Timeline of South Dakota Suffrage, 1913-1914

Before 18891889-18901891-18961897-18981899-19081909-1910
1911-1912 — 1913-1914 — 1915-19161917-1918After 1918

Key Players

Anna R. Simmons
Alice M.A. Pickler
Mamie Shields Pyle
Minnie Walton
Ruth B. Hipple
Edith M. Fitch
Rev. Katherine Powell
May Billinghurst
Luella Ramsey
Rose Bower
Nina Pettigrew
Ethel C. Jacobsen
Ella S. Stewart (Chicago IL)
Marion Drake (Chicago IL)
Fola LaFollette (Wisconsin)
Rosalie Jones (New York)
Anna Howard Shaw
Antoinette Funk
Sena Hartzell Wallace (Kansas)
Jane Addams (Chicago IL)
Catherine Waugh McCullough (Chicago IL)
Minnie Bronson (Washington D.C.)


January: Advocates, including Anna Simmons and Alice Pickler, led lobbying for suffrage at the legislature [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), January 16, 1913; Dewey County Advocate (Timber Lake SD), January 17, 1913]. Sen. B.B. Bowell of Lake County introduced a suffrage bill amidst greater support than had been shown at the last legislature [Madison Daily Leader (SD), January 15, 1913]. It passed the Senate with “only two dissenting votes” by Wipf of Hutchinson Co. and Mather of Brown Co., and despite more opposition in the House, “after an hour and a half of warm debate, the house by a vote of 70 to 30 today passed the senate resolution for submitting the woman’s suffrage amendment to the voter at the election two years hence” [Madison Daily Leader (SD), January 20, 1913; Philip Weekly Review and Bad River News (SD), January 23, 1913; Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), January 24, 1913].

Bowell “is recognized as a force in the present state senate, and his action, in beating the equal suffragists to the point of introducing into the senate the coveted measure, has not only caused much comment, but has won for him generalship and praise that any man may feel proud to enjoy…”
Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), January 16, 1913.

“Legislative Doings / Suffragets Numerous / The suffraget workers on the ground are being augmented by local enthusiasts and the delegation is getting large enough to cause a manifest feeling of uneasiness among some of the legislative members who are somewhat posted as to the militant notions sometimes exhibited.”
Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), January 17, 1913; Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), January 17, 1913, et al.

“The dispatches say that Granger, of this county, took opportunity to oppose the amendment on the floor of the house and was run down by the suffrage committee, forced to surrender and submit to a lecture of one hour conducted by the worthy advocates of the measure.”
Philip Weekly Review and Bad River News (SD), January 23, 1913

July 1-2: The S.D. Universal Franchise League held their state meeting in Huron with arrangements by Mamie Pyle and Minnie Walton [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), June 19, 1913; Mitchell Capital (SD), July 10, 1913; Forest City Press (SD), July 11, 1913]. Ella S. Stewart of Chicago who had been president of the Illinois state association was the featured speaker after she gave a talk also to students at Huron College [Forest City Press (SD), July 11, 1913].

July: Papers reported a rumor that the Weekly Messenger had been purchased by C.B. Billinghurst for a suffrage newspaper [Mitchell Capital (SD), July 10, 1913].

September: The Universal Franchise League put out its first issue of the South Dakota Messenger for the 1913-1914 campaign. They boosted the first issue at the state fair and distributed later issues through the county franchise leagues [Mitchell Capital (SD), September 4, 1913; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), September 11, 1913, July 30, 1914]. It was “owned, controlled and edited by our organization… devoted to the Suffrage cause, and to the interests of the women of our State” [Forty-fifth annual report of the National American Woman Suffrage Association given at the Convention, held at Washington, D.C., November 29 to Dec. 5, inclusive, 1913 (New York, 1913), 87].

October: The German-American Alliance of South Dakota adopted resolutions against prohibition and suffrage at their annual convention in Aberdeen [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), October 2, 1913; Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), October 10, 1913].

