Saturday, August 20, 2016

Women's Sufferage and my family

This week marked the anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment to the constitution on August 18, 1920. Ninety-four years ago women were finally granted the right to vote in the United States.

I decided to take a look at which of my direct ancestors this amendment gave the right to on that day. I found seven female ancestors that would have been alive and of voting age at that time in the United States.

Both my grandmothers, Frances Ingalls Ward(19 Oct 1889-6 Jul 1962) and Alice V. Jennings Wooster (14 Feb 1893-28 Oct 1970) were eligible. Three of my great-grandmothers were alive then, Maria C. Titus Ward (12 Jun 1858-8 Nov 1927), Edith Mary Duff Wooster (30 Oct 1868-19 Dec 1951) and Sarah Damery Jennings (1862-1 Feb 1948). Sarah Damery Jennings would not have been eligible to vote though, as she was not only an Irish citizen, but also lived in Ireland. Three of my great-great grandmothers were alive, but in the latter years of theirs lives: Lodema Tobias Titus (16 Oct 1831-28 Mar 1926), Anna S. Wright Brown (12 Dec 1836-13 Feb 1923) and Mary Ellen “Nellie” Johnson Duff (25 Dec 1847-12 Feb 1921).

Whether any of these women voted or not that first year or any of the years shortly after, I do not know. I have not heard stories about the Women’s Rights Movement in our family. I think that for many, if not all of them, living their lives and getting the things done that they needed to took precedence over politics. They were busy housewives, farm wives and mothers. Both of my grandmothers had young children in the household that were, I’m sure, keeping them busy.

Frances Ingalls Ward
Alice Jennings Wooster

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