KanColl: The Kansas Historical Quarterlies

The Forgotten Feminist ofKansas:  The Papers of
Clarina I. H. Nichols, 1854-1885


Summer, 1974 (Vol. 40, No. 2), pages 241 to 292
Transcribed and composed in HTML by Barbara J. Scott; edited by Name withheld upon request;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to endnotes for thistext.

VI. THE PAPERS, 1870-1872

] [1]
Jan. 25, '70

[EDITOR Commonwealth:]

     Again the sovereigns -- white men folk -- of Kansas are being represented in Legislative session at the Capital, while the unenfranchised women of the State, thoughtful, often sorrowfully, and with little hope of any great good to the oppressed and suffering victims of legalized wrong, watch reports of their proceedings. Accustomed to reticence on subjects of law and politics, few men are aware of their mortification, often indignation at the low jests and careless treatment of motions and resolutions offered in the interest of womanhood. If women cared less for men; found less pleasure in a noble manhood, worthy of respect and love, their disappointment would be less keen, their indignant feeling evanescent at the ignoble taunts and flings of which woman is too often made the target in legislative hall. Sometimes indeed the ludicrous attaches so eminently to the male diction (malediction) as to smother every feeling but sense of the ridiculous.

     How many of the present members are practiced in legislation, I know not. Some familiar names I see among the list of re-elected, and from their past can infer their future course in motion and debate. In the Senate Wyandotte county, with her able [Stephen A.] Cobb, counts honors easy. Some members who might have been expected to "cut their eye teeth" last session, apparently did not, and some who did cut their wisdom teeth, ready for future good service (among them our gentlemanly [Henry W.] Cook [2]) are left at home, and we have yet to learn whether their places are filled by worse or better men. "It is a long lane that has no turning," and our representative [Vincent J.] Lane [3] is a long Democrat with some excellent qualifies, which we trust will be as "long" as his Democracy. We can at least rest assured that he will not compromise the dignity of his position and shame his constituents.

     By the way, I wonder who will play "court fool" or "jester" to the present Legislature. If any member is allowed to wear the cap and bells, he should be regularly appointed to the office by the Chair, or elected by the House, and excused from other duty. However this may be, enough of the elements of '69 hold over to warrant us in expecting strong contrasts and ludicrous combinations of wit and wisdom, done up sometimes in limping, solemn prose, sometimes in vagrant rhyme, blushing the dignity of legislation. The fight between the old conservatism and young progress will crop out here and there, indices of the culture and no culture of the manhood of Kansas. The conservatives watching the progressive as if they "smelt a mouse;" the progressives carelessly defiant of the conservative element, seeing in it the iodged [sic] flood wood that must on with the rising tide.

     I am often reminded of the remark of an old lady friend, a thorough progressive, in speaking of the strong conservative proclivities of the aged; that "it is a blessed providence that the old die and escape the martyrdom they would suffer in witnessing the changes incident to human progress." I thought of this blessed providence last session, when an honorable member rose in his place and piteously demurred to a bill making it legal for husband and wife to deed real estate do each other giving [forth] his reason that he "didn't want to make a man of a woman!" Nothing but death, I thought, could remove that man from the martyr's fate. To the relief of the honorable member, the bill was (reported) lost. Was he in a majority that believed they could (as his expressed reluctance to do so implied) make men of women? I wonder how large a proportion of the present Legislature suppose themselves gifted with such plenary powers?

     By the way; a perusal of the summary of bills introduced and reported "lost," was eminently suggestive of a losing Legislature. Of those reported "carried," I wait to see how many will be repealed or amended by the present body.

     There was one bill for the protection of sheep, so indisputably wise, that I would rejoice to see its provisions extended to the human race. The bill provided a generous bounty on all wolves killed in the State. The members objected to receiving scalps or feet as evidences fo the killing; nothing but proof of the wolf's death was accepted as entitling to the bounty. [4] As the debate waxed warm, I thought of the old minister's recommendation to his son, who was preparing to deliver his first sermon: "Go into the garden, my son, and imagine the cabbage heads a congregation of men and women." What joy if our law-makers would imagine the men, women and children of the State sheep and liquor-sellers wolves to be headed off from their ungodly traffic by bounties! In God's word it is said "when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn." The intemperance laws of our government are filling our homes with mourning to prove their wickedness. Kansas wives and mothers, whose hearts beat apprehensively, painfully, at the open gateways of licensed brutality and death, may well doubt the fitness of legislators who congratulate themselves on handiwork entailing such fearful results.

     The wolf must be killed, for he destroys sheep, and sheep have a money value. But manhood, womanhood and childhood -- the priceless trust of human government, the redeemed wealth of the Son of God, are made merchandize of for the enriching of liquor-sellers, the impoverishing of the State and the home, the wreck of intellect, the manufacture of crime and the crushing out of human tenderness, joy and hope! The government of Kansas takes a bribe; for certain stipulated pieces of silver, it gives the liquor-seller a permit to poison and destroy broad cast, to crucify the son of God afresh in his helpless children. There is no limit but in his power to tempt, or the power of men to resist temptation. Alas, for the limit, when the great intellects, the strong men of the earth, fall in the streets and couch in dark places to hide their shame! Having received its price, the Judas government, that carries the bag for the relief of the paupered, the crazed, the helpless bruised and wounded of the licensed demon, is bound to refrain from interfering with the legalized work of crime and death.

     "But, Mrs. N., Kansas is in advance of other States in the protection given to the wives of drunkards. A woman can sue and recover of the liquor-sellers for any damage suffered in consequence of liquor sold to her husband." [5] Yes, protection with a vengeance! It is worst than the bear story. Poor Betsey's cowardly husband protector, sneaked into the garret and pulled the ladder after him. Kansas legislators set the bear on to Betsey, and graciously permit her to fight him in the courts for bread and the miserable conditions of like in a drunkard's home, and like Betsey's cowardly husband, they claim to have done the brave deeds and protected Betsey. He gave her some credit in claiming that "we" did it; but our legislators say, I and ignore the moral courage of the wife who may force herself to endure the publicity involved in an appeal to the courts, and run the risk of abuse in her home for having done so.


Jan., 1870

Dear Susan:

     I have been waiting a long time to have time and inspiration to indite something more than a mere friendly epistle; but I will wait no longer to tell you that my sympathies are with you in your gigantic efforts and splendid success in your mission -- especially Revolution -- which I read eagerly and groan inwardly that to meet payments on a debt I owe I must withhold a subscription for it. With a snug little farm and good crops, the improvements, farming tools, etc., and taxes have taken all I could rake together with a fine tooth-comb economy, and then I am often so uncomfortable at being in debt; $250 yet to pay. I can't get to any of our conventions, even in Kansas -- expenses! It costs $10 to go to Topeka and back, and I am behind that much on my taxes yet, and must get it from butter and eggs, one new milch cow and thirty hens!

     Ah, Susan, you are a favored individual, to be allowed to fight a big fight. These petty struggles are hateful, belittleing. I signed the call for the Cleveland Convention, not from any antagonism to existing organizations or methods, but because I felt assured we were strong enough to swarm, and would increase our strength and numbers by spreading ourselves and taking up other and more ground. [7] I thought you put the matter well in Convention. Go on, my dear -- severely truthful -- or it wouldn't be our whole-souled, unbroken Susan. [8] I think the Fifteenth Amendment measure mean, but inasmuch as it is in advance somewhat of former positions, I won't quarrel with it. I'd go for a sixteenth if it could be got; but I think we'll get it by States soon, and would have to fight it out with the States in a body, fore and aft. [9] I distribute my copy of The Revolution, and several who have read have promised to send for it. Two or three have done so. I wish I could increase our subscribers more. I see no other woman's paper. I did hope to get one of John [Stuart] Mill's books. I have not seen the book. With my best love, and please write a line when you feel like it; it does me good. I am regular correspondent for Topeka Commonwealth, and Brattleboro, Vt. Phoenix.


] [10]
[February, 1870]

To the Editor of The Commonwealth.

     As David danced before Saul, so did my soul dance before that "muddy pool," to find, in your discussion with J. C., that the propriety of wholesale denunciations of our members in congress is open to doubt, [11] for it inspired me with a hope that such questionings, and the calm, common-sense showing up of Mr. [Samuel D.] Lecompte, [12] would eventuate in the coupling of proof and assertion, or a christian forbearance of "evil communications," which our childhood's copy-books used to tell us, "corrupt good manners."

     The women of these United States are asking to be enfranchised; but there is in the way, so men tell us, a muddy pool, from which the foes and friends of woman suffrage are alike earnest to save our dainty skirts; the former by preventing our enfranchisement; the latter by making it a sort of fish skin to settle the sediment. Now we cannot appeal to the opponents of enfranchisement, for they hav'nt the faith that would dry up the pool. They deem it a political necessity, but the friends of the measure have faith in the influence of enfranchised womanhood, to run it clear. Suppose then we begin now by co-operating in a course that, by lessening, will tend to remove the objection, and thus silence our opponents? A careful examination of this pool shows that its filthy condition is due mainly to irrelevant and unproved scandals -- to the reckless and indiscriminate policy of dirt-throwing. A lady friend, whose house-keeping machinery wrought out salvation from dirt and disorder without creaking, used to say, she "didn't mind fresh dust, but old dust she couldn't abide." And so with this political pool; it's the old dust -- seething and tainting everybody that throws or touches it -- that's so repulsive. To illustrate, "beans are beans," but twice turned below germinating depth by "Cincinnatus and his plow," when resurrected, have a mouldy smell, suggestive of the scavenger's office, and the political agents who use such missiles betray extreme poverty of resources or bad taste, to my thinking both. The generous forbearance which diffuses in face of a "report of the committee of the house," to join in attack upon an official hitherto regarded as "the soul of honor," until indisputable facts set forth his dereliction beyond doubt -- is the policy that is demanded to make the political arena a glorious battle ground of honest principle and well digested opinions; and to this end we must work and talk and pray. "Love your enemies" means that we should be just to them as to our friends.

     When we are inimical or indifferent we are inclined to be hasty and unsparing; but let tempted friend or brother weakly expose himself to stabs under the fifth rib, and we grow tender, falling back upon the fair record of his past to extenuate, to appeal his case and plead his cause. It seems to me that no man or woman is matured and fully developed in the graces and qualifications of good citizens and radiant christians, who has not felt the barbed arrows of distrust and vituperation pierce their souls to the quick. It is thus we learn forbearance, and certain I am that most persons, especially those of deep, strong sympathies and honorable aspirations, are greatly sweetened and prepared for life's best and noblest uses, by severe questionings and just criticisms. But to avoid injustice and discredit in the giving, time and occasion must be well chosen. Criticism is to a vigorous character what the pruning knife is to the vine and the growing tree -- richer fruitage and graceful proportions.

