Victoria Woodhull was shunned by women, in her time period, for being a free thinker. She was shunned for having views that weren’t proper for women at that time. Even though she was a suffrage and worked tirelessly to get us the right to vote, even speaking before the House of Representatives (House Judiciary Committee back then), and almost succeeding – she did not because of her views that differed from other women. While they shared the same suffrage values, they did not share her other values. They made sure SHE was not given credit for giving them the right to vote. Kind of stupid don’t you think? Most women’s arguments are like this: baseless, judgmental, hurtful, insecure and disrespectful. Today, you are expected to appreciate THEIR boundaries, but it doesn’t matter what yours are. Phyllis Chessler, has written an excellent book, that I share all the time. It is called “Women’s Inhumanity to Women.” So, What did Victoria do? How did she cope with constantly being shunned by her own peers. How do we handle in today’s modern society?
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Granville, Ohio for the first time. My childhood friends, Kelly and Nina were with me and wanted to go to the Avery-Downer House and Robbins Hunter Historical home. (Note: Museum link is not secure). I, of course was delighted to, not knowing about the connection to Victoria. This museum is next to the library and across the street from the Worthington Inn. We first determined to go to the writer’s store, Just Write (which also seems to be the gift shop for the home). Yes, this was an interesting journey. Just Write is run by a lovely lady, Stefanie Lauvray, who is a transplant from California, like myself. We had a great time catching up on favorite spots in Northern California. Before I got to the Just Write store though, I saw a placard outside the museum that said Victoria Woodhull. Now, this peaked my interest. I knew she was from Homer, Ohio, so what is this doing here?
Visiting the Cleveland Art Museum with my boyfriend, this past September, was a real treat. Not only was it, sadly, very empty but I also learned about a new Ohio woman. Since there were small numbers, we had the luxury of touring the museum like an after hours wealthy dignitary might do, such as a Louis Tiffany in his time. Without a crowd, we did not have to rush viewing the pieces, reading the descriptions and standing and gazing as long as we wished. My boyfriend was interested in viewing the Tiffany’s collection, that I had not noticed since it was behind us walking in. To my surprise, I quickly learned that there was a woman, from Tallmadge, Ohio, who was the actual designer and creator of Tiffany lamps and eventually the jewelry as well. I found a historical fiction book about her, in the museum store, called “Noon at Tiffany’s,” by Echo Heron. I set out to read about Clara Driscoll – the real Tiffany’s, upon my return.
Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Eliza Archard Connor, 1838-1912
By Cora B. Arney, Public History Consultant, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Women’s Rights Journalist
“Author, Traveler, Scholar.” These are the terms etched into a New Richmond, Ohio headstone to describe 19th century journalist, Eliza Archard Conner. Archard was born in 1838 in the abolitionist town of New Richmond, Ohio and died in 1912 in New York City. She was tough, highly opinionated, and a radical in her time. She seized any opportunity to prove herself as a prolific journalist, and to influence other women to live up to their full potential. These qualities were no doubt seeded by spending her formative years surrounded by people who resolutely stood up for equality. Conner’s educational background, brief teaching career, and passion as a journalist led her to develop her belief that women deserved the same opportunities as men.
Hello fellow readers. I wanted to make you aware of this meeting October 1-3 and let you know that if you sign up, you will hear Ohio Women’s History Project as one of the first presentations on October 1st from 9am – 10am.
The title of the presentation will be Transformed Women Who Brought Us to Where we are Today. There will be several other presentations and a guest speaker during these three days. I hope you will be able to attend and while it is virtual, you will be able to ask questions via Chat that I will be able to answer at the end. I look forward to seeing you!!
We’re honored to let you know that Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story has won 2nd place in the short documentary category of the International Indie Gathering! (http://www.theindiegathering.com/home.html) The film will also be screened at the upcoming festival. Details will be announced as soon as they are received, so check in often. We thank the festival committee for helping us share Emma’s story!
