mary Caron became the third in 1945 (but she was the first female Democrat, and the first woman elected Senate minority leader) and Miss Doris M. Spollett the fourth in 1947.
The first female member of the New Hampshire Senate was Bristol, N.H., Republican E. Maude Ferguson of District 2 who served from 1931 to 1933. Prior to this election, she had been elected to serve as a representative to the general court from Bristol in 1927.
Born Edna Maude Fowler (not Edgar as is often seen), she was the daughter of Edgar O. & Addie (Bucklin) Fowler, born 28 Aug 1883 Danvers, Essex Co MA, and died 23 June 1932 in Bristol, Grafton Co. NH. She married Samuel Ferguson.
Maude graduated from Tilton Seminary in June 1900, and from the Greeley School of Elocution and Dramatics in Boston, MA in 1903. She was an elocutionist. In addition to her work at the New Hampshire State House, she also served on the town level–on both the school board and as a library trustee.
The 1932 book, “New Hampshire Notables,” adds the following to her biography: “clerk Union School District No. 2, Representative 1927, 29; the first and only woman elected to the N.H. Senate, 1931; chairman Republic WOmen of Grafton County; Republican; Episcopalian; member Grange, American Legion Auxiliary, D.A.R., League of Women Voters; Past Grand Matron O.E.S.; past pres. Bristol Woman’s Club.”
Addendum: In June of 2021, the NH Dept of Transportation announced that a NH Historical Highway marker had been placed in Bristol NH Town Square to honor E. Maude Ferguson.
=PARTIAL GENEALOGY OF E. Maude Ferguson=
Samuel Fowler ( ) & Alice Hunt ( ) m. 1651
Samuel Fowler (1662/3-1737 ) & Hannah Worthen ( ) m. 1684
Jacob Fowler (1690-1752) & Mary Jones ( ) m. 1716
Abner Fowler (1719-?) & Sarah Flanders( ) m. 1739
–See genealogy for these 3 families–
David Fowler (1783-1866) & Deborah Blake (1785-1871)
Capt. Blake Fowler (1804-1884) & Ruth Sleeper (1797-1889)
Hadley B. Fowler, M.D. (1825-1893) & Caroline L. Smith (?-1875)
Dr. Edgar Omera Fowler, b 7 May 1853 MA d. 1 May 1884 Danvers MA; m. 16 May 1876 in NH to Addie Jane Bucklin. She She was b. 11 Dec 1857, and d 11 Nov 1932. She m2) 3 Aug 1892 in Bristol NH to Dr. George Hoyt Calley. Edgar graduated from the New Hampton Literary Institution in 1869; took a medical course at Hanover in 1870; at Bellevue, New York City, in 1872-1873, and graduated from Dartmouth Medical College in 1873. He settled in Danvers, Mass., in 1874, and acquired a large practice. He was of pleasing address, very popular with all classes, and gave promise of a long life of great usefulness. Masonic services were held at the Methodist Church on Sunday following, and were attended by a large concourse of people, including 175, who came by special train from Danvers. [History of the Town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire — Genealogies–Fowler, pp 196-200] They are buried in Homeland Cemetery, Bristol NH.
Children of Edgar & Addie (Bucklin) Fowler:
1. Nina Belle Fowler
2. +Edna Maude Fowler
Edna Maude (Fowler) Ferguson, daughter of Edgar O. & Addie (Bucklin) Fowler, b. 28 Aug 1883 Danvers, Essex Co MA, d. 23 June 1932 in Bristol, Grafton Co. NH. She married Samuel Ferguson. He was b 12 Sep 1878 in N. Ireland and d. 28 May 1966. They lived in Bristol, NH. They are both buried in Homeland Cemetery, Bristol NH. This article is about her, see above for biography and achievements.
1930 US Census > NH > Grafton > Bristol
Ferguson Samuel Head 4000 M W 52 married at age 34, N Ire, N Ire N Ire, imm 1883 highway contractor
Ferguson Maud wife F W 46 married at age 28 MA NH NH
Calley Addie J mother in law F W 72 widow m at age 18 NH MA VT
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Love it! Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations Maude Ferguson! 1931, she was out working and letting the world know women had brains! Most women were still being kept under wraps! I always admire women like this! thanks for this great story and piece of history Janice Webster!
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