New Hampshire Suffragist, Club-Woman, Civic Leader, Social Service Worker: Martha Smith Kimball of Portsmouth (1870-1967)

Photograph of Martha Smith Kimball from One Thousand New Hampshire Notables, 1919. Internet Archive.

Martha Smith Kimball was born into a wealthy Portsmouth New Hampshire family. Her father Edward Payson Kimball was a well-known banker and her mother was Martha J. Thompson.  She was born 28 February 1870 in Portsmouth NH.

On 12 Nov 1902 she completed a passport giving the following description: aged 32, 5 ft 3 inches tall, high forehead, brown eyes, small mouth, average chin, dark brown hair, light complexion, oval face, ordinary nose. Her residence was that of her parents, at the corner of Union and South treet, Portsmouth NH (889 South Street).  His house is part of Portsmouth’s House Tour, called the “E.P. Kimball House.”

Martha Smith Kimball attended the local Portsouth schools.  Later she attended and received a  B.A. from Smith College in 1892.

Pleasant Street in Portsmouth NH 1930s. Postcard from Images of New Hampshire , Richard S. Marsh. Used with permission.

On her father’s side of the family, she was a direct descent of Reuben Kimball. During the American Revolution, Reuben Kimball as Corporal in Capt. Isaac Baldwin’s Co. 1st NH Regiment, under Col. John Stark and later as Captain in Col Thomas Stickney’s Regiment. His name appears on a pay roll for the period ending August 1 1775 which bears the remark “time of entry April 23, 1775 Time in service three months and sixteen days.” His name also appears on a return stated March 5, 1776 as Captain, of commissioned officers in Col. Thomas Stickney’s Regiment. [From D.A.R. Descendant’s book, SEE Genealogy below for more details].

On her mother’s side of the family, she was a direct descendant of at least six patriots of the American Revolution i.e.:
-Moses Thompson (1734-1819) born in Kingston NH, m. 1762 to Jane Page. He died in Deerfield NH, served as a private in Capt. Aldrich’s Rangers.
-Samuel Smith (1714-1778) born and died in Salisbury MA. He m. 1734 to Mary Gove (1719-1786) He was a member of the Provincial Congress from Massachusetts.
-William Smith (1747-1816) born in Salisbury MA, died in Deerfield NH. Served as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War and was on the governor’s staff.
-Jonathan Philbrick (1736-1826) was born and died in Greenland NH. He married 1759 to Hannah Brown. He signed the Association Test at Deerfield NH.
-Nathaniel Ambrose (1741-1835) He was born and died in Pembroke NH. He m1) 1776 Phebe Lovejoy. He served as private in Capt McConnell’s Company, Colonel Moor’s New Hampshire Regiment.
-David Lovejoy, b 1716 in Andover MA, died in Pembroke NH He m. 1741 to Elizabeth Chandler (b 1721). He signed the Association Test in 1776 in Pembroke NH.

Photograph: Women’s Suffrage Hikers c1912-1914. Framingham State University, Henry Whittemore Library, Digital Commonwealth.

Now to her own service to the people of New Hampshire and the United States.  The book, One Thousand New Hampshire notables, etc., ed and comp. by Henry Harrison Metcalf, asssisted by Frances M. Abbott; 1919 shows: “Kimball, Martha Smith // Club-woman and social service worker; b. Portsmouth, N.H.; dau. Edward Payson and Martha Jane (Thompson) Kimball; ed. Portsmouth public schools, Smith College 1892; Congregationalist; Equal Suffragist; president, N.H. Equal Suffrage Assn’n since 1913 [the book was published in 1919] ; incorporator, Portsmouth Historical Soc.; trustee, Portsmouth Public Library, 1915–; member, Graffort (Woman’s) Club, Equal Suffrage League, Y.M.C.A. Auxiliary, Country Club, Civic Assn., Portsmouth; vice-president, Woman’s Realty Co.; Director, Army and Navy Ass’n; Guardian of Sagamore Camp Fire and Leader of Portsmouth Guardians; member of Country Guardians; director, League of Women Workers; N.H. member, Legislative Committee, National League for Women Workers; member, N.H. Smith College Club, Portsmouth College Club, Smith Alumnae Assn’n, College Club of Boston, Ass’n of Collegiate Alumnae, Smith Students’ Aid Soc., N.H. Conference of Charities and Corrections, Automobile Ass’n of America; chairman, Portsmouth district, Woman’s Committee, Council of National Defense. Residence, Portsmouth and Wilmot, N.H.”

More personal details can be gleaned from various newspaper stories. For example,  the Boston Herald, on 23 May 1913, page 3 published a story about the 46th Conference of New England Suffragists being held at the Twentieth Century Club on 22 May 1913. “Miss Martha S. Kimball, the newly-elected New Hampshire president referred to the recent defeat of suffrage in that state. ‘Perhaps we ought to be discouraged,’ she said, ‘by the large majority against us in a large and unwiedy Legislature, but not at all — we are much encouraged by the large number of intelligent men who have come out in our favor. New Hampshire,’ added Miss Kimball, “was the first state east of the Mississsippi to give women the school vote.'”