Hello fellow women’s history lovers. I just opened up a store on Etsy where you can buy these wonderful history t-shirts for yourself, your friends and family. The shop is under OhioWomensHistory or https://www.etsy.com/shop/OhioWomensHistory
This is my first time working with Etsy so I hope it will be a successful adventure. Thank you in advance for being a part of the Ohio Women’s History Project by following us here and/or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You box won’t be bombarded with emails so don’t worry about that!!
Also, Thursday, October 1st, 2020; 9 am to 10 am, I will be speaking about Ohio Women at the Ohio History Alliance Conference virtually. The title of my presentation will be “Transformative Women Who Brought Us to Where We Are Today” and the Session Description: Join the Ohio Women’s History Project to learn to learn about women who have transformed Ohio and the county. We will highlight women’s contributions beyond the vote while recognizing the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage. If you love history you might like to be a part of this amazing conference!
I have put off writing about Annie Oakley (born August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926 Leo/Artemis) for some time now because I wanted to feature other Ohio Women in History that most people did not know about. Annie was one of the first superstars or famous actresses of her time. I read about her in a short biography by Chuck Wills for DK Biographies, so that it is more of a children’s reader. I’d love to find something more about her life but it appears that this was not her priority until after retirement and writing just wasn’t in her. She was only able to pen a few pages. Also, being a celebrity, more fiction was written about her than non-fiction.
In fact, I grew up watching a couple of movies about her life but now I have learned they were so far from the truth. The movies are simply movies with her name added to it. In reality, Annie was a down to earth rural Ohio woman. She was an elegant woman with good homespun values. She was a Quaker and they did not believe in killing but understood that people out on a farm had to do such things to survive.
Her father died when she was five and a half years old and by this time had only taught her trapping of small animals. When she was about 7 or 8, she took his gun down from the fireplace and it would seem she began to teach herself with a .40 or .50 caliber rifle. She was never higher than 5′ tall and weighed 110 lbs. as an adult. These guns were much bigger than she was and yet she learned to maneuver them. Her mother did not enjoy the fact that her young daughter was out in a man’s world but soon began to realize the necessity of this. After all, Susan Moses, her mother, was left with seven mouths to feed. The following advice is what she would later tell her students.
You must have your mind, your nerve, and everything in harmony. Don’t look at your gun, simply follow [the target] with the end of it, as if the tip of the barrel was the point of your finger.
Unfortunately, Annie faced a second early tragedy as her mother would have to send her and a brother to an orphanage (a poor house from that time). She would immediately be shipped off to a home known as “The Wolves,” which was not the families name but what she called them. They treated her like a slave and beat her and even tossed her out in the snow one evening for punishment. She escaped this plight one day by the kindness of a stranger who paid her train fare. Annie would have to return to the orphanage where the family who ran it, took her in. There she learned embroidery and this would serve her well with her costumes. Her second talent to shooting was that of the needle.
Annie continued to hunt and shoot and was able to earn her keep by bringing in game for a general store – who also supplied her with the gun and ammunition. She shot in competitions as well. She met her husband in one of these competitions and his name was Frank Butler who had come to her home town now called Greenville. Frank and Annie fell in love and were married and began to tour together. They were a vaudeville act. Both had deep respect and appreciation for the other. Frank soon began to willingly take a back stage to his wife; knowing she was the better shooter. They would go on to join the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show (which took on several names over the years) and traveled around the world for several decades.
No matter where Annie went, she delighted the audiences of all ages and classes. She would go on to meet many members of royal families from various countries. She was a very good friend, in the US, to Chief Sitting Bull. Annie had such depth to her personality and it was her ability to assert herself and set boundaries with people that endeared her to them. Rather than wearing revealing costumes; she made her own signature line. She did not wear make-up. Annie was not a “modern woman” per se, and yet she was not living the typical woman’s lifestyle of that era. Oddly, she did not believe in women’s rights to vote, which was occurring during her lifetime. I think I can understand this though as this was a new way of thinking for women at that time. The average woman was not as carefree and independent thinking as she was. She felt that only “good” women should vote. I would assume this to mean intelligent women who knew what they were doing. Another risky choice that Annie made was to not shake Prince Edwards hand, first, when she met him. She shook the hand of his wife, Princess Alexandria instead. The reason for this is that the Prince was known for his philandering which Annie did not believe in. She felt more respect for the Princess. The way Annie handled this was by explaining that in America, ladies come first.
