Biographies of Women’s Suffrage

These pages are an attempt at a comprehensive list of any South Dakotans who supported the suffrage movement in almost any way.  The research is ongoing. And the total list is long, so I have the full lists in pieces by last initial (see alphabet of links below).  On this page I include those with a significantly active role or contribution in the movement, and I have made biographical sub-pages for several of those if you click on their names.

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Irene G. Adams (1839-1931) [Webster, Day County] was vice-president and president of SD Equal Suffrage Association from 1890 to 1892.

William F. Bailey [Faulkton/Roanoke, Faulk County] was elected president of the Faulk County Equal Suffrage Club at the county convention held at the Methodist Episcopal church in May 1890 and also served as the Roanoke township suffrage club [Citing Faulk County Record, Thursday, May 22, 1890, in Faulk County Newspaper Excerpts].  He was elected secretary (a salaried position) for the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association upon its reorganization in July 1890 [Wittmayer, The 1889-1890 Woman Suffrage Campaign, 218; Wessington Springs Herald (SD), July 11, 1890; The Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD), July 10, 1890; assorted items from Primarily Washington, “Page 31,” Page 44 : The Convention, “Page 45 : Entire Page,” and Dakota Ruralist, August 16, 1890, “Page 57 : Entire Page,” Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10; Page 004 : Letter addressed to “Women of South Dakota,” Emma Smith DeVoe: 1892-1894 (Scrapbook C), Box 9]. He later relocated to Washington and was principal of the Parkland School [“Letter from W. Bailey to Emma DeVoe, 11/16/1910, page 1,” Correspondence, Authors by Surname: B, WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 5].

Rev. M. Barker (1829-1911) [Huron, Beadle County] secretary (staff) of SD Equal Suffrage Association 1889-1890.

Helen M. Barker (1834-1910) [Huron, Beadle County] legislative committee with WCTU Franchise Department 1887, president of Dakota Territory WCTU, presided at state suffrage convention in Huron October 1889, state lecturer and organizer of SD Equal Suffrage Association (ESA) 1889, executive committee of SD ESA 1890.

Minard, A Centennial Memorial History of Alleghany County, New York, 202.

L.F. (L. Frank) Baum (1856-1919) [Aberdeen, Brown County] was the first secretary of the Aberdeen Equal Suffrage club [Saturday News (Watertown SD), November 14, 1918].  As editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer starting in January 1890, he frequently published material supportive of the suffrage movement, often using his sharp wit and not always without critique of the suffragists themselves, and rebutted anti-suffrage editorials in other papers [The Mitchell Capital (SD), January 31, 1890; Early History of Brown County, usgwarchives.net, p.181, 186; Nancy Tystad Koupal, “On the Road to Oz: L. Frank Baum as Western Editor.” South Dakota History 30(1) (2000), 49-106; Koupal, “The Wonderful Wizard of the West: L. Frank Baum in South Dakota, 1888-91.” Great Plains Quarterly 9 (Fall 1989), 203-215].  “The group that Baum considered capable of revitalizing American politics was women, and he supported the cause of woman suffrage at every opportunity” [Koupal, “The Wonderful Wizard,” 208].  His mother-in-law was national suffrage leader Matilda Joslyn Gage.  She and Susan B. Anthony both stayed at the Baum house during the 1889-1890 campaign [Koupal, “The Wonderful Wizard,” 210].  See also “Family Parlor and Oz Room,” Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation.

May B. Billinghurst (1863-1946) [East Pierre, Hughes County] served on the state legislative committee and as secretary of northeast district for SD Universal Franchise League (UFL) in 1913-1914, contributed to the suffrage publication South Dakota Messenger in 1913-1914, served on the advisory committee of SD UFL in 1915-1917, and held various offices in the Hughes County suffrage association from 1916-1918.

Susie Bird (1863-1943) [Sturgis / Belle Fourche] was northwest district president for SD Universal Franchise League (UFL) 1914 and served on the advisory committee of SD UFL in 1915. 

LoElla H. Blank (1857-1926) [Wessington Springs, Jerauld County) was co-editor of the Wessington Springs Herald with her husband T. Linus Blank, and she promoted suffrage and “female entrepreneurship” in her editorial columns [Dunham, History of Jerauld County (1909), 189, 204, 223; About

LoElla H. Blank (1857-1926) [Wessington Springs, Jerauld County) was co-editor of the Wessington Springs Herald with her husband T. Linus Blank, and she promoted suffrage and “female entrepreneurship” in her editorial columns [Dunham, History of Jerauld County (1909), 189, 204, 223; About Wessington Springs Herald, Chronicling America-LOC; Wessington Springs Herald (SD), February 5, 1886; “Lo Ella Lamb Blank,” Find-a-Grave.com].  In 1885, she was elected superintendent of the Jerauld County Women’s Christian Temperance Union’s franchise department and was later the Media Township vice-president for the Jerauld County Equal Suffrage Association [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), August 21, 1885, December 18, 1885, March 18, 1887, December 7, 1888, and December 6, 1889]. In 1886, a discussion on effective methods for influencing the ballot on temperance was “opened by Mrs. L.H. Blank, who suggested the press, and efforts with those with whom we come in contact and the presence of the women and children at the polls and in the meantime do our utmost towards the speedy enfranchisement of our own sex” [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), May 28, 1886]. In June 1890, as vice-president of the Media Township E.S.A., she encouraged local women to vote in the upcoming school elections, concluding her call by writing: “Hoping to meet all the ladies of District No. 1 at Beech’s school house, I am, Yours for ‘Equality before the Law,’ Mrs. L.H. Blank, Vice-Pres. Media Township E.S.A.” [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), June 13, 1890]. In August 1890, she attended the Mitchell convention [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), August 29, 1890].

