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Wheeling Intelligencer
May 1, 1916


Their Contest For Recognition Has Been Most Spirited

By Miss Florence Hoge

The Ohio County Equal Suffrage League is the outgrowth of two older and earlier Leagues, the Political Equality League and the Woman’s Municipal League. Of these, the former was organized at the home of Dr. Harriet B. Jones, November 14, 1895, when Rev. Henrietta Moore of Ohio addressed the meeting. Dr. Jones was elected president, Miss Jennie B. Wilson, corresponding secretary, Mrs. Annie Caldwell Boyd recording secretary and Mrs. George K. Wheat treasurer. Among the Charter members were Mrs. Ada Barr, Mrs. W. T. Burt, Mrs. Elliott, Mrs. M. Anna Hall, Mrs. Phoebus, Mrs. Henry Ott, Miss Lue Rice and Miss Lizzie Swift.

Meetings of the League were held every two weeks and a variety of topics were discussed, the first two being devoted to Armenia and Cuba, followed later by discussions of civil government, tariff and parliamentary law. On motion of Mrs. Barr a portion of each meeting was given to equal suffrage. Further items taken from the minutes are as follows:

Feb. 1896, while discussing the labor problem, the need of a compulsory school law was commented upon.

April 6—Decided to have a general meeting each month open to the public. Members responded to roll call with some suffrage sentiment. At nearly every meeting visitors were present who became members at the close of the meeting.

Oct. 5, 1896, Mr. George E. Boyd gave a talk on the laws of West Virginia relating to women and politics.

Oct. 19, Mrs. Boyd was elected president, Mrs. Wheat and Mrs. Ott vice presidents, Mrs. Barr corresponding secretary, Mrs. Burt recording secretary, Dr. Jones, treasurer.

April 1897—Discussed the union of all the clubs to secure signers to a petition to the legislature for an amendment to give suffrage to women. Many meetings were held in Mrs. Ziegenfelder’s parlors.

Oct. 25, 1897—Mrs. Boyd resigned and Mrs. Ott was elected president. The offices of corresponding and secretary were united, with Miss Jennie Wilson taking the duties.

In 1898 Miss Mary Garrett Hay visited Wheeling and a reception was held for her at the Hotel.

On May 30, a lawn fete was held at the home of Mrs. Wheat for the purpose of raising money.

In January of 1905 Wheeling was preparing to get a new charter and at this time Mrs. M. Anna Hall who was president of the Political Equality League succeeded in interesting the city officials with the result that an amendment to give women of Wheeling municipal suffrage was voted on at the same time as the Charter. Several weeks before the election, two national officers, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Mis[s] Kate Gordon, visited Wheeling and a new League, known as the Woman’s Municipal League was formed, whose special object was to secure municipal suffrage. A spirited campaign was conducted and the vote stood, for the amendment 2500, against 4,172, not bad considering it was the first time it had been presented and the short time allowed for the campaign.

The first president of the Municipal League was Mrs. Edward Hazlett; other officers being Dr. Mary Baron Monroe, Miss Elizabeth Cummings, Dr. Jon es and Miss Florence Hoge.

The Municipal League continued to be active for several years after the charter election, but from 1910 to 1912 there is no record of activities. Then the suffrage parade in Washington at the time of President Wilson’s inauguration was directly responsible for the renewal of suffrage activities in Wheeling. Three Wheeling women marched in this parade, Mrs. George E. Boyd Sr., Dr. Harriet B. Jones and Miss Ellen Douglas Hoge. On arrival home a meeting was held at the Board of Trade room in Market Auditorium to tell about the parade and at this meeting about 50 men and women signed membership cards. On April 2, 1913, a meeting for formal organization, or reorganization of the old league whichever it might be termed, was called. Dr. Jones was elected president, Miss Florence Hoge vice president, Mrs. H. P. Loe recording secretary, Miss Anne Cummins corresponding secretary, Mrs. Julia Rine treasurer. The following year Miss Hoge served as president, while officers for the present year are, Mrs. Flora Williams, president, Mrs. C. N. Taylor vice president, Miss Anne Cummins, corresponding secretary, Miss Carrie Zane, recording secretary, Mrs. Henry M. Russell assistant secretary, Miss Bertha Schrader treasurer, with a county executive committee of the following: Dr. Mary Baron Monroe, Mrs. W. D. McCoy, Mrs. W. S. Hamilton, Mrs. Edw. S. Romine, Mrs. Edward Hazlett, Mrs. George A. Laughlin, Mrs. George E. Boyd Sr., Mrs. H. C. Sheridan, Mrs. Byrd Beall and Miss Florence Hoge.

During the past few years a number of notable speakers have spoken under the auspices of the League. Among these are Miss Christabel Pankhurst, Mrs. F. W. Pethick Lawrence, Madame Rosika Schwimmer, Miss Kate Gordon, president of the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference, Mrs. Leska [Desha] B[r]eckenridge and Miss Louise Clay of Kentucky, Miss Rosalie Jones of New York, Mrs. Alice Stebbins Wells, “pioneer police woman” of California, Senator Helen Ring Robinson of Colorado, Mrs. Nina El Allender of Washington, D. C., and Mrs. Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale of New York, who spoke under the joint auspices of the league and the Progressive party.

Among the local men who have ably assisted by speaking and acting as chairmen at meetings are Rev. H. E. Fields, Rev. F. E. Brininstool, Hon. George A. Laughlin, Mr. C. Burgess Taylor, Mr. Walter R. Hilton, and Attorneys Chas. J. Schuck, D. M. Wilkerson, Henry M. Russell, and Thomas Foulk. Many more have expressed their willingness to enlist during the coming months.

"Fighting the Long Fight" Chapter 1