     The conditions which men should remedy and which women -- the wives and mothers -- will, are these: Suspicions are magnified to the dignity of facts and persistently and relentlessly made a basis of action against public men, who in the private relations of life, were held above reproach. The reputation of a public man, being unwisely regarded as something apart from his private personnel -- something that may be shattered and still leave the man fit for all social and domestic uses and fealties -- is attacked for political effect -- without thought or care for resultant evils, which, whether the effect sought be gained or not, are a sure harvest. Our public men, to whom have been committed important popular interests, must either come down and put their traducers to the proof, or what is more self-respectful and considerate to their trust -- toil on, targets for small souls. I say small souls, for though better men, not to the kennel born, are generally drawn into the hunt, it is blindly and with abated venom.

     I learned my first lesson of this sort in the early days of Kansas, through the confidential revelations of a pair of political hucksters, who occupied a berth adjoining mine, in a Missouri river steamboat. Governor [Charles]  R[obinson]. and General [James H.]  L[ane]. [13] were the subjects of the conversation. The former was in the way of the latter, "What if R. can't be managed," or words to that effect, was a question put. "We'll crush him out," was the quick and vindictive reply. When the crushing out process was applied, I knew what it meant -- many honest men did not, and joined the crushers. [Just here memory ushers in a couplet from all old Methodist hymn I used to hear sung in my childhood -- "Judas by a cord out went his Lord, and got to Heaven first!"] If there be any truth in the old adage -- "The devil pays out rope to hang himself" -- it is just possible that the commotion in the political heaven (?) is due to his getting there before his betters. But this is a digression.

     Our interests as a people are involved in this question of justice to our public servitors. Destroy their influence in their official relations, and they are powerless to either protect or prosecute our interests through the offices to which they have been elected. The cause then should be weighty, and proof positive, to justify such a course. The honor of the electors is also involved. The remark of an old Quaker to a man who was complaining of the inefficiency and general incompetency of his wife for her domestic duties is in point. "The less thee says about it, friend, the better, lest thy judgment in the choice of thy wife convict thee also of incompetency." That the character of our entire congressional delegation is so bad as to provoke a resolution from our legislature, asking (because it cannot compel) their resignation, is suggestive of a fearful state of incompetency of the electors of the State. [14]

     In one of his memorable battles, where the mountain howitzers were needed to turn the tide, General [Franz] Sigel's [15] German tongue cried out the order, "Pring up the shackassas -- pring up the shackassas." Who is the Sigel of this political fight?


Feb. 15th, 1870

My Dear Susan B. Anthony:

     The finding of "A Letter from Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols" in The Revolution of Feb. 3d, wrought a very striking revolution in my estimate of said letter. I thought of Burns's couplet:

O wad some power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as ithers see us,

and fancied that I saw myself as "ithers" see me, not by gift of the gods, but of my dear old confidential friend, Susan. Some of its utterances, personal to myself, would have been suppressed, as by a cold touch, had I been aware that my old coworker kept her private correspondence filed in the columns of The Revolution. But it is done, I know, with none but the kindest intentions, and I only hope your readers will look at it in the light of your own human recognition of the "trifles" that go to make up life's discipline, as well as its rewards. I had just finished a letter to you made up of items suited to your use in the good cause, when I was taken all aback by letter No. 1; and having prefixed so much by way of explanation (?) I turn to the items.

     And first, in the Kansas House of Representatives, Mr. [Byron] Sherry [17] of Leavenworth introduced a resolution memorializing Congress for the Sixteenth Amendment, which was adopted 66 to 9. The Senate tabled it by the affirmative vote of its President. [18]

     It is not clear what we should or will do in Kansas at present. It depends upon legislative action in reference to the calling of a Constitutional Convention. If decided in the affirmative, we must work for enfranchisement through its provisions. If in the negative, we must again labor for submission of the question by amendment. As more than three amendments -- the number to which any one legislature is limited by Constitution -- are being urged by the politicians, the question of woman's enfranchisement will most likely be laid over. The time has not come politically, though it may sham to have come socially -- when men wait upon women. We are servitors still and lay figures, to show off their gallantry. And yet, I give the mass of men credit for being loving and tender "in their way." We must rely on the nobler minority of clearsighted, unselfish men to help us bring up the masses; and so in both sexes.

     Bless you, dear Susan, for your warm assurance, that my sympathy has power to strengthen and comfort the hard-pushed, overworked laborer in God's vineyard. I learned the value of sympathy in the days when our work was a reproach and a stigma upon womanliness. 'Tis a noble work, to straw by straw, tear away the bonds and set willing hands and longing hearts to God's work of lifting up the oppressed, and wakening the loiterers among flowery borders to take of their share of life's culture. I sometimes cry out at being hedged in by circumstances, from joining the triumphant march of womanhood. I seem almost to have dropped out by the way, unable to keep up, but bearing in my hand the cup of water, it may be, from the wayside spring, to refresh the swifter of foot. But O how I watch and pray! I do all I can with my pen.


] [19]
[March, 1870]

To the Editor of The Commonwealth.

     The resolution offered by Mr.  B[yron]. Stewart [20] of the House, and adopted by that body, instructing the judiciary committee to "report a bill giving to widows of deceased husbands the exclusive control of all property, both real and personal, empowering them to pay all legal claims against the estates of said deceased persons, and collect all moneys due such estates" [21] -- is to the point, and if a bill so reported is not passed, it will doubtless owe its defeat to the classes of men who live in whole or in part, on their fees as administrators, guardians and probate officials. For most men will vote to their wives -- the mothers of their children -- the estates which they can no longer control, and thus save the fees of settlement to their own families. Now is there not in the legislature another man like unto this Mr. Stewart, who will introduce a resolution for a bill in behalf of the same co-widows of living husbands, securing to them at least pin money from the proceeds of the estates which legally absorb their entire earnings and savings?

     Under our present laws, the wife has no legal claim to a pennyworth of principal or use in the estate accumulated by the joint savings and earnings of herself and husband, during his life. Only his death gives her an indefeasible right to a portion of such estate. (Men must have great confidence in the forbearing love of women to sleep of nights with such a premium attached to their decease!) Let us ask how women regard this matter. Said the wife of a Kansas judge: "When I was a girl, I had always money enough in my purse to meet all my wants. My earnings were from $20 to $50 per month clear of expenses. Now, I cannot buy a dozen eggs or a quart of blackberries as they come around, for my purse is always empty, except in transporting a given amount for some definite purchases or payment, my husband's purse is in his pants pocket wherever he may be."

     Said a vender of fruit, eggs and other farm and garden products: "It is tiresome calling at family residences to sell my marketables for, except at meal time, when the men are at home, the women have no money to buy with; and if I leave anything I have to call half a dozen times to get my pay." A newsboy in one of our Kansas cars passed his paper to men only. As he seated himself, at last, just in front of me, I asked why do you not offer your paper to the women? Do you think they do not like to read papers as well as men? "Oh, yes ma'am, but you see the men have all the money," was the ready reply. "If only my husband would let me have money to keep in my purse for domestic use I could often buy to better advantage, as regards both quality and price; but I can't take advantage of the itinerant market for want of cash in hand," says one of our most notable housewives. "Husband," says Mrs, Smith, "I wish you would leave me some change to get berries when the girl comes round." "I'll get the berries wife, and bring them when I come to tea." And thrusting his head in at the door again a moment later, he adds, "I can get them cheaper!" In the course of the afternoon, a young woman in haste to dispose of her berries and get home before the threatened storm, offered Mrs. S. five quarts of fine, fresh berries at eight cents a quart. Mr. Smith came home to tea bringing three quarts of stale blackberry jam, at a cost of forty cents.

     Aside from the economy of the arrangement in dollars, and the business discipline which all women need, it is a woman's right to control the wherewith to provide for household necessaries and home conveniences; for she is, more than her husband, experimentally familiar with the same, and held responsible by him and community for a well-ordered home. It has become fashionable for public benefactors to give of their substance, distributing portions of their estates during their lifetime, instead of leaving it, as formerly, by will. It would be a happy next step for the male heads of families to divide with the female heads, and thus enjoy in life a luxury which the bachelor Peabody could not -- the restful content of a well endowed partner in the home department. The small gain in pin money would no longer abate from the sense of loss at decease of a husband, kind in the old pauper way.


[TO EMMA __________] [22]
April 6th, 1870.

Dear Emma:

     In the Chief of March 19th I find "Reforms and Reformers Reviewed," by "Common Sense." [23] I do not propose to review the review. My time and your space will limit me to a few points, which having briefly considered, I am content to leave the balance to whatever of uncommon sense your readers may chance to possess.

     Your correspondent says: -- "The normal condition of the adult human race is husband and wife," which implies, that single persons -- spinsters, bachelors and widows -- are in an ab-normal condition, which is not true. I assent that wedlock is a normal condition, but only a condition, since manhood and womanhood exist unimpaired without it. As life is more than the conditions which sustain it, so manhood and womanhood are more than husbandhood and wifehood, which conditions are essential to the legitimate supply, but not to the existence of human beings. God made us women -- to be wives, if, with our consent, men choose to make us such, not otherwise. Hence I claim that women, married or single, are in normal conditions. We must of necessity be women -- single women, before we can be wives. In being wives, we are no less women. As widows, we are women still. Independent of all conditions and appointments -- divine or human -- from maturity to death, we are women. Hence, to make wifehood the base of supplies and government for womanhood, is a grave mistake and gross injustice.

     A woman may not be a wife, but a wife must be a woman. Hence justice to woman, is justice to wives -- nothing more. Marriage being only a condition of adult persons -- which may or may not attach to them -- should not abrogate any right essential to human beings, as such. None of the legal or political rights of men are alienated from them by marriage. On the contrary they are legally endowed with inherent rights inalienable to the woman -- made wife -- who is thus despoiled of certain essentials of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." If womanhood had been made the base of legislation instead of wifehood, (as men understand that relation) the widow would be left in possession of her own -- both earnings and children. Your correspondent adds -- "and the eternal fiat has gone forth from the All-Wise Creator, that 'the twain shall be one flesh.'" If he understands this as an eternal decree placing all men and women under obligation to marry, I dissent from his position as necessitating polygamy -- there being more women than men in all old countries where female infants are equally cared for with males. Massachusetts had 75,000 more women than men. St. Paul advises singlehood in certain circumstances; and Christ says, Mat.. XIX: 12, "Let him that is able," &c. The sentiment of society endorses the fitness or unfitness of marriages in accordance with circumstances. Thus circumstances are recognized as rightfully determining whether to marry or not to marry.

