Womens Rights in Wyoming
In 1869 Wyoming Territory became the first to grant full rights to women, Woman Suffrage.
AN ACT TO GRANT TO THE WOMEN OF WYOMING TERRITORY THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE AND TO HOLD OFFICE
Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wyoming:
Sect 1. That every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in this territory, may, at every election to be holden under the laws thereof, cast her vote. And her rights to the elective franchise and to hold office shall be the same under the election laws of the territory, as those of electors.
Sect 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
Approved, December 10, 1869
The next year Utah followed suit. As a condition of statehood Utah had to remove the rights of it's women. Wyoming refused to do so and said that they would rather not be admitted to the union than remove the rights of their women. After Wyomings admission to the union other western states started granting their women full rights. It wasn't until 1920 that women were granted their rights nationwide.
What follows is a first hand account of the first election held in Wyoming in which women voted and the thoughts of the writer.
Wyoming Territory's Office
Cheyenne, May 6, 1871
I take this early opportunity to comply with your request, recently expressed, to give you an account of my experience regarding Woman Suffrage in Wyoming.
You are aware, that, when I left your state for Wyoming Territory about a year since, I looked upon woman suffrage as an impracticable idea, a movement, if carried into effect, likely to undermine the fundamental principles governing our local system. I arrived in the territory pre-disposed to find there, where the theory was about being put into practice, some argument or proof to support my views on this subject.
But I was to be disappointed.
At the general election held in Wyoming in September last, women voted for the first time in this country. I made it a point to watch the proceedings at the polls in Cheyenne from a convenient location. The first woman presenting her ballot soon after the opening of the polls, was a lady seventy eight years old. A large and noisy crowd had collected at the entrance, but immediately made way for the old lady, and in respect for her age and venerable appearance the men took off their hats and remained uncovered, while she performed the sovereign duty of an american citizen. This broke the ice, so to speak, for the ladies of our city. Soon after came our Methodist clergyman, his wife leaning upon his arm, both armed with a ballot, which they evidently deposited with some satisfaction. After that a number of ladies, in one body, without male attendants, approached the polls and deposited their ballots, and so on during the entire day, the more bashful and undecided ones bringing up the rear. Everybody seemed to be surprised at the result. There were no insulting or jeering remarks made, no disturbance, usually so common on election days, occured, all seemd to be on their good behavior. Thus passed off our first election in which women were allowed to participate. I must confess that the day's experince had weakened my position considerably.
The records in my ofice show, that about six hundred women voted that day in our territory. The census gives us nine hundred [struck out - white ] women above the age of twengty one years, in this number indians are not included.
A city election took place at Cheyenne in December last, and produced the same gratifying result, , the women generally registering themselves on the side of reform, and in favor of sobriety, decency and honesty; thus enabling the order loving part of our community to obtain the control of municipal affairs.
The right of suffrage of course, has brought, to the women of Wyoming complicated and onerous duties, of which the serving of juries was feared most. But the ladies soon became familiar with the responsibilities also, owing in some measure, to the generous and gentlemanly course pursued toward the women summoned as jurors, by Chief Justice Howe, of the Supreme Court of our territory.
The three judge's of said court in the opinion that, since women have served on our juries, crime has desreased wonderfully, criminals have been brought to justice; and due regard for the law has been instilled into those, who had formerly committed crimes, without fear of being punished. For these reasons, if no other, woman suffrage has proved a blessing to the people of Wyoming; it has given our social life a pure and healthy tone, and it is now acknowleded by all parties, that it has done more for our people than to most sanguine supporters anticipated.
Would it not have been foolhardy indeed, if they had permitted bigotry, prejudice and pre-conceived notions to keep them from availing themselves of the means which "God and Nature" had placed in thier hands, to purify and elevate their social and political condition.
Wyoming has demonstrated the ability of women to discharge all, even the mosttrying and complicated duties of citizenship.
Our community is satisfied with the result and could not be induced to return to te old, barborous system of disfranchisement of a portion of our citizens any more than our nation could be persuaded to return to allegiance to Great Britain.
Hoping that the foregoing hasty report will be of some service to you and your co-workers. I have only to add that I shall deem it a pleasure to send you additional items of interest as occasion offers.
