New Hampshire Suffragist, Lecturer, Clubwoman: Mabel Harlakenden (Hall) Churchill of Cornish and Plainfield (1873-1945).

Likeness of Mrs. Winston [Mabel] Churchill from “History of the Town of Cornish, New Hampshire, 1912, page 307.

Mabel Harlakenden Hall was born on 5 September 1873 in New Haven CT, daughter of George Duffield & Louise (Allen) Hall.  She died on 26 May 1945 in Plainfield, Sullivan NH, and is buried at Churchill Cemetery, Plainfield NH next to her husband. She married 22 Oct 1895 in St. Louis, Missouri to Winston C. Churchill, son of Edward Spaulding & Emma Bell (Blaine) Churchill. He was a writer and politician. Mabel Harlakenden (Hall) Churchill died in May of 1945, at the age of 71. She was buried in Churchill Cemetery, beside her husband in Plainfield, Sullivan Co. NH.

In the book, One Thousand New Hampshire notables; brief biographical sketches, Henry H. Metcalf, 1918, her biography is given as follows: “Mabel Harlakenden Hall Churchill (Mrs. Winston Churchill); b. New Haven, Conn.; dau. George B. and Lucretia (Allen) Hall; ;ed. Mary Institute, St. Louis, Mo.; Miss Comegys’ School, Philadelphia PA; Episcopalian; Woman Suffragist; member N.H. Woman Suffrage Ass’n (Vice-president), National Woman Suffrage Ass’n, Chilton Club, Boston, Mass.; m. Oct 22, 1895 Winston Churchill; children, Mabel Harlakenden, John Dwight, James Creighton. Residences Cornish N.H., Windsor VT. P.O.”

The Granite Monthly, September 1902, No 3.
Winston Churchill and Harlakenden House

Mabel Harlakenden (Hall) Churchill  came from a privileged St. Louis, Missouri family. Her father was not only a lawyer, but the owner of the famed Sligo Mine. That enterprise was so successful that upon his death he left “an estate of almost half a million dollars to his children.”

In the spring of 1899 Winston and Mabel went to live in Cornish NH where her husband had purchased a large farm on the banks of the CT river opposite Windsor VT. There he built Harlakenden House, modeled on one of the mansions of Colonial Maryland. In 1913 Harlakenden House was chosen by President Woodrow Wilson as his summer residence and was used by him from 1913-1915.  When the building burned in 1923, the Churchill family moved to nearby Plainfield NH.  Mr. Churchill became interested in politics and was elected to the NH Legislature in 1903. Winston Churchill ran for New Hampshire governor twice, and lost twice. He was as interested as his wife in the suffrage cause.

Mabel’s mother, Lucretia Pope Allen was born 15 June 1837 in St. Louis MO and died 25 Oct 1882 in St. Louis MO. Lucretia was the daughter of Beverly & Penelope (Pope) Allen. Beverly Allen was born in Virginia but was an early St. Louis Lawyer, and a Princeton College graduate who was appointed U.S. District Attorney by President John Q. Adams. He served also as a state senator.

Mabel’s mother and grandmother both worked on behalf of suffrage, so it is not a surprise that she would too.  In 1913 Mabel Churchill was a member of the Executive Committee of the NH Woman Suffrage Association. but in the prior year she had been interviewed for the Boston Journal about women in politics.  [Editor’s note: it is difficult for us today to go back in time and understand the perspective of New Hampshire suffragists, as we now take for granted our right to vote. The following news article helps to frame that perspective for me].

‘WOMEN ARE NEEDED IN POLITICS’ / Mrs. Winston Churchill Asserts They Have Important Duties in City and State / Much Interested in Progressive / Declares Woman Can Be a Good Mother and a Suffragist Also // Cornish, N.H., Sept. 6 — Can a woman be a good mother, look after her children, and yet be a suffragist? Most emphatically she can, declares Mrs. WInston Churchill, wife of the author, who, with her husband, is a strong suffragist. Indeed, according to Mrs. Churchill, it is the duty of every mother to safeguard her home by working for protective measures in politics.

-Proud of Belief-
At her home this afternoon Mrs. Churchill, a pretty, brown-eyes woman, with the breath of outdoors about her and a healthy sun color in her cheeks, gave her views on suffrage for women and proudly declared herself a believer in the cause. “Yes indeed,” she said, “I am an enthusiastic suffragist and so is my husband.” “And do you think,” the reported suggested, “that a woman can be a suffragist and look out for her children?” The brown eyes flashed. “I think a woman can look out for her children a great deal better if she takes an interest in public affairs which concern their welfare. Think of the water supply the pure food and clean milk bills, the campaigns for clean streets, good schools, public health and morals. Don’t these affect a child just as much as anything his mother does for him at home?” “And men can’t or won’t take the same interest in these things that they do in the old political subjects, tariffs, currency and Panama canals. Theoretically, a good man realizes that pure milk is a necessity, but practically he is much more interested in a candidate’s views on the referendum. That is why women are needed in political life.

