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General Jones and the Suffrage Army Arrive

And, so, on Dec. 31, 1912, in Albany, General Rosalie Jones handed Governor-elect William Sulzer the “secret message,” a document signed by state suffrage leaders, asking his support for the cause. With her were seven “pilgrims,” carrying their knapsacks and staffs, who had

hiked for twelve days from New York City to Albany through rain storms, blizzards, mud and snow and chilling winds. Sulzer praised their efforts, shook their hands, and promised to support the cause. Bishop William Doane of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, however, denounced the hikers as “a band of silly, excited and exaggerated women.”

The novelty and hardship of Jones’ suffrage march attracted reporters from across America; as many as eleven male and female reporters followed the “pilgrims” in automobiles. The image on the top left appeared in a Boise, Idaho newspaper. The image on the right was in a Tacoma, Washington newspaper. (Note the disrespectful cartoon caricature.) The third image

is from a newspaper in Wausau, Wisconsin. (Click on images to enlarge.) The march of General Jones and the Suffrage Army was “a picturesque thing to do, and splendid to stir up sentiment,” said suffragist Nora Blatch De Forest, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s granddaughter. As is common in social movements, not all workers for the cause agreed: Mary Garrett Hay, a leading New York suffragist, huffed, “You’ll never find Mary Hay in anything sensational. I’m too busy doing real work.” As, for General Rosalie Gardiner Jones, she said: “Hundreds of people have heard the votes for women gospel whom we never could have reached through ordinary meetings . . . . Awake sisters, and help us. It won’t do to sit back and say, ‘Yes, I think women ought to vote.’ We must pack up our knapsacks and say, ‘We’ve got to get it.'” A fierce fight, indeed!

The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight is available in paperback and ebook.

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