I have the honor to be, Madame,
Mrs. John Hooker
Very respectfully, your obedient servant
Secretary of Wyoming Territory.
|Major Herman W. Glafcke - Born: June 20, 1840 - Hamburg Germany - Immigrated 1860 - Occupation Journalist - Died : March 25, 1912 - Secretary of Wyoming Territory May 25, 1870 to May 1, 1873|
Wife : Victorine Susan Pollard - Born : January 9, 1848 - New York - Married October 6, 1863 Hartford Connecticut
Walter Grant - Born November 6, 1869 Hartford Connecticut - Married 1892 Sallie Sutherland - Printer by trade - Was charged with forgery in Texas for passing forged checks
William Everett - Born March 18, 1871 Connecticut - Married January 18, 1910 Gertrude Hadden Elizabeth Rodenbaugh [ Akron Ohio ] - served in the U. S. Geological Survey and was responsible for surveying portions of the Bighorns.
Paul Emerson - Born March 18, 1871 Connecticutt - engaged to Elizabeth Lois Hilliard [ H. B. Hilliard of Salt Lake City ?? ] April 1901
Salt Lake Herald October 23, 1901
The wedding of Miss Elizabeth Hilliard to P. Emerson Glafcke of Cheyenne, Wyo., was somnized yesterday afternoon at the Broom Hotel, of whichj the brides father is the propprietor. Mr. Glafcke is a popular traveling man for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender company, and his father is an influential citizen of Wyoming.
Ludlow Burleigh - Born 1874 Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming - Married ca 1894 Mamie Anderson Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming - Mayor of Sheridan Wyoming 1909 [ 1880 census ]
Jessemine [ Jasmine ?] Catherine - Born 1876 Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming - Married 1895 Loren Curtis Hinkle Cheyene, Laramie County, Wyoming
Isabella Beecher Hooker (February 22, 1822 – January 25, 1907) was a leader in the women's suffrage movement and an author.
Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, she was a daughter of Reverend Lyman Beecher, a noted abolitionist. Among her half brothers and sisters were Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Catharine Beecher, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was educated at several different schools in Hartford, Connecticut, and Cincinnati, Ohio, founded by her sister, Catharine.
In 1841 Isabella married John Hooker, a young law student whom she met at Catharine Beecher's Hartford Female Seminary, and whose family had founded Hartford. The newlyweds lived in Farmington, Connecticut, for about ten years, then moved back to Hartford and bought a large sum of land. They built houses for themselves and sold lots to prominent Martha Kilbournefigures of their time, including Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain. They had four children:
1. Thamas Beecher Hooker born & died 1842
She became curious about the workings of the law system early in her marriage to John Hooker. Her husband first sparked this curiosity by reading to her from William Blackstone. In these readings it describes the marriage between a man and a woman. It states that "the woman has no separate legal existence". She was further influenced by John Stuart Mill's works such as "The Enfranchisement of Women", his essay, and "The Subjection of Women".
2. Mary Beecher Hooker (15 August 1845 – 20 January 1886) married Eugene Burton
3. Alice Beecher Hooker (26 August – 21 April 1928) married John Calvin Day
4. Edward Beecher Hooker (26 February 1855 – 23 June 1927), married Martha Kilbourne 18 September 1879
In 1868, she helped organize the New England Women's Suffrage Association, and her "Mother's Letters to a Daughter on Woman's Suffrage" was published in Putnam's Magazine. She furthered her involvement with the suffrage movement by organizing the Connecticut Women's Suffrage Association, lobbying the Connecticut legislature for 7 years in favor of a married women's property bill drafted by her husband.
In 1871 she organized a convention in Washington, D.C., to present a constitutional amendment for suffrage before Congress. During that time she became involved with free love advocate Victoria Woodhull, who would take her to spiritual gatherings where Isabella became convinced she would "lead a matriarchal government of the world." She even took the side of Woodhull against her own family. Woodhull posted accusations towards Hooker's half-brother, Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, accusing him of committing adultery with a woman named Elizabeth Tilton, the wife of Theodore Tilton. Isabella was shunned for the rest of her life by much of her family for her actions. She was unwelcome to attend his funeral sixteen years after the publication of the accusations.
Associating herself with Susan B. Anthony and other women's rights advocates, Isabella helped organize the New England Woman Suffrage Association in 1868. She presided over the convention that organized the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association and lobbied the Connecticut legislature in favor of a married woman's property bill.
Isabella was a prominent speaker at the 1870 convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C. In 1871, she planned and financed a special convention at which a federal constitutional suffrage amendment was drawn up and presented to Congress. For several years she spent much of her time in Washington lobbying and testifying for that amendment. Isabella continued as president of the state suffrage organization until two years before her death.