Monthly Archives: November 2016

Holiday video from Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Suffrage Wagon Cooking School

Happy holidays from those of us at Suffrage Wagon News Channel! on Vimeo.

The Inez Milholland petition campaign is winding down. If you haven’t added your name, please do so! Will a presidential citizens’ medal be lost in the transition of one administration to another? Perhaps. We’re concerned. And the way of addressing this? Do the best we can. Follow the petition link.

Marguerite KearnsMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

Inez Milholland at Suffrage Wagon Cafe

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Write a letter about Inez Milholland, America’s suffrage martyr! on Vimeo.



by Marguerite Kearns, your host at Suffrage Wagon Cafe:

 Inez Milholland died 100 years ago on November 25, 1916 for women’s voting rights.

Inez Milholland Boissevain (1886-1916) is America’s suffrage martyr and 2016 is the centennial observance of her death. For more than a year, American women have been writing Inez back into history by:

  1. Ordering a free film (available at;
  2. Signing a petition for a presidential citizens’ medal (see link on
  3. Participating with the InezMilhollandCentennial with its campaign; and
  4. Supporting the nomination for recognition by U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

Inez MIlholland

Schools and college students, as well as citizens across the nation, have been sending postcards to the White House and circulating a digital petition. The National Women’s History Project made Inez one of their 2016 honorees.

The citizens’ medal, the second highest of presidential awards, recognizes Americans who have made significant contributions to the nation’s progress.  Citing her “vital” leadership in the suffrage movement, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) called Milholland “a shining star in the pantheon of inspiring leaders” in the early 20th century.  Speier nominated Inez for the medal.

Yet our national suffrage martyr is barely known even in the region where she lived, and where there are today few women elected to office in upstate New York where she is buried. As a result, there has been an outpouring of concern that has led to action on the national level.

inez-millholland-chair-225x300A chair in the Essex County government chambers is dedicated to Inez but no woman has been elected to the Board of Supervisors since 2014 and the chair remains empty. There are no women elected to office in 14 of the 18 town councils in Essex County.

Inez certainly tried to address women’s exclusion while she was alive. In 1911, she spoke to Essex County male legislators and gave them a piece of her mind. She was a commanding figure—a Vassar College graduate, tall, attractive, full of energy and drive, a law student at New York University, and someone ready to change the world.

Inez Milholland went on to graduate from law school. After participating in other forms of social activism, she focused on women’s rights.

Many Americans are aware of the striking figure on horseback leading thousands of women in Votes for Women parades in New York City and Washington, DC. When they asked the name of this dynamic individual inspiring tens of thousands of voting activists, they found out it was Inez Milholland.

Inez Milholland

Inez wasn’t alone among New Yorkers passionate about social justice. Essex County in upstate New York has a long history of leadership in civic liberty. The region was a major route on the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. Prior to his burial, John Brown’s body lay overnight in the room where the Essex County Board of Supervisors meets.

Inez’s grave is not far from the center of county government in the neighboring Town of Lewis, NY. Many people travel there each year to honor her. The family home, now a music school, is nearby.

Inez died on the other side of the country, in Los Angeles, on November 25, 1916, after a grueling speaking tour of the west to arouse women voters. Women in the western states won the vote before their sisters in the East and so they actually had political power. Inez wanted to harness that power to pass the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guaranteed American women the right to vote.

Local and state interest in Inez Milholland goes national!

Inez Milholland is both America’s suffrage martyr and a local “hero,” according to Margaret Bartley who lives a ten-minute drive from the churchyard in Lewis, NY where Inez is buried. Bartley is a trustee at the Adirondack History Museum and is working to plan an exhibit for 2017 that will highlight Inez.

NYS Suffrage Centennial

The year 2017 is the centennial of New York women winning the right to vote in 1917. New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul chairs a state suffrage commission and organizations throughout the state have started planning events and special celebrations.

From 2012-2013, Bartley served as the town supervisor for Elizabethtown, NY, the Essex County seat, and she served as one of five women on the eighteen-member Board of Supervisors. The first woman was elected in 1980 and women have been participants in every Board for 33 years through 2013. Five women served on the Board in 2010-2011, but when they ran for re-election, they lost.

“All of the women in office were defeated and today there are NO women in the County Board of Supervisors,” Bartley recounted. “The local Republican Committee leader bragged about how his party had taken out all the women!”

Bartley described how the outgoing elected women took action. At the end of their terms in office, they stood before the all-male board while Bartley read part of Inez Milholland’s 1911 speech, the one she delivered in that very room more than 100 years earlier.

The women dedicated a special chair with a plaque designating it as the “Inez Milholland Chair” reserved for the next woman to be elected to the Board. The idea was to both honor Inez and encourage women to run for office.

