Women's and Other Organizations

Preface Geology Pre-Historic White Men Settlements Medicine Man Indian Troubles Mulberry Scrap Raid of 1869 County Organization Roll of Honor Cities School History Women's and Other Organizations Newspapers Resources Stock Business Business Methods Too Late Errata Name Index

The Lincoln Suffrage Association is in some ways the most interesting of all the women's organizations in the county. It was organized in 1880, the first one in the State since the defeat of suffrage in the Legislature of 1876. Four years after- wards (1884) the State Association was organized, and Just seven years from the time that three Lincoln County women got their heads together and made up their minds they would vote, the women of Kansas had municipal suffrage. Mrs. Anna C. Wait was the first woman to vote in Lincoln. During the campaign when the amendment was voted on, Mrs. Wait and Miss Eva Corning of Topeka stumped the county in the interests of the amendment Their program was interesting and to the point, and gained a great many votes.

Equal to Mrs. Wait in ability and in works was Mrs. E. J. Biggs. For many years both with voice and pen she dealt sturdy blows for equal rights for women. She had the talent for making converts. She organized the Stanton Suffrage Society near the present site of Barnard, lectured throughout the county, and wrote much. She contributed to the Lincoln Beacon in the '80s, over the pen name of Nancy, and did much to silence opposition by her ready wit and keen sarcasm as well as her valid argument.

Mrs. Bertha H. Ellsworth, a writer of ability of both prose and verse, held aloft the banner of woman suffrage and prohibition during all those busy years of work and sacrifice for these twin reforms in Lincoln County.

In the early days of the Suffrage Association an amusing incident occurred between this organization and Geo. A. Anderson, the famous "horsewhipped," who favored whisky and opposed suffrage. He was at that time editor of the Register and after printing the call for a meeting of the women gave vent to his feelings in a scurrilous article entitled "Woman vs. Man," displaying his ignorance both in thought and composition. The ladies sent him a copy each of a standard English Spelling book and English Language Lessons, together with very appropriate resolutions.

The Same group of ladies were much amused upon one occasion by a lawyer trying to explain the constitution to them, and the law governing presidential elections. Many of these aspirants for political rights could have told him things about the law.

In 1884 a petition signed by 226 Lincoln County people was sent to the Legislature. Representative R. T. Bryant from Lincoln made a speech against allowing Mrs. Gougar to speak in the House. His motion to lay the question on the table was defeated 93 to 18. Eight members of the Lincoln Suffrage Society and Helen M. Gougar of the Ellsworth Society went to Topeka, and on June 26, 1884, organized the State Equal Suffrage Association. Two years later Kansas placed the municipal woman suffrage law among her statutes.

The Lincoln Beacon helped the good work along by devoting a full page each week to suffrage. Mrs. Wait organized associations all over the county. The Kansas W. C. T. U. joined hands with the suffrage society to aid in securing this law.

The W. C. T. U. in Lincoln was organized July 24, 1880, and is now, as it always has been, active and alert. From the start it assumed and has always maintained an aggressive attitude and the comparative freedom of Lincoln Center from the baneful liquor traffic is largely due to the efforts of the W. C. T. U. There has been but one licensed saloon in town and it only held its license a year. Sylvan Grove and Beverly also have active W. C. T. U. locals. There have been when especially needed other temperance organizations in the county.

The Radical Reform Christian Association, a temperance, purity, and equal rights association all in one, was organized in- 1883 by Mrs. A- G. Lord and held a two-day annual picnic each year for twenty-five years in Christiansen's Grove.

The influence of this organization and its founder upon the young people in the northwestern part of the county has been a matter of note for years. The R. R. C. A. attracted attention abroad.

Mrs. Lord was a tireless worker. She often preached four sermons a day, driving eighteen or twenty miles to do it. On one occasion she rode eighty miles to the Bunker Hill vicinity. She was the author of a petition to the State Legislature to amend the school laws, so as to forbid issuing a teacher's certificate to any one using profanity, intoxicating liquors, or tobacco. It was signed by five hundred teachers at their State- meeting.

Mrs. lord removed to Topeka to educate her son and while there did prison work, and was instrumental in getting the Crittenden home established in that city.

All the men's fraternal societies have large, active, and helpful woman's auxiliaries. The Woman's Relief Corps has a large membership and in its quiet "let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth" way does a, large amount of charitable work besides giving their brethren, the G. A. R., many .a lift.


The Soldiers' Union was organized June 28, 1879. The first officers were: R. S. Wilmarth, post commander, W. S. Wait having declined to serve; A. T. Biggs, post adjutant; John Medcraft, chaplain; J. D. Gilpin, surgeon; G. W. Cruson, quarter-master; company officers, J. P. Smith, captain; W. F. Limpus, first lieutenant; T. A. Wells, second lieutenant; sergeant, first, W. E. Marsh; second, E. Halcomb; third, Samuel Donley. This union was finally succeeded by the G. A. R.

Farmers' clubs of different sorts began very early in this county and by 1893 the county was a perfect network of them, each one a live wire. There was a central Farmers' Alliance with thirty-five thriving locals.

Back in the '80s there was a strong Prohibition Club, and in 1888, Rev. Geo. Tenney, Anna C. Wait, and W. S. Wait represented Lincoln County in the State Prohibition Convention.

The old settlers are organized for the purpose of preserving county history, and have an annual reunion and barbecue where they feast, smoke the peace pipe, and "swap yarns." Native born citizens or those who have lived in the county twenty years are eligible to membership.

Back Next