Planning for the suffrage campaign was the keynote topic of the state W.C.T.U. convention held for four days in Watertown [Madison Daily Leader (SD), October 4, 1913]. They were ‘cheered’ by news that the Methodist state conference meeting at the same time in Redfield had passed a suffrage endorsement [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), October 9, 1913].


January: The South Dakota Liquor Dealers’ Association met in Deadwood. “It is believed that secret and drastic action looking to the defeat of woman suffrage in South Dakota will be taken.  Active co-operation will be given by the national liquor dealers organization along this line” [Mitchell Capital (SD), January 22, 1914].

March/April: The South Dakota WCTU state organization kicked off their suffrage campaign efforts, which was reflected in the program and resolutions of the district WCTU conventions in Sisseton and Gettysburg [Madison Daily Leader (SD), March 19, 1914, April 9, 1914; Sisseton Weekly Standard (SD), April 10, 1914]. Anna Simmons, WCTU president, made a special appeal to churches and ministers to support the campaign, including financially, reportedly writing to them: “We have helped you mentally, morally, spiritually and financially. Now we are coming to you for help.” They reported receiving “encouraging reports” that more pastors were preaching in support of suffrage using literature provided by the W.C.T.U. [Mobridge News (SD), March 25, 1914; The Citizen-Republican (Scotland SD), March 26, 1914]. The suffrage amendment, being championed by the SDUFL and the SD WCTU, boasted endorsements from Methodist, Free Methodist, and United Brethren churches, the Federation of Women’s Clubs, the SD Educator’s Association, the State Grange, and the state’s U.S. senators and congressmen. The state WCTU had regular coverage in the White Ribbon Journal and had their headquarters in Faulkton. “These [UFL and WCTU] secretaries work in harmony, each in its own particular sphere and do not overlap” [Hope Pioneer (ND), April 30, 1914].

April/May: The first S.D.U.F.L. suffrage campaigns for the year open with organizational meetings and rallies in Deadwood, Miller, and Aberdeen [Madison Daily Leader (SD), April 28, 1914, May 6, 1914; Dakota Farmers’ Leader (SD), May 22, 1914].

May: A committee of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association was looking into “the position which the Indian voters of South Dakota will take with regard to granting the right of suffrage to women.” American Indian men were able to vote if they took their land allotment in severalty, and national suffragists, based on their own conceptions of gender roles in tribal cultures, were concerned that they might vote against equal suffrage [Madison Daily Leader (SD), May 13, 1914].

June: The state U.F.L. campaign organized county leagues in Aberdeen, Yankton, Deadwood, Mitchell, Brookings, DeSmet, Clark, Watertown, and Redfield [Lemmon Herald (SD), June 5, 1914].

June 27: WCTU Day at the Lake Madison Chautauqua featured speaker Marion Drake of Chicago and a parade was arranged to bring her from the Chautauqua hotel to the auditorium. Drake was an attorney who had recently run a campaign (unsuccessful) for city alderman against “Bath house” John Coughlin, one of Chicago’s ward bosses. The day also featured talks by Anna Simmons, Luella Ramsey, Alice Pickler, and WCTU district presidents Mrs. E.C. Lundquist of Sioux Falls, Carrie Allbee of Mellette, and Flora Mitchell of Brookings on the outlook for suffrage in their districts [Madison Daily Leader (SD), June 17, 1914, June 25, 1914, June 26, 1914]. In the first part of August, Drake also spoke at Parker, Sisseton, at the Congregational church in Milbank, and from the bandstand on the grounds of the Codington County Courthouse in Watertown. At Watertown, Drake spoke on suffrage movement so far, the ways in which women are superior such as their expertise on regulations regarding children and women, on working women, on suffrage internationally, and on her election campaign in Chicago [Madison Daily Leader (SD), August 22, 1914; Saturday News (Watertown SD), August 20, 1914, August 27, 1914; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), August 21, 1914, August 28, 1914; Sisseton Weekly Standard (SD), August 28, 1914].

