Women's Equality Celebration in Downtown Frankfort, 21 August 2021

Randolph Hollingsworth (she/her) Blog Post

Join the Women's Suffrage Centennial Chorus on Saturday, August 21st in downtown Frankfort to celebrate voting rights for women.

Here's the schedule for the Women's Equality Celebration day in Frankfort - please share.

  • 9:00 AM - Frankfort Cemetery Tour of Suffragists - participate in a one hour guided tour of suffragists buried in the cemetery. Transportation provided via Frankfort Trolley. Registration required. Download the (.pdf) brochure of the cemetery tour - it includes a map of the gravesites where 25 Frankfort suffragists will be honored with a commemorative bronze plate.
  • 11:00 AM - Women's Equality March on Broadway - wear your Suffrage whites and march to celebrate women's rights. Meet in front of the Paul Sawyier Public Library and march to the Old Capitol grounds, passing historic Frankfort landmarks along the way.
  • 12 noon - Celebration on Old Capital Lawn - Hear from notable Kentucky women on the steps of the Old Capitol to celebrate and recognize the women's equality movement.
  • 12 - 6 PM - Downtown Frankfort Shopping & Dining - visit downtown Frankfort shops and restaurants for special meals and deals celebrating women's equality.
  • 12 - 6 PM - Women's Suffrage History Walk - Complete a 10 stop, self-guided history walking tour throughout downtown that gives a timeline of the women's suffrage movement.
  • 12 - 4 PM - Capital City Museum - visit Frankfort's own history museum. Admission is free.
  • 12 - 2 PM - Liberty Hall Open House - visit historic Liberty Hall for tours and narrated history throughout the afternoon. Admission is free.
  • 1 PM & 3 PM - Suffragist Showcase & Film at Library - view the library's showcase of African American suffragists from 1-3 PM, and a 50 minute documentary film beginning at 3 PM.
  • 1:30 PM - Kentucky Women Behaving Badly Tour - join the Kentucky History Center for a guided history tour focused on Kentucky's remarkable women. Tickets required.

Registration is required for some activities, so RSVP online to get regular updates and more information at https://www.kywscc.org/

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These Frankfort activists below will be honored with a bronze medallion at their gravesites in the Frankfort Cemetery, thanks to the leadership of Mary Ann Burch. At 9:00 AM on August 21, you can participate in a one hour guided tour. Transportation provided via Frankfort Trolley. Register at the Cemetery office, 215 E Main St, Frankfort, KY 40601. Download the (.pdf) brochure of the tour here.

Averill Family
When the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) president Laura Clay came to Frankfort to talk with the local branch in 1904, the meeting was held at 206 Washington Street, the residence of Dr. William Henry Averill (also the home of his eldest daughter Rebecca Gordon Averill and the families of his sons Thomas and Marvin who both worked for their father in his drugstore on Main Street). Rebecca G. Averill was listed in the KERA reports as the secretary for the Frankfort Equal Rights Association which was founded in 1902 with twelve members. By 1914 she became president of the Franklin ERA and in 1917 appointed KERA chairman of Church Work. Her sisters-in-law Mary Jacob Nash Averill and Stella Rose Van Arsdell Averill were also charter members of the Frankfort Equal Rights Association.

Eliza Eloise Brown Baily
Eliza Eloise Brown Baily (1845-1923) grew up at Liberty Hall in Frankfort. She married Joseph C. (J.C.) Baily, a United States Army surgeon, then upon his death returned to live at Liberty Hall. Eliza Brown Baily became a member of the Frankfort Equal Rights Association in 1904 then was elected president after the death of Hallie Herndon in January 1905.

Lena Benton
Lena Benton (1870-1965) was the corresponding secretary of the Franklin County Equal Rights Association in 1913. That year the group, led by president Rebecca Averill, was very active, including a luncheon at the Frankfort Hotel for English suffragist Ethel Snowden on April 30th which was attended by about 60 guests.

