From Marguerite Kearns:

Welcome to Suffrage Wagon Cafe where I’m your host where we’ve been providing programming on equal rights history since 2015. Today is a special day in Virginia and the ongoing effort to pass an Equal Rights Amendment destined for the US Constitution.

Will the state of Virginia become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? The Virginia Senate Privileges and Elections committee will hold hearings today on the Equal Rights Amendment. Senator Vogel will chair the meeting. Virginia and the ERA will be represented on Thursday, January 10, 2019 by Yvonne Lewis, Jacob French, Liza Mickens, Stosh Kowalski, and Trish Wallace. The opposition will have ten minutes to present their case.

VIDEOS are a special feature at Suffrage Wagon Cafe. And many dishes are tested in our kitchens at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

We are going into our 10th year of publishing at Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Think of it. No wonder we are shifting to bringing you some of the highlights of the cafe and cooking school.

We love the video by award-winning singer and songwriter Eighty Bug that puts music to our love of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution 100 years ago.


The music video, the “Spirit of 1776,” has a companion video about the history of the suffrage wagon used by Edna Kearns and its role in votes for women grassroots organizing. It covers the weeks leading up to the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776” wagon on July 1, 1913.

The video featuring archival evidence of the wagon’s history showcases letters from A.F. Wilson, president of the I.S. Remson wagon company in Brooklyn to the New York State Woman Suffrage Association that had offices in Manhattan. Remson claimed to be New York’s largest wagon company specializing in fine carriages, business grocer and express wagons, blankets, robes, whips, boots, and horse furnishing goods.

Though the company had been in business since 1881, automobiles had already taken a chuck out of the wagon business. And I.S. Remson company was badly in need of some fresh advertising. So a letter to Harriet May Mills, president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association in Manhattan, from A.F. Wilson, the Remson president, tested the possibility. Would the suffragists like a horse-drawn wagon for campaign purposes? Mills said “yes,” and suggested that Edna Kearns of Rockville Center, New York use it in an upcoming organizing tour of Long Island by suffrage movement activists.
[vimeo 101855690 w=500 h=281]

Video about The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon in 1913.

The series of letters that followed between A.F. Wilson and Kearns dealt with details such as a horse, maintenance, storage and so on. In the early days the Remson company claimed that the wagon had been built in 1776 by a Revolutionary patriot; word to this effect were painted on the side of the wagon. Over the years those claims (still faintly seen) were removed, leaving only the wagon’s name, the “Spirit of 1776.” Although the American Revolution theme worked well for the suffragists, historians and scholars have determined that the wagon actually had been built around 1820. The suffrage movement activists inherited the wagon’s history and name from I.S. Remson who heard this legend from sources on Long Island.

Though the name came with the wagon, the suffrage movement also used the theme of the “Spirit of 1776” that dates back to the 1848 women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY: the unfinished American Revolution.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with email, Facebook and Twitter, your source for the 19th amendment and other stories. Pass on these videos to any and all interested in suffrage centennial celebrations. The column, “Marguerite’s Musings,” by Marguerite Kearns is a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, publishing online since 2009.

Suffrage Wagon Cooking School

4 Responses

  • Roberta Manly

    Sometimes I can’t follow the suffrage wagon and I visit the Suffrage Wagon Cafe instead. STAY WITH IT.

  • Jamie Tanner

    Love the photos.

  • Tammy Draper

    Love your videos. Thanks for programs at Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

  • Madeline S.

    I hadn’t realized that the suffrage wagon has been cruising along for almost 10 years now. Good work, and thanks for your persistence.

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