Her work was not just in New Hampshire, for she toured as a speaker for suffrage as shown by the following. The Trenton (NJ) Evening Times of Tuesday April 27, 1915 published that: “Miss Virginia Waltrous of Washington D.C. will drive the big “Votes for Women” touring car which is to carry suffrage speakers through New Jersey this summer under the auspices of the National Woman Suffrage Association. This car will contain such experienced campaigners for suffrage as….”Miss Winston Churchill and Mrs. Martha S. Kimball, state president of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association….. The tour will take place in Trenton, according to the present schedule.”

Her work continued in the Portsmouth area for more than three decades both locally, nationally and internationally.  The Dallas Morning News of 17 May 1926 reported on U.S. Women to Sail for Paris. Voters’ Group Delegates Will Attend Suffrage Congress in June. “Thirty prominent women will represent the United States at the tenth congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Paris, May 30-June 6, it has been announced by the American affiliated association, the National League of Women Voters. The official delegation will include twelve members while alternates and visitors will comprise the remainder of the American representation….Among the alternates and visitors are MISS MARTHA S. KIMBALL OF PORTSMOUTH, N.H...”

Even after the 19th Amendment was passed, Martha Smith Kimball still continued with the important work for woman and human rights. The Boston Herald of 25 June 1940 reported on the Committee in charge of the election of regional delegates to the Women’s Centennial Congress to be held in New York in November. State chairmen cooperating…. Miss Martha S. Kimball of New Hampshire….

Postcard: Bird’s-eye View of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, circa 1930-1945. The Tichnor Brothers Collection. Boston Public Library. Digital Commonwealth.

She continued to be active into the mid and late 1940s, as shown by the three following notices.  She either moved to, or spent her winters in the Fort Lauderdale FL area starting about 1942.

The Miami Herald of 13 March 1942 wrote about the Florida State convention of the League of Women Voters, in Winter Park. “The pre-convention meeting will be held in Fort Lauderdale March 23 in the home of Miss Martha S. Kimball, 1711 S.E. Second Street.”

Miami Herald 3 Oct 1943
Martha S. Kimball was chosen as chairman of international relations for the Fort Lauderdale Woman’s Club.”

May 17, 1944 Miami Herald.
The Fort Lauderdale League of Women Voters (and others) petitioned the city commission to rigidly enforce measures governing juvenile delinquency in this city.;….
Miss Martha S. Kimball, acting president of the League of Women Voters….

Miami Herald 15 Dec 1945, Fort Lauderdale. “The League of Women Voters meeting “at the home of the league president, Miss Martha S. Kimball. They discussed proposed educational and cultural organizations of the United Nations.”

24 June 1945 Miami Herald
Departure of Miss Martha S. Kimball this week for New Hampshire was inspiration for a surprise farewell party given in her honor by the World Affairs Study group at the .W. Maurer home, 700 S.E. Second street. A supper was served on the lawn.. Among the guests was Miss Doris Sykes who accompanied her aunt to New Hampshire.

Miami Herald, Tues 24 May 1949
Body Sent North
FORT LAUDERDALE–Following funeral services at Fairchild chapel Monday, the body of Mrs. Abbie E. Bates 84, who died Saturday at her home, 1711 S.E. Second Street, was sent to Warner N.H. for burial. She leaves a cousin, Miss Martha S. Kimball of this city.

Martha Smith Kimball died 30 Jan 1967 based on her tombstone engraved date in Harmony Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth NH where she was buried in her family’s plot.

=====PARTIAL GENEALOGY of Martha S. Kimball====

She was a descendant of Richard-1 Kimball who arrived in 1634 on the ship Elizabeth at the American Colonies.

Reuben Kimball (Jeremiah-4, David-3, Benjamin-2, Richard-1) b 17 April 1738 in Bradford MA; d 2 May 1811 aged 73; m. abt 1761 to Hannah Annis, daughter of Daniel Annis. He was one of the first settlers of Warner, NH and is mentioned several times in the town history. Soldier of the American Revolution (see details above).
History of the Kimball Family
History of Warner NH
Children of Reuben & Hannah (Annis) Kimball:
1. Daniel Kimball, b October 1762 in Warner NH, deemed the first white child born in the town. He married Polly Stevens of Enfield NH. He died 29 July 1843 aged 80.
2. +Jeremiah Kimball, b 12 Nov 1767 in Warner NH
3. Richard Kimball, b. 11 March 1770, d. 1838; resided Franklin NH
4. Johnson Guill Kimball
5. Jane Kimball, m. — Jewell
6. Betsey Kimball
7. Persis Kimball
8. ?Lydia Kimball, b. 9 March 1777 Hopkinton NH, d. 18 July 1836 Hopkinton NH. She m. Moses Chase. [not in town history, nor in Kimball genealogy book]