Interestingly, Annie would die of Anemia in 1926, in her 60’s. Frank died 18 days later and it was said that he stopped eating (but he was also very sickly then as well). I say interestingly because I hadn’t know people could die of Anemia. However, it is reported that her death may have been more related to lead poisoning from all the buckshot and bullets she handled over the years shooting. She could also be remembered as a philanthropist throughout her life. She gave her money to women and children; who were as destitute as she once was.
Needless to say, I have been moved by her story and I began to feel a different level of respect by learning about her. Prior to writing about her, I have personally always been a pacifist and an anti-gun person. Not against the 2nd Amendment, but against my own personal handling of these weapons or using them. A friend of mine turned me onto these and I was fascinated with how quickly I became attached to using them on a range. Just yesterday, I went to a gun show here in Columbus for the first time in my life. I found myself amassed by gun enthusiasts and small time gun sellers. There were even some historical pieces that were on display and for sale, filled with the energy of times past. One particular rifle I saw was 200 years old and came complete with the initials and art work of the owners who once carried it. Like with Annie, I was moved to see this part of American life that for years I had assumed was something completely different (thanks to the negative stereotypes in documentaries). I think that it has been this new awakening that helped me to become more enthusiastic about reading her story. When I began to understand the woman behind the gun, I saw how she was able to keep her femininity and good ethics in tact.
The world of guns and gun ownership has been seriously injured by our society and horrible people (i.e., domestic and international terrorists) who have caused the country to be in an uproar. However, as I talk to responsible gun owners I learn more and more about their good values and the ethics necessary to have a concealed carry permit. It is interesting how serious these gun owners are to safety and responsibility.
Most people fear the level of power that comes with owning a gun. I think it is important to have this level of fear but to have knowledge and education to understand. As with all things, if you don’t have some humility toward a position of power, than you are lost as a person. We can’t depend on someone in power or with this power to have a level of humility. Therefore, we cannot control it either. I have always felt there are some guns that probably should not be considered legal though, I know that anything that is illegal can be purchased for a price nonetheless. As our society has become dangerously divided, similar to that of the Civil War and our nation is plagued with more and more domestic terrorists, the idea of being taught how to responsibly carry and use a gun makes a lot more sense.
Annie did not use her gun for harm but for sport and for the dining room table. She was once offered a position in the military, while travelling in Europe but declined the offer. Whatever the choice for using a gun, as long as it is with good and legitimate intentions and not intended to harm others (except in battle or for self-defense), we need to re-think the fear that we have about gun ownership and respect those who are a part of this lifestyle. This is a part of our country’s history and our culture.
Recently, I met with Sandra Jamison who is a member of Second Baptist Church and part (board member?) of the James Preston Poindexter Foundation. Second Baptist Church is the oldest Black Baptist Church in Columbus and Reverend Poindexter was a very outspoken and prominent leader for this parish and community. Ms. Jamison and I met at the Ohio Local History Alliance Conference last weekend and shared with me a list of these wonderful women who once attended her church. The list was created by another woman in her church and she handed me a copy of it. I am listing these women here and sharing photos and notes if I can find them. If you are aware of any information on these women, I invite you to contact me with more information. Also, don’t hesitate to post on my FB group Ohio Women in History.
Blanche M. Van Hook – She was a society columnist featuring black women as well as working for the city. She was also known for writing about the Lucy Depp Park neighborhood. She was born in approximately 1896 in Ohio and died here in 1970.
Helen Carter Moses – She was a composer, organist and teacher (Sandra said that she learned to play piano from her).