July: A parade of sixteen horsemen and fifty-three automobiles of suffragists went in procession through decorated streets in downtown Huron to bring Wisconsin activist Fola LaFollette to speak at the Chautauqua auditorium, as had been done for her in Waterloo IA. Organizers used “the suffrage color—yellow, and red, white and blue, together with placards and pennants, being used on the cars” Equestrians dressed in yellow led the parade, followed by fifty-three automobiles. LaFollette rode with Mamie Pyle, Alva E. Taylor, and Grace Richards in Richards’ car. Other participating groups included the GAR/WRC, the SDEA, the State Grange, and the Federation of Women’s Clubs [Sisseton Weekly Standard (SD), July 17, 1914; Huron Daily Huronite (SD), July 3, 1914; Forest City Press (SD), July 15, 1914; Madison Daily Leader (SD), July 14, 1914; The Citizen-Republican (Scotland SD), July 16, 1914]. LaFollette had also spoken at the Chautauqua events in Canton on “The Democracy of Woman Suffrage” that June [Dakota Farmers’ Leader (SD), June 19, 1914, June 26, 1914].

Dakota Farmers’ Leader (SD), June 19, 1914

August 6-11: On invitation from and arrangements by Alice Pickler, “General” Rosalie Jones–known for leading press-grabbing marches from New York to Washington D.C.–came through South Dakota, giving five open-air rally speeches on a soap box from the steps of the Davison County Courthouse in Mitchell, at Redfield, at Faulkton, from the bandshell of the Codington County Courthouse in Watertown, and at Sioux Falls. In Mitchell, “instead of a political harangue of abuse and a desire for sympathy, Miss Jones gave a succinct presentation of her reasons for asking for the ballot…. [Jones] declared that the giving of suffrage to women would not be the cause of a large number of foreign-born women and colored women rushing in to misuse the ballot.  She stated that the native-born and the educated women of America far outnumbered the others and the them the ballot would be a long-wanted right.” Afterwards, she sold photographs of herself and took a collection for the state campaign [Madison Daily Leader (SD), August 6, 1914; Mitchell Capital (SD), August 6, 1914, August 13, 1914, pg 3, pg 8; Saturday News (Watertown SD), August 6, 1914; The Herald-Advance (Milbank SD), August 14, 1914; Minneapolis Morning Tribune (MN), August 16, 1914].

“Smitten with Rosalie: South Dakota Editor’s Estimate of ‘Gen.’ Jones and Her Cause.” Blunt Advocate – “What a perversion of divinely endowed possibilities that instead of this she should feel called upon to expose herself to the rabble in a dry-goods-box-open-air-campaign in order to convince her sisters that they want something they don’t want.”
Madison Daily Leader (SD), August 25, 1914.

The limited anti-suffrage work during the 1914 campaign was led by Ethel C. Jacobsen of the Pierre Daily Dakotan [Madison Daily Leader (SD), August 25, 1914; Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), September 4, 1914]. Minnie Bronson of Washington DC, the general secretary of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, also came west to oversee their organization’s work in Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Nevada. She met with women in Pierre at Jacobsen’s house in late September and a state auxiliary was organized with Jacobsen as secretary and Mrs. C.M. Hollister as president. Bronson also spoke at the city auditorium in Sioux Falls to “a packed house” [Evening Star (DC), September 14, 1914; The River Press (Fort Benton MT), September 23, 1914; Madison Daily Leader (SD), September 22, 1914, September 29, 1914; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), October 1, 1914, October 8, 1914; Deutscher Herold (Sioux Falls SD), October 15, 1914]. Anti-suffrage organizations in New York and Massachusetts also mailed a lot of literature to South Dakota [Lemmon Herald (SD), September 18, 1914]. It was reported that the state Liquor Dealers’ Association put out more anti-suffrage advertising in the press [Sisseton Weekly Standard (SD), September 25, 1914]. On September 28th, the S.D. German-American Alliance met in Flandreau and adopted resolutions against both prohibition and suffrage [Madison Daily Leader (SD), September 28, 1914].

