I’d put my “I voted today” sticker on her headstone if I lived nearby

So last week I’m scrolling through Facebook minding my own business, watching videos

Susan B. Anthony Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Susan B. Anthony Photo Credit: Wikipedia

of babies and puppies and liking pics from old high school classmates when I come to a complete stop. Posted among the silly and senseless on Facebook was a photo of Susan B. Anthony’s headstone with several “I voted today” stickers on it and a small bouquet of flowers laying at the base.

It was incredibly moving. Tears came to my eyes. It’s very rare that anything on Facebook resonates with me to that extent but this – several women paying their respects on election day to this courageous woman who fought for women’s right to vote was extraordinary.

So I did a little research. I’m ashamed to say I only had a general idea when the suffrage movement occurred and was hazy on which amendment gave women the right to vote and when it passed. The 19th Amendment ratified on August 18, 1920 gave all women who were U.S. citizens the right to vote. In fact the movement started in the mid-1800s and most women who marched, wrote and lobbied for this cause didn’t live to see the passage of this amendment.

Next I took a look at my own family tree. How did the 19th amendment affect my female ancestors? On my maternal side I had a great grandmother, Sudie L. Barron Lowery, (my maternal grandfather’s mother) who was 46 years old in 1920 and my maternal grandmother, Gladys Marshall Lowery, who was 28 years old in 1920. Her mother had already passed by 1920 and my mom was born in 1919.

On my father’s side my paternal female ancestors found a great grandmother, Josephine Geullbert Frueh, (my paternal grandfather’s mother) who was 71 years old in 1920 and the other, Irene Waller Nantz, (my paternal grandmother’s mother) was 48 years old. My paternal grandmother, Flora A. Nantz Frueh was 32 years old in 1920. (I didn’t realize until this moment that my great grandmother was 16 years old when she gave birth to my grandmother. I will double check those dates.)

So what does that mean? My great grandmothers that were alive in 1920 were well into middle age even elderly by the time they got the right to vote. I wonder if it mattered to them? I wonder how they felt about finally being able to express their opinions through voting? Was it a wonderful reality or insignificant? In their view was voting best left to men anyway?

Both my grandmothers were young vital, women at 28 and 32 years old. Were they excited? Almost giddy at the prospect of finally being counted when it came time to elect officials, determine taxes and add laws to our state constitution? Women’s right to vote was a hotly contested topic their entire lifetime. How I wish I knew how they felt when they finally received the right to vote!

Susan B Anthony headstone Photo Credit:  Sarah Jane McPike

Susan B Anthony headstone Photo Credit: Sarah Jane McPike

My final thought here is that there is only one female generation that precedes me who has always been able to vote. Only my mother grew up knowing she could vote when she came of age. Just ONE generation before me!

I am astounded and deeply grateful for the women who came before and worked and lobbied and suffered untold disgrace and hardship to gain for me the right to vote. Thank you Susan B. Anthony and all the suffragettes. I would most certainly put my “I voted today” sticker on your headstone if I lived nearby but better yet maybe I should investigate who the women in my area were that championed women’s right to vote. Then by the time the next election rolls around I’ll be able to thank those who lived near me for such a valuable privilege. Maybe you’ll do the same.

More than just a name on a list . . . .

Joseph Pillars Co. D 180 OVI, Roster - 1908 GAR Roster Mart Armstrong Post No. 202

Joseph Pillars Co. D 180 OVI

Today as I continue transcribing the Roster for the Mart Armstrong GAR Post No. 202 I thought I’d add a photo. It sort of makes the list “real” people not just a bunch of names.

Joseph H. Pillars Co. D 180 OVI is buried in the military section of Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH. More than just a name, Joseph answered his president’s call for troops, after the war joined the GAR and later chose to be buried with his comrades. Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er [Read more…]

A Christmas Gift for your Civil War Veteran

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

You’ve been working hard researching your Civil War ancestor haven’t you? With all the information you’ve found you’re overwhelmed with his sacrifice. You track down where he is buried to pay your respects to your family hero and find he doesn’t have a headstone! No headstone! True story! It happened to me.

My g-g-grandfather George W. Lowery was a private with the 81st Pennsylvania. He fought bravely with his regiment from 19 July 1864 to 7 April 1865 where he was wounded at the Battle of Cumberland Church. Thankfully he survived his injuries, moved to Ohio, fathered three more children and is buried in a small country cemetery about 45 minutes from my home.

I was truly surprised to find [Read more…]

A Civil War Soldier’s story

E J Maguire

E J Maguire

If you caught yesterday’s post, you read about my success in finding the grave of a local Civil War veteran, Elisha J Maguire. I was really pleased when I found where he was buried but I couldn’t help wondering. Who was Elisha and what was his story?

With just a little research I found Elisha was born in Ohio, September 25, 1842. By 1860 his father ran a boarding house in Lima, Ohio and Elisha was lugging mail around.

Once the Civil War broke out, Elisha at 19 years old, was in the first wave of young men who responded to President Lincoln’s call for troops. He enlisted October 4, 1861 and soon joined Co. F 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

One of Elisha’s job during the war was as a Teamster. He drove a wagon hauling supplies, or maybe even cannons to the troops. He completed [Read more…]

A little cemetery work . . . .

Maguire Family Headstone

Maguire Family Headstone

I was doing a little cemetery work yesterday for the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Descendants Association. One of the goals of the group is to document the final resting place of all the men in the regiment. I volunteered to photograph any grave sites in Northwest Ohio the group didn’t have.

My first assignment was to look for Elisha/Elijah Maguire‘s grave site. He was buried at a cemetery just a few minutes from my home. This might be a futile search. It was thought he didn’t have a headstone.

I stopped at the cemetery office to check on “E” and found his name was Elisha J and that indeed –  he didn’t have a headstone. So I got the directions to his burial place fully intending to [Read more…]