New Hampshire Suffragist, Actress, Civic Leader: Agnes Marie (O’Leary) Jenks of Concord (1873-1945)

Photograph of Agnes Jenks from glass negative, Library of Congress,George Grantham Bain Collection, circa 1900.

Agnes Marie O’Leary was the daughter of William Curran & Miriam Catherine (Keating) O’Leary. She was born on 25 Sep 1873 in Wakefield, Middlesex Co. MA and died 9 May 1945 in Boston, Suffolk Co. MA (and so of course Massachusetts can also claim her).  Her father was an artist and designer who died several months before she was born.  During most of the years where she worked on behalf of suffrage, she lived in Concord New Hampshire.

Woman’s Who’s Who in America 1914-1915 presents the best biography of her: “JENKS, Agnes W. (Mrs. Barton Pickering Jenks) Concord NH. Born Wakefield Mass; ed. Boston (Mass.) public and private schools; m. Concord N.H. Oct 23, 1892 Barton P. Jenks (pres. William B. Durgin Co., silversmiths, Concord NH). Children: Phoebe M. Pickering, Barton Pickering Jr., Lewis B. Was an actress; played important parts with Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett and Mme Helene Modjeska (stage name “Agnes Acres”). Mem. Professional Women’s Club, Concord Woman’s Club, various charity organizations and Peace Soc. of N.H. Favors woman suffrage, sec. New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Assn’n. pres. Concord Equal Suffrage Assn.

Mrs. Agnes Jenks. Photograph from her 1925 passport.

She married Barton Pickering Jenks, son of Lewis Edwin & Phoebe Ann (Pickering) Jenks. He was b. 21 July 1870 in Boston MA and d. 13 Jan 1941. (see genealogy below for more information about him)  Agnes is buried in Hope Cemetery, Mattapan MA.   She was one of the more fortunate suffragists who had an opportunity to vote, to benefit from their hard work.

Her accomplishments were not just titles, though she did take leadership positions as secretary of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association, and as President of the Concord (NH) Equal Suffrage Association.  She also spoke, lectured and paraded.  Noteworthy examples are taken from the newspapers of the time.

According to the San Francisco Call newspaper of 22 November 1912, on 21 November 1912 a National Convention American Woman Suffrage association supporters was held in Philadelphia PA. Among the speakers was Mrs. Agnes Jenks of New Hampshire.

On March 6 1913 Mrs. Agnes M. Jenks and her daughter (probably —) participated in a parade in Washington, D.C.  There were many complaints about poor treatment by police and bystanders as follows.  The March 7, 1913 publication of the Sacrament Union – Re: Parade in Washington DC. “Mrs. Agnes M. Jenks of Concord, N. H., with her daughter and other girls in the New Hampshire division, declared uniformed policemen had encouraged the crowd In its disorder, and that she had been so alarmed at the conduct of the officers that the children had been placed in the center of the procession. “One policeman looked as if he were going to take hold of the young girls who were marching with us.” she said. “We were more frightened by the police than by the crowds.”


William Curran O’Leary, son of John & Martha (Moffat) O’Leary, was born 11 Nov 1822 in Lancashire England, died 16 Dec 1872 in Wakefield MA; He is buried Mount Calvary Cemetery, Roslindale MA.  He m1st) 1843 in London England to Emma Clark. She was born in 1820 in London England, and died in England by 1859. In 1850 William C., Emma and son Arthur are showing living at Islington East Middlesex England. William Curran O’Leary immigrated from England to the United States arriving in Boston MA on the ship Arabia from Liverpool England on 30 June 1859. The passenger list includes himself, Miss N.O’Leary, Master A. O’Leary, Miss H. O’Leary, aged 10, 4 and 2 respectively. William’s occupation was “Designer.”  William C. O’Leary m2d) 23 July 1860 in Boston MA Miriam Catherine Keating, daughter of John & Miriam (Duggan) O’Leary. She was born in 1828 in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada and died 29 Sep 1913 in Boston MA.    The month after William’s death, in 1873, a Guardian was appointed in court for the underaged children.
Name: Gullielmus Curran O’Leary
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 11 Nov 1822
Baptism Date: 1 Dec 1822
Baptism Place: Dunkenhalgh and Saint Mary Enfield,Clayton Le Moors, Lancashire,England
Father: Joannis O’Leary [John O’Leary]
Mother: Marthae Moffat [Martha Moffat]
1870 US Census > MA > Middlesex Co. > Wakefield
William C Oleary 45
Meriam C Oleary 40
Arthur A Oleary 20
Nera Oleary 14
Kathleen E Oleary 12
Miriam C Oleary 9
William C Oleary 2
Agnes M Oleary 7/12
Children of William C. & Emma (Clark) O’Leary
1. Arthur A. O’Leary, b. abt 1850 England. Designer. in 1870 living in Wakefield MA with his father and family.
2. Nora A. O’Leary, b abt 1855 Boston MA, died by 1900 in NY; She m. 11 July 1878 in Boston MA to Francis W. Norris, son of Maurice & Mary Norris. Children: Francis William Norris Jr. b 24 May 1879 in New York City, died 10 Sep 1946 Dobbs Ferry NY; Herbert Vincent Norris, b. January 1885 NY.
3. Kathleen E. O’Leary, b abt 1858 in England. She m. 14 Feb 1882 in Boston MA to Charles V. Dasey, son of Daniel and Ellen.
Children of William C. & Miriam C. (Keating) O’Leary:
4. Miriam Catherine O’Leary, b. 2 July 1861 Boston MA, d. 2 June 1936 Marblehead MA; She m. David Aloysius Collins. Buried Mount Calvary Cemetery, Roslindale MA.
5. William Curran O’Leary Jr., b. 2 Nov 1867 Boston MA, died –. Graduated from Boston Public Latin School in Boston in 1886. In 1930 single a photographer living in Washington DC.
6. Teresa Ann O’Leary b 26 Jan 1872 Wakefield MA d. 19 Dec 1930 Boston MA. Married John Edward Crowley. Suffragist. Actress.  [SEE Biography and photograph].  Buried Mount Calvary Cemetery, Roslindale MA.
7. +Agnes Marie O’Leary b 25 Sep 1873 Wakefield MA.