Jeremiah Kimball, son of Reuben & Hannah (Annis) Kimball, b 12 Nov 1767 in Warner NH and d 27 March 1841 in Warner NH ; He m. 21 Nov 1793 in Warner NH to Molly Foote, daughter of Chellis & Anna (Colby) Foote. She b. 30 Apr 1771 in Warner NH d 8 May 1855 in Warner NH.
Children of Jeremiah & Molly (Foote) Kimball:
1. Challis/Chellis Foote Kimball, b 1 July 1794 Warner NH; He m. 21 March 1816 in Warner NH to Nancy Foot. Buried Pine Grove Cemetery, Warner NH. Farmer.
2. Hannah Kimball b 17 Aug 1796 Warner NH; She m. 24 Feb 1820 to Samuel Judkins Jr.
3. Nancy Foot Kimball, b 16 March 1799 Warner NH; she m. 2 June 1828 in Warner NH to Abbott H. Hardy
4. Rev. Reuben Kimball, b. 29 April 1803 in Warner NH

Rev. Reuben Kimball, son of Jeremiah & Molly (Foote) Kimball b 29 Apr 1803 in Warner, Merrimack Co. NH d. 18 Nov 1871 in Conway NH; He m.21 May 1829 in Warner NH to Judith Colby. She was b. 25 June 1805 in Grafton Co NH and d. 11 Oct 1883 in Portsmouth NH. They are buried in North Conway Cemetery, Conway NH.
1850 US Census > NH > Carroll Co. > Conway
Reuben Kimball 57
Judith Kimball 55
Reuben Kimball 20
Jeremiah Kimball 18
John E Kimball 16
Sarah M Kimball 14
Moses C Kimball 11
Charles M Cross 25
Ann L Cross 23
Children of Reuben & Judith (Colby) Kimball:
1. Mary Foote “Molly” Kimball, b 1830 Warner NH, d. 1864
2. Marcia Aletta Kimball b 1832 d. 1860
3. +Edward Payson Kimball b 4 July 1834 in Warner NH [listed in fathers will]
4. Ann Louise “Anna” Kimball, b 25 June 1836 Warner NH. She m1) Charles M. Cross. She m2d) John R. Bates of Warner [listed in father’s will]
5. Reuben Kimball b 1840 d 1915 [listed in father’s will]
6. Jeremiah Kimball, b 1841, d. 1926 [listed in father’s will]
7. John Elliot Kimball b 1843, d. 1863
8. Sarah Mehitable Kimball, b 1845, d. 1915; m. Edward Kimball Esq. of Ipswich MA [mentioned in father’s will]
9. Moses Colby Kimball b 10 July 1848 Kittery MA, d. 13 Sep 1863 in Conway NH

Edwin Payson Kimball b 4 July 1834 in Warner NH. Died 31 March 1910 in Brookline MA. He m. 13 Sep 1864 in Wilmot NH to Martha Jane Thompson, daughter of Samuel & Ann (True) Thompson. She was born 17 July 1834 in North Wilmot, NH and died 12 January 1934 in Portsmouth NH. They are buried in Harmony Grove Cemetery, Portsmouth NH. His occupation according to his passport of 1903 was banker.
At that time he described himself as being 68 years old, 5 ft 8 inches tall, with a medium forehead, gray-blue eyes, a straight nose, medium mouth and chin, gray hair, medium complexion, oval face and a full beard. His house is part of Portsmouth’s House Tour, called the “E.P. Kimball House.”
Children of Edward Payson & Martha J. (Thompson) Kimball:
1. Elizabeth Colby Kimball who was born 29 January 1866 in Portsmouth NH and who died 7 March 1880 in Portsmouth NH , aged 14 of typhoid fever.
2. + Martha Smith Kimball, born 28 Feb 1870 in  Portsmouth NH. This story is about her, see above.
3. Edward Thompson Kimball, b. 29 Sep 1873 in Portsmouth NH; fitted for college at Portsmouth High School. Graduated rom Amherst College, B.S. Class of 1896. In the business of manufacturing automobiles, in NY in 1899. He married 7 Nov 1900 to Maude L. Berry, daughter of Joseph F. Berry of Portsmouth NH. [per biographical record of alumni of Amherst College].


This entry was posted in Genealogy, History, Moovers And Shakers, New Hampshire Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Hampshire Suffragist, Club-Woman, Civic Leader, Social Service Worker: Martha Smith Kimball of Portsmouth (1870-1967)

  1. Pingback: New Hampshire’s Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment | Cow Hampshire

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

  3. Pingback: New Hampshire Women Who Gained The Vote–100 Years Ago and Today | Cow Hampshire

Leave a Reply