LoElla H. Lamb moved to Wessington Springs and married Thomas Linus Blank in 1885 [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), July 3, 1885]. In 1885-1886, she worked as a teacher at a nearby rural school [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), September 25, 1885, December 4, 1885, February 26, 1886]. She was active in the leadership of local and county W.C.T.U. organizations [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), April 2, 1886October 12, 1888]. The Blanks also had an interest in the Farmers Alliance [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), February 5, 1886, July 6, 1888]. Her husband also worked as a railroad and civic engineer and was often away on projects for extended periods of time, during which, she managed the Herald [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), May 28, 1886, October 21, 1887, April 11, 1890, July 25, 1890]. In 1891, the Blanks moved to Nebraska and then to Iowa, living in Des Moines and Grinnell [1900-1940 census via Ancestry.com; Mitchell Capital (SD), December 9, 1898; Evening Times-Republican (Marshalltown IA), September 6, 1910, April 10, 1914, July 25, 1914, September 3, 1915; “LoElla Lamb Blank,” Findagrave.com].

Selection of her “Woman’s Realm” columns in the Herald: April 16, 1886; April 23, 1886, September 17, 1886; October 1, 1886; December 10, 1886; February 11, 1887; March 11, 1887; May 31, 1889; February 21, 1890, May 23, 1890; August 1, 1890; August 29, 1890; September 5, 1890; September 12, 1890; September 19, 1890; and October 3, 1890.

Marietta M. Bones (1842-1901) [Webster, Day County] was the National Woman Suffrage Association’s vice-president for Dakota Territory, the primary advocate for suffrage at the 1883 statehood convention, and founded the first local suffrage association in the territory, but later turned against the movement.

Willard and Livermore, eds., A Woman of the Century… (Buffalo NY: CW Moulton, 1893), 104-105

Rose Bower (1876-1965) [Rapid City, Pennington County] was a suffrage lecturer, columnist, lobbyist, and musician 1907-1917 including a position as secretary SD Equal Suffrage Association (ESA) from 1907 to 1909, state superintendent of Franchise Department of Women’s Christian Temperance Union 1908, and was part of Ohio campaign in 1912 and New York State campaign with Carrie Chapman Catt in 1915.

Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914..

Etta A. Estey Boyce (1862-1920) [Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County] was a member of the legislative committee of the SD Universal Franchise League with Mamie Pyle and Mabel Rewman in 1915 and with Pyle, Rose Bower, Ruth Hipple, and Lydia Johnson in 1917 [Patricia O’Keefe Easton, “Woman Suffrage in South Dakota: The Final Decade, 1911-1920,” South Dakota History (1983), 215; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), January 4, 1917; Lemmon Herald (SD), January 17, 1917].  She also served with Pyle, Whiting, and Rewson as delegates to the national suffrage convention in D.C. in 1917 [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), November 29, 1917]. In late 1918, she spent time in New York, and upon her return to Sioux Falls reported to the county franchise league about NYC’s “Schools for Women Voters [Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), January 9, 1919]. She was a musician, taught harmony and vocal music, and was married to attorney Jesse W. Boyce [Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 5 (1915), 559-560].

Jane Rooker Breeden (1853-1955) [Pierre, Hughes County] auditor 1895, superintendent of literature, and press committee for SD Equal Suffrage Association (ESA) 1896-1900; auditor for SD ESA 1907-1909, legislative committee for SD ESA, president of Pierre Equal Suffrage Association, and secretary of the Hughes County Universal Franchise League 1916-1918.

Emma B. Byrne (1866-1965) [Faulkton, Faulk County] spoke at a Fort Pierre suffrage meeting in 1914 about women wanting the vote to make the world better [Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914, page 3]. In 1917, she was one of the women who put out a call for a meeting to organize a state board of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage in Sioux Falls [The Suffragist (National Women’s Party) (January 24, 1917), 8]. In the 1918, she worked on campaigning and fundraising for Faulk County, while also struggling with having four sons in military service and working in the local influenza hospital [Byrne to Pyle, November 1, 1918, RA11618, Pyle to Mrs Byrne, November 4, 1918, RA11662, and Byrne to Pyle, November 7, 1918, RA11722, Box 4, Correspondence, 1918, November 1-7, Pyle Papers USD; Saturday News (Watertown SD), October 4, 1917]. When the South Dakota League of Women Voters was organized, Byrne served as one of the eight department heads [The Woman Citizen 4 (August 23, 1919), 291].

