Friday, October 22, 2010

Easton Political Equality Club

Right next door to Greenwich is an even more rural town called Easton. Most people think of Easton as the home of Grandma Moses, if they think of it at all. It is also home to Willard Mountain, the Washington County Fair and the first suffrage group in Washington County, the Easton Political Equality Club.

Chloe Sisson- circa 1880
 From 1891 to 1917 the Easton Political Equality Club had a mission- to prove to people that women, as citizens of the United States of America, deserved the right to vote. Like the "good wives" they were, Lucy Allen, Chloe Sisson and the ladies of the Easton PEC used their influence as wives & mothers, neighbors & friends, to convince many men in the area to vote in favor of female suffrage. This tireless effort culminated on November 6, 1917 when male voters all across New York approved the measure guaranteeing the right to vote to citizens of the state regardless of sex. The measure passed statewide by about 80,000 votes, in Washington County by 188 votes & in Easton by 18 votes. It would be another 3 years before the 19th Amendment would be ratified.

The women of the Easton PEC continued to serve their communities through the library, the grange, the school board, and a book club. We owe a debt of gratitude for all of the women, local & national, who paved the way for equality at the polls. Don't forget to vote!

If you would like to know more about the Easton Political Equality Club and the local suffrage movement, Teri Gay, author of Strength Without Compromise: Womanly Influence and Political Identity in Turn-of-the-Twentieth Century Rural Upstate New York (ISBN 9780984221509), will be speaking at the United Church in Greenwich on Monday, November 1, 2010 @ 7:00pm.

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