There are at least three dates that are of particular interest to New Hampshire regarding suffrage. It was 100 years ago today, on 4 June 1919 that the 19th Amendment was passed by the United States Congress. This amendment granted women the right to vote. Victory was not easy. Decades of women and suffrage supporters tirelessly “lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience.”
Women however could still not vote or run for office. After passing Congress at least 36 states were needed to vote in favor of the amendment for it to become law. On September 10, 1919, New Hampshire voted in favor of the 19th Amendment.
The 19th Amendment was finally ratified on 18 August 1920. Suffragists celebrated their victory. It was in the 1920 New Hampshire elections that two women were elected to the New Hampshire legislature [i.e. Jessie Doe and Dr. Mary L. (Rolfe) Farnum].
If you count 1868 (see article below) as the starting point of organized suffrage in New Hampshire, it took only 52 years for local women to accomplish their goal. Though you probably most often hear the names of national leaders, i.e., Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul, New Hampshire also had its share of suffragists. So why don’t we hear more about them? I have formerly written about six suffragists from New Hampshire as follows:
New Hampshire’s Leading Suffragist, Human Rights Proponent and Philanthropist: Armenia S. (Aldrich) White (1817-1916)
New Durham New Hampshire’s Educator, Lawyer, Suffragist, Humanitarian and Author: Marilla Marks (Young) Ricker (1840-1920)
Portsmouth New Hampshire’s Charity Worker and Suffragist: Sarah Whittier “Sallie” Hovey (1872-1932)
Bristol New Hampshire’s Tailor, Stock and Dairy Farmer, Activist, Suffragist: Mary Ann (Powers) Filley (1821-1910)
Newport New Hampshire Teacher, Suffragist, Civic & Club Leader, Business Woman: Mary Matilda (Putnam) Sibley (1860-1927)
Dover New Hampshire Suffragist and UNH Administrator: Carmita Aileen (Cameron) Murphy (1925-2003)
During this month of June I will be posting new stories to honor our local New Hampshire suffrage advocates. Most of the current suffragist databases only research the “militant” or “activist” suffrage proponents, whereas I research all that I can discover. I present to you their stories:
— New Hampshire Suffragist, National & Local Civic Leader, Peace Proponent, Lecturer, Teacher: Mary Nettie Chase of Andover (1863-1959)
— New Hampshire Suffragist, Club-Woman, Civic Leader, Social Service Worker: Martha Smith Kimball of Portsmouth (1870-1967)
— New Hampshire Suffragist and Civic Leader: Lois (Warren) Shaw of Manchester (1884-1964)
— New Hampshire Suffragist, Newspaper Editor, Printer, Civic Leader: Mary Donker Musgrove of Bristol (1875-1944)
— New Hampshire Suffragist, Actress, Civic Leader: Agnes Marie (O’Leary) Jenks of Concord (1873-1945)
–New Hampshire Suffragist, Lecturer, Club-woman, Civic Leader: Susan Cushing (Wood) Bancroft of Concord (1861-1948)
— New Hampshire Educator, Suffragist, Civic Leader: Millicent S. Morse of Manchester (1866-1966)
–New Hampshire Suffragist, Deputy Commissioner, Public Educator, Club-woman: Harriet Lane Huntress of Center Harbor and Concord (1860-1922)
— New Hampshire Suffragist, Physician, Teacher and Civic Leader: Dr. Jennie Sarah Barney of Grafton and Franklin (1861-1956)
— New Hampshire Suffragist, Club-woman, Publicist, Civic Leader: Mary Inez (Stevens) Wood of Portsmouth (1866-1945)
–New Hampshire Suffragist, Performer, Composer, Poet, Human Rights Advocate: Abby J. (Hutchinson) Patton of Milford (1829-1892)
–New Hampshire Suffragist, Lecturer, Club-woman: Mabel Harlakenden (Hall) Churchill of Cornish and Plainfield (1873-1945)
–New Hampshire Suffragist, Civic Leader, and Philanthropist: Julia Beatrice (Ball) Thayer of Winchester and Keene (1835-1905)
ALSO SEE New Hampshire Political Heroines, Suffragists, Elected Women and Record Breakers
–BEGINNINGS of ORGANIZED SUFFRAGE IN NH (1868)–
Boston Daily Advertiser, 25 December 1868, Boston MA, page 1
NEW HAMPSHIRE. Women’s Suffrage Conventions et al. CONCORD, N.H. Dec. 24, 1868. The Women’s Suffrage Convention, which considerably agitated our quiet city on Tuesday, and Wednesday, concluded its session last evening. It is unnecessary for me to attempt to give the readers of the Advertiser a detailed report of what was said and done at the gatherings, as they are already familiar with the whole matter inasmuch as our meeting was but a repetition of the one recently held in your city.
A constitution was adopted and a New Hampshire Woman’s Suffrage Convention organized, Mrs. Nathaniel White, of Concord, being President. The resolutions adopted number eight, the first declaring that women have the right to vote; the second says that government being a political partnership of voters, all disfranchised citizens are subjects and dependents, and that women must have the right of suffrage to enable her to take her natural position and exert her legitimate influence as conservator of the public morals. Third, it is declared that suffrage for women is the key to everything worth possessing, growth, education, self-respect, social position, &c. Fourth, that the cooperation of the sexes is essential to happy homes, refined society, a Christian church and a republican state. Fifth, that the republican party having enfranchised the emancipated slaves, cannot reasonable deny enfranchisement to enslaved women. Sixth, that the democratic party which formerly enfranchised foreigners and poor white men, and which now demands suffrage for those lately in rebellion, cannot consistently overlook the claims of female suffrage. Seventh, that reconstruction upon the basis of giving suffrage to all men and denying it to all women, is inconsistent and unjust, and it is advised to prepare and forward memorials to Congress and the State legislature in favor of extending the right to women as well as men. Eighth, that woman, having no voice in making or enforcing laws, becomes and involuntary victim to the evils of intemperance &c, therefore women should demand the ballot as an auxiliary in the moral and political suppression of the traffic in intoxicating drinks, and as a means of self-defense. An addition resolution, asserting that when woman is enfranchised a new element of stringency and force will be given to the laws for the suppression of the traffic in intoxicating drinks was tabled. The sessions of the convention were well attended, and the proceedings were harmonious. Some of the speakers–Lucy Stone in particular–made a very favorable impression upon those who were listeners, many opponents of the movement freely admitting that Dr. Blackwell has a wife who can doubtless “preach” as well as he can “practise.” Well, the convention is over, and our little city has arrived it. What next? “Agitation,” our women’s rights friends say. “In less than five years women will vote in New Hampshire,” was the declaration of a politician usually accounted shrews. But will they?
Cow Hampshire: Was your New Hampshire Ancestor a Suffragist?
August 1926 Granite State Monthly: “Woman Suffrage in New Hampshire” by Hobart Pillsbury
List of Suffrage Prisoners, from book, Jailed for Freedom, by Doris Stevens. (pdf)
History: The Mother Who Saved Suffrage