Byrne also worked extensively for child welfare causes, including organizing and serving as the first vice-president of a state auxiliary to the National Mothers’ Congress om 1915 [Madison Daily Leader (SD), June 4, 1915; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), June 17, 1915; Mitchell Capital (SD), June 24, 1915]. Her husband was governor of South Dakota from 1913 to 1917. The family moved to Oregon in 1924.  Built in about 1898. the Byrne House at 1017 St. John Street in Faulkton, in which the family lived from 1901 to 1917, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 [“Governor Frank M. Byrne House,” NRHP nomination]. Also: “Emilie ‘Emma’ Beaver Byrne,” Findagrave.com.

Mitchell Capital (SD), August 5, 1915.

Mina E. Campbell (1862-1942) [Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County] was treasurer of the Minnehaha County Equal Suffrage Association in 1909; secretary of the expenditure committee for the state campaign in 1910, was involved with the Sioux Falls suffrage league in 1910-1914, was elected an alternate delegate to the NAWSA convention in 1910, was on the advisory board for the South Dakota Universal Franchise League from 1915 to 1917, and served as county campaign chair in 1918 [RD06574, correspondence 1909, and RD06882, correspondence 1914-1933, Breeden papers USD; Jones to Pyle, August 17, 1916, RD07467, correspondence 1910-1916, Pyle papers USD; Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review (Rapid City SD), April 29, 1910; Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), September 30, 1910, September 19, 1914; Saturday News (Watertown SD), August 1, 1912; Mitchell Capital (SD), August 1, 1912Forest City press (SD), November 24, 1915, December 20, 1916; Sisseton Weekly Standard (SD), October 6, 1916].  After suffrage passed, she remained involved with the League of Women Voters [Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), September 15, 1923]. Her husband was Lewis C. Campbell, her maiden name was Nicholson, and for a time she worked in her husband’s insurance office as cashier [1910 U.S. census for Sioux Falls; 1915 and 1916 Sioux Falls City Directories (Polk-Avery Directory Co.), 95, 100; “Margaret (Mina/ Myra) E. or L. Nicholson Campbell,” Find-a-Grave.com].

Dora Cassem (1867-1942) [Mitchell, Davison County] was active in the local suffrage movement from 1913 to 1918, and was also involved with the Methodist church Ladies Aid, the Federated Women’s Clubs, the Mitchell Political Economy club, and was very active with the local and district WCTU, serving as president of one or the other from 1908 to 1914.

Emmer M. Cook (1848-1925) [Huron, Beadle County] was involved with the South Dakota Universal Franchise League as early as 1912 and served as its treasurer from 1916 to 1918 [Mitchell Capital (SD), August 1, 1912; Dorinda Reed, The Woman Suffrage Movement in South Dakota, p119; Pyle Papers, Box 2, Correspondence, 1918, April 15-22, RD08744, Richardson Collection-USD].  Cook was also active in the Women’s Relief Corps in 1896-1900 and was an governor-appointee to the State Board of Investigations of the Penal and Charitable institutions from 1903 to 1912 [Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), June 12, 1896; July 13, 1900; November 6 and 13, 1903; Mitchell Capital (SD), October 26, 1900; March 24, 1910; Pierre weekly free press., March 26, 1908; Saturday News (Watertown SD)., March 28, 1912].

Simeon H. Cranmer (1853-1943) [Huron / Aberdeen] advocate for suffrage at the 1885 statehood convention and president of the Aberdeen Equal Suffrage Association in 1890.

Emma A. Cranmer (1858-1937) [Huron / Aberdeen] was a lecturer, lobbyist, and president for the state suffrage association in 1891-1909, president of SD Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1892-1895, and a national suffrage lecturer in 1898.

Willard and Livermore, ed., A Woman of the Century… (Moulton, 1893), 214.

Alice Lorraine Daly (1883-1945) [Madison, Lake County] was the chair of the Lake County suffrage association and member of finance/fundraising department of SD Universal Franchise League in 1918. 

Anemone (Madison State Normal School Yearbook), 1916, DSU Archives.

Emma Smith DeVoe (1848-1927) [Huron, Beadle County] was lecturer and organizer for the SD Equal Suffrage Association (ESA) and assistant state superintendent of the Franchise Department for SD Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1889-1890.  The DeVoe house was considered a headquarters for the 1889-1890 campaign.

emmasmithdevoe 1897
Willard and Livermore, American Women: Fifteen Hundred Biographies… (1897), 239. A scan of an actual photo version in Bryn Mawr Collections, ID bmcccatt03100205.

J.H. DeVoe (1846-1928) [Huron, Beadle County] served on the executive committee in 1889 and as superintendent of music in 1890 for the SD Equal Suffrage Association.  He was also founding president of the Beadle County ESA in 1890.

