Donna Daley emailed me her entry for the Suffrage Centennial Quilt Challenge a week ago. I wanted you to enjoy her quilt through the weekend and we love her explanation of her quilt.
Esther Morris Quilt
Celebration of a Remarkable Life
New York State – Esther Hobart McQuigg
was born in Owego, New York on August 11, 1814.
Bonnet – Orphaned as a young woman,
Esther supported herself with her own millinery business.
Old Country Church – Esther attended
abolition meetings at her Baptist church, the first anti-slavery church in the
country. When an angry mob of men with torches disrupted a meeting and
threatened to burn the church down, Esther turned them away.
Railroad Crossing – Esther met her first
husband, Artemas Slack, at an anti-slavery meeting at the church. He was a
civil engineer for the railroads. They had one son, Archie
Illinois – After Artemas was killed in a
railroad accident, Esther traveled to Illinois to claim land that he had owned.
She was denied her inheritance because she was a woman, and therefore not
allowed to own property.
Lincoln’s Platform – While in Illinois,
Esther lived with her Aunt Di and Uncle William. William was a lawyer in the
Springfield area. It is likely that he knew Abraham Lincoln, and possible that
Esther met him as well.
Log Cabin – Esther met her second
husband, John Morris, in Illinois. Together they claimed her land and built a
house on it. They had twin sons, Edward and Robert. When gold was discovered in
Wyoming in 1867, the Morris family moved to South Pass City. They lived in the
log cabin built by John and Archie.
Teacup – Esther believed that women
should be allowed to vote. When she found out that an election was to be held,
she gave a tea party on the Sunday before the election. She invited prominent
citizens of the town, as well as the candidates. She persuaded each of the
candidates to introduce a bill for women’s suffrage if they were elected.
Ladies’ Fancy – The bill was introduced
and passed. Governor John Campbell signed it into law on December 10th,
1869. Women could now vote for the candidates they liked, or “fancied.” Esther
and other women of Wyoming voted for the first time on September 6, 1870.
Contrary Wife – Esther’s husband, like
many others, did not believe that women should vote. Esther and other contrary
wives voted anyway in defiance of their husbands’ wishes.
Courthouse Square – Eight days after the
women’s suffrage bill became law, the county’s justice of the peace resigned.
Esther was appointed to take his place, thereby becoming the first female
justice of the peace in the world. Her son Archie, as clerk of the court, swore
her in. When her predecessor refused to turn over the docket to a woman, she
simply bought a new one. Esther held the position for eight and a half months.
She ruled on 26 cases, including 9 criminal cases, none of which were overturned
Cheyenne – Esther’s husband, John, died
in 1877, and she eventually moved to Cheyenne, where her son Archie and his
family lived. Wyoming became a state on July 8, 1890, the first state where
women could vote. Esther took part in the parade and was honored at the
celebration of Wyoming’s statehood on July 10th, 1890. At age 80,
she was a delegate to the national suffrage convention in Cleveland. Esther
Morris died in Cheyenne on April 3, 1902, at the age of 87. In 1960 a statue of
her was erected at the state capitol. A copy is in the Hall of Statues in
Thank you Donna!
Have a great day!
What an interesting life! I love that there are quilt squares to highlight just about anything in one's life.ReplyDelete
I love that! Great symbolism in the quilt blocks to match Esther's story. I want to run right up to to Cheyenne to see that statue! Maybe I will get to do that one of these days. Meanwhile I just started to work on my project!ReplyDelete