– A Woman’s Place-
“When the anti-suffragists declare that the woman’s place is in the home, we grasp them by the hand and say ‘We earnestly agree with you. Woman’s place is in the home. But today, would she serve the home, she must go beyond the house. The home is no longer compassed by four walls. Many of the most important duties lie now unsolved in the city and State.'”

“Mother!” “Yes, sweetheart.” A small boy came rushing into the room, stopped at sight of the stranger then went and stood quietly by his mother’s chair. A nice boy this, with brown eyes and a frank little face. He didn’t seem to want anything in particular, only to refresh himself by a good, long look at his pretty mother, for presently with a tender little farewell pat on his arm, he stole quietly away. “My only boy,” said Mrs.Churchill, smiling. Then Mr. Churchill came in–perhaps to be refreshed, too, and his presence turned the conversation into a discussion of active politics.

–A Strong Progressive–
“To tell the truth,” said Mrs. Churchill, I am much more interested in the Progressive party than I am in suffrage just now. We are going to hvae a great fight in this State. Of course, we loosened the hold of the railroad a good deal a few years ago, but New Hampshire isn’t free yet. “No, I’m afraid we women aren’t going to take a very active part in the campaign. There will probably be women on the committees, but I doubt if we do much campaigning You see, we lost our suffrage bill in the convention last spring, and this seems to the party leaders to mean that New Hampshire is scarcely ready for women in politics. It is a conservative State, you know. “But we put up a good fight last spring, and I really think if we had not been opposed by the corporations we might have won in spite of the conservatism of the farmers. It was the three corporations–the railroad, the Amoskeag mills and the liquor interests, not the people, which defeated suffrage.

–Corporations Opposed–
“The corporations in every State are opposed to women, because they know very well that women will use the vote to remedy child labor laws and the working hours of women. Even without the vote we are going to introduce a bill into the New Hampshire Legislature forbidding the labor of children in the mills in vacations and providing a nine-hour day for women.
“Another bill we intend to introduce is one compelling the State to provide poor mothers with money to care for their children, instead of paying for the support of those children in institutions, or strangers’ homes. Under present conditions a woman, widowed or deserted, who has to go out to work, must put her children in some other home at public expense, while if she were paid a small sum she could keep the children with her. This system would not cost the State so much and would be immensely better for the child, and therefore for the community.

– Officer in League –
“Up to the present time the New Hampshire suffragists have not been very thoroughly organized. Even our Cornish League was formed only last winter to carry on the campaign for the suffrage amendment.
“Yes, I am treasurer of the league. “Mrs. George Rublee, who has begun in Ohio all summer, is president. Among the members are Mr. and Mrs. Maxfield Parrish and Miss Anne Parrish, Mr. Homer Saint Gaudens, and Mrs. and Mrs. Percy Mackaye. We worked hard last winter.”
“Many a time we drove twenty miles in a storm to address a handful of women in a little, cold town hall, and then drove twenty miles home again late at night. After that Mrs. Rublee and I went to New York with the New Hampshire delegation to march in the suffrage parade, and then came back to campaign some more before the convention.

– Women Intelligent –
“One thing I learned from those winter visits to all parts of the State, that is, that the New Hampshire women are more intelligent than the men. You see, they almost always have more education. while the boys in a famly have to leave school to go to work, the girls are kept in school a year or two longer.
“Then women as a class read more, I believe, especially the lonely women on the farms, who make up a large percentage of our population. They all take magazines, and not only read, but think about their contents.
“No, I don’t feel at all alarmed about the ability of New Hampshire women to exercise the franchise intelligently, and the public needn’t worry about the little children being neglected.
“A young woman with little children may not see her way clear to doing very strenuous political work, but after a women is 45 her children can’t possibly occupy all her time.
“The middle-aged woman is just coming into the fullness of her powers. Her judgment is mature. She is experience din life. Her opinion is of value to the community, and if she would only give herself to the world’s work she would be much happier, I beliee, than she is today, sitting by the fire crocheting.
-Men Waking Up-
“And the men of today are just beginning to realize this. Many who used to believe in suffrage theoretically, but dreaded the disturbance in political procedure attendant on woman’s entrance, now believe that woman’s knowledge and interest in public affairs is a vital necessity.
“They have the welfare of the community at heart these new leaders. Why, this new political party if like a religion to them–Governor Bass, Mr. Churchill–
“And Mr. Roosevelt?
“Yes,” said Mrs. Churchill finally, “I believe Mr. Roosevelt is sincerely and unselfishly working for the welfare of the people, and that he is absolutely honest in his stand for woman’s suffrage.”