Mary A. Dilger (1865-1945) [Rapid City, Pennington County] served as recording secretary of the SD Universal Franchise League from 1912 to 1914 and the vice-president of the Rapid City franchise league in 1914 [Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), July 26, 1912; Saturday News (Watertown SD), August 1, 1912; Mitchell Capital (SD), August 1, 1912; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), July 10, 1913; RD04998, Constitution of the South Dakota Universal Franchise League, Pyle Papers USD; Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914, pg. 1 and 4].  Mary A. Chausse was born in Elk Point, D.T. in 1865, married merchant Charles Matthew Dilger in 1880, and ran a dressmaking parlor in Rapid City [The Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review (Rapid City SD), September 9, 1904; Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (1915), 183-184; “Mary A. Chausse Dilger” Find-a-grave.com].

Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914.

Alonzo J. Edgerton (1827-1896) [Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County] was considered one of the “important” men who supported suffrage in the movement’s early years [Ceclia M. Wittmayer, “The 1889-1890 Woman Suffrage Campaign: A Need to Organize,” South Dakota History (1982), 200].  In a 1904 history of the state, he was called “a pronounced advocate of woman suffrage and appointed a woman official stenographer of his judicial district, the best salaried office within his gift.” [“History of Woman Suffrage in South Dakota,” from Doane Robinson, History of South Dakota, vol. 1 (1904), 597-604].  Alonzo Jay Edgerton was a Civil War veteran who came from Minnesota, where he was politically prominent, to Dakota Territory in 1881 when he became the presidential appointee for chief justice of the Supreme Court of Dakota Territory [“Alonzo J. Edgerton,” Wikipedia; “Alonzo Jay Edgerton,” Find-a-grave.com; SD Historical Society Foundation, “The Man Who Would Have Been Senator” (November 2014)].  He also served as president of the constitutional convention in 1885 and was appointed a federal judge [“Alonzo J. Edgerton,” Wikipedia; Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 3 (1915), 924].

“Edgerton, said in his Fourth of July oration here: ‘How necessary it is for us to elect only good and honest men to office! To do this, woman likewise must act her part in the labor of arresting the advance of crime and corruption, although through timidity the politician is slow to invest her with the higher duties and obligations of American citizenship.'”
Hustad/Anthony, History of Woman Suffrage 3 (1886), 666.

Mary E. Elson (1847-1911) [Huron, Beadle County] was one of the group of who invited people to a meeting at the Baptist church in Huron to help plan the state’s first suffrage convention and signed the press call for the convention itself [“Page 06 : A Special Meeting,” “Page 06 : The Convention Called,” and Huron Times, February 28, 1890, Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10; Wessington Springs Herald (SD), March 14, 1890; Madison Daily Leader (SD), June 24, 1890; Kimball Graphic (SD), July 4, 1890]. In February 1890, she spoke at the celebration held in honor of Susan B. Anthony’s 70th birthday [Huron Daily Times (SD), February 17, 1890, “Page 26 : Susan B. Anthony Honored,” Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10]. She accompanied Emma DeVoe to speak on suffrage in Cavour in February 1890 [Daily Huronite (SD), February 6, 1890, “Page 65 : Entire Page,” Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10]. In March 1890, she was elected secretary of the Beadle County Equal Suffrage Association [Sturgis Advertiser (SD), March 13, 1890; Hot Springs Star (SD), March 14, 1890; Wessington Springs Herald (SD), March 14, 1890]. She wrote a suffrage column for the Huron Herald Democrat [“Page 27 : Among the Workers,” Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10]. In 1892, she was elected a member of the state executive committee in 1892 at the state convention in Huron [The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), January 1, 1892].  Mary Rathbun married J.E. Elson in 1864 [“Col Jerry E Elson,” Find-a-grave.com citing The Daily Huronite (SD), May 31, 1897].  Mary Elson was highly active in the Woman’s Relief Corps [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), January 26, 1911; “Mary E Elson,” Find-a-grave.com].

Rev. Elisha English (1851-1891) [Huron, Beadle County] signed the press call for a state suffrage meeting in Huron in 1889 and spoke at the county suffrage convention in 1890 [Page 06 : The Convention Called and Huron Times, February 28, 1890, Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10].  As “suffragist and brother-in-law” to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, English made brief remarks at the Beadle County Fair’s Woman’s Day in 1889 [Page 09 : South Dakota — Equal Suffrage Work, Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10].  He also gave public lectures on “Women and the Ballot” and “Woman in Politics” in Mitchell and Brookings [Mitchell Daily Republican (SD), January 11, 1890; The Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD), February 26, 1890].  Before the vote on suffrage in 1890, English moved to Greeley, Colorado, saying that he “wished that he might have voted for equal suffrage in this state: but rejoiced that he had been allowed to assist in gaining constitutional prohibition.” [The Daily Plainsman (Huron, SD), October 13, 1890].  English had come to the First Baptist Church in Huron from Grinnell, Iowa, in 1886.  From his position at the Baptist church, he also had a great influence on other early advocates like the Devoes and the Barkers who were church members [Wessington Springs Herald (SD), October 29, 1886; Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal, Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe (Seattle: The University of Washington Press, 2011), 16, 21].  English had married Florence Trumbull in 1883 [“Rev Elisha English,” Find-a-grave.com].

