Suffrage Petition Signers

Woman Sufrage Petition Responses

In January 1877 legislation was introduced in the House and Senate in favor of a Constitutional amendment to “prohibit the several States from disfranchising United States citizens on account of Sex.”

The Ballot Box was instrumental in gathering signatures of supporters from across the country to keep up pressure on representatives back in Washington.

The Ballot Box printed this message in several issues:

The friends of Woman suffrage in both houses who intend to advocate this amendment in the new Congress, desire its friends to sustain them by mammoth petitions from every quarter. Circulate this petition thoroughly during the spring summer and autumn. When this sheet is filled, paste on more paper. Obtain the names of all who have signed similar petitions to the present Congress and as many others as possible. Head the petitions with such well-known names as you wish to have appear in the Congressional Record.

In February 1877 they published some of the petition responses:

MIDDLETON, Mass. — I send you a few names. If I had time, could get many more.


FLORENCE. Mass. — Enclosed are 151 names obtained in this village, the result of Miss Anthony’s lecture.


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — I send petition, hope not too late. I trust you will have a good Convention and secure the 16th amendment soon. Should delight to be with, you, but you won’t need me at the meeting.


BAXTER SPRINGS, Kansas — Mrs. Elsie Stewart, 84 years old, writes: The women here acknowledge the right to vote and have some little enthusiasm, but don’t know how to go to work. We need lecturers, organizers, to come and show us how to use our powers. Our houses are open and we have a District School-house which would be crowded with hearers. You have no idea what swarms of people will collect off these prairies when some new idea stirs them up. Come, sisters, when you can, and stay as long as you can. There are flowers sweet and beautiful, doomed to die unseen, which might, with your help, enrich the world with their fragrance.

GUILFORD CENTER, Vt. — I send the few enclosed names for the petition. Have been absent from home, returned last night, and to-day was going to give this vicinity a thorough canvass, but it is snowing fearfully. There has hardly been a day for a month when one could get around.


WESTFIELD, N. Y. — I received a copy of the petition, but only two of three days ago, and I have done what I could in that little time, and in the very severe and stormy weather we are having. My list, though short contains many of the best names in our town. With only time enough I could send you five, yes ten times the number. The only “hard case” I have found is that of the Post Mistress here, a Col’s widow, who has held the post office here for eight years, and draws a pension too, and yet would not make the slight return of signing her name for what she really owes to this cause. I hope such cases are rare.


SOUTH NEWBURY, Ohio. — Our little town numbers only 800 souls. The ladies of our W. S. Club have made a thorough canvass of parts of the town. Our roads are very bad, owing to the deep snows, and many of the cross-roads wholly impassable. I hope you will have an imposing array of names to present. Arguments of this kind are not with out impress for good.


BROOKLYN, E. D., N. Y. — Had I received the blank petition sooner I could have obtained very many more signatures. And I would regard it a favor to be allowed to assist in this work in any way possible and at any time.


COLD WATER, Mlch. — Will get more names if there is time. Let me know at once.


WYANDOTTE, Kansas. — I send this short list with regret—if I had another week and favorable weather, I know I might send you many more.


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — I have not been able to give personal attention to the petition and feel disappointed in the small number of names I send. If there is an extension of time, let me know immediately and I will do all I can to further the work.


LAKE CITY. Minn. — Enclosed are a few names. Did not receive notice until Jan. 10th, that gave but little time to work. If I had only had a month could have sent a list of signatures that would have been a credit to our town.

At our school election, last fall, about 40 women voted; all of the best class of society.

I suppose this effort will not result in succes; but another time, if I hear of it soon enough, i will make a greater effort.


WATSEKA, Ill. — By same mall I send you petitions, the one circulated by me has 270 names—the other by Clara W. Peters. 139. We are interested heart and soul in the movement, and our efforts here have made many friends for the cause. Have been an ardent worker since I was a child and well remember that grand hero of moral reforma Samuel J. May, of Syracuse. N. Y., at a Woman’s Temperance Convention held in Rochester in 1852, when I was 8 years old.


RICHLAND GROVE, Ill. — The names I send you I have obtained in this immediate vicinity. The weather having been very unfavorable for me to travel about. Hoping our work may accomplish great good and silence the opposers to our cause,

I am, &c. MARY E. HIGBEE.

CAIRO, Ill. — I enclose a few names for noble cause, and wish I had many more. The weather has been too bad for me to venture out. If I thought prayer would avail anything I would pray for our cause: but I have more faith in untiring energy and work.


PETEREORO, N. Y. — Have forwarded 111 names. But for the fearful snow storms I could have doubled the list. Only 17 of the persons called upon, declined to give their names.


WASHINGTON, D. C. — I enclose twenty one signatures to your petition, received to-day from my home, Plymouth Rock, Mass. I wish I could send more, but thought you would like to have Plymonth Rock represented.


FOREST CITY, Ohio. — Left petition in Notary’s office for signatures. where people go to pay their taxes, suppose it was burned up by the janitor. This morning I started out with another paper and got all these signatures in one day. Am sorry for the blunder. Will try to do better next time.


JANESVILLE, Ill. — Enclosed please find a few signatures to the Woman Suffrage Petition. Should have been glad to obtain more had 1 time to canvass, but every little helps.


OREGON, MO. — Enclosed find 133 names of our best citizens. The worn and dilapidated condition of the papers will attest the genuineness of the signatures. Miss Cozzins, of St. Louis, I think will ably represent the women of Missouri in your Convention. Still it may not be amiss for me to say that here in N. W. Missouri, hundreds of our sex are very nearly ready to subscribe for “EQUALITY.” There are, to be sure, a good many women, who never can be regenerated; nothing will shake their convictions. The only hope is that, in time, they will die off, and make room for a different stock,

It would have given me great pleasure to accept your invitation to attend the Convention, but it is not possible for me to do so. There are thousands of women in the United States looking hopefully to that Convention. I am not sanguine as to immediate results, but feel that every step counts one in the march forward. I regret the educational qualification was not included in our petition for a 16th amendment, as we can only hope to improve national politics by the intelligent use of the ballot.



Collection: National Citizen and Ballot Box
Publication: National Citizen and Ballot Box
Date: February, 1877
Title: Petition Responses

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