     "The twain shall be one flesh," is a very singular foundation for the argument of distinctions. Of course, your correspondent would not define his "normal condition," as a mere physical unity; in his argument he takes a wider range. And to secure this unity, of which he treats, he deems it both necessary and expedient to take from woman the right of self-government as a citizen, and of independent judgment as a wife -- the object of his argument being to deny her the right of self-government, lest, influenced by her convictions of right, she should cast her veto in opposition to her husband's. He says he has "No sympathy with the idea that the wife must be a reflex of her husband's views, upon the all important issues of the day that agitate the public mind, and thus lose her individuality, or fail to avail herself of all the means within her reach, to inform herself, for fear she may come to a different conclusion upon important questions." He would allow her to have her own views because it cannot be prevented even by herself. But what justice or liberality in this declaration, so long as he would debar her "individuality" from expressing itself practically? As reasonable to allow the seed to sprout and deny it to flower and fruit. Even wives cannot force themselves to adopt opinions opposed to their convictions. He continues:

     "But I do maintain this -- that it would be far better ninety-nine times out of one hundred, for husband and wife to agree upon any important subject, (where no immorality is involved) and both be in an error, than to have them divided, one right, and the other wrong. And this especially where both are called upon to act upon the same question; and as the importance of the question magnifies, the importance of being agreed magnifies in a greater ratio. * * If the suffrage is extended to woman she must discharge that duty. (I use the term must in the same sense that every good citizen who is now entitled to vote, must not neglect that duty.) * * * if the husband and wife are not agreed, and both must vote, with the political contests and strong party feelings that will often arise, where is the compensation for the marring of that perfection of unity, which ought to exist between husband and wife?"

     Does this liberal-minded correspondent ignore the wife's responsibility for acts opposed to her convictions? Does he forget her accountability when he assumes, that in matters of highest importance, it is better, that the married pair be a unit of error, than that one of them -- that one being a woman -- "when called upon to act" should act aright? Aye, it is better that both should agree to sink the craft, than that the wife and mother should bail water and save it -- save the children who might go down in the wreck or escape naked and bruised, to land? A monstrous doctrine of egotism -- first cousin to the "hardness of heart," which put away the Jewish wife -- and immoral. For who that remembers a sparrow does not fall to the ground unnoticed by its Creator -- can conceive of an important question requiring acts which would not appeal to the responsibility of the parties? And "as the importance of the question magnifies," the danger also from being agreed in a wrong act, and the responsibility for such action, magnify out of all proportion to a mere difference of opinion. Even if others' interest will suffer no compromise, we owe it to ourselves to be right and act right, whenever we must or should act at all. The idea, that we may, be unjust to ourselves -- trifle with our individual rights and interests -- is a doctrine opposed to Christian allegiance.

     God holds us accountable for the use of our faculties and we cannot divest ourselves, nor can husbands, nor the State divest us of the responsibility; -- we must hold to -- or regain if taken from us -- the right and the power necessary to such use. Society and the family are losers or gainers in proportion as we do or neglect to do, "when called on to act in any matter of importance." Our moral and intellectual growth -- our perfectness of manhood and womanhood -- which is the best national, social and domestic wealth -- result directly from feeling and acting rightly in matters great and small. And the more we "fight it out on that line," the sooner will we as individuals and a people, rise to a level above the intolerance of opinion, which is characteristic of minds lacking Christian discipline and breadth of intellectual culture.

     It was man's Creator, who said, "it is not good that man should be alone," and made woman to be his helper -- for good. The freeman's oath leaves him no liberty to seek unity of policy in the destruction of the ends of Christian government. And this truth woman must teach him, by her help and example at the ballot-box, in order to bring the State up out of the gulf of intemperance and prostitution into which -- "alone" in legislation -- he has plunged it. And here applies the exception (immorality) of your correspondent to unity of action in wrong or error. Tacit acquiescence on the part of women, and prohibition on the part of men, of the franchise, that controls these questions, is positive and flagrant immorality. Woman is under equal obligation with man to use all her powers in behalf of purity and virtue: and by the same token, is under bonds to God and humanity to gain all legitimate human power for this end. Suffrage -- to clench her moral influence -- is such power.

     The licensing of sinful practices -- a principle of death to governments, that must count their generations by favor of a sin-hating God -- is already honey-combing the foundations of our free (?) institutions. To license, or "regulate," is to tolerate and sanction. No matter how many limits or safeguards may be set to restrain sin within bounds -- licensing is a farming out of sin; the license fee, blood-money, that sets the mark of Cain on him who votes it: and its cries for vengeance are being answered in a curse that fills our homes -- aye, the hearts of pure women and good men, with sorrow and poverty and death. A curse that builds prisons, rears the gallows, taxes every laboring brain and muscle of the State and diminishes its productive industry, intelligence and strength. See prostitution -- from bigamy in Utah to houses of ill-fame in our towns and cities -- thriving and losing its frightfulness of mien to the weak and thoughtless, through the license and sufferance of male governments.

     Kansas City, on our Missouri border, puts $2500 -- the price of purity and virtue -- annually, into its treasury. Chicago, New York and others of our cities, are deliberating upon a like course, on the plea of "protection to our wives and daughters from the violence of bad men." As if such protection were not making bad men for deeds of violence and bad women to help them! The women of England are protesting against similar action of their municipal governments. These houses must be filled from the ranks of our own sex: -- the fair young daughters of our homes the material; our brave young sons, who would be ashamed to seek -- directed by the license of male governments, to what the WORD OF GOD characterizes as "The way of death and the gate of hell!" Let woman, whose life-work it is conceded to be, to guard the home and guide young manhood and womanhood in the path of wisdom and virtue -- in fact, of these facts -- answer your correspondent's question -- "Where is the compensation for the marring of that perfection of unity, which ought to exist between husband and wife?" -- at the ballot box, by a negative vote to all measures "regulating" sinful practices.


[April, 1870]

     "Mother, where's the swill pail?" "Why, Zekiel, what do you want of it?" "The old sow's been in the cellar, knocked the kiver off your cream tub and stuck her muddy nose into the cream, and I thought I'd give it to the calves." "No, you mayn't that, Zekiel. I can strain the dirt out of the cream and send the butter to the store, nobody'll know the difference." And Zekiel carries the butter -- in golden balls -- to the store. As the merchant puts it in the scale, Mrs. Northrop comes in and seeing the butter, exclaims, "I'm in luck, I came for butter and I do so like to know who makes it, for butter is something I can't stomach from everybody and anybody. But I ain't afraid of Mrs. Burnham's butter." So Mrs. Northrop relished the butter [that] the old sow had nosed because a tidy housekeeper made it.

     MORAL. -- One can't always be sure he is eating what the cook himself would not eat.

     MORAL NO. 2. -- Ignorance sometimes preserves the appetite.

C. I. H. N.

] [25]
[April, 1870]

[Editor Commonwealth:]

     I have been reading an article in one of our popular magazines in which the writer suggests, that the women of the present generation return to the simple habits of their grandmothers, as a remedy for the overworked condition of the many, who are unable to avail themselves of competent help, either from lack of such help, or of the means to hire it. The proposition carried me back to the observations of my childhood -- fifty years ago -- among the grandmothers of my generation, and I humorously conjured up the dismay of our young housekeepers were only the table appointments of those grandmothers, imposed upon them. I was born among soldiers of the revolution -- both my grandfathers having served in that war -- who having fought the good fight of American independence, packed their brides on horseback, with feather bed strapped on behind, and in one case, a little wheel in front -- blazed tracks from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to the green hills and fertile valleys of the Green Mountain State; opened farms, built commodious houses and outhouses; raised stock, and abundance of grain, roots and fruit suited to the climate -- and children by the dozen.

     Children were regarded by these men and women of the new State and the new home, as sources of wealth, and I have heard the aged grandsire say that they "calculated on adding one to their number every two years, as much as they did on adding to their stock." A change of every day garments, a "handsome suit for summer and another for winter," constituted the simple outfit of the rich and poor alike. How nice and comfortable -- and we thought becoming -- were our homespun wooled dresses, colored and pressed at "the mill," the first winter for "handsome," the next for every day, and subsequently, the skirt made a nice petticoat. As a natural consequence of frequent association with business and pleasure-seekers from the old towns and cities in the neighboring State of Massachusetts, our inland village had outgrown many of the primitive habits of the first settlers. But they were still a numerous and dominant class; and deference to their feelings prevented their children and grandchildren, living in the old house or on farms in the near vicinity, from extensively adopting "new-fangled notions."

     It was like a play, or bit of romance, to go from my village home -- presided over by a progressive and ambitious mother -- for a day's visit to some school mate, "a mile or two out," in the large, old farmhouse, where the venerable grandparents and their simple habits, still reigned supreme. Filial respect and veneration for the aged, were paramount virtues of that early day, when the aged grandsire took the little ones on his knee, and telling the story of freedom's long campaign of suffering and blood, tenderly smoothed the curling locks, and wound up with a sigh and -- "ah my children, you don't know what your liberty cost."

     I particularly enjoyed writing at Deacon S's. The old couple, who had seen ninety summers, were past work. The son, who lived with them, had no children, and, with his wife and two maiden sisters, being fond of children, "made much" of me, without changing any of their domestic arrangements, as they would have done for "grown up company." I think they must have apprehended my childish enjoyment of the old order of things, for they treated me without reserve to the mysteries of pantry and cellar and cheese-room -- maple sugar and honey and cheese curd, doughnuts and fried apple pies, bit as I could carry. But when the long cross-legged table -- the width of one broad pine plank -- white with daily scouring, was set out, a pewter platter of baked beans near each end, a plate of bread and an uncut loaf in the center, with bowls of apple sauce and plates of butter at convenient distances, a knife and fork for each eater (no plates), it was a triumph for childish self-control to dip in with the rest, or "lay tu," as the host bade us after the long-standing blessing of the white-haired sire.

     Our modern house-keepers would have fits, Mr. Editor, to see the knives of the eaters spreading bread from the common butter plate, or conveying the beans and applesauce direct from dish to mouth; and then the little pewter mug circulating cider around the board, and the covered tankard of delftware, representing, with its cocked hat of a lid, a rosy, fat old dutchman, baptizing the ruddy lips of the eaters in home-brewed beer! The "simple habits of our grandmothers!" How would they suit us? I have seen the fried pork or beef cut in mouthfuls in the common platter, each eater cutting his potato on the bare table, and dipping it mouthful by mouthful in the gravy. Generally, however, the wooden trenchers (plates), or pewter, were used when such food was served. Such were the arrangements by which our grandmothers gained time to spin and weave and make the household linen. At a somewhat later date, when old squire B. helped his neighbor guests to the good things of his New Year's supper, he was wont to remind his progressive daughters, who pressed him with changes of plates, that he began house-keeping so poorly furnished that often clean chips eked out the dinner service when company called.

