Carrie E.S. Twing


Born: December 8, 1844

Birthplace: Sherman, New York

Died: August 25, 1910

Place of Burial: Westfield Cemetery, Westfield, New York

Contribution: Writer, lecturer, suffragist, and Spiritualist leader



Carrie E. S Twing, also formally known as Caroline Edna Skinner, was born on December 8, 1844 in the small village of Sherman, New York. She had a brother, Spencer Skinner, and a sister named Rhonda Lyon.[1]

Carrie received a common school education. By the age of 17 she began to start teaching at the Westfield Academy in Westfield, New York. Shortly after, Carrie married Herbert S. Twing, a well-known vineyardist in the Westfield area.[2]

Carrie was part of the New York State Association of Spiritualists and the Patrons of Husbandry (Grange). Throughout her lifetime, she frequently spoke at the Chautauqua Institution’s Grange Day.[3] Carrie also became a teacher for the Cassadaga, New York Spiritualist Assembly. She was historian of the Cassadaga Lake Free Association, which changed its name to the City of Light in 1903, and once again in 1906 to the Lily Dale Assembly, which is still its name today. It is said Carrie practiced Spiritualism because Spiritualism recognizes the equality of the sexes.[4]

In 1894, Carrie spoke in favor of women’s suffrage at legislative hearings in Albany, New York, saying,

The women of the farm wish to be equal, nothing more. They wish to respect their husbands enough to feel they would not do foolish a thing as to marry their inferior.[5]

The state constitution was being reappraised in that year, and delegates to the constitutional convention were considering the possibility of rewording the constitution to allow women to vote. Although women in New York State did not win the vote until 1917, the 1894 suffrage campaign was an important stepping stone.[6] Carrie’s contribution was her special interest in empowering not only city women, but also rural farm women. [7] On November 2, 1899, the state suffrage association held its annual convention in the Academy Hall in Dunkirk, New York. Carrie was a guest speaker.[8]

Twing gravestone, Westfield, NY

On October 20, 1903, a convention convened in Washington D.C for the Spiritualist movement. During the convention, Carrie was announced one of the newest members of the board of trustees of the National Spiritualist Association, and had the opportunity to shake hands with the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.[9]

Carrie passed away in her home in Portland, New York, on August 25, 1910, after a three-week illness. Before she became ill, she had been in Boston doing a lecturing tour. She is buried in the Westfield Cemetery, lying next to her husband.[10]

Of all Carrie’s achievements, her work as a lecturer may have been the most important. She lectured on a variety of subjects. Her work as state lecturer for the New York State Grange included speaking engagements across the country. She was also an accomplished writer, best known for her Spiritualist writings. Her works include the poem Black Sheep and the novel Jim: The Touch of an Angel Mother, along with: “Lizbeth: A Tale of Two Worlds,” “Bowles’ Experience in Spirit Life,” “Contrasts,” “Interviews,” “Out of the Depths into the Light,” and “Haven’s Glimpses of Heaven.”[11]

Compiled by Savannah Ayres, 2017


Primary Sources to Explore

Twing’s speech to the Suffrage Committee of the New York State Constitutional Convention, June 7, 1894

Obituary of Carrie E.S. Twing, Westfield [NY] Republican, August 31, 1910

Twing’s poem Black Sheep, in the Library of Congress’s collection of 19th century song sheets



[1] “Inheritance Assessments; Several Large Estates Closed Up; Mrs. Carrie E.S. Twing Left Property Principally to Spiritualist Societies; Other Matters,” Westfield [NY] Republican, January 18, 1910, 7.

[2] “Carrie E.S. Twing; A Well Known Writer and Able Lecturer Died at Her Home Near Here on August 25th,” Westfield [NY] Republican, August 31, 1910, 8.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Women Helped to Put Chautauqua County on the Map in the 19th Century,” in Telling Our Stories: 1883 – 2000, ed. Virginia C. Richardson (Westfield, NY: Chautauqua County Historical Society, 2003).

[5] 1894. Constitutional-Amendment Campaign Year: Report of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association (Rochester: Charles Mann, 1895), 56,

[6] “NYS Suffrage Campaign 1893-1894,” Western New York Suffragists: Winning the Vote, accessed May 2017,

[7] 1894. Constitutional-Amendment Campaign Year: Report of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association, 56.

[8] Susan B. Anthony will Speak at State Suffrage Convention in Dunkirk,” Westfield [NY] Republican, October 25, 1899, 1.

[9] “The National Spiritualist Association; Our Honored Townswoman Mrs. C.E.S Twing Elected as One of the Trustees,” Westfield [NY] Republican, November 4, 1903, 4.  

[10] “Carrie E.S. Twing…,” Westfield [NY] Republican, August 31, 1910, 8.

[11] “Mrs. Twing’s New Book,” Westfield [NY] Republican, June 6, 1900, 4; Carrie E.S. Twing, Jim (1901).