By Steve FlairtyKyForward columnist
It’s been a hundred years back the Nineteenth Amendment passed, giving women beyond America the appropriate to vote. One of the awful affecting advocates for women’s capitalism in that era was an amazing Kentuckian. She decidedly intrigues me alone because of the bounded affiliation we have.
Josephine Kirby Henry, like me, has arctic Kentucky roots and afterwards confused to my present boondocks of residence, Versailles. She was built-in in Newport in 1843, babe of Captain Euclid and Mary Kirby Williamson. According to The Encyclopedia of Arctic Kentucky, agenda additionally that Josephine was a niece of Captain John A. Williamson, a baiter line-owner who developed the Central Bridge beyond the Ohio River at Newport.
She confused with her parents to Versailles at age 15, and she afterwards affiliated Captain William Henry, a above Confederate soldier who conducted a academy for boys in Versailles amid at what is today 246 Montgomery Avenue, an abode I frequently drive past. Working together, they adapted the academy to a co-ed archetypal and the accomplished Josephine led the music department. But in time, Josephine broadcast her access and affection back she began to action for acreage and voting rights for women.
In 1888, Josephine and Laura Clay (daughter of abolitionist agitator Cassius Marcellus Clay, who ironically larboard his afar wife in impoverishment) co-founded the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. Josephine afterwards approved access of the Kentucky Affiliated Woman’s Acreage Act, and it anesthetized in 1894. It is sometimes referred to as “The Husband and Wife Bill.” Author and administrator Michael N. Marcus blogged these anecdotic words about the act and Josephine’s influence:
Henry admired the Acreage Act as the aboriginal footfall against women’s capitalism because she accepted the accent of bread-and-butter ability and security. She alleged for women to no best be “treated as outlaws and all their acreage confiscated at marriage.” Afterwards years of speeches, accessories and lobbying, the Acreage Act, admitting criticized as antifamily and unladylike, assuredly anesthetized the General Assembly and was active into law.
I begin added $.25 of advice about Josephine that I acquisition intriguing. The Prohibition Party ran her alert as a applicant for the Kentucky Court of Appeals, reportedly the aboriginal woman in the South to run in a accessible attack for a accompaniment office. There was additionally allocution of her active for the U.S. admiral on the Prohibition ticket, admitting a November 15, 1897 commodity in The New York Times about that achievability was dismissive, calling her an doubter and adage at the conclusion: “She thinks Thanksgiving Day should be abolished and that no advertence to God should be fabricated in the Constitution.”
Tragically, the Henrys’ son, Frederick, died in a alternation derailment blow in Chicago in 1891. He was accomplishing analysis for a bi-weekly he appear in his hometown alleged the Versailles Clarion. Some anticipate that the affliction of that accident pushed Josephine against agnosticism.
Josephine was a abounding and accomplished writer. Searching at the Woodford County Actual Society, I begin a composition she wrote for the Woodford Sun on September 24, 1908, alleged “A Parody On Comin’ Thro’ The Rye.” One of the stanzas goes like this:
If it be accurate that Equal RightsIs accurate Democracy,To tax the women afterwards votesis absolute tyranny,Then account ye now to Freedom’s notes,Sure as this planet rolls,American women with their votesAre comin’ to the polls.
Her writings accommodate The New Women of the New South (The Arena, 1895, vol. XI); Musings in Life’s Evening; forth with Alliance and Divorce, and she formed with Elizabeth Cady Stanton on The Woman’s Bible, a feminist’s attending at Christian scriptures. One of her best acclaimed and acute quotes came from Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others’ book, The History of Woman Suffrage: “There are two abundant alien armament today, electricity and woman, but men can account abundant bigger on electricity than they can on woman.”
Woodford County Actual Association affiliate John Orr wrote in the June, 1996, affair of The Little Stinger that she “was a adult of culture, accomplished in absolute thinking, and with a affection for justice. She strove mightily to accretion for women the appropriate to vote and to chargeless them from Kentucky’s airless affectionate slavery.”
In accord with The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, a brand in accolade to Josephine was placed at her above home at 210 Montgomery Avenue on August 25, 2019. The home is now the home of self-employed columnist Bill Caine and family. The bounded actual association accomplished out to the ancestors about its acceptation afterwards they bought the house, and it became a accountable of alluring abstraction for them.
According to Bill, the boys who abounding the Henrys’ academy bottomward the artery additionally lived with them at this address. “We’ve apparent a photo of about 30 boys in the advanced of the house,” he said. “Here were two bodies who did amazing things (and) with their lives accepting massive tragedies. This abode has been well-lived in for a long, continued time.”
With that actuality said, the bequest of Josephine Henry’s assignment in allowance women access the rights they should accept consistently had will additionally accept for a long, continued time.
Sources: National Accord for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS.org); The Encyclopedia of Arctic Kentucky; whatisavoteworth.org; en.Wikisource.org; Woodford County Kentucky Actual Society; accord with Rachel Njenga; historynet.com; women.ky.gov; 4thefirsttime.blogspot.com; kywcrh.org; usgenwebsites.org
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