September: Anna Shaw and Antoinette Funk from NAWSA did campaign tours. Shaw spoke at the city hall auditorium in Mitchell, at courthouse square and at the Congregational church in Watertown, and at the theater/opera house in Aberdeen. In Watertown and Aberdeen, reports indicated that she spoke much about women in the labor force and the European war, and the importance of the ballot for the many women entering the workforce, and working in dangerous conditions, as occasioned by the war [Mitchell Capital (SD), September 3, 1914, September 10, 1914; Saturday News (Watertown SD), August 27, 1914, September 3, 1914, September 10, 1914; Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), September 17, 1914; Lemmon Herald (SD), September 8, 1914]. Funk spoke in Canton at the Lincoln County Courthouse, at Miller, and worked with Pyle at the state fair in Huron [Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), September 4, 1914, September 11, 1914; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), September 24, 1914].

The state WCTU convention, held at the city hall auditorium in Mitchell, included addresses by Pickler and Simmons, reports on suffrage campaign progress from district presidents, and closed with the songs “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “We’re Out for Equal Suffrage.” The headquarters in Faulkton reported spending $1,500 on literature, letters, lectures, and other forms of propaganda. Ruby Jackson of Ipswich also organized a “Votes for Women” parade on Saturday evening during the convention [Mitchell Capital (SD), September 17, 1914, pg 2, pg 6]. Before the election, Simmons and the SD WCTU encouraged Methodist ministers at their state conference in Wessington Springs “to be at the polls in November to see that the liquor interests gave the women fair play” and to set the first Sunday in November as “suffrage day in the church” [Forest City Press (SD), October 14, 1914]. Simmons and Sena Hartzell Wallace of Kansas gave suffrage talks in the southeastern counties in late October [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), October 29, 1914; The Citizen-Republican (Scotland SD), October 29, 1914].

“There seems to be no good reason why women should not be fully enfranchised as as men and why they are not as truly American citizens as men.  They are as truly loyal to all legitimate interests, stand as high in education and intelligence as men and they need the ballot for their own protection…. At least women should receive as much consideration as do male voters in our population, some of whom are foreign born, some criminals, some negroes.  America need not be ashamed of her women or fear to give her the ballot for as a class they are worthy of being treated fairly and trusted with the full power of citizenship.”
Attributed to Anna Simmons from her talk in Scotland SD, The Citizen-Republican (Scotland SD), October 29, 1914.

At the 1914 stair fair in Huron, “Hundreds of large yellow pennants were displayed everywhere, and hundred of men wore smaller ones, or buttons bearing the legend ‘Votes for Women.’ On the east porch of the woman’s building the women kept open office each day, and half a dozen or more were always busy registering names of voters, answering objections to their proposition and enlightening all who desired information…. Each day from three to half a dozen addresses were delivered by well posted and earnest women.”  Antoniette Funk spoke three-to-four times daily “to large audiences.”  Funk and two others talked to the S.D. Pioneer Association and the S.D. Homecoming Association, “the largest gathering held on the grounds during the fair, with the result that a resolution endorsing equal franchise was adopted unanimously by rising vote.” The resolution had been offered by H.L. Loucks – Independent party candidate for U.S. Senate and seconded by Robert E Dowdell, the Progressive candidate for Senate.  Live stock exhibitors asked for large pennants for horses and cattle for “the million dollar parade of live stock on the track Friday afternoon” and were applauded when they passed the grandstands [Lemmon Herald (SD), October 2, 1914].

Antoinette Funk : “During my campaign in the Dakotas I spoke wherever possible out-of-doors, even though meetings were arranged for me in hall, court houses and churches.  I found that the small audiences that would assemble in these places were made up of women and men already interested and that the uninstructed voter would only listen when you caught him on the street.  I spent the week of the state fair at Huron with Mrs. Pyle and witnessed a wonderful demonstration of activity.  As high as 50,000 people a day were in attendance.  The grounds were covered with yellow banners.  Every prize-winning animal, every racing sulky, automobile and motor cycle carried our pennants.  Twenty thousand yellow badges were given away in one day.  The squaws from the reservation did their native dances waving suffrage banners.  And the snake charmer on the midway carried a Votes For Women pennant while an enormous serpent coiled around her body.  I spoke during the fair four and five times a day and held streets meetings down town in the evening.  When not thus engaged I assisted Mrs. Pyle and her committee in distributing thousands of pieces of literature and was amazed at the eagerness of the people to receive the same.  Mrs. Pyle and myself investigated the fair grounds to see how much was thrown away and found almost none.”
The Handbook of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and proceedings of the Forty-sixth Annual Convention, held at Nashville, Tennessee, November 12-17, inclusive, 1914 (New York, 1914), 120-121.