     How often in later years, when hunting my village wood-pile for bits of chips, have I smiled at thought of the daughter's rejoinder: "But, father, plates are more plenty now than clean, fresh chips." Very pleasant are my memories of the home of my maternal grand-parents. From my little splint-bottomed chair I see grandmother -- a sweet, plump little old woman, in white cap and checked copper-as-colored dress and white apron -- setting her tea-table (covered with domestic birdseye, white as the sun could make it), watching the while a johnny-cake which is baking on a board before the maplewood fire. The cake persists in slipping from the board, and grandmother, losing patience, at last exclaims: "I wish it would slide into the fire and done with it." As she turns away, grandfather, who is smoking in the corner (sitting on the inevitable blue-dye tub), fathers her wish, and she turns again to find her cake in the fire sure enough; but grandfather was industriously putting down the contents of his pipe-bowl with his finger, and puffing away to keep his mouth from a smile. Grandmother righted the cake without comment or sign of vexation. Whether she suspected grandfather, who was fond of practical joking, I dare not inquire and never knew.

     So much, Mr. Editor, for the simple habits of our New England grandmothers. How they differ from those of other sections of Uncle Sam's great plantation I know not. What it would be for us to adopt them is revolution, such as even woman suffrage does not begin to suggest.


May 24th, 1870

Dear Gazette:

     It is a beautiful morning, still as the Sabbath of the soul in its fullness of gratitude and love. Clustering roses swing in the breeze and send their perfume abroad, as if they too had souls for dispensing blessings. "Bob White" has summoned his assistants and struck the key note; but his assistants, like many a human choir, sing each on his own hook. But Bob's choir, not attempting to keep time or tune, fill the air and the soul of the listener with sweetest melody.

     The rain! how cheerful its greeting! how splendid its results! This time everybody was ready and waiting for it. I forgot the water merchants, their vocation is gone for the present. No halves and quarters in the dry bottoms of their tanks and barrels. But even they can take the shovel and the hoe with brave hearts after such a harvest from Jersey Creek. The youngsters -- God bless 'em -- can have a big swim, like the wise men of Gotham, "that went to sea in a bowl." Dear Little Cupids, how much the grown shadows of maturer life are lessened and vanish before their hilarious enjoyment of pure water -- in a tub! Surely blessings -- not babies -- are very cheap. The choicest and permanent always cost most and much, and babies are very, very rich Godsends, and cost what wealth cannot buy; but the pay in the small as well as the large coins of human sympathy.

     Mr. Editor, forgive me if I am "garrulous," and please remember I was born and "brought up" in an age and among descendants of Puritans, who regarded children as the hope of the new world and its sparse homes. It was no secret that the fathers and mothers of my early day calculated in adding a little one to the household every two years. It was as much a part of the programme of home affairs as the raising of crops or stock, and in some cases, I regret to say, the profit in dollars and cents mainly influenced the calculation. The help of the children of the family went far to ensure its pecuniary prosperity in those days. This reminds me of a chat with a German, from Kansas City. Speaking, as we rode towards Wyandotte, of the material improvement of Kansas, he remarked that "what Kansas needed was the children. Kansas will have to wait till the children are big enough to work," said he. "Young men and women are the pioneers and they have to raise their help." He was right, but I thought to myself, will these children help like these German children? The children of American born parents of the nineteenth century, will they add to the means of the family, as did the children of Young New England?

     It has come to be thought by most parents, that children are only an expense, and by children, that they are entitled to sacrifices, and to be supported in extravagance by their parents. "I was not born of my own will, said a youngster to his mother, and I am under no obligation to work and save for father. He is under obligation to care for me, and I for myself!" Alas, that such a confusion of ideas should prevail. But is not the blame with those who openly treat the subject of children as a necessity to be avoided or regretted? I leave your readers to think of the matter, Mr. Gazette, and return to the birds, Bob White, the growing corn, the greenwoods in the distance and the roses at my door. It is happiness to fall in with nature in her genial moods, than attempt to arrest the unnatural in human affairs.

     P. S. In the Gazette of the 12th (?) you refer editorially to the arrest by police, of certain men, married and single, in a disreputable house, and remark, that the city treasury is $100 richer. I conclude [that] you have no great respect for riches, since you apply the term in connection with an expressed disbelief of the safety or good in using this "fat take." [27] You did not say whether the $100, was the amount of fines paid by the arrested men, or a city tax on the inmates of the house referred to. There would be no room for doubt, but for the known fact that Kansas City has taken the responsibility to license such houses. Of course they follow the whisky saloon, and Wyandotte has a cloud of such witnesses.


[May, 1870]

Editor Journal:]

     I noticed, sometime since, that Lucy Stone was arraigned by a certain Vermont editor, for exaggeration in her public showing of Vermont laws affecting married women. [29] Exaggerate! Why, she drew the picture so mild, that only press of home duties prevented my sending a life-size picture of the legal skeleton grinning in the private closets of three-fourths, if not ninety-nine hundredths of the wives of Vermont. Recipient as I have long been of the confidence of the happily, as well as the unhappily married, I am frank to say, that not one woman have I yet found, who understands the practical bearing of these laws, that is satisfied to take her chances of provision as wife and mother, under their administration. Many women are trusting with more or less confidence to the will of a good, considerate husband, which may be "broken" by Probate Courts. And others, in the pride of seeming independent in the election of their conditions, profess to be abundantly satisfied.

     My opportunities for a free translation of these moods allow me to speak advisedly, when I say, that the dissatisfaction of Vermont women, of any experience, is general. It may not be outspoken for the reason once given me by the intelligent wife of a very dear husband: "I do not say this to my husband, lest he should think me dissatisfied with his always generous provision for my comfort. But I often feel it, to have nothing I can call my own. If I had something in my own right, it would save me the pain of asking for many things, the want of which I know he does not appreciate as I do. He is a man engaged in active business pursuits, that bring him in contact with varied sources of improvement and interest; I am a woman, at home, and must manufacture much of the interest which comes to him as a matter of course. Neither can appreciate fully, or anticipate the needs and tastes of the other."

     When this woman became a widow, and a flaw in the will of her husband made his expressed intentions null, and embarrassed both herself and their only son, she exclaimed to the probate judge, "I always knew Mrs. Nichols was right, but now I feel it." This is only one case, but it mirrors thousands among the green hills of Vermont. Wills are poor protection against laws.

     Prior to 1847, the wives of Vermont -- legally divested of all personal and property rights -- were provided for as paupers. They were the wards of their husbands, as paupers are of the State -- legally entitled to necessary support -- the husband and the State claiming each the service, of its ward in consideration of such support. The pauper, however, had the advantage. He might inherit property, or, leaving the home provided by the State, earn it and cease to be a pauper. A relative or friend might give him a home, and no law existed to drag him back to service. But the husband had a legal right to pursue his wife, collect pay for her services and clothing, of son, brother or friend, who might, in love or pity, "harbor" her. The pauper could bring a suit in his own name, and thus defend his rights of property, person and reputation. The wife had no such rights to defend; she was "dead in law," "her legal existence suspended during marriage" -- to use legal phrases.

     With the property possessed at marriage, or inherited during marriage -- as secured by the enactments of 1847 and '49 -- what is the present legal status of Vermont wives? Simply this: wives who hold property in their own right are no longer paupers. But wives who have no such property are paupers still, with this difference, that like the common pauper they may now get off the pauper list if property comes to them by inheritance or will, or as a gift, if from any person but the husband. They may not hold gifts from him as against creditors or heirs. [30]

     Mrs. W______, of Windham Co., forty years a faithful wife and stepmother, had property and inherited money, which went into her husband's hands prior to the law of '47. To compensate her, her husband, a wealthy man, had given her bank stock, the dividends for which had been issued to her for years. He also included it, for greater security, in his will, as also furniture and other property. By efforts of the heirs the will was set aside. Mrs. W______ then petitioned the court for her property and money in the estate, furniture and U.S. bonds. The court only gave her her own U.S. bonds. Several thousand dollars had been advanced to the children, and receipted for, to be reckoned in the estate of the father. No share of this personal property of the estate was given to her. The "discretion" of a probate judge in Vermont is too much akin to royal prerogative to be tolerated in a republican government.

     The widow's dower -- secured to her beyond any contingency but her own act (signing a deed of sale or mortgage) -- is the use of one third of the real estate during her life, and she is to "keep said third in good repair." No matter whether she is kept in good repair, the third must be. And I have known several cases, where in her helpless age, the use of the third being two thirds too little for her support, the "dear old mother and grandmother" of a respectable family, and member of a Christian church, has eked out her days in a poorhouse! It is at the discretion of the probate judge to allow the widow $200 of personal property; covering furniture, gifts, pictures and any "reasonable" amount of trumpery: in one case five old harnesses and four broken carts, wagons and sleds! She is also entitled to her share of other personal property left after payment of debts -- personal property being so applied till it or the debts are exhausted.

     All personal property exemptions vest in the husband; he can sell all the personal property, gamble or give it away -- cow and furniture and wife's clothing (if not bought with property held in her own right) included. The homestead vests in both during his life, but at his death it is administered on as other real estate. Prior to 185[0], the widow of a man having no children was entitled to half the estate only, though that half might not keep her helpless age from the poorhouse. In 185[0] a law was procured giving to such widow the whole estate, if not over $1000 in value, and half of any excess. If the husband leave no kin she has the whole. [31] (In the early days of the State, if there were no kindred, the State claimed to be nearer to the dead man than his wife, and put the kinsmen's half of the estate into its own treasury. But Vermont statesmen got ashamed of picking the pockets of the widow for the benefit of the State, and repealed that provision before "strong-minded women" began the "clamor for rights.")

     But in '53 interested persons procured the passage of a law by which this law of '5[0] might be evaded. It was enacted, that "any married man of sound mind might adopt any adult person or minor," and that adult or minor should "be his legal heir;" sec. 2d specified that "any married woman" might adopt, in like manner, "any adult person or minor," and such person or minor became her legal heir, "provided her husband joined her in such act." [32] As will be seen, this law places any widow, whose childless husband chooses to cut her off from the benefits of the law of '50, in a worse condition than under the old law, which gave her half. It reduces her to the dower of widows of men leaving children, viz: the use of one-third. It also places the wife -- without her consent -- in the relation of mother to anybody her husband chooses to father, while she cannot adopt an heir without his consent. And, in the event of widowhood, she finds herself an "encumbrance" on the estate of the adopted heir; obliged to "keep her third in good repair," under his eye, perhaps in a third part of the same house.

     Another law, adapted to the legal pauperism of the wife, reacts upon destitute parents. The married daughter is not under legal obligation to support her aged or invalid parents; "well to do" sons are required to support parents unable to support themselves. Many a mother, and mother's daughter, have felt the bitterness of this barbarous discrimination of duties, without tracing it to its source -- the giving of the wife's property and services to the husband. One, of several similar cases coming to my knowledge, will illustrate the practical working of this law. An only daughter married a mechanic with no means: they prospered. She did her own work and boarded his "hands," from three to half-a-dozen in number. In the course of time, his aged parents came to him for support. The wife gave them her personal attention for years; many times in the day lifting the "bed-ridden" mother. This wife knew that her earnings in the joint income went towards the support of these old people, while her own dear old mother was cared for in the poorhouse of a neighboring town! The neighbors said, "It is hard for her, but then, with his own parents to support, Mr. _______ cannot be expected to support his wife's mother!" Alas! Moses is not the only legislator who has adapted laws to the "hardness" of men's hearts.