Lorena King Fairbank (1874-1979) [Huron / Sioux Falls] served as treasurer and on executive “committee of five” for the SD Votes for Women Campaign in 1909-1912.  In 1912, she was a member of the national committee.  In 1917, she was elected one of three vice-chairs of the state board of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage.

Hattie E. Fellows (1866-1956) [Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County] was chair of the state board of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage when it was organized in January 1917 and continued in the role through 1920 [The Suffragist (National Women’s Party) (January 24, 1917), 8; Suffragist 8(5) (June 1920), 108].  In October 1917, Fellows made the arrangements for national organizers Jane Pincus and Mabel Vernon to speak at the Quaker Tea Room and presided over the meeting [The Suffragist (National Women’s Party) 5(94) (November 10, 1917), 8; Argus Leader (Sioux Falls SD), November 1, 1917].  In 1920, she represented South Dakota at a women’s conference in Chicago to discuss the continuing work of getting the final states to ratify the federal suffrage amendment [Argus Leader (Sioux Falls SD), June 2, 1920].  Harriet Le Fever married druggist Allen R. Fellows in 1888 [Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 4 (1915), 827; “Harriet E. LeFever Fellows,” Find-a-grave.com; Jared Fellows, “Biography of Harriet E. Fellows, 1866-1956,” Biographical Database of Militant Suffragists, 1913–1920. Database assembled and introduction by Jill Zahniser].

Mrs. A.R. Fellows,” photograph by Edmonston (Washington D.C.), LOC, Location: National Woman’s Party Records, Group II, Container II:274, Folder: Individual Photographs Nos. 119-133 “F”, Cropped version of the photograph published in The Suffragist 8(5) (June 1920), 98.

Edith Medbery Fitch (1876-1938) [Hurley, Turner County] was vice-president of the SD Equal Suffrage Association in 1909 and publicity/press committee chair in 1910; southeast district organizer in 1911, and district auditor in 1912-1913 and district press chair in 1914 for SD Universal Franchise League.

Kate Uline Folger (c1852-1896) [Watertown, Codington County] was corresponding secretary of the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association from 1894 to her death in 1896 [Union County Courier (Elk Point SD), September 20, 1894; Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), September 21, 1894; The Independent (Hawarden, IA), September 14, 1894; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), September 6, 1895, July 31, 1896; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), September 19, 1895; Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), September 26, 1895; Rachel Foster Avery, ed., Proceedings of the 28th Annual Convention of the NAWSA (Philadelphia: Alfred J. Ferris, 1896), 158].  At the 1895 suffrage convention, she gave the secretary’s report, led a drill, and led devotions in the afternoon [Sioux City Journal (IA), September 6, 1895]. She was also secretary of the South Dakota W.C.T.U. in 1894 [Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), September 21, 1894]. In 1896, Folger passed away of heart disease in Watertown [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), July 30, 1896; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), July 31, 1896; et al.]. Later, Anna Simmons commented “In the death of our Corresponding Secretary we lost much that cannot be told in words” [Rachel Foster Avery, ed., Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association at Des Moines, Iowa, January 26-29, 1897 (Philadelphia: Alfred J. Ferris, 1897), 93].

Anna Simmons — “In the death of our Corresponding Secretary we lost much that cannot be told in words.”
Avery, ed., Proceedings of the 29th Annual Convention of NAWSA at Des Moines, Iowa, January 26-29, 1897 (Philadelphia: Alfred J. Ferris, 1897), 93.

Marie J. Gaston (1845-1902) [Deadwood, Lawrence County] was active in local suffrage activity and one of the active field organizers in the northern Black Hills during the 1890 suffrage campaign, and remained involved in 1896. Gaston was a “pioneer” of Deadwood and an active member in the community.  She was active with the W.C.T.U., the founder and first president of the Round Table Club (a woman’s literary club), treasurer of the local Board of Education, and the initiator and first librarian for the Deadwood Public Library.  She was also one of the four “lady managers” from South Dakota to organize the state’s exhibits at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893.

See also: Kaija Swisher, “Deadwood’s First LibrarianRapid City Journal / Black Hills Pioneer (May 25, 2018); and Tim Velder, Northern Hills Bureau, “Women keep the tradition of Round Table Club alive,” Rapid City Journal (August 23, 2004).

marie gaston II
J.C. Croly, The History of the Woman’s Club Movement in America (New York: Henry G. Allen & Co., 1898), 326.

May P. Ghrist (1867-1925) [Miller, Hand County] was lecturer and vice-president of the South Dakota Universal Franchise League and was president of the Hand County Equal Franchise League from 1915 to 1918.

Nana E. Gilbert (1867-1918) [Salem, McCook County] was supportive of suffrage in her newspaper in 1909 and became chair of the state press committee in the first half of 1910 before illness prevented her from continuing the work.  In 1918, she was again willing to serve on the county suffrage campaign committee, but she became ill again and passed away on October 31, 1918, only days before the suffrage vote carried in South Dakota.