Daisy Hall Rice – Beautician
Helen Jenkins Davis- She was born in the 1880’s and lived until the 1980’s. She was one of the first black teachers in Columbus. She graduated from her teaching college in 1916 but it would not be until 1921 that she was able to find a position because of her race. In 1976, she was the first witness to be called in regard to a school segregation case that would eventually lead to the Supreme Court making a decision on this once again. She is mentioned in the book Beyond Busing: Reflections on Urban Segregation, the Courts and Equality. There is now a scholarship in her memory and a FB group.
Jessie Stephens Glover – Is the first black female to graduate from the Ohio State University in 1905 with a B.A. in Modern Languages. For awhile she lived in Florida and taught German and English at what is now Florida A&M University. She later moved to Virginia to teach at what is now Virginia State University before moving back to Ohio for marriage and to raise their two daughters. She became an activist and volunteered to be a probation officer for the Domestic Relations court. She was born in 1882, in Ohio, the daughter of former slaves and lived until 1966. Her biography is featured in Profiles of Ohio Women 1803-2003.
Edna Bryce – She was a club woman and entrepreneur who owned a flower shop.
Isabella Ridgway – Founder of an “old folks” home for blacks, in the early 1900’s. It is named after her and continues to this day. There is also a foundation in her name which began in 2016.
Constance Jean Nichols – Born in Marietta, Ohio and a graduate of the Ohio State University. She was a devoted activist, was one of the founders of the Vanguard League— an organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination against African Americans in Columbus. She was also responsible for helping to get the Ohio Theater integrated.
E. Carrie Coles – Was a member of the Housewives League.
Nell Moffett – Was once a Principal at Mt. Vernon Avenue Elementary School.
Cora Jordan White – Executive Secretary at the Blue Triangle Branch Y.W.C.A.
Anna Hughes – Administrator, Ohio Avenue Day Nursery
Belle Carter – She was a Pioneer Teacher, Social Worker, and a Probation Officer in the Court of Domestic Relations.
Mayme Artis – Piano Teacher
Anna B. Jones – She was born in about 1871 and became a Philanthropist and Community Activist
I want to be clear that this is just a sample of the names of women in Ohio History, it is not all of them. These are names that I could fit on a t-shirt and names of women I have begun to write about on this website, plus a few more. I made sure to get names of women that were “firsts” at something. I also tried to only get one name in different categories, and this is why all the first ladies from Ohio are not on here. If you haven’t bought your t-shirt yet, click on the link above and see the different items which are featured. Let’s educate others about Ohio Women’s History, ONE T-SHIRT AT A TIME!
Agnes May Driscoll – Coder/Mathmetician
Annie Oakley – Sharp shooter
Belle Sherwin – Activist
Berenice Abbott – Photographer
Bernice Pyke – First woman to be a delegate for the Democratic Nat’l Convention
Betsy Mix Cowles – Activist Abolition
Betty Zane – American Revolution Heroine
Charity Edna Earley – First AA woman to be an Army Officer
Dorothy Fuldheim – Journalist
Eliza Bryant – Humanitarian
Ella P. Stewart – First AA woman Pharmacist
Emma “Grandma” Gatewood – First woman to walk the Appalachian Trail
Erma Bombeck – Comedian
Evelyn Ryan – Prize winner of Defiance, Ohio (movie made about her life)
Florence Harding – First Lady
Florence Ellinwood Allen – First woman on the state Supreme Court
Florence Z. Melton – Shoe Manufacturer
Frances Jennings Casement – Suffragist
Frances Bolton – First woman to Congress/House of Rep.
Hallie Brown – Educator/Activist
Harriet Beecher Stowe – Writer
Henrietta Buckler Seiberling – Founder of AA/Oxford Group
Jane Scott – Journalist/Musicians
Jerrie Mock – First woman to fly solo around the world
Judith Resnik – Astronaut
Lillian Wald – Nurse
Lillian Gish – Silent film star
Lucy Stone – Suffragist
Lucy Webb Hayes – First Lady
Maude C. Waitt – One of the First women to the state Senate