     By the divorce laws of Vermont, property of the wife reduced to the husband's possession remains his; and she is also cut off from dower -- the cause of divorce being infidelity of the wife. If the wife procure a divorce for infidelity of the husband, the court may decree her "alimony," which is not construed to cover means for a home or capital for any womanly business -- for it must have "regard to the circumstances" of the husband -- but in installments to furnish meagre board and clothing. [33] The guilty wife is sent out penniless, childless and scorned. The guilty husband keeps the "home sphere" and means to pursue his business without loss of caste or children! Oh, Moses! Moses! In no case of divorce, within my knowledge, have little boys -- except till weaned -- been given to the mother in answer to prayer or tears, or efforts of influential friends even. In the case of Mrs. Langdon of Montpelier -- Judge [Jacob] Collamore [34] on the bench -- the efforts of influential men, brothers of both parties -- failed. And the little boy of eight years was assigned to the father, though, as was, testified in court, "the lives of his wife and children were in danger from his drunken paroxysms," and "his profanity, vulgarity and obscenity, common in presence of his family -- shocking."

     In giving the decision of the court, Judge Collamore remarked, that "it did not appear in evidence that the plaintiff had committed the least impropriety or indiscretion even," in the several years of her married life. A Vermont mother, educated, intelligent and without reproach, legally bereft of her only son of eight years, sees him given up to the training of a drunken, obscene father. And "when the little fellow heard the decision" -- said the Montpelier Watchman in stating the case -- "he tried bitterly, and besought the lawyers and all his friends to intercede with the judges to let him go to his mother." Two years after I heard of him being led from saloon to saloon, by the dirty, degraded father!

     The court records of Vermont abound in decisions verifying these statements of barbarous laws. The facts cannot be exaggerated. The sorrow and trials entailed on mothers and children by such laws can never be put in words.


[June, 1870]

To the Editor of The Revolution.

     Mrs. Stanton is reported as saying in her lectures, that in the State of New York women are possessed of equal legal rights -- "that their legal rights are already secured to them." [36] The statement is used as evidence that men can be safely trusted with all the privileges of citizenship so far as legislation for women is concerned, I am aware that New York, some two years later than Kansas, so changed her laws as to give mothers an equal control of their children with the father, and widows and widowers equal rights in the common estate. But beyond securing to her, in her own right, property inherited or earned outside her husband's service -- I am not aware that a New York wife has any property rights. [37] If married women in any state in the Union are possessed of all their legal rights I am utterly mistaken. If a single state has recognized the right of the wife to control one penny worth -- capital or use -- of the estate accumulated by the joint savings and earnings of husband and wife, I beg to be informed of the fact. To present the case plainly, let me ask,

     1. Can the wife, under New York laws, sell, lease, or control real estate or proceeds of estate, in which she has an inchoate right of dower?

     2. Is not all such estate deeded to the husband and his heirs, thus putting it beyond her control during his life, and cutting off her heirs (when not his) in the event of her dying first?

     3. Can she convey personal estate -- half of which becomes hers at his death -- or control any share of the proceeds from sale or use during his life, without his consent?

     All the above acts the husband can legally perform without her consent -- the real estate only, in such case, being subject to her claim of dower if he die first.

     4. Can she put a legal veto upon the waste of estate, real or personal, by endorsements, bets, games of chance, gold speculations? Can she legally prevent his sale or gift of cow, provisions, furniture, or other personal property exempted from attachment for debt; or is her consent necessary to a valid sale of such of any other personal property? In other words, do any personal property exemptions rest in the wife?

     5. Is her signature necessary to the validity of notes, orders, endorsements, and contracts -- to be satisfied from property in which -- under equal laws -- her interest would he equal with her husband's? Can any claim for dower be preferred against personal property disposed of by her husband during his life?

     6. Can she bring a suit in her own name for the collection of debts or protection of property as against others -- in behalf of the common estate -- real and personal?

     I deem it important that men and women have a clear understanding of this subject -- among other reasons, because of the general appreciation of property interests.

     In 1861, I became acquainted with a case illustrating a phase of the wife's legal residence, which properly enters into this question. Mr. ______, emboldened by his wife's discovery of an unlawful attachment on his part, urged her to procure a divorce and leave him free to marry his paramour. It would separate her from her only child -- a boy of nine years -- and she refused. He finally left her in their home, and went to New Orleans for the avowed purpose of gaining a residence and getting a divorce, which he accomplished. Remaining in the home which he had provided for her, was construed as desertion -- as leaving his bed and board in New Orleans. Her residence following his, had, nevertheless, left her behind -- a non-resident where she had been born and spent her married life. [38]


July 10, 1870

Dear Revolution:

     Having received no copy of the Revolution since its transfer to the new management, it was only yesterday that in a friend's copy, of June 16th, I saw my article on "The Laws of New York," with editorial comments.

     In your comments you say that, my "communication takes what we conceive to be rather extreme ground in regard to the control, by the wife, of property acquired by husband and wife during coverture." If you will re-read my article, you will see that I withhold all expression of opinion as to what should or should not be the wife's rights in the premises; and limited my article to the statement of a few facts, and the asking of six questions, to which simple answers of "yes" or "no," would complete a definite statement of the property and personal rights of the wife, and show whatever of inequality exists between husband and wife, under your laws. I hoped by my article to elicit a statement strictly in accordance with the fact and practice, for general information. For I am aware that even gentlemen of the legal profession, of high standing as judges of law, have given so little thought to the matter, that when pinned to the counter they are compelled to admit that this, that, and the other phase of the case, had "escaped their attention."

     Numbers of such have said to me, in conversing upon the subject, "married women are fully protected in their property and personal rights," and upon a further canvassing of the laws in detail, frankly receded from the position and admitted the inequality, and the injustice, perhaps excusing it, on the ground that justice is impracticable. Now I believe with my whole soul, that whatever is just is practicable; and, that, if half the thought was expended in the effort to be just, that is wasted in dovetailing together human inventions of expediency, in behalf of ambition, of pelf, and power, a code of laws, simple and satisfactory to men and women in the mass, would be the result.

     I hold with our Revolutionary fathers, that an unrepresented class is a misrepresented class; and, I deem it important in demanding the franchise, to show from the statutes of these Republican States, that unrepresented woman is every where misrepresented. That so long as she is not politically endowed to guard her own interests, every right won through male legislation is liable to repeal, and productive of no material good. Since we must be constantly appealing and protesting, even to keep what of justice we may, by persistent effort and indirect methods, win.

     To illustrate -- in 1860, '61, or '62, New York passed laws giving mothers an equal right with fathers to their children: also, made widows and widowers equals in certain property rights. [40] A subsequent legislature repealed these Acts, so that as before, only mothers of illegitimate children have any right to the children during the father's life, and widows are remanded to the pitiful dower on which, in a majority of cases, the widower would look with dismay and scorn. [41] Indeed, their haste in getting rid of equal rights with widows, is evidence, that for them the use of a third, or possession of half the common estate, is not enough.

     Little by little the Legislature of Kansas are chipping away the rights secured to women by our first Legislature. And such will be the result of the immigration of voters from States where women are less considered, until the women are voters. And we are by no means sure that such immigration will not amend our rights out of the Constitution. Eternal vigilance is the price women as well as men, must pay for liberty. We are learning by such lessons as Vermont has taught, that "who would be free herself must strike the blow." The thousands who desire suffrage "sub rosa," will learn that neither men, nor their strongminded sisters, can win the boon without their outspoken favor. "When women ask it," from men, must be answered by grand affirmation from women. I have not time now to consider the several points of your comments on my supposed opinions, but will send another article ere long. [42]

Truly Yours,

] [43]
November 28, 1870

To the Editor of the Commonwealth:

     It has been so long since your correspondent indulged in sociability with yourself and readers, that a feeling of strangeness attaches to the disused pen; disused not for lack of something to write or the will to write it, but in consequence of the protracted illness in my family. After weeks of watching and waiting the convalescence of my charge, [44] an invitation to join the L[eavenworth]. L[awrence]. & G[alveston]. :R[ail]. R[oad]. excursion to Humboldt, seemed a happy coincidence. [45] So, chaperoned by Mrs. Lucy B. Armstrong, [46] of Wyandotte, and kindly looked after by the editor of the Gazette [Richard Baxter Taylor], we found ourself, at 4½ p. m. Tuesday the 22d, in Humboldt. The clouds threatened snow, but gave us wind instead. The road was smooth, the crowd jubilant, Mrs. A.'s lunch appetizing, and the arrangements for accommodation of invited guests at Humboldt unsurpassed. The staunch little town, of 1,500 inhabitants, had issued 1,200 invitations. Contrary to general custom nearly all who were invited went or sent substitutes, and the live little town found an elephant on its hands. Fortunately she knew what to do with it. We met some old friends -- it was no time to make new ones -- and reconstructed our portrait gallery, substituting large proportions, grey hairs and sunny furrows, or it may be shadows of forgotten sorrow and privation, where fifteen years ago hope's tracery was fresh and life in its spring time.

     Our dancing days not being gone -- for to us they never came -- we sought a cosy place and watched the dancing. In our early days only the devil inspired the violin, and to keep step to its music was the march of death. How times have changed! But the Commonwealth was there to see. That I did not get sight of its portly representative is sufficient evidence of a full house. In passing out I encountered your neighbor of the [Kansas State] Record, his face radiant with super-youthful enjoyment and in his slipper a "high fantastic toe."

     Toasts there were, but your correspondent -- out admiring the elegant supper table -- lost the most of that entertainment; but as the bottom of the toast dish is always most juicy, and what she did get being rich in that quality, she has little cause for complaint, though some for regret. One feature of the occasion gave us great satisfaction -- the dress and manners of the ladies. With few exceptions they were dressed suitably for the season and the occasion. High-necked merinos prevailed, with scarce a Grecian bend to disfigure their fair proportions. Most wore their hair in not unbecoming fashion; while two or three wore it unkempt, down their backs, looking as if uneasy slumbers or busy mice had succeeded the toilet; and a few more, in the redundance of back head, were painfully suggestive of hydrocephalous. The speaking was good. The hall, 100 x 25 feet, was capacious and handsomely appointed. It was our pleasant fortune to make the acquaintance of the mayor of Iola, and his neighbor the county register. [47] Iola is a pleasant town of some 700 inhabitants, ten miles above Humboldt. [48] A number of its ladies were pointed out to us, all of whom were good looking, and some very pretty, a remark applicable to a majority of those who took the floor, as well as those who did not, and, by the way, the pretty ones were least interesting as having less individuality of character.

     Wednesday morning Prof. [Leonard L.] Hartman, [49] former president of Baker university, took us to his pleasant home, Cottage Grove township, five miles below Humboldt, on the L. L. & G. railroad, where, in addition to "the feast of reason and the flow of soul," we shared in thanksgiving turkey, flanked by pumpkin pie, cake, pudding and sauces, with a cup of fine old Jays.

