Founding Feminists: December 17, 1912

Founding Feminists is FMF’s daily herstory column.

“Suffrage Army” troops are pushing on toward Albany on Day Two of their march!

Though their numbers are down to 5 from the 26 at their Van Cortlandt Park sendoff in the Bronx yesterday, the enthusiasm of those who remain is still high, thanks to many friendly receptions along the way, and a loyal group of War Correspondents giving the woman suffrage cause a boost in their papers by reporting this first-of-its-kind campaign to their many readers. Those who have walked all the way so far are “General” Rosalie Jones, “Colonel” Ida Craft, “Surgeon-General” Lavinia Dock, “Chief Orator” Jessie Hardy Stubbs, and “Private” Alice Clark.

Chief Orator Jessie Hardy Stubbs
Chief Orator Jessie Hardy Stubbs

This morning the troops broke camp at Irvington, grabbed their walking staffs, buckled on their suffrage-yellow knapsacks and headed off for the day’s objective of Ossining. There was a brief debate over strategy among the high command when it was suggested that while cutting across the estate of Helen Gould an attempt be made to convert her to the cause. But “General” Rosalie Jones vetoed the idea, and resolutely ordered the hikers to keep marching toward Tarrytown, where there would be many more (though admittedly not as wealthy) citizens to convert.

Like Yonkers before it, Tarrytown was bubbling over with enthusiasm for the hikers, and before they even arrived, a delegation of residents drove out to greet them. When passing the Knox School for Young Ladies, a group of students ran out cheering, and waving the school’s banner. In return, General Jones promised: “You are all going to have a vote.” Naturally, this made them cheer even more.

Later, at a suffrage meeting in a church where the rector’s wife is a suffragist, equality prevailed as the school girls were joined by students from the Irving School for Boys. Jessie Hardy Stubbs spoke to the town’s residents, and when the youngsters began a round of applause after the speech, the adults joined in as well.

Once outside the church, the Knox girls surrounded the pilgrims, and cheered: “Rah, rah, rah, do not fret. You will get to Albany yet. Ray, ray, ray, ret, ret, ret. Cheer, cheer, cheer for the suffragette!” The Irving boys were not about to be outdone, and gave a similar expression of approval for “the marching suffragettes.”

As the pilgrims approached Ossining, a delegation from that town drove out and escorted the hikers to the Sleepy Hollow Club for lunch, where, much to the disappointment of the press corps, there were rations prepared for hikers only. Following a futile chase after a stray chicken, the War Correspondents finally found nourishment at a local diner up the road.

When the army reached the day’s objective of Ossining’s public square, a crowd of about 200 had gathered despite threatening skies, and every window overlooking the proceedings was filled with faces as well. At the rally, “General” Jones took her turn at speaking, and it closed with another enthusiastic yell from the Irving boys. The army bivouacked at the Nordica home, but not before meeting the woman reputed to have been the first suffragist in Ossining. Cornelia Arnold was quite pleased to meet these young people so committed to the cause. Following a well-deserved night’s rest, tomorrow’s objective will be Peekskill.

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