Mrs. Churchill's obituary from the Evening Star newspaper, Washington DC 28 May 1945. In November of 1918 Mabel Churchill took part in an unprecedented letter writing campaign, as detailed in the Brattleboro Daily Reformer newspaper 2 Nov 1918 page 4
WOMEN JOIN FIGHT. Urge Election of Democratic Senator in New Hampshire. CONCORD, N.H. Nov 2 –a circular letter has been mailed over the state in which 150 well-known women of New Hampshire ask the voters of the state to elect John B. Jameson, Democrat, over George H. Moses, Republican, to the United States senate next Tuesday. This is the first instance of such activity on the part of women in New Hampshire politics and is supposed to be based on the anti-suffrage record of Mr. Moses, although the circular does not mention suffrage, but asks for the election of Mr. Jameson as “a man who has not been afraid to tell where he stands and of whose loyal service and ability there can be no doubt.” Both Democrats and Republicans are represented among the husbands of the women signing the letter, the list including Mrs. Mabel Churchill of Cornish, wife of Winston Churchill, the novelist; Mrs. Alice F. Harriman of Laconia, president, and Mrs. Susan C. Bancroft of Concord and Mrs. Nellie S. Woodward of Nashua, past presidents of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs; Mrs. Ellen M. Richardson of Concord, state president of the W.C.T.U., Mrs. Mary P. Remick, wife of Judge James W. Remick of this city, and Mrs. Mary I. Wood, Miss Martha S. Kimball and Mrs. Helen Rand Thayer of Portsmouth. [end] [Note: George H. Moses was elected].

===GENEALOGICAL DETAILS for Mabel H. (Hall) Churchill===

–Her CHILDREN–

Boston Post; Boston, Massachusetts 25 Jun 1921, Sat, Page 17

1. Mabel Churchill, b 9 July 1897 in Bolton, Warren Co. NY. She died in 1945. She married Dr. Allan Macy Butler. He was born 3 April 1894 in Yonkers, Westchester Co. NY and d. 7 Oct 1986 in Tisbury, Dukes Co. MA. They had three children including Allan Churchill Butler (1926-2007)
2. John Dwight Winston Churchill b 21 December 1903, d. 15 Aug 1961. He married Katherine Temple Canfield Emmet. He is buried in Lambert’s Cove Cemetery, West Tisbury, Dukes Co. MA. He lived New York, architect. Child: Jonathan Han Churchill.
3. Capt Creighton Churchill b 29 Nov 1912, d. 29 Nov 1984. He married 25 April 1942 in St. John’s Church, Washington DC to Martha Bacon. He also married Camilla White and Susan Elizabeth Colley. She also married James Farley. They had children [Churchill]: Daniel Creighton, Alexandria, Patricia Morgan. He was a wine writer and consultant (among other things).

–Her HALL Ancestry–
Mabel H. (Hall) Churchill’s father was George Duffield-7 Hall, William Maclay-6 Hall, Esther-5 Maclay [who m. Henry Hall, whose ancestor Richard Hall of Mount Welcome, was one of the earliest settlers at the Head of the Elk, apothecay in Harrisburg PA], William-4 Maclay, Charles-3 Maclay, John-2 Maclay, Charles-1 Maclay.  SEE Pennsylvania genealogies; Scotch-Irish and German, by William Henry Egle; p. 381; 1886. Internet Archive.

**Additional Reading**

Cow Hampshire: The American Winston Churchill (1871-1947)

The Weir Times: Winston Churchill Ran For Governor of NH and Owned a Summer White House, by Robert Hanaford Smith Sr.

Book: Winston Churchill, by Warren I. Titus, 1963 – Internet Archive Library Loan

**My Thanks to Laird Klingler of the Cornish Historical Society.

 

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3 Responses to New Hampshire Suffragist, Lecturer, Clubwoman: Mabel Harlakenden (Hall) Churchill of Cornish and Plainfield (1873-1945).

  1. Pingback: Was Your New Hampshire Ancestor a Suffragist? | Cow Hampshire

  2. gachap says:

    Her grandson, Allan, was one of the founders and first publisher
    of The Valley News. It is the daily newspaper that serves the “upper valley” and the initial issue was June 9, 1952.

  3. Pingback: The American Winston Churchill (1871-1947) | Cow Hampshire

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