Rev. Henrietta C. Lyman

Henrietta Lavinia Crane (1852-1928) was born in Rutland, Wisconsin [Lisa R. Lindell, “’We Are Laying Foundations’: South Dakota’s First Ordained Women Congregational Ministers,” Great Plains Quarterly 36(1) (Winter 2016), 46]. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1874 and married minister William Azro Lyman in June after graduation [Max Loeb, comp., General Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of the University of Wisconsin 1849-1907 (Appleton WI: The Post, 1907), 70; Lindell, “’We Are Laying Foundations,’” 46].

In 1894, she took a call to serve as pastor of the Congregational Church in Fort Pierre, and she passed her ordination there in January 1896 [Madison Daily Leader (SD), January 31, 1896; Mitchell Capital (SD), February 7, 1896; Loeb, comp., General Catalogue (1907), 70; Lindell, “’We Are Laying Foundations,’” 46].


In 1895, she was elected treasurer of the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association at the state convention in Pierre [Saint Paul Globe (MN), September 18, 1895; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), September 19, 1895; Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), September 26, 1895, et al.]. While serving as a state officer, she went out into the field as a lecturer for the campaign as well, speaking at churches in Carthage, Huron, and Pierre [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), November 28, 1895; December 19, 1895, pg4, pg.5; Rachel Foster Avery, ed., Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, held in Washington, D.C., January 23d to 28th, 1896 (Washington DC, 1896), 158].

In December 1896, she signed the call for another state convention and was one of its organizers [Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), December 4, 1896; Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, vol. 3 (1915), 790]. At the following legislature in the winter of 1897, Lyman, Emma Cranmer, and Carrie Dollard assisted the legislative committee of Jane Breeden and Anna Simmons with advocacy work at the capitol [The Woman’s Column 10(12) (March 20, 1897), 3].

“In all our states women are asking for the ballot, not because they expect to make the world perfect in a decade or any number of decades; but on the ground that they have opinions on questions of public interest, and that the ballot means having one’s opinions counted.”
[Quoted in Lindell, “’We Are Laying Foundations,’” 46].


Her husband William passed away in 1904, and she moved to Madison, Wisconsin to be near her son (the only child of five to survive to adulthood) [Lindell, “’We Are Laying Foundations,’” 46]. Reportedly, “when Mrs. Lyman’s son was graduated from college he took for the theme of his oration, ‘The Enfranchisement of Women'” [Cincinnati Commercial Tribune (OH), August 7, 1911]. In Wisconsin, she continued active work for women’s suffrage [Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI), March 30, 1911; Cincinnati Commercial Tribune (OH), August 7, 1911; Wisconsin State Journal (Madison), June 11, 1913].


In 1910, she came to South Dakota from Wisconsin to undertake a lecture tour in support of the suffrage amendment [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), July 21, 1910, September 15, 1910; Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review (Rapid City SD), September 16, 1910]. In Turner County, she met with groups in six townships, including Middleton, Norway, and Spring Valley townships to organize campaign “committees headed by men appointed to look after the work” [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), July 21, 1910, pg.5, August 4, 1910]. In Hurley, she spoke at the Presbyterian church and at the Davis M.E. Church [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), July 28, 1910]. She also visited Wakonda (Yankton County), Sioux Falls, Arnott (Hughes County), and the southern Black Hills [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), August 4, 1910; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), September 29, 1910; Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review (Rapid City SD), September 30, 1910; Sheldon to Breeden, Aug 1910, RD06760, and Lyman to Breeden, Aug 1910, RD06763, correspondence 1910-07 to 1910-08, Breeden papers USD]. In September 14, 1910, she joined Barton O. Aylesworth as key speakers for Women’s Day at the State Fair [Bad River News (Philip, SD), September 1, 1910; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), September 2, 1910; Madison Daily Leader (SD), September 2, 1910].


Lyman had moved to Milwaukee by 1914, and died in Chicago in May 1928 [John William Leonard, ed., Woman’s Who’s who of America: A Biographical Dictionary v.1 (New York: American Commonwealth Co., 1914), 506; Lindell, “’We Are Laying Foundations,’” 46].


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She is one of the primary subjects of a 1895-1914 scrapbook, WI Historical Society Archives: https://search.library.wisc.edu/catalog/999876596102121.