September-October: House-to-house canvasses and petition drives were undertaken in Ipswich, Aberdeen, Hand County, and southern Black Hills counties [Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), September 17, 1914; Mobridge News (SD), September 18, 1914; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), October 8, 1914; The Citizen-Republican (Scotland SD), October 29, 1914; Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914].

October 14-15:  Jane Addams arrived by train in Whitewood and was brought by reception committee to Deadwood to speak at the Deadwood theater, “under the auspices” of Martha Bullock, president of the Deadwood Franchise League. Addams spoke on changes in ‘woman’s sphere’ and “the positive changes in Chicago since women got the vote.” Her speech was the day before the state meeting of the South Dakota Federation of Women’s Clubs and attendees were encouraged to come a day early to hear her. “The audience contained men and women in all walks of life and from practically every town in the Black Hills.” A delegation from Lead went to Deadwood and brought her back with them by automobile to speak at the Homestake Recreation building the following morning. From Lead, she went on to Denver [Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (SD), October 2, 1914, October 11, 1914, October 14, 1914, October 15, 1914 (much about the content of her speech), October 16, 1914; Doughty, “The Suffrage Movement in Lawrence County,” 655].

“The committee requests that all the merchants of Deadwood decorate their stores and places of business In honor of the meeting of the Federation of Woman’s clubs and in honor of Jane Addams who is to speak at the Deadwood theatre next Wednesday night. The colors of the federation are green and yellow, green for the pines of the Black Hills, and gold for the golden grain of the eastern part of the state. Decorations will be easy and can be made very effective.”
Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (SD), October 8, 1914.

“Miss Jane Addams of Hull house, Chicago, one of the most noted women in America, will give a public lecture at the Deadwood theatre Wednesday evening, October 14. This lecture is free to all and men especially are cordially invited to be present.”
Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (SD), October 13, 1914.

“It has been suggested that women refrain from bringing small children with them when they attend the Jane Addams lecture at the Deadwood theatre this evening. It is hoped this request will not prevent any woman from attending, but that she may make arrangements for having the children cared for at home, while she is present in the theatre.”
Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (SD), October 14, 1914.

October 18: For a program on suffrage at a meeting of the Pelican Farmers club (a township near Watertown), Mrs. Klatt “lost no time in telling the good looking audience ‘What Equal Suffrage Would Mean To Farm Women'” [Saturday News (Watertown SD), October 22, 1914, page 7].

Catherine Waugh McCullough of Chicago came to South Dakota on an extensive West River suffrage campaign tour in 1914, going through Pierre; Lead in Lawrence County; Tilford, Black Hawk, and Rapid City in Pennington County; Belle Fourche, Nisland, and Fruitdale in Butte County; Piedmont and Sturgis in Meade County; and in Custer at a school flag raising and a mass rally at the opera house. She spoke about the history of the movement and the movement in Illinois. Part of her trip through Pennington County was an automobile tour with Rose Bower playing the cornet [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), October 15, 1914; Lemmon Herald (SD), November 6, 1914; Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (SD), October 21, 1914; Lead Daily Call (SD), October 17, 1914, October 20, 1914, October 21, 1914, and October 23, 1914; Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914; Jean McLeod Doughty, “The Suffrage Movement in Lawrence County,” in Some History of Lawrence County (Deadwood: Lawrence County Historical Society, 1981), 655].


