Laura Clay's Split from the Kentucky Equal Rights Association

KY Woman Suffrage

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Kentucky equal rights movement is the tension that led to Laura Clay’s break from the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) and the National Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). From the establishment of KERA in 1888, Clay had dedicated her life to the organization and fighting for women’s rights.

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A Simple Justice: Kentucky Women Fight for the Vote by Dr. Melanie Beals Goan

KY Woman Suffrage

            When considering the women’s suffrage movement, most Americans think of iconic national figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. However, the fight for the right to vote was by no means monolithic.

Laura Sutton Bruce (1853 – 1904), Lexington artist, suffragist and philanthropist

Laura Sutton Bruce was born on August 16, 1853, in Lexington, Kentucky. She was the third of seven daughters of Elizabeth T. Colesberry and William W. Bruce. Her father was a wealthy man whose fortune came from hemp and bagging manufacturing, having partnered for some years with the Lexington millionaire Benjamin F. Gratz. W.W.

Will of Laura Sutton Bruce, 21 October 1903

Laura Sutton Bruce, Last Will and Testament, Probate Place: Fayette, Kentucky; Written: October 21, 1903; Probate Date: June 27, 1904; County Court (Fayette County); Kentucky, Wills and Probate Records, 1774-1989.


Will of Laura S. Bruce

Melanie Beals Goan, The 'Argument of Numbers': Laura Clay and the Failure of the Kentucky Plan, Ohio Valley History 20 (Spring 2020): 9-29.

Author: Melanie Beals Goan 

Title: The 'Argument of Numbers': Laura Clay and the Failure of the Kentucky Plan

Publication: Ohio Valley History 20 (Spring 2020): 9-29.

N.B. This issue is available for a short time online, free and open via The Filson Historical Society website:

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