NanaGilbert_1908
Mitchell Capital (SD), January 24, 1908.

Alice R. Bower Gossage (1861-1929) [Rapid City, Pennington County] served as a second vice-president of the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association in 1892, on the publicity committee of the Votes for Women Campaign in 1910, and instigated a 1914 special feature of the Rapid City Daily Journal about the suffrage campaign [Mitchell Capital (SD), December 9, 1892;RD06634, Votes for Women Campaign letterhead, May 1910, Jane Rooker Breeden correspondence, 1910-05, USD; Husted, History of Woman Suffrage, v.1 (1881), 559; Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914]. 

Alice Rhoda Bower was born in Wisconsin and moved with her family to Vermillion in 1870.  Her first job was working for the Vermillion Standard as a typesetter.  She also worked for the Dakota Republican and the Parker New Era.  Her family moved to Keystone in 1885 and formed the Bower Family Band.  Her sister Rose Bower was also active in the suffrage movement for years.  Alice Bower married Joseph B. Gossage in 1882 [“Dakota Images: Alice R. Gossage,” South Dakota History 4(4) (1974)].  They published the Rapid City Daily Journal, and, after her husband fell ill, Alice took over full management of the paper in 1890 and eventually became its main editor [Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), July 22, 1904; Black Hills Engineer 12(4) (November 1924), 257; “Dakota Images: Alice R. Gossage“; “Rhoda Alice ‘Od’ Bower Gossage,” Find-a-grave.com; Maurine Beasley, “Recent Directions for the Study of Women’s History in American Journalism,” Journalism Studies 2(2) (2001), 218].  For her contributions to the city, a monument was erected in her memory along Skyline Drive overlooking Rapid City [“Dakota Images: Alice R. Gossage“].  Gossage was an active supporter of the temperance movement, office holder, and edited the White Ribbon Journal [Black Hills Union (Rapid City, SD), August 30, 1895; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), September 12, 1895; Mitchell Capital (SD), September 30, 1898, September 19, 1902, September 17, 1914Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review (Rapid City SD), October 23, 1908; Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory vol. 3 (1915), 771].

See also: 
Nelson, Paula M., ed. Sunshine Always: The Courtship Letters of Alice Bower & Joseph Gossage of Dakota Territory. Pierre: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2006.
Robert F. Karolevitz. With a Shirt Tail Full of Type: The Story of Newspapering in South Dakota. South Dakota Press Assn., 1982. 
Historic image of the Rapid City Journal, SDSHS #2007-12-11-024.

Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914.

Rebecca B. Hager [Madison / Mitchell / Aberdeen / et al.] was active in the 1890 suffrage campaign as a firm supporter of the temperance movement [Mary Kay Jennings, “Lake County Woman Suffrage Campaign in 1890,” South Dakota History (1975), 392-398].  When the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw spoke in Madison to open the campaign, Hager made Shaw’s introduction [Madison Daily Leader (SD), April 21, 1890].  She served as secretary of the Lake County Equal Suffrage Association (E.S.A.) and vice-president of the Madison (city) E.S.A., striving to make arrangements for campaign speakers to give speeches in the county [Madison Daily Leader (SD), September 2, 1890; Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal,  Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe (Seattle: The University of Washington Press, 2011), 53].  She was an active participant in the 1890 state suffrage conventions in Huron and Mitchell [Page 44 : The Convention, Emma Smith DeVoe: 1880-1890 (Scrapbook D), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 10; Wessington Springs Herald (SD), September 12, 1890; Jennings, “Lake County Woman Suffrage,” 405-406].

IN HER OWN WORDS:  In a news article by editor F.L. Mease about women’s views on suffrage, Hager’s response was:
“It is surely just for women to have the right of franchise, as the injustice of ‘taxation without representation’ was settled in this country over a hundred years ago. I think it eminently proper for all loyal Americans to have the privilege of voting. Women as a class are more patriotic than men, and our nation needs more ballots from citizens who prize country above self.”
Quoted in Jennings, “Lake County Woman Suffrage,” 394.

As a temperance worker, Hager spoke on suffrage at W.C.T.U. events and served as state superintendent of their Franchise Department [Press and Daily Dakotaian (Yankton SD), January 27, 1887; Madison Daily Leader (SD), November 21, 1892; Jennings, “Lake County Woman Suffrage,” 398, 408].  She also held multiple other officers for the W.C.T.U. and was active with Chautauqua programs [For example: Wessington Springs Herald (SD), August 6, 1886; Madison Daily Leader (SD), June 18, 1898, May 29, 1899Mitchell Capital (SD), April 29, 1898, August 4, 1899, December 12, 1902; Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 3 (1915), 771772].

