Feisty Females: Sara Payson Willis, aka Fanny Fern

March is Women’s History Month and what better way to kick it off than to highlight the accomplishments of first female newspaper columnist and highest paid nineteenth century newspaper writer Sara Payson Willis, a.k.a. “Fanny Fern”. Sara was born in Portland, Maine on July 9, 1811, the daughter of Nathaniel and Hannah (Parker) Willis.  Her parents had planned to name their fifth child after Reverend Edward Payson, pastor of Portland’s Second Congregational Church (five years later they named a son after the reverend).  Instead, she was given the middle name of Payson. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Feisty Females: Sarah Jane Ames

When she died in 1926 Sarah Jane Ames was hailed as one of Boone County, Illinois’s “most virile, energetic, and withal most interesting citizens”.1 She was born Sarah Jane Hannah in Montreal, Canada on December 4, 1843, and in 1854 migrated to Belvidere, Illinois with her parents (Thomas and Jane) and two brothers. Save for a few years she spent pioneering in South Dakota, Sarah remained in Boone County the remainder of her life.   NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Feisty Female Sheriffs: Claire Helena Ferguson, in her own words

   This headline introduced some fearless and celebrated women to the readers of the Milwaukee Journal in 1899: “What Man Has Done Women Can Do”.  The author had written a recent article “about dependence being an old fashioned virtue and that the clinging ivy type of women were no longer considered the highest ideal.”1.  Exhibit number one for the premise of her article was one of the most celebrated women of that time, Miss Claire Helena Ferguson. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Feisty Females: Was Emma Daugherty Banister Really America’s First Female Sheriff?

I ran across the name of Emma Daugherty Banister awhile back, along with claims she became the first female sheriff in the United States in August of 1918 after her husband John Banister, elected sheriff of Coleman County, Texas in 1914,  died in office.  I don’t remember what prompted me to investigate the claim further, but investigate I did.  Here’s what I found out. I don’t think Emma was the first female sheriff in the United States — as it turns out not even close.  The New York World certainly thought it a big deal, however, with the headline “Woman a Sheriff!”.  By 1918 it wasn’t unheard of – in fact had happened several times since the 1890’s – despite the fact the women’s suffrage movement had yet to win their years-long battle for equality.  A quick search at Newspapers.com confirms it. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in...

Feisty Females: Dr. Lillian Heath

Lillian Heath was born in Burnett Junction, Wisconsin on December 29, 1865, the daughter of William and Calista Hunter Heath.  Her father later moved the family steadily west, first to Aplington, Iowa and in 1873 to Laramie, Wyoming. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869 and William worked for the Union Pacific as a baggage handler.  In 1877 he moved the family a bit farther west in Wyoming to Rawlins where he worked as a decorator and a locomotive and house painter. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

Feisty Females: Theodate Pope

Today’s feisty female, Theodate Pope Riddle, dared to be different.  She was born at the stroke of midnight on  February 2 (or 3), 1867 in Salem, Ohio to well-to-do parents Alfred Atmore and Ada Lunette (Brooks) Pope.  Her birth name was Effie Brooks, but despising it so much and refusing to answer to it, at the age of nineteen she changed it to her grandmother’s first name (Theodate Stackpole).  In part, she chose the name to honor her grandmother’s strong “belief in the Quaker principle of emphasizing the spiritual over the material.”1 Her family lived on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, also known as “Millionaires’ Row”, but she wanted nothing to do with the path young women born to wealth were expected to travel from debutante to society matron.  Alfred and Ada were so busy with their lives – he as an iron tycoon and she as a societal matron – that there was scarcely any family time together.  Theodate once wrote that she had no memory of ever sitting on her mother’s lap. NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and may be included in a future edition (or Special Edition) of Digging History Magazine. After January 1, 2018 it can also be purchased as an individual article. If interested, please subscribe to the blog (to the right of this post) and you will be notified when the new Digging History Magazine web site is launched. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click...