Ninety-nine years ago in the first week of January, a hardy band of marchers under the direction of suffragist Rosalie Jones started out from from New York City on a march headed to Albany, NY to ask NYS Governor Martin Glynn to appoint poll watchers in the 1915 suffrage referendum. My grandparents Edna and Wilmer Kearns, plus their young daughter Serena, were part of the first contingent.

I’ve written about this before, and this is the time of the year to bring it up again because marching anywhere the first week of January doesn’t get me excited. In fact, it only reinforces my determination to curl up under a down quilt and read next to a nice open fire, even if it’s gas fired. This is exactly what I did today when I decided to catch up on some of the background associated with the 1:12 minute feature video I made for the web site, “Women Who Didn’t Want to Vote.”

I was fascinated with the prospect of my grandparents being part of a group appealing to the governor where Governor Glynn himself supported women’s suffrage, but his wife didn’t. The governor met with Rosalie Jones and a delegation of the marchers who made it during the long freezing ordeal on foot, but he was non committal about responding to their request.

I wanted to find out the real story, so I tracked down the only source of background information I could find, Governor Martin H. Glynn: Forgotten Hero by Dominick C. Lizzi, a former Town of Valatie historian. I had ordered it from the author last September and today finally got around to reading it.

It’s an extraordinary story that involves NYS, national, and international politics. The book refers to Governor Glynn’s support of votes for women and his progressive policies. Plus, there’s considerable discussion of his wife Mary Glynn and her popularity in the Albany social scene.

I stumbled on Mrs. Glynn’s name in a Women’s Anti-Suffrage Association pamphlet printed and distribured by the Third Judicial District of NYS in Albany, NY. where Mrs. Glynn’s listed as a vice president. Dominick C. Lizzi confirmed that –yes, indeed– it was Martin Glynn’s wife Mary. This fascinated me, and that’s how I came to spend the the day reading Lizzi’s book.

The details of story of the governor and his wife are too much to address here, and I’ll be finding out and sharing more, especially as a major book on the NYS anti-suffrage movement, No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement by Susan Goodier, becomes available in March 2013 from the University of Illinois Press.

Stay tuned! Watch the video and order the book. One has been reserved for me in March, Women’s History Month. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

2 Responses

  • Erika Winstanley

    It must be fascinating to be able to delve in to so much of your family history. I would be interested as to why the governor’s wife Mrs Glynn was opposed to the vote, particularly as her husband was in favour! You would expect she too would be in support if she knew she had the backing of the governor, and husband. I’m looking forward to you writing some more about your ancestors experiences and what they got up to.

  • Harriet Bonesteel

    You always surprise me with these posts.

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