Rebecca Braucht had married Clarence E. Hager in 1877, and they came to Dakota Territory as missionaries for the Methodist Episcopal church in 1881.  They first went to Mitchell and later spent time in Yankton, Madison, Aberdeen, Vermillion, Rapid City, Spearfish, and Kennebec [Press and Daily Dakotaian (Yankton SD), October 26, 1887; Mitchell Capital (SD), October 29, 1897, November 15, 1917; Madison Daily Leader (SD), April 24, 1914Northwestern Christian Advocate 70 (June 21, 1922), 701; Pyle to Williamson, February 16, 1918, RD07862, correspondence 1918-02-09 to 1918-02-18, Pyle papers USD].  A house of theirs in Mitchell at 321 W Fourth Ave is a contributing resource within the Mitchell West Central Residential Historic District, established in 1999 [SD SHPO records DV003000049].

Nettie C. Hall (1841-1908) [Wessington Springs, Jerauld County] was an organizer and lecturer as superintendent of election work SD Equal Suffrage Association 1890, and lectured for suffrage in 1891 and 1893.

Sophia M. Harden (1846-1921) [Woonsocket / Huron] was vice-president of the SD Equal Suffrage Association (ESA) from 1890 to 1892.

W. Scott Morgan, History of the Wheel and Alliance and the Impending Revolution (St. Louis: C.B. Woodward Co., 1891), 341.

Margaret E. Hendricks [Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County] was second vice-president of the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association from 1909-1910 [Johnson to Breeden, October 13, 1909, RD06572, correspondence 1909, Breeden papers USD; Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), November 3, 1909, November 5, 1909; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), December 1, 1910].  She also served as secretary of the Minnehaha County Equal Suffrage Association [Johnson to Russell, November 1, 1909, RD06574, correspondence 1909, Breeden papers USD].  She supported the suffrage campaign also through her role as president of the Ladies’ History Club and an officer of the S.D. Federation of Women’s Clubs, and she was involved with the Ladies’ Aid of the First Methodist Episcopal Church [Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), May 11, 1907November 3, 1909; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), September 20, 1907; Saturday News (Watertown SD), October 28, 1910; Campbell to Breeden, RD06705, correspondence 1910-06, Breeden papers USD].  Hendricks was at the center of controversies amongst the leadership of the state suffrage association [Campbell to Breeden, RD06668, and Mrs. J.L. White to Breeden, May 26, 1910, RD06666, correspondence 1910-05; Campbell to Breeden, RD06705, correspondence 1910-06; Hendricks to Breeden, December 9, 1910, RD06840 to RD06849, correspondence 1910-11 to 1910-12, , Breeden papers USD].

IN HER OWN WORDS:
At a reception given by the Ladies’ History Club at the time of the 1909 state suffrage convention in Sioux Falls, Hendricks made the introductions for the suffrage speakers who were the guests of honor. In the introduction, “Mrs. Hendricks said that her understanding of the object and aim of women’s clubs was toward the betterment of humanity in general and of women in particular, and that, whether we were all agreed in every line of work undertaken with this object in view, we were bound to admire, acknowledge and respect, all earnest endeavor and ability of sister workers.”
Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), November 3, 1909.

Ruth Bowman Hipple (1873-1962) [Pierre, Hughes County] was editor of the South Dakota Messenger from 1912 to 1914, and served on the legislative committee and was the press department chair from 1916 to 1918 for the SD Universal Franchise League and into 1921 for the SD League of Women Voters.

Florence Jeffries (1854-1925) [Fort Pierre, Stanley County] superintendent of contest work 1897, corresponding secretary and national delegate 1906-1909, organizer 1910 for SD Equal Suffrage Association

Lydia B. Johnson (1875-1949) [Fort Pierre, Stanley County] president SD Equal Suffrage Association 1909-1910, lecturer and lobbyist 1912-1918

Philena Everett Johnson (1841-1911) [Highmore, Hyde County] lobbying 1889; president SD Equal Suffrage Association 1890-1891, vice-president SD Political Equality Association 1900-1901, state superintendent for franchise and legislation SD Women’s Christian Temperance Union 1905-1910, died in 1911 after contracting pneumonia while lobbying for suffrage at the state capitol

Perkins, History of Hyde County, 94.

Della Robinson King (c1868-1933) [Scotland, Bon Homme County] superintendent of literature, editor of suffrage publication the South Dakota Messenger and author of Thoughts of a Thoughtful Woman 1898.

Belle Pelton Leavitt (c.1874-1963) [Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County] was president of the Minnehaha County Franchise League and then the county League of Women Voters from 1915 to 1953, and was a member of the state L.W.V. board in 1919. She served as delegate to state suffrage meetings and conventions in 1915-1916, and delegate to national L.W.V. conventions in 1920, 1922, and 1923.

Rev. Henrietta C. Lyman (1852-1928) [Pierre, Hughes County] was a Congregational minister and for the suffrage movement was treasurer, lecturer, and lobbyist for the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association in 1895-1896, and returned to the state after moving to Wisconsin in 1910 to campaign again for a South Dakota amendment.