Margaret Robertson Duncan Bradley
Margaret Robertson Duncan Bradley (1846-1923) was a native of Garrard County and lived in Lancaster for most of her life where she served as the President of the Lancaster Equal Rights Association. She married William O. Bradley in 1867 and helped start his successful political career in the Republican Party. In 1895, when he won the governorship, she moved with her family to Frankfort where she served as First Lady. Her daughter Christine Bradley South later was elected President of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association.

Lizzie Hunt Chinn
Lizzie Hunt Chinn (1877-1921) was one of the organizers and speakers mentioned by Christine Bradley South in the 1915-1916 President's Report for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA). That year the KERA activity ramped up with a total of 83 counties visited and 186 speeches made by national activists, e.g., President Carrie Chapman Catt from the National American Woman Suffrage Association, as well as state and local advocates from Frankfort: Atlanta (Mrs. Arch) Pool, wife of the Frankfort State Journal editor, Rebecca Averill, and Lizzie Hunt Chinn. During the Boone Day celebrations with the Kentucky Historical Society in 1919, Lizzie Hunt Chinn was given the honor of unveiling the Stephen Foster bust while her aunt, Jennie Chinn Morton, read an original poem.

Emma Guy Cromwell
Emma Guy Cromwell (1865-1952) was born in Allen County, Kentucky and educated at the Masonic Home in Louisville (KY), the Howard Female College in Gallatin (TN) and later studied parliamentary law at the University of Michigan. In 1896 she became the first woman in the Commonwealth to hold a statewide office when the Kentucky Senate elected her state librarian. After her term was up, she ran for election to the Frankfort School Board on which she served for two terms; she also served on the state Parent Teachers Association. In 1924 she was elected secretary of state and became the first woman to act as a Kentucky governor when Governor W.J. Fields and the other successors to the governor's seat attended the 1924 Democratic National Convention. She also held the office of state treasurer, state park director, and state bond commissioner. She wrote Cromwell's Compendium of Parliamentary Law (1918), and her book Citizenship, A Manual for Voters (1920) was dedicated to the new voters of Kentucky: women. She published her autobiography, A Woman in Politics, in 1939 in which she describes suffragist Laura Clay as her "main tutor and adviser (65)."

Margaret Julian Wood Gaines
Margaret Julian Wood Gaines (1829-1919), widow of brewer William A. Gaines, was a powerful businesswoman in Frankfort. She continued to expand her holdings with several different distilleries, including The Hermitage and Old Crow. She was successful in her fight over ownership of the name, “Old Crow” which was decided in 1915 by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Gaines. She was a charter member of the Frankfort Equal Rights Association, founded in 1902 with twelve members.

Hallie Herndon
Hallie Herndon (1851-1905) was elected in 1903 to be the first official State Historian for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. Herndon also served as the President of the Frankfort Equal Rights Association. She was the founder of the Frankfort Civic Improvement Society, as well as an officer and member of the Kentucky Historical Society -- serving as a consultant in 1903 for the Gov. William Goebel Monument Committee upon invitation by Kentucky Senator McCreary.

Katherine Hale Waddle Morrow and Edwin Porch Morrow
Katherine Hale Waddle Morrow (1878-1957) served on the Republican Suffrage Plank committee for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1916, and she became president of the Pulaski Co. ERA in 1917. When her husband Edwin Porch Morrow (1877-1935) was elected governor of Kentucky in 1919, they moved to Frankfort. She is seen in the official photograph (archived at the Library of Congress) bending over her husband’s chair while he signed the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment only a few days after his inauguration in January 1920.

Adelle Gaines Murray and May Rogers Newman
Adelle Frances Gaines Murray (1873-1957) and Mary “May” Rogers Newman (1878-1923) were members of the Franklin County ERA. In 1915 along with Rose Edwards Sowers, they volunteered to help maintain a permanent suffrage display in the city center where passers-by would easily see literature and other materials dedicated to raising awareness about women’s rights.