Bartley is not alone in insisting that the memory of Inez Milholland come out of the shadows. Activists with the National Women’s History Project in California have been building a national educational campaign to honor Inez’s life and work since 2015. One of the campaigns has been to ask President Obama to award Inez the Presidential Citizens Medal before he leaves office in recognition of Milholland’s sacrifice and the work of so many other women working diligently from 1848 to 1920 to win the right to vote for American women.

Many people are aware of Inez. Our job is to make certain that she receives the star she deserves in terms of national recognition.

A star for Inez Milholland, America’s women’s suffrage martyr on Vimeo.

The Inez Milholland centennial project organizers have been contacting the White House and working with California U.S. Representative Jackie Speier to collect signatures on a digital petition, in addition to letters and postcards. The petition is in the process of being officially presented to the White House. It is not too late to add your name, but it must be done ASAP. Go to the Inez petition link on

You can also contact President Obama by letter at: Executive Office of the President, ATTN: Executive Clerk’s Office, The White House, Washington, DC 20502.

A 2016 film highlights her remarkable life. Filmmaker Martha Wheelock of Wild West Women in Los Angeles is circulating “Forward Into Light,” a 15-minute documentary and she has distributed thousands of free copies across the nation. You can also order a free copy for your own use, for school programs, and for organizational events. The documentary contains original archival footage responsible for raising the profile of Inez and the entire woman’s suffrage movement.

The national suffrage centennial is planned for 2020 when American women will have been voting for one hundred years. Throughout the nation, schools, community groups and interested citizens are learning about Inez for the first time as these efforts, literally, write her back into history.

Will this message resonate throughout the nation? Will American women finally hear of and appreciate the long and difficult struggle to win the right to vote? Will we recognize and celebrate women’s drive for political liberty this year and in the years ahead? That’s the idea.

Marguerite KearnsMarguerite Kearns is your host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements. 

Follow for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

You can follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter  and Facebook.

November: “Night of Terror” in 1917 & Inez Milholland centennial!

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Dates to mark during the year for women and holidays! on Vimeo.
Centennial observances aren’t going away just because of a single election—especially when the nation is split down the middle

Our grandmothers and great grandmothers signed up for the long haul. Today we are observing and celebrating their persistence and determination. The goal of equal rights is being measured in 100-year increments. That’s why we observe suffrage centennials. Join us!

Edna Kearns and Serena Kearns appealed to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson when they picketed the White House in 1917. And they would understand those of us today who are appealing to President Obama to award our national suffrage martyr, Inez Milholland, with a presidential citizens medal before he leaves office.

November is when we remember the “Night of Terror” when suffrage activists were intimidated and roughed up in their jail cells for the crime of standing up for themselves and freedom.

We call November 14, 1917 the Night of Terror because of what the suffrage picketers  experienced at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. A total of 33 women who called themselves the Silent Sentinels set up a daily picket line the White House after being arrested for causing traffic disturbances. Their request was simple and direct—voting rights for women. The prisoners were brutally tortured and beaten. These women were primarily members of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), an organization led by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns struggling for the right to vote.

The White House 1917 picketing began not long after suffrage activist InezMilholland’s death; she died on November 25, 1916. To find out more about Inez, visit her centennial web site at

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial has been working on a suffrage history memorial with the goal of the memorial’s launch in 2020, the centennial of American women voting in the United States. Women like Inez Milholland, and many thousands of others whose names we may never know, volunteered for the cause.

November is when we remember the death of Inez Milholland in 1916, 100 years ago. Sign the digital petition asking President Obama to award Inez Milholland with a presidential medal. More information on the Inez Milholland centennial web site.
Suffrage Wagon Cafe

Marguerite Kearns is host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. November 2016 cafe program coming SOON.  Follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements.

Check with for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Another way to view U.S. Election 2016!

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Dr. Helen Pankhurst on voting & activism! on Vimeo.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe

Marguerite Kearns is host at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Visit our Vimeo channel for videos and special announcements.

Check with for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Dr. Helen Pankhurst brings the present day and past together in VIDEO message!

Watch the Video

Dr. Helen Pankhurst on voting & activism! on Vimeo.

This video is a reminder of why we honor and spread the word about women’s suffrage activism. Background on Dr. Helen Pankhurst.

ABOUT ME: I’m Marguerite Kearns, the granddaughter of Edna Kearns. My grandmother Edna died in 1934, well before I entered the scene. Publishing this blog has been a labor of love. And it has put me in the flow to learn as much about the suffrage movement as possible. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has been publishing since 2009.

Marguerite Kearns Follow for news and views about upcoming women’s suffrage centennial events and celebrations. 

“Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today and its impact on the future. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.