Selected Regional and State Milestones

July 19-20, 1848Seneca Falls Convention is held in Seneca Falls, NY; participants adopt the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments calling for women's right to vote, among other reforms
Dec. 26, 1854Susan B. Anthony presides over Chautauqua County Woman's Rights Convention at Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville; also accepts invitation to speak in Sherman, NY the following day
1860New York State lawmakers expand the rights of married women to obtain legal custody of their children in the event of separation or divorce, own and sell their own property, and control their own wages
1869New York State Woman Suffrage Association forms at a convention in Saratoga Springs, NY. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony also spearhead the formation of the National Woman Suffrage Association in this year.
December 1873Women in Fredonia, NY commence the first "crusade" of what became the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Following a lecture by Dio Lewis, they form a group to visit all the saloons in town and implore the proprietors to stop selling alcohol.
February 1880Women in New York State gain the right to vote in annual school elections and serve on local boards of education
1881The New York State Grange adopts a resolution in favor of women's suffrage at the urging of member Eliza C. Gifford of Busti, NY
July 24, 1885Lillie Devereux Blake, president of the state suffrage association, delivers an address in Jamestown, NY
1886Kate Stoneman, a native of Lakewood, NY, becomes the first woman admitted to practice law in New York State after passing the state bar examination the previous year and successfully lobbying legislators to change a law that had previously closed the bar to women
October 1887Ten women vote in municipal election in Alfred Center, NY, led by Lucy Barber who also cast a ballot in 1885. The women are indicted by an Allegany County grand jury with Barber being convicted and sentenced to one day in the county jail.
Nov. 8, 1887"Over a dozen" women attempt to vote at polling places in Fredonia and Laona, NY, emboldened by the legal writings of downstate suffragist Hamilton Wilcox
Nov. 12, 1887Thirteen Jamestown women form the First Political Equality Club of Jamestown following a talk given the previous night by Mary Seymour Howell of the state suffrage association. They select as their leaders: Mrs. D.H. [Louisa] Grandin, president; Mrs. N.R. [Kate S.] Thompson, secretary; and Mrs. C.W. [Anna B.] Schofield, treasurer.
1888Political equality clubs form in the Chautauqua County towns of Kennedy, Mayville, Frewsburg, Ellington, Fredonia, Sinclairville, South Stockton, Gerry, Westfield, Harmony, and Kiantone, NY
August 10, 1888Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton speak at Allen's Opera House in Jamestown, NY
Oct. 31, 1888The Chautauqua County Political Equality Club forms at a convention held in Allen's Opera House, Jamestown. Officers elected include: Mrs. Martha T. Henderson of Jamestown, president; Mrs. Anna C. Shaw of Kennedy, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Kate S. Thompson of Jamestown, recording secretary; Mrs. Lois B. Lott of Mayville, treasurer; and Executive Committee members Miss Jane Colburn of Fredonia, Mrs. L. McAllister of Sinclairville, and Mrs. Mary T. Hiller of Frewsburg.
1889Evaline R. Clarke publishes the first issue of "Equality," a suffrage periodical printed in Sinclairville, NY, with the assistance of Archie McLean. Also in this year, political equality clubs form in nine additional Chautauqua County towns. In Jamestown, NY, Kate S. Thompson and Martha T. Griswold become the first two women elected to the school board.
Oct. 31, 1889The Rev. Anna Howard Shaw addresses attendants of the Chautauqua County PEC convention being held in Fredonia, NY
1891Delegates to the national suffrage association's convention designate Chautauqua County, NY as the "banner county" in the nation for suffrage, based on the membership rolls of the Chautauqua County PEC. The county reportedly holds this distinction for "several years."
July 25, 1891The first annual "Political Equality Day" is held at Chautauqua Institution, under the sponsorship of the Chautauqua County PEC. Speakers include Susan B. Anthony, Zerelda G. Wallace, and Rev. Anna Howard Shaw. "Several thousand" reportedly attend.
Aug. 15, 1891The first annual "Woman's Day" celebration is held at the Cassadaga Lake Assembly in Lily Dale, NY. Susan B. Anthony relates of the festivities: "Fully 3,000 were assembled in that beautiful amphitheater decorated with the yellow and the red, white, and blue."
November 1891Martha T. Henderson of Jamestown is elected vice-president-at-large of the state suffrage association at the state convention in Auburn
1892Bill passes the New York State Legislature granting women the right to vote for county school commissioners (elected positions that no longer exist). This bill had originated in Dunkirk, NY through the efforts of the Dunkirk Political Equality Club. A state court of appeals later declares it unconstitutional.
1893Several women from across the state run for the position of county school commissioner in their respective districts. They include Martha R. Almy of Jamestown and Martha Van Rensselaer of Randolph, NY. Van Rensselaer wins and holds the position for several years.
1893-1894Suffrage leaders from across the state spearhead massive petition campaign in anticipation of 1894 convention to revise the New York State constitution. Despite the collection of over 600,000 signatures statewide, delegates to the convention vote against the measure. Martha R. Almy of Jamestown, then vice-president-at-large of the state suffrage association, leads continued lobbying efforts into 1895.
1894Elnora M. Babcock of Dunkirk, NY is appointed Superintendent of Press Work for the state suffrage association. Upon the "earnest request" of Susan B. Anthony, she also assumes this position for the national suffrage association in 1899, continuing in both roles until 1906.
1899The state suffrage association holds its annual convention in Dunkirk, NY
Summer 1915The "Torch of Liberty" makes its way across the state from east to west, to help build support for a statewide referendum on women's suffrage in November. Harriot Stanton Blatch, founder of the Women's Political Union and daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, speaks in Celoron, NY, after the torch's travels around Chautauqua Lake in July.
1917Edith M. Ainge of Jamestown goes to Washington, D.C. to participate in suffrage demonstrations being led by Alice Paul's National Woman's Party. Edith is arrested five times before the 19th Amendment is finally ratified in 1920. She goes on to serve as treasurer of the NWP and maintains a lifelong friendship with Paul.
August 18, 1920Tennessee becomes the 36th (and final required state) to ratify the 19th Amendment granting women across the country full suffrage. The amendment is certified on August 26.

Compiled by Traci I. Langworthy, 2017