Virginia Lee Hazelrigg O’Rear
Virginia “Jennie” Lee Hazelrigg O’Rear (1863-1944) served as chair of the KERA Republican Suffrage Plank Committee in 1916. On her committee was a glittering array of Kentucky First Ladies and the daughter of a governor: Katherine Waddle (Mrs. Edwin P.) Morrow, Mary Ekin (Mrs. Augustus E.) Willson, and Christine Bradley (Mrs. John Glover) South. She was the first wife of Edward Clay O'Rear, who had been the Chief Justice of Kentucky Court of Appeals, and they had six children together. Her youngest living child was eleven when Jennie O'Rear took on this important role of political leadership. The Republican National Convention met in Chicago June 7-10, 1916, and O'Rear was likely a participant in the NAWSA parade on the convention's first day. The delegates narrowly passed a suffrage plank - adding a clause that asserted the states should determine the fate of woman suffrage.

Lucy Phenton Pattie
Lucy Phenton Pattie (1842-1922) was a teacher in Franklin County. She ran unopposed in 1893 for superintendent of public instruction for Franklin County (the only applicant from the county to pass the examination to receive a certificate from the State Board of Examiners). She won in 1894, 1898, and again in 1904. Her win in 1894 was announced in newspapers across the nation as an indication of progress in women's rights. She is also famous for being the only woman member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity since she had, during the Civil War, safely kept the fraternity papers from the chapter at her home on a farm near the Kentucky Military Institute (later the Stewart Home School).

Elizabeth S. Pepper
Elizabeth Starling Pepper (1871 - 1942) was the corresponding secretary for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1915 and was likely the author of the report from the Franklin County Equal Rights Association that year. She was also active in the Peace Association of Franklin County - giving a speech at Fort Smith on "Constructive Peace." In September 1915, she attended the Women Voters Convention in Chicago, led by a group of activists that would eventually form the National Woman's Party. That year the Franklin County ERA reported a very active club of over two hundred members. They hosted a cotton ball fundraiser which garnered $100 for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association as well as for the war effort. Their garden party that year earned $10; and, they promoted the campaign for three women to run for the county school board - all Democrats, but the women still lost. Elizabeth Pepper, about whom local artist Robert Burns Wilson wrote in his romantic novel (Until the Day Break, 1900), never married. Her 1897 passport application described her as 5'5" with grey eyes and brown hair. She was the third eldest daughter of Elizabeth Prudence Starling - the second wife of Robert Perry Pepper. She lived most of her life in the family's two homes: the 22-room brick mansion at 415 West Main Street and in summertime they entertained guests at their Adirondack-style bungalow "The Cliffs" off the Wilkinson Highway on a bluff overlooking Frankfort (both houses no longer standing). In the 1920 census she is listed as the manager of their horse farm, The South Elkhorn Stock Farm. She moved out of the family home by 1940 (living by herself at 111 Watson Court) and died on 13 June 1942.

Margaret Russell and Mary Brown Russell Day
Mary Brown Russell Day (1846?-1939) and her older sister Margaret Russell (1844-1923) were charter members of the Frankfort Equal Rights Association, founded in 1902 with twelve members.

Christine Bradley South
Christine Duncan Bradley South (1879-1957) was the daughter of a Kentucky governor, William O. Bradley and Margaret Duncan Bradley. South was the president of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association from 1916-1919. In 1920, she was a Vice-President of KERA when her cousin (on her mother’s side), Governor Edwin P. Morrow, signed into law Kentucky’s ratification of the 19th Amendment in January. She was a delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1920, 1928, 1932; and, she was a member of Republican National Committee from Kentucky in 1937. Read more about her in the KWSP Biosketch on H-Kentucky here