     Friday, refreshed soul and body, we turned homeward, happily looking our last upon the fair southern country with its cosy homes, fine school houses and churches, bathed in sunshine and musical with the sound of many laborers in its varied fields of productive industry. With its two railroads, and the prospect of a third, and the enterprise and hospitality that distinguish its citizens, Humboldt can hardly fail of a permanent name and place among the first-class cities of Kansas. The far-sighted policy of its business men by making good wagon roads, bridging streams and allowing a generous margin of profits, has already secured the trade of Greenwood county.

     The congregationalists have a fine new church, and the methodists are putting up a brick church, "to be the best in southern Kansas."


Dec. 26th [18]70

Dear Relie

     We are just thawing out from a very cold snap of a week. We all shrink from these cold terms & talk of  Cal[ifornia]. But the means are yet in prospect.  Geo[rge] is determined to go soon as he can get enough together. If Mary gets anything next spring they can go in the fall perhaps & most likely be poorly off when they get there, but they are used to that. The appropriation is to be made yet by  Cong[ress] for  paym[en]t of back monies (annuities) & interest, due  Wy[andotte]s. Her share of this will be something like $200. This she is sure of when the money is appropriated; and it is pretty certain to be made this winter. It was agreed on last  Con[gress] by both houses & finally a sum of 5,000,000 voted to be put in [the]  Pres[iden]t's hands to dispense if necessary in his judgment. [51] It was not voted in detail on  acc[oun]t of a difference between House & Senate as to the right of [the] Senate to make or dictate appropriation for National purposes. The House denied the constitutional right of the Senate to appropriate for fulfilment of its treaties. Finally the House agreed to make the appropriation in gross provided the  Sen[ate]. should not construe such act as yielding the principle. The  Pres[iden]t has not dispensed except for border tribes & the Congress is expected to finish its contest over the matter this winter.

     We meet disappointments here & there.  Geo[rge] has lost a 3 y[ea]r old colt that he has been offered $75 for if he can find it, but he has been gone several months now & as he did not come up with the others from the bottoms when cold weather set in & he can hear nothing from him after several hunts -- we think him lost. His $100 debt for Dolly which was secured by mortgage with 2 other notes, I fear will be an utter loss. He made papers when I was gone & they are not right for a pinch; would do very well if the property were salable [sic] for whole amount secured. It will be a heart-rending thing for him to leave his team -- Kit & Fanny. He was offered $200 for Fanny the other day. Both are with foal. If he went overland he could take them. With no losses we will have some fine hogs & shoats to sell next fall. But it takes about all we get from the land & stock to live, & then he & his family are very plainly & poorly clad. My taxes are about $60 this year & I have but $15 on hand. I have due for wood sold some $20 more &  Geo[rge] is hauling as much as he can. Most of it is sold to  R[ail]. R[oad]. employees who pay when they are paid &  paym[en]ts are often -- as now -- three months behind.

     We lay our plans & then with all our anxiety & effort we make haste slowly. Mary's & baby sickness has been a pull back taking his time for chores as I am not able to draw water & lift tubs &c. & we can't get help even for money. I have work due me which I can get only by mouthfuls. I sold a worn out stove & have had part in house cleaning & washing -- the rest we need in this cold weather to spare us: but "niggers" won't work in cold weather. Land hereabout is rising rapidly and I may sell here another season. If I do -- and when I do, I shall transfer my means -- after paying debts -- to California & use some of it in stocking  Geo[rge] if desirable. I like your idea or plans for him & it is just what would suit him -- raising stock is his delight & he understands it: knows how to buy & sell all kinds. I have told you now just how we stand. Meantime W. A. is in  Mich[igan]. & I hope he will collect some for heirs. And I am going to write to my  Pa[tent]. Ag[en]t to sell that 100 acres for what he can get. I see no use in holding on till I die. $200 for it will be worth more to me in meeting present issues than $500 3 years or 2 hence perhaps.

     Next week after  rec[ei]pt of your announcement I went as invited guest -- at no expense whatever -- in the excursion on  acc[oun]t of the opening of the  Leav[enworth].  Law[rence]. & Galveston  R[ail]  R[oad] to Humbolt [and] visited 3 days with friends 5 miles beyond: came home took a terrible cold next day & for 3 weeks it was cough & suffer: had 2 chills, have been over it all 10 days, in which time we have killed 3 hogs. So you see why I had not written. But I had no idea it was so long. I waited a week to receive the money  Geo[rge] McGowan [52] wrote me he had  rec[eived] from you that I might acknowledge it to you. [53]


May 5th 1872

Dear Gazette: --

     Six weeks ago I commenced a communication for your columns detailing incidents and gleanings of our journey hither, but it has grown stale and I throw it aside.

     A single day later in starting from Kansas City and we would have been booked for the "long blockade." As it was we were delayed at three several points -- by snow, by the breaking of the engine on a preceding train, and by the running aground of the steamboat which transported  R[ail].  R[oad]. passengers over the submerged country from Sacramento to San Francisco -- in all four days, making our time from Kansas City twelve days instead of eight. It may interest our personal friends to know that we were made comfortable, having provisions plenty and in appetizing variety, with cooking privileges for tea, coffee, oysters, toast etc.

     As newspaper traveling correspondents and excursionists do not affect the immigrant or 3d class passage, it may interest your readers, especially such of them as may find its conveniences or its moderate fare suited to their requirements, to be told something of our experience as passengers on the same. As I have traveled many thousands of miles on first-class cars, my ability to compare their respective advantages will not be questioned. The expense of a first-class ticket prevents many persons from taking the journey, who would be delighted to visit the Pacific States if they knew they could make it comfortably at the Immigrant price; and here let me say I have never made a railroad journey with so little discomfort as this. Twelve hours from Kansas City to Omaha, and forty-eight hours west of Sydney [Nebraska] on the Union Pacific, in which we were transferred to the express train, were the most uncomfortable hours we spent upon the trip. The cars were crowded and dirty, and illy attended.

     On the Immigrant cars we had at no time more than a dozen fellow passengers, and most of them left us at San Francisco. They were, without exception, men and women of good address, several -- French, Danes, and Americans -- were persons of education and culture, who could discuss any topic of general interest with sense and feeling. A Danish scholar and his sister studied the English language persistently and with excellent success, being familiar with several languages, ancient and modern. Three of our company were merchants or commercial traders accompanying their freight -- social and well-informed men with as much jewelry and shirt collar as if they had been traveling on first instead of the third class train. All together we were a sort of family party.

     A California friend suggested our coming on the Immigrant train, as being less crowded at this season of the year, not subject to the annoyances of "way passengers," more safe from accidents, the seats as comfortable, the cars as cleanly and more roomy, in short, that being designed for the accommodation of immigrating families, we would be allowed privileges not to be had on 1st and 2d class cars. "By all means," responded the Omaha  Sup[erintenden]t. of Transportation, "if you are detained on the road you can make yourselves more comfortable," So we took our mattresses and blankets and personal baggage into the car with ourselves.

     You may be sure it was a privilege we will never forget, to lay aside our wraps, spread a mattress for the little ones and their invalid mother, and make our tea as a family at home. The weather was not very cold and the car always warm enough. Fare from Kansas City to San Francisco $62. Freight 6 cents per pound, and no extra charges.

     I was prepared to like California, yet feared that seeing would "let me down," other people's spectacles magnify so differently from our own. But there is a great deal more of California, and all unlike my imaginings. The whole country is made up after patterns I am not familiar with. I was born among the Green Mountains of Vermont, explored its gorges and climbed its granite rocks. But these mountains, though green with evergreen trees and shrubs are all unlike any mountains I have ever seen. The rocks, heavy with the moss of ages, might be taken for remote ancestors of New England boulders. Hurled by the warring elements into the deep gorges, they are eminently suggestive of "an awful power behind the throne." Mountains, rivers, valleys, gorges (canyons) are put together in unique and ever varying relations. -- The effect is always grandly beautiful; nothing suggestive of pettiness anywhere meets the eye or oppresses the thought. But I am admonished of the difference between seeing and putting on paper -- the latter has limits, and I hope to write you oftener and of sights beyond our valley. Now it is our valley:

     Potter Valley is 7 miles long by 4 miles broad, 90 miles north of San Francisco, and 30 east from the Pacific ocean. It lies at the bend of Russian river, which empties into the Pacific, and is one of a succession of valleys following the streams through the Coast Range, a deflection of the Sierra Nevada mountains. These valleys are approached by canyons, more or less deep and narrow, through which the mountain streams rush madly in the rainy season, and almost, sometimes quite, disappear here and there beneath their sandy rocky beds in the dry. Like all these valleys, Potter is made up of meadow and upland, the former put in crops, the latter devoted to grazing -- sheep and stock raising being extensively pursued. To the eye of an insider, the valley is oval in form, and framed in by mountains, rising, tier above tier, from foot hills skirting the upland, to snow-crowned summits piercing the heavens. As the eye sweeps the horizon it can detect no opening in the grand enclosure, which looks to be distant less than a half hour's walk. With here and there grassy pasturage to the snow belt, which recedes as warm days and nights set in -- these mountains are beautifully dotted and fringed with evergreen trees and shrubs. The pine, cedar, fir, madrone, manzanita, live oak, pepper, are very fine trees -- the three latter blossoming in January -- and with the chemitz, a shrub as impenetrable as the osage orange, keep the mountains forever green.

     Potter was settled in 1858, is occupied by a thriving farming population of some 700 souls; has three school districts, two small villages, Postoffice, blacksmith shops, two stores, two saloons -- but not a lawyer nor a doctor within fifteen miles. So healthy, socially and physically, there is "no need" they tell me.

     The lower end of the valley was first occupied by several families of teetotalers from Kansas and Illinois, Missouri, Maine, New York, and others of the Eastern and Southern States, are also well represented by a community of industrious, intelligent and orderly habits.

     Entering the valley I was surprised at the extent and quality of fences, the whole valley being divided into 40 and 80 acre lots -- with inside enclosures often around the home buildings -- by picket fences, sheep high and poultry tight. These fences are made by driving redwood pickets (without the point at the top) into the softened earth in the winter or rainy season, and fastening them by narrow strips nailed horizontally 12 inches from the top. -- They are both durable and beautiful.

     Upland and meadow, like prairie destitute of forests, are beautified by frequent clumps of grand old oaks. In winter when bare of leaves, their extended branches -- all elbows -- hung with moss a foot in length and frequently a dozen branches of mistletoe from the size of a peck measure to a two bushel basket, all swinging in the wind, have a weird look, and when in solemn repose somehow suggest the bones and sinews of centuries of human history shorn of its hopes, its joys, its tender, palpitating life. A single one of these oaks furnishes fuel for a season. They branch very low and are so gnarled and knotty that scarce a cord-wood length can be split from their trunks. The upland adds to the white oak, clumps of manzanita -- a beautiful low, umbrella shaped, flowering evergreen and the madrone, another evergreen (like manzanita, broad oval leafed) its trunk and large limbs a curious patchwork of light maroon and dark brown -- both trees shed their bark annually.