Agnes Marie O’Leary, daughter of William C. & Miriam C. (Keating) O’Leary was born 25 Sep 1873 Wakefield MA d. 9 May 1945 Boston MA. Buried Mount Hope Cemetery Mattapan MA. [This story is about her, see photographs and more biography above.]  Agnes married Barton Pickering Jenks, son of Lewis Edwin & Phoebe Ann Pickering (Hoyt) Jenks.  He was born 21 July 1870 at Boston MA, and died 13 January 1941.
Barton Pickering Jenks Biography from Harvard University, Class of 1891 Secretary’s Report. “Prepared at Boston Latin School Boston MA. In college 1887-1888. Left college and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1890, course in architecture. Entered office of Shepley Rutan & Coolidge, and soon former the firm of Goodnow & Jenks, manufacturers of sterling silverware. In 1905 he became President of the William B. Durgin Co., Concord NH. Later he also became Vice President of the Gorham Manufacturing Co., Providence RI. In addition he was director of The Silversmiths Co., New York, Director of the Gorham Co., NY; President of the Elmwood Novelty Co., NY, and an officer in various other concerns and organizations.”
Children of Barton Pickering & Agnes Marie (O’Leary) Jenks:
1. Phoebe Miriam Pickering Jenks, b 16 Jan 1895. She married 16 July 1928 in Manhattan NY to Roy T. Pryor. She died 5 March 1977 in Glenelg, Howard Co. MD. Buried Mount Hope Cemetery, Mattapan MA.
2. Barton Pickering Jenks Jr., b 20 Feb 1899 in Brookline MA. He died 5 October 1970 in France and is buried there.  He married 17 July 1922 in France to Mlle. Andree Fritsch. He was a graduate of St. Pauls School in Concord and a graduate in 1921 of Harvard College. He studied in France and was admitted to the Beaux Arts in architecture. In 1941 he lectured at the University of Michigan.  On 3 Oct 1947 he was assigned as attache to Geneva Switzerland (Paul R. Porter, deputy U.S. representative, and Harry L. Troutman, consul. In 1952 he completed a “Korean Housing Survey” for the United Nations.
3. Lewis Batchelder [Batcheller] Jenks b 28 March 1904, d. 1 June 1909 in Concord NH aged 5 years of diphtheria.

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6 Responses to New Hampshire Suffragist, Actress, Civic Leader: Agnes Marie (O’Leary) Jenks of Concord (1873-1945)

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

  2. Michael says:

    The snapshot into the fear Agnes felt during the DC march highlights the deep-rooted culture and mentality these brave women were up against. It’s easy to forget when we live in a time where it seems almost preposterous that women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. I’m glad Agnes had the opportunity to see voting rights mandated for women. It must have been a glorious feeling for her to cast that first vote.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Michael. First thank you for reading and commenting on this story. The Suffrage Movement is mostly forgotten now as it was our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who fought so hard for it, and many did not talk much about it after voting rights were won. I applaud the national leaders but in reality it took everyone, men and women who worked at all levels for 50+ years to make it happen. My grandmother was in her 80s when I remember her talking about how wonderful it was that first time to be able to cast a ballot. She was in her 80s by the time I remember her, she would have had the vote for 40 years and still just was so proud to talk about it.

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

  4. Gary DelNero says:

    Loved the article and thanks for the links. I found her working through the family tree. What an incredible family.

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