In the southwest district, Rev. Katherine Powell reported holding rallies, canvassing counties, distributing literature by automobile, and posting placards near polling places. She visited towers “on all lines of railroads… and about twenty Leagues formed, some of them doing splendid work.” She worked with Nina Pettigrew, Mrs. Mosier, and Rose Bower. “Many ministers of many churches helped.” “On the whole in the Southwest district we have fought a good fight. We have left some things undone, but we have kept the faith and preached the truth.” [Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914].

“Miss Rose Bower’s cornet is doing splendid service in this campaign, is giving out the stirring message: ‘O listen to the band! Votes for women we demand.  Step up lively, listen here, This, hurrah, is woman’s year.'”
Sisseton Weekly Standard (SD), September 25, 1914.
In Gregory/Tripp Counties : “Her itinerary of ten days included a Methodist entertainment, a tent show, a picture show, two county fair crowds, a band concert, two opera house meetings, two schoolhouse gatherings, a woman’s club, a ladies’ aid, two automobile stands and a soap box.”
On her Perkins/Harding Counties tour, she met: “Miss Cole, the sheepherder, our hostess at Lodge Pole where on the fourth of July, on the top of Lodge Pole Butte at a picnic many miles from a shade tree, we spoke in a sunbonnet with a flock of two thousand sheep grazing around us.”
“Viewing the array of notables who graced the platform at Miss Addams’ Deadwood meeting we thought of some of the suffragists of these isolated districts, a stage driver, a cow puncher, a road house keeper, ‘The Lady Honyocker’ and the teacher who with her horse and a neighbor’s drove fifty miles that an organizer might be taken on her way. Miss Effie Johnson of Horse Butte.”
Woman’s West of the River Suffrage Number, Rapid City Daily Journal (SD), October 26, 1914.

Racism, zenophobia, and class prejudice in the suffrage movement was expressed in editorial cartoons as well, like this printed in the Hot Springs Weekly Star:

Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), October 30, 1914.

William Jennings Bryan, preacher delivered an interesting and powerful sermon at the auditorium of the Northern Normal and Industrial school on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 25, to an audience estimated at 1,500, every seat in the auditorium being filled, including chairs which had been placed on the stage, while as many people as the police would permit stood in the aisles…. He paid in an eloquent tribute to motherhood, dwelling upon the time given, the pain suffered, the sacrifices made, the tasks performed by women who were the mothers of the race, and incidentally mentioned his belief in women suffrage, drawing enthusiastic applause from portions of the audience….”
The Industrial-Normal Exponent [NSU, Aberdeen] (November 1914), 37.

In Mitchell, local businesses Vermilyea’s clothing store and Gillis Shoe Store advertised that a percentage of their October 28th “Suffrage Day” sales would go to the Mitchell Suffrage League [Mitchell Capital (SD), October 29, 1914, pg 4, pg 8].

The last issue of the Messenger was put out by Ruth Hipple the first week of November [Madison Daily Leader (SD), November 3, 1914; Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), November 5, 1914; et al.].

The amendment’s loss at the November election was attributed in press reports to German/German-Russian opposition, with the highest opposition in Hutchinson County [Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), November 12, 1914; Mitchell Capital (SD), November 12, 1914].

The Mitchell Franchise League reorganized as the Civic Study Club to “take up a course in political economy.” One of their first meetings was by Mrs. Martin G. Wider on eugenics and reform, including prohibition and suffrage, “toward protecting the integrity of the home and the extending of its influence” [Mitchell Capital (SD), November 12, 1914, November 26, 1914].

In December, suffragists planned legislative advocacy for the 1915 legislature [Madison Daily Leader (SD), December 15, 1914; Philip Weekly Review and Bad River News (Philip SD), December 17, 1914, December 31, 1914, et al.].

“The suffrage ladies are expected to continue on the job and make the legislator’s life worth living by presents of cut flowers and candy as in past years.  These novel campaign methods have added color to the lobbies in the past.  It has not yet been announced whether or not a further submission of a suffrage amendment will be sought at this time.”
Saturday News (Watertown SD), December 31, 1914.

Before 18891889-18901891-18961897-18981899-19081909-1910
1911-1912 — 1913-1914 — 1915-19161917-1918After 1918