     Building in this country is a comparatively cheap and expeditious matter. Greatly to the comfort of housekeepers and invalids, the homes are roomy on the ground, generally only one story in height, with broad piazzas and fireplaces as well as stove. They are simply enclosed by siding, or plank and battens. This I have found comfortable in our kitchen and sleeping rooms in the coldest weather. As means increase and the spirit of improvement is at leisure to beautify "best rooms," cheap muslin tacked the wall and papered (by an arrangement that secures against dampness) is resorted to instead of plastering. They invariably ceil with redwood matched for the purpose. This fashion of building dispenses with rats and mice. Pussy has to forage outside for her tenderloin. The best idea I can give you of these homes is conveyed in the term "snug and cosey."

     And the flowers! Our dear Mrs. Hadley would throw up her hands and confess that it is quite superfluous to cultivate flowers except as a matter of order. You can't take a step on grass ground without tramping numberless flowers -- there is a "ground work" of flowers all besprinkled with frequent masses of different kinds and richest colors. Escholtzia, larkspurs, double, variegated and of variegated and of different colors, pinks, lilies of various hues kinds and more than 50 others for which I can find no name. (I have no botany at hand.) Rich and beautiful varieties of the rose climb the piazzas and sentinel the fences and have been in bloom since the first of April. The wild flowers commenced blooming in earnest the middle of February, and every day the little ones, with some new variety, rush in crying "Grandma, grandma, another new flower:" and "Oh, ain't it beautiful." "Fower! fower! gramma" -- cries the little two year old, his chubby little hands full of yellow, blue, red, pink and purple beauties.

     I have now been here more than four months, seen the winter through, and found it -- in temperature -- no winter at all, but rather a Kansas October or a New England September -- warm days and cool, often frosty, nights, still water outside occasionally freezing over. March has been the coldest month, the frosts for the first time in ten years blasting the peach crop and most of the pears and plums. Cherries and apples and grapes promise a sufficient supply. The ground has never frozen excepting two or three nights in February, just to stiffen a half inch of the bare surface. Grass and flowers took no note of the fact. The winter has been remarkably wet. In 1859 there were six weeks of rain, and snow lay upon the ground two weeks. This winter it rained fully three-fourths of the days and nights from the 20th of December to the 15th of March, leaving out two to three weeks of fine weather in January. Nobody seemed incommoded by the rain, which was warm and gentle. It was only a little more than necessary of a blessing for which they had severely suffered the two previous seasons. This section of California (Mendocino Co.) is not subject, as some other localities, to loss of crops by drought. Their crops were lighter, but good corn was raised without a drop of rain from planting to harvesting.

     One fact connected with California has impressed and interested me more than almost any other characteristic -- the extent and variety of its remunerative industries as furnishing to women and children employment of the most pleasant and profitable character. The dairy season has the advantage of winter prices at home and east if shipped, as it can be in fine condition, from the 1st of March to the 1st of May. The culture, picking, packing, canning and drying of fruit for market, raising poultry, herding stock and care of sheep and lambs make boys and girls "strikes" of gold and silver more desirable than homeless diggings in the mountains.

     As a specimen of industrial returns in the agricultural line, let me speak of one of our Kansas friends, an old neighbor of ours in the vicinity of Prairie City, who fought with John Brown in the times that tried border ruffian souls and found them -- wanting. Three families who had been four months in making the trip -- overland -- from Prairie City to San Francisco in '57, pitched their tents on Government land in this valley in January '58. One of these, Mr. Samuel Mewhinney, [55] had stopped at Santa Rosa, between this point and San Francisco, several months on account of the severe sickness of his wife. Seven dollars a day for medical attendance and thirty dollars a week hotel expenses, left him, of the $1,500 cash and 100 head or so, of cattle, horses and mules with which he left Kansas -- only the necessary team force, a few head of cattle and cash enough to buy a two weeks supply of provisions. There was no carriage road to the valley through the mountains. Freight was packed the last fifteen miles (from Ukiah the county seat) by "Digger" Indians [56] at $1 per cwt., that amount being a back load. Mr.  M[ewhinney]. paid 5 cents a pound for seed, packed it 90 miles, put in 5 acres of wheat -- the first crop in the valley -- using an old plow borrowed of a settler some 7 miles distant. The wheat was cut with sickles, trodden out with horses -- 200 yards of muslin stitched together serving for a threshing floor -- panned clean in the wind by Indians and sold at five cents per pound for seed and bread to settlers in the valley. From the 5 acres he had 500 bushels of splendid wheat.

     Wheat raising was of course voted a success; and so was poultry raising. Mrs. Mewhinney got the loan of a pair of Cochin Chinas. Biddy had already hatched one litter; she laid 22 eggs and sat raising a chick from every egg, 19 of them pullets. The pullets laid at five months of age and raised chicks. At the end of the year biddy's posterity numbered 182. "Only one egg was cooked," said Mrs. M., "and to my unceasing regret, to tempt my appetite when I was sick." The next or succeeding season, they raised 2,200 at a profit on sales of $700. Just think of 500 roosters crowing the midnight and morning hours! During the chicken season two boys tramped the fields, guns in hand, to drop hawks or other depredators on the feathered bipeds. Poultry raising is one of the most, and excepting sheep at present prices, the most profitable investment of farm labor.

     Prices do not fall from year to year: the supply never exceeding the demand. In March and April the wholesale prices for spring chickens, half grown, ranged from $7 to $10 per dozen in San Francisco. All through the winter hens and roosters were quoted at $8 to $11 per doz, wholesale. Purchasers come to our doors and pay from $3.50 to $4.50 for half grown chicks and $5 to $6 for full grown ones.

     Setting is commenced in earnest in January and these are ready for market early in April. I have hatched over 300 from 27 hens since the 20th of January -- done first rate for a beginning, say the neighbors. The climate is so temperate and equal, nearly every egg hatches, and with a tithe of the care required in Kansas few chicks are lost. Farmers and fanner's wives speak of their poultry with as much consideration and generally more than of their dairy or young stock. It is ready money and plenty of it for all family expenditures when crops are dull or less easily marketed. One wagon will accommodate from 16 to 20 dozens according to size of poultry.

     To round out my little history of California agricultural returns, let me add that Mr. Mewhinney and his son have a farm of some 2,000 acres of meadow, upland and foothill, a splendid orchard 10 years in bearing, convenient farm buildings, the house almost hidden among rare flowers, vines and shrubbery, some 500 sheep and lambs, and beside, corn, barley and oats in abundance, raised last year 1,500 bushels of wheat. Men's wages, farm work, are $30 per month or $350 a year and board. Women's wages, housework, $1 by the day, week or month.

     With friendly greeting to neighbors and friends, I remain yours truly.


Aug. 15th [1872]

Dear Gazette: --

     Another breathing space in this work-a-day life is reached, and it is time I dotted a page in acknowledgement of your welcome weekly visits. It was planting time, I think, when I wrote you last. Now, haying and the harvest of small grains is accomplished; the hay mostly put in bales for home sale or shipment to distant points -- the mountain ranches depending on the lowlands for hay.

     The grain is all threshed, in this valley, and the yield found to be unusually light in consequence of the long continued and super-abundant winter rainfall. Our 15 acres of wheat, sowed in November, yielded 275 bushels, or 18 bushels to acre. Last year the field was in corn; the year before it produced 400 bushels of wheat.

     The hay and small grain harvests are very different affairs in California and Kansas. There being no rain to look out for everything is done deliberately and without anxiety. The club variety of wheat is mostly used, which to thresh clean must stand some three weeks after it would be suffering for the cradlers, in the Kansas view. It does not shell out in handling like other varieties. It is usually cut by "Headers," and, being perfectly dry, stacked as cut. This year, the Threshers followed hard upon the headers, and soon the work was done. If a man has sacks enough, or a bin in his field, the grain is often left right there till convenient to store it or carry it to market -- any time before the rainy season, which generally commences with installments in October. Barley or wheat fields, designed for fattening hogs, are often not harvested: -- the hogs are turned in to help themselves. Sometimes a fire is run through the barley field first, to burn the beard that depreciates its fattening conditions. This mode of feeding, which would be wasteful in a rainy country, is not considered so here -- the surface of the ground being dry and hard as pavement, the grain kernels are in no danger of growing or getting lost.

     Since the last week in April there has been no sprinkle of rain, with the exception of a slight shower in May, with light thunder and a Kansas wind -- almost unknown here -- which pruned the old Oaks of their more ambitious branches and set the feathers of the astonished poultry the wrong way.

     The summer has been unusually cool, some three weeks of hot weather in July and August, which has given place to cool days again. The nights are all cool and dewless: from one to two blankets, often a quilt added, in request as bedding.

     Sleep, here, is a luxury, a refreshment admirably coupled with the warm cloudless days. The heat is less oppressive than a lower degree in Kansas or New England, even when one could sympathize with the man who pined to dispense with Nature's covering and "sit in his bones." This fact is substantiated by the seldom occurrence of sunstroke.

     In June the pastures and grass fields become standing hay, which the cattle eat and fat on better than in the green state; the seed of the native grasses are said to possess great fattening properties. Any rain of consequence in summer would spoil the dry feed -- sprout the seed and destroy the winter growth on which the next season's pasturage is dependent; and the farmers tell me that rain as you have it in the eastern States would keep their crops growing; they would not mature. There has been one such experience as this within the term of California's settlement.

     I expected the summer drought would steal the charm of California scenery, but it has only increased the variety of light and shade and color. The cornfields are intensely green beneath their brown tasseled surfaces, and the trees seem dotted in darker foliage. The leaves of the Oak are not more than half the size and double in number. I see no such difference in size in the leaves of fruit trees. Corn grows very slowly till the hot weather of July, and is greatly given to suckering. As the dry weather prevents the germination of weed seeds, in the plowed fields, cultivating is done to loosen and aerate the soil only. Some do not plow their corn at all, if no rain falls, after it is planted to pack the soil, and few plow more than once. Our 10 acre field has been  cultiva[ted] twice and looks well. The rains held on so late that plowing had to be done before the ground was dry enough and it broke up in clods that were soon hard as brick. This has been a general complaint, and made the plowing and cultivating "hard work," very unlike the mellow field culture of Kansas. Corn requires a longer season here than in Kansas. Vines do not run so much, are short jointed and cover the ground like a mat; the fruit grows rapidly out of all proportion to the vine.

