Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

We love the West. There is much to love. For me, the history makes the present that much richer. This year of 2020 is being celebrated at the hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. For those who follow western history, you know women had been voting prior to the 1920 date. Still, the path to suffrage out here wasn't always an easy one.

Image result for images women's suffrage 1877 colorado
from Colorado Virtual Library
In 1877, about six years after the city was founded, Colorado Springs started its own organizational journey to win women the right to vote.

The first notice to appear in the local paper was February 17, 1877. The article spoke of 150 people attending the event at the M. E. Church. The meeting was called to order by Commissioner Matt France. The president elected was Mr. J. S. Wolfe. After the minister spoke, Mrs. W. A. Wilkes spoke about using the ballot box to voice her conviction of what is best and right for herself and her children. She was followed by Miss Hanna, the speaker from Denver.  Below is a portion of her reported speech for that evening. (For those who would like the whole reported speech, contact me and I will send a link to where the article can be found.)

"The work before the friends of the cause is no child's play. It wars directly with the thought so deeply rooted and so hoary, that woman is only an appendage ad not an integral part of the fabric of human society. It stands opposed to the soul-blighting usages of society, which had consigned women to an aimless, objectless existence, and have baptized a life so unworthy as peculiarly fitting and graceful for women.

"We are now safely launched upon the sea of discussion and bearing on toward the trade wind. Our chief cargo is made up of rich reason, valuable self-evident truths, and priceless justice. Every day there is a new voice added to the chorus - 'Don't give up the ship!"

Hanna was followed by Mrs. Mary F. Shields who listed the history of the suffrage movement in the state from the committees on suffrage, their attendance to the constitutional convention, to submitting the resolution to the voters.

The year 1877 was a busy one that led to even more activity in the subsequent years until Colorado granted suffrage via a constitutional amendment in 1893.

As 2020 progresses, this rich history is worth exploring if only for the gifts we have today thanks to the efforts of these early pioneers.  Perhaps it is the admiration I have for these early 'fighters' that lead me to the strong women that populate my stories. Below is an excerpt from the short story, 'The Homestead' in "The Untamed West"

Photo property of the author
     "Mother, Mother," Ruth heard excitement and fear in her five-year-old son Samuel's voice.

     Heart pounding, Ruth moved away from the wood she was chopping. She turned to see Samuel standing some twenty feet away. He was standing statue still, not moving.

     Chances were her son had seen a snake, and she hoped it wasn't a rattler. She'd taught him to stay in place and call for her. She'd emphasized how important he remain still, realizing a rambunctious five-year-old would likely run. To move could be fatal. In that respect, he was like his father Joseph who was always out for adventure.

     Thinking of Joseph, the man who'd left her and their child alone out here, brought up the rage she tried hard to suppress. Now a snake might take away all that was precious to her.

     Gripping the axe tightly, Ruth moved toward Samuel. She knew it would do no good to rush blindly ahead. If anything happened to her, there would be no one to care for Samuel. Plus, with winter not far off, any meat, even snake meat would help them survive.

The Untamed West Kindle Edition
Amazon Purchase

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet


Julie Lence said...

What a fascinating part of speech--as I read it, I thought, there is no way I could write like this, lol. Thank you so much for sharing.

Renaissance Women said...

You are welcome, Julie. I find this part of Colorado and Colorado Springs history fascinating. Doris

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Love the excerpt and the picture of the cabin makes me want to go on a trip! What brave women. I often think about the courage it took to buck against the system especially in those times. Doesn't it seem totally absurd to us now that women had to fight to get to vote? Thanks as always for bringing these brave women to light.

Renaissance Women said...

You are welcome, Patti. I still remember the 70s and the struggle for a woman to get a credit in her own name. The stories of these early women and their desire to bring equality into their lives and the lives of other women really are inspiring. It keeps me going back to the 'stacks' time after time. Doris

Elizabeth Clements said...

Even a hundred years later since the vote, it's hard for women in certain situations to speak up and wow, in the political world, it really gets vicious to this date. Perhaps even worse? I Have to admire the courageous women who enter the political arena or any area where one fights for what is right. Great article, Doris, and a teaser of an excerpt.

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. It is always difficult to buck the 'status quo', that's for sure. Like you, I admire what these women and men did back then. We have much to thank them for.

I'm also glad you enjoyed the excerpt. It is more of a Western than a Romance, but there is that also. Some of the events and places are real, which made it fun to write. Doris