Rose Edwards Sower
Rose Edwards Sower (1878-1930) was an active member of the Franklin County Equal Rights Association, and she held many different offices in the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. In 1915 she was appointed to a committee within the Franklin County Equal Rights Association to organize "a permanent suffrage window in the city, in which literature and other suffrage advertising matter would be displayed." This committee included Mary Rogers Newman and Adele Gaines Murray. She was also appointed chair of the statewide association's ways and means committee which was to work on revenue raising for organizers, literature, and speakers. Sower was appointed co-chair of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) Literature Committee with Amelia Weitzel of Frankfort -- a large task since the KERA president that year, Christine Duncan Bradley South, was determined to get the state legislature to act on raising statewide woman suffrage rights from just voting in school board elections to full voting rights for that year's presidential elections. Sower served also as the chair of the State Publicity Council on which she worked with Abbie Meguire Roach and Rebecca R. Judah of Louisville, and Annie S. Baird of Paducah. Sower was on the Franklin County ERA committee, together with Christine Bradley South and Elizabeth Flynn Poole, that put up the suffrage tent at the Franklin County Fair August 29 through September 1, 1916. They circulated literature, distributed streamers and sold supplies - and organized an automobile delegation during the fair's parade festooned with "Votes for Women" banners. That year she was also appointed the Kentucky member of the Publicity Committee for the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Anne Crutcher Vreeland
Anne Crutcher Vreeland (1878-1949) served on the Democratic Suffrage Plank Committee for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1916. She was married to Graham Vreeland who by 1908 had established the Frankfort News (and which in 1911 merged with the Kentucky Journal, and renamed the State Journal in 1912). In 1913, he commissioned the architect D.X. Murphy to build a Georgian mansion in Frankfort for Anne. She named it "Garden Hall" for its beautiful fountains, enclosed gardens, pergola and tea house. Vreeland was close friends with many suffragists, including Christine Bradley South with whom she traveled to Panama in 1911. In 1915 she was appointed to the Kentucky Federation of Women's Clubs press committee as a district chair - during the group's collaboration with the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) to petition local and state politicians for full woman suffrage rights. She was invited by Mrs. Richard Tasker Lowndes of Danville to serve on her state committee to support KERA in petitioning for the Democratic Suffrage Plank. When the 1916 Democratic National Convention was held in St. Louis, she might have attended in the "Golden Lane" protest with Laura Clay (see the image and list of names of the Kentucky protesters here), but the Franklin County representatives are not named. After her husband died in 1920, she worked for the State Journal.

Charlotte Smith Watson
Charlotte “Lottie” Elizabeth Smith Watson (1852-1925) was a founding member of the Frankfort Equal Rights Association in 1902, and she attended the 1904 meeting at the Averill's home where Laura Clay gave a presentation on the bills pending in the Kentucky General Assembly. She was the wife of Henry Howe Watson, a bank cashier for the Deposit Bank of Kentucky. She is often mentioned in the newspapers for her trips out of town to visit her children, including her daughters: Charlotte Elizabeth Watson Troutman (1892-1975) who lived in Panama (her husband DeForest Lloyd Trautman Sr., was stationed there in the Navy), and Jane Swigert Watson Clay (1884–1971) who was married to Frank, the son of Kentucky suffragist Mary Barr Clay, and lived in Richmond.

Amelia Katherine Weitzel
Amelia Katherine Weitzel (1871-1955) was a member of the Franklin County Equal Rights Association, and in 1916 she co-chaired (with Rose Sower) the Kentucky Equal Rights Association's literature committee. She grew up in Frankfort with six siblings; her parents Caroline Boland and Jerome Weitzel owned and operated the Capital Hotel until it burned down in 1917. During World War I, Amelia attended the first class of the National Service School for two weeks in Washington D.C., and then she was appointed assistant State Director for the Womens' Bureau of the Red Cross in Kentucky. After the war she moved to Washington D.C. where she lived with her older sister Carrie and younger brothers George (a lawyer), Nicholas (electrical engineer) and Robert (government research staff). She died at her home in Washington D.C. but she is buried in the Frankfort Cemetery.

For other activities happening on this day, see and RSVP at the website: https://www.kywscc.org/the-event.