     But the squirrels! -- grey, short-bodied, heavy little fellows that burrow in the ground in communities -- are very fond of melons, cucumbers etc. Pieces of apple or bread, with a trifle of strychnine inserted, dropped into their holes, make sad havoc, as the living eat the dead and thus economize the deadly potion. Poisoning these animals is a common practice of the farmers, who also shoot a great many as in the cool months all, and in summer the young ones are excellent eating. Our shot gun brought in 13 one rainy day in March from a two hours hunt.

     The mountains and foot hills abound in game. Deer are plenty, and occasionally come down into the valley. Hare, the size of the jack-rabbits of the plains with ears as long as a mule's, range the fields and furnish quite sizable steaks, and very palatable. There are no insects to trouble the fruit, but a species of woodpecker, a new comer, is thinning cherries and apples to a vexatious extent, the late frosts having sufficiently lightened these trees of their promised abundance. The dryness of the climate seems unfavorable to insect life generally. The birds find no grubs in the old trees and stumps. I miss the cheerful hum of the mosquito, the brusque good evening of countless moths and bugs around my evening lamp, and the song of the Katydid, in gay concert with myriads of evening vocalists. Frog concerts ceased when the creek went dry; pasture fences dispense with cowbells and the railroad has not arrived at the crossing where you "look out for the engine when the bell rings." Primitive silence reigns supreme except when the four-hour teams, laden with families and furniture going to butter ranches in the mountains for the summer, or to camp long weeks by the different mineral springs therein -- or flocks and herds to their sweet pastures and pebbly streams -- pass by on the great road at the end of the lane.

     These mountains and foot hills abound in beautiful lakes, also springs of both mineral and soft water. In the valleys every ranch has its well, oftener two or three for the convenience of the house and farm stock, but the water of these is generally hard and occasionally has a mineral flavor, with the very best conditions for cisterns and abundance of pure water from the winter rains -- I cannot learn that such a convenience has been attempted in these valleys. Six months in the year streams and springs furnish an abundance of soft water and the balance of the year is a benediction -- not a prayer -- "in memoriam," of the "wet season."

     Just now everybody -- i. e. the women and children are gone "bag and baggage" to Bartlett and other mineral springs -- from 7 to 30 miles distant -- where they camp weeks and perhaps months, drinking the water and enjoying the mountain air and scenery. How do the homes get kept in their absence? The men, and boys large enough to work on the farm stay at home and take care of themselves: wash, churn, cook, feed chickens and pigs and keep the house in "apple-pie order." Some of the nicest house-keepers and cooks here are the men and boys of the family -- a fortunate result of the early experience of California, when the nearest approach to the feminine element was a "sunbonnet" that men might "dance around," but not appeal to for dinners. The "thresher," requiring 13 and the "headers" 5 extra plates, were entertained by the male house keepers.

     When a Miss Morrison, [58] lecturing against "woman suffrage," portrayed the disorder so fearful in Eastern eyes "when men should be left to keep the house" -- the Potter Valley folks couldn't see it and no wonder -- but they could laugh at what was quite ridiculous and to them equally new. With help in the house at $25 a month and no tolerable woman's help to be had at that, men and women here consider it fortunate and quite in order for the "male element" to be skilled in caring for itself and the "helpless members" of the family, in case of need. The Digger Indians -- excellent washers, men and women, and third rate help in the field, though terrible thieves -- have supplied the valleys of Russian river with help till this spring, when they were recalled by the Government Agent, to their reservation in Round Valley, some 20 miles distant. There is talk of importing "heathen chine[s]e," who seem to be better esteemed than I had supposed before coming here.

     You wouldn't like the dry season? Well, I had great dread of it -- all the "dry spells" of my acquaintance having been alike uncomfortable and unprofitable. I waited weeks for the disadvantages and discomforts, but instead I found numberless advantages and an absence of many disagreeables of rain in the hot growing season. No rank vegetable growth loads the air with the odors of decay or prevents a walk "dry shod" in the field or garden in the early morn. Wood and kindlings are always dry; fruit is spread in the open air or under shelter and left without turning or covering till ready to pack away -- grown and dried in a rainless climate it is richer, especially peaches, than any I have ever used. Nothing moulds in doors or out. A neighbor killed a very fat hog, thermometer from 95 to 106 in the shade -- for the threshers: what they didn't eat he rubbed in salt, gave it two or three smokes and it hangs in his smokehouse nicely cured. A deer is killed, hung without salting twenty to forty feet high in a tree and keeps sweet till eaten by the family of half a dozen.

     No need to close windows or coop young chickens, when you go out, for fear of showers, and no thunder and lightning -- the terror of weak nerves and some strong ones. In April and May we had some dew. Only four miles to the west of us is the eastern line of the fogs of the Pacific; beyond that to the Pacific shore is what is called "the fog belt" characterized by heavy dews, and cold winds (ocean) that call out winter overcoats coast-wise, and merge our hot days in cool nights. Within the range of this fog belt they raise splendid potatoes and vegetables of all kinds in profusion, but no corn. The valleys exchange their corn for the potatoes of the coast, only early potatoes making any return for cultivation in the dry climate of the valleys.

     "How did I sell my chickens?" Up to Aug. 1st I sold 9 dozen, most of them in April and May -- at from $3.50 to $4, the doz. and 2 doz. in market at $4.50 -- few of them half grown. The balance -- not labelled to keep for duty next season -- are engaged to a chicken peddler -- prices "according to size," as the market reports say. We are preparing to enlarge our accommodations for poultry raising, as winter is the time for setting and hatching, dry sheds and shelters are needed to make the most of one's labor. The grand old Oak just outside the yard, with its gnarled, horizontal branches, is the most healthy roost for the grown poultry, and a splendid orchestra for the crowing choir. The fowls are not as handsome as the same varieties with you -- there being no rain they neglect their toilets -- no oiling of feathers comparatively.

     There were several grievous mistakes in my former communication -- some my own and several the printer's. Potter Valley is at the head not the "bend" of Russian river. San Francisco is 130 miles [from] here. Other mistakes of less importance.

Till I write again, &c.

     P. S. That old "Quindaro cannon" -- says a voice from the corner -- reading the last Gazette -- can be identified by the wear upon one side caused by its experience of ox-dragging. [59]

Nov. 5th, 1872

My Sweet Child

     Why do I not get a word from you or Frank? I fear you are so ill [that] Frank don't like to write it, else he would I am sure just give me the bill of health. Don't keep from me your real condition? Tho' I can't go to you -- how I wish I could take care of you as yon have of me -- so tenderly! -- I had rather know[n] just how you are than be in such uncertainty. I write in pain -- three weeks age I fell from the wagon -- my own thoughtlessness -- struck my head -- right side -- my shoulder -- top & front -- and my hip -- leaving large bruises that turned purple, green & yellow and are still so. From the top of my shoulder or rather where the collar bone intersects (which point received the heaviest blow) to the bottom of my waist down & the center of my chest front & round partly under the arm is bloodshotten & the pain at the point struck is sore indeed on any movement (above the elbow) radiating in front & down the arm half way to the elbow. I am getting able to use it gradually: can now comb my hair by putting my head in my lap!

     Little Katie is my main dependence: stirs up bread when  Geo[rge] is out; washed his Sunday shirt! and does almost everything with help. Reel was here & helped  Geo[rge] two days getting in last of the corn, last week. His baby is just recovering from another severe illness -- it is a sickly child: & Helen has miserable health. Geo sowed Mesquit (Texas) grass this week. It has rained twice in 10 days nice, gentle rains. It never pours & washes here as in Kansas. Reel has brought up 70 lbs. Alfalfa -- a kind of clover that sends its roots from three to 15 ft -- finds water & lives thro' the dry season producing three or four crops -- 5 tons or 80 to the acre in season. Great feed for sheep. Next week  Geo[rge] commences plowing. The wheat (& oats for hay). They harrow right into the corn ground which is light as if just plowed -- no rain falling during summer to pack it. Oats are 1½  c[en]ts per lb. Wheat $l.30 cwt here [and] $1.60 in San Francisco. We raised a nice lot of pumpkins & quashes & pie melons -- several wagon loads -- raised themselves all through the cornfield -- feed for the cows and hogs. Eggs are 57 cts in San Francisco [and] 40 [cents] here. I have sold chickens ½ & 2/3 grown for from $4.50 to $3.50, and the last $5 per  doz[en]: old hens $6. I have 120 or so yet; sold & eaten ever 150. Haven't added up the eggs sold. Every body here depends on the poultry for supplies of groceries & dry goods &c.

     The grass is beginning to spring up & soon the pastures will be green again. The trees -- evergreen -- are always green so that there being no cold winter weather it dont seem like winter any of the year. It is hard times in Kansas: almost impossible to raise money on anything & prices at the bottom -- i. e. for produce. Oats only 15 cts. Corn 25 cts &c. I have offered my farm for sale but will not sell below my price [of] $5000 & I see no need for my neighbors -- one of whom is in the real estate business in  Wy[andot]t[e] -- has raised on his to $150 per acre which he bought 2 yrs ago for $75 -- the [Peter] Lugiebiel [sic] [61] place on the hill Bertia. And all round the same rise you see a narrow gauge R. R. is projected from  Wy[andot]t[e] across the County thro between the Wirtz & Doolen places west near you see but not touching mine.

      H[oward] writes very little fruit this year [while] other crops good; except clover which was a loss; it raining every day enough to spoil it &c. All the ground from the house to the road (from the barn) clear to [John] Donohue's path out was fenced & put in corn & the 8 or 10 acres in the 15 acre lot in crop also. I have not the report of amount yet as Mr. [Robert] Record had not completed harvesting.

     The Baptists here are organizing a  ch[urch]. [while] a very good minister comes every 3 weeks & the  Meth[odists]. N[orth]. &  S[outh]. & the  Bap[tists]. & Campbellite Baptists are proposing to build a Union  Ch[urch]. Meetings have hitherto been held in the School houses of which there are two very large fine ones in the valley & a 3d not so good. Geo goes every  Sab[bath] & week days -- evenings -- when there is prayer or preaching often. The  Met[hodist]. women one evening got up & kissed & hugged & rolled over on the floor crying "glory;" then hugged the men & urged them to come to Jesus. But with all this Geo says there is some good talk & music. He is hungry for music. Poor boy! often speaks of your singing &c. I am in great pain & must stop. He is going to the village to vote. All in earnest for Grant & [Henry]  W[ilson]. [62] Poor old Greeley! How are the mighty fallen! trying to get up higher than their altitude! [63]

     Grandma's best love to the child and Frank, dear boy. I sympathize with him in your disablement as well as with you. But keep cheerful [for] Our Father will comfort & bring good out of our mistakes even.

December 27, 1872

Dear Susan:

     The spirit moves me to speak through you to my dear old co-laborers in convention assembled. I would congratulate them that in the justice of our cause is an inherent force, gradually ridding it of all false issues, and bearing down all opposition. With this comfortable outlook, the advocates of woman's enfranchisement might rest in the assured success of this work, but for the implication that we assent to charges which we do not repel.

     Our opponents, from the New York Tribune in the