Daily Archives: December 15, 2013

A story about Long Island suffrage activist Rosalie Jones, her “anti” mother and sister

Rosalie Gardiner JonesNate Levin is a real suffrage buff, and he found the article about the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and the Huntington, NY confrontation with Mrs. Jones described in the recent New York Archives article as “fascinating.” Why?

Because Rosalie Jones, a prominent NYS suffrage activist, was from a divided family where her mother and sister were outspoken in their negativity about women voting. They weren’t shy in expressing their point of view that women had their own work to do and politics constituted a messy business. If you haven’t seen the article, take a peek with this link. And check out the video about Rosalie Jones from images that are part of the Library of Congress collection.

My grandmother Edna Kearns worked with Rosalie Jones on Long Island suffrage organizing, as well as Elisabeth Freeman who we’ll be hearing more of in 2014. Last year I paid a visit to Peg Johnston, Elisabeth’s great niece. And Elizabeth’s other great niece, Jane Van De Bogart, an old friend, was instrumental in starting me on my journey back in 1986 to discover the life and times of my grandmother.

The wagon’s exhibit in Kingston, NY was in conjunction with the Floating Foundation of Photography in High Falls, NY and the visionary work of curator Jone Miller.  It represented the first time the “Spirit of 1776″ was seen in public in New York since the days when Edna Kearns hitched a horse to the wagon and took it out on the road herself. So there’s a lot of history associated with the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Jane Van De Bogart and her mother Nettie, joined us in the programming at SUNY New Paltz back in 1986 (and several other programs at New Paltz College), as did my mother Wilma, plus Peg Johnston and her mother Ruth.

Watch the video about NYS suffrage activist Rosalie Jones and then imagine what it must have been like at the dinner table for the Jones family at their homes in New York City and on Long Island when the subject of women voting was raised. Video link. Long Island historian Natalie Naylor  has written extensively about Long Island women, and Rosalie Jones in particular. Natalie says that Rosalie is one of her favorite NYS suffrage activists.  Natalie’s book. Antonia Petrash’s book on the Long Island suffrage movement has an entire chapter devoted to Rosalie Jones.

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