Alice M.A. Pickler (1848-1932) [Faulkton, Faulk County] lobbied state legislature 1887, 1889, 1907; delegate to national convention 1889 and 1891; state superintendent of franchise 1889 and 1916, and lecturer 1891 WCTU; executive committee 1890-1892, vice-president 1897-1898, president 1907-1909, campaign committee 1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association; vice-president 1912-1913 SD Universal Franchise League; circulation/Suffragist chair 1917 SD branch of National Woman’s Party

Ellis, History of Faulk County (1909), 273.

Wilhelmina M. Oleson, Deadwood, third vice-president and member of finance committee 1909-1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Rev. Nina D. Pettigrew, Spearfish/Belle Fourche, legislative committee 1909, president of West River district 1909, state campaign committee 1909-1910, SD Equal Suffrage Association, president of northwest campaign district 1913-1914, lecturer and member of state advisory board 1916-1918, SD Universal Franchise League

Morning Press (Santa Barbara CA), December 4, 1898

John A. Pickler, Faulkton, legislator introduced suffrage bill to territorial legislature 1885, delegate to national convention 1889 and 1891; campaigner 1891

Union County Courier (Elk Point SD), August 30, 1894.

Rev. Katherine W. Powell, Custer/Spearfish, campaign committee 1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association; southwest district president 1913-1914, advisory board 1915-1917, lecturer 1916 SD Universal Franchise League

Mamie Shields Pyle, Huron, president 1910-1912 SD Equal Suffrage Association; president, organizer and lobbyist 1912-1919 SD Universal Franchise League; president 1919-1922 SD League of Women Voters

Photograph of Mrs. John L. Pyle, Carrie Chapman Catt Papers, Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections, ID: bmcccatt03100203.

Luella A. Ramsey, Woonsocket, lobbyist 1905-1909, campaign committee 1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Austin, Woman: Maiden, Wife and Mother (Brantford Can.: The Woman Publishing Co., 1898), 71.

Samuel A. Ramsey, Woonsocket, first president of the SD Equal Suffrage Association 1889-1890

Dorothy M. Rehfeld, Aberdeen, state chair to national Committee on Uniform Laws Concerning Women, League of Women Voters, 1919-1920; delegate to 8th International Woman’s Suffrage Alliance, Geneva 1920

Albuquerque Morning Journal (NM), November 9, 1921.

Mable Fontron Rewman, Deadwood, legislative committee 1915-1917, lecturer 1916-1918, and state finance chair 1918 SD Universal Franchise League, state board 1919 SD League of Women Voters. Another photograph: “Mrs. Paul Rewman, S. Dakota,” Carrie Chapman Catt Papers, Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections, ID: bmcccatt03100204.

Seattle, January 30, 1910, “Page 129 : Equal Suffrage Worker Who Aids Local Fight,” Emma Smith DeVoe: 11/7/1909-2/27/1910 (Scrapbook H), WSL Manuscripts, MS 171, Box 14

Sarah A. Richards, Pukwana, treasurer 1889-1890 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Martha A. Scott, Sioux Falls, member of national executive committee 1909 and delegate to national convention 1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Minnie E. Sheldon, Sioux Falls, recording secretary 1895-1896 and headquarters secretary 1910-1911 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Anna R. Simmons, Huron/Mitchell/Faulkton, campaigner 1894-1895, president and lecturer 1895-1900, national lecturer 1900-1905; executive committee 1907 SD Equal Suffrage Association; lecturer 1912-1914 Franchise department SD Women’s Christian Temperance Union; membership chair 1917 SD Woman’s Party

Jennie M. Taylor, Sioux Falls, treasurer 1907-1909 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Cicely J. Tinsley, Sioux Falls / Deadwood, state campaign headquarters secretary 1909-1910

State Fair program (1910).

Jane E. Waldron, Fort Pierre, press chair 1907-1909, national delegate 1907-1910, finance committee 1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Union County Courier (Elk Point SD), July 06, 1905

Gertrude Walker, Bruce, auditor 1909-1917 SD Equal Suffrage Association/Universal Franchise League

M. Jennie Walton, Huron, corresponding secretary 1910-1913 SD Universal Franchise League

Alonzo Wardall, Huron, vice-president 1889-1890 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Elizabeth M. Wardall, Huron, lecturer 1889, superintendent of press work and secretary 1890, secretary-treasurer 1891-1892 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Myra P. Weller, Mitchell, state board of directors and congressional committee 1917 Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, state board 1919 SD League of Women Voters

Elinor H. Whiting, Pierre, national delegate and vice-president 1910 SD Equal Suffrage Association, recording secretary 1915-1918, national delegate 1917 SD Universal Franchise League, secretary 1919-1922, legislative committee 1924 SD League of Women Voters

Rev. Eliza Tupper Wilkes, Sioux Falls, activist and national delegate 1884-1887, vice-president for South Dakota 1890 NAWSA, lecturer 1897 SD Equal Suffrage Association

Willard and Livermore, American Women: Fifteen Hundred Biographies, vol. 2 (New York: Mast, Crowell & Kirkpatrick, 1897), 775.

Clare M. Williams, Brookings, recording secretary 1897-1898 SD Equal Suffrage Association

More to come!