Emily Chenault Runyon

Randolph Hollingsworth's picture

Project Name:
Kentucky Woman Suffrage

Name of Historic Site:
Lexington Cemetery

Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:
Burial site of Dr. Emily "Emma" Earle Chenault-Runyon (1857-1956)



Zip Code:
Street Address: 
833 W Main Street

Associated Organization:
Lexington Cemetery

Years of Importance:
Geographic Location: 
Your Affiliation: 
Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project

Additional Comments:

Dr. Emily "Emma" Earle Chenault-Runyon (14 December 1857 - 2 April 1956) was a founding member of the Fayette County Equal Rights Association. This suffrage club was formed on January 6, 1888, under the leadership of her mother, Henrietta B. Chenault (1835-1918) and Laura Clay. She was educated at the University of Michigan and married about 1888 Dr. Asa Runyon of Virginia. She began practicing there where she was considered a pioneer woman physician. In an interview published in the Richmond Times Dispatch (9 June 1940) she is quoted as saying: "It's a wonder I have any hands at all after banging on a stone wall to make a hole for women to creep through. (p. 6)" Her sister, Dr. Pearl Chenault Evans (later Thum then finally Drew) was also a founding member of the Fayette Co. ERA and is listed in the membership roster as residing at the E.K. [Eastern Kentucky Insane] Asylum. Probably due to the influence of the Chenault women, the leaders of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association throughout the 1880s and '90s regularly petitioned the General Assembly to make mandatory appointments of women physicians in the Insane Asylums of the state. Dr. Chenault-Runyon is buried in the Lexington Cemetery Section D, Lot 38 in a plot together with her husband.

Reference source of Information:
Richmond Times Dispatch (9 June 1940) p.6. Minutes of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, November 19th, 20th, and 21st, 1889, Court House, Lexington, Kentucky. With Reports and Constitution <https://exploreuk.uky.edu/catalog/xt7v9s1km53j_1#page/5/mode/1up>