Monday, March 05, 2007

Another reminiscence of Joshua King Ingalls

Woman's Tribune, XI, 23 (May 12, 1894), 91.

GLENORA, N. Y.—My dear Mrs. Colby:

The recent convention in this State over the right of woman to vote for School Commissioners, revives occurrences of which I was a personal witness some three score and ten years ago. My mother was left, on the death of my father, with the sole care of six children, the oldest of which was less than 16 years of age. We lived in a secluded school district in Bristol County, Massachusetts. Our district schools were then of a primitive character compared with the present graded State schools. A small sum of public money was appropriated to the districts proportioned to the scholars attending school. The balance was voted by the district and scholars were charged according to attendance, the teacher usually "boarding around" in same proportion.

My mother, interested in the education of her children, began at once to attend the school meeting, although it was quite unusual for women to do this. All questions were determined by a vote of the legal voters of the district. I do not remember that the question was ever specifically raised as to whether her vote should be counted, but she was allowed to freely express her views on all matters before the meeting. She urged that she was taxed the same as the men, and had the same rate to pay for scholars as they after the public money was exhausted, and thought it her right to be heard as to selection of teacher and general business of the district. I often attended her to the meetings and do not remember any occasion on which they did not give her a respectful hearing, and very few in which any matter was determined adversely to her expressed opinions. Her only daughter was a woman suffragist at twenty, and her five sons favored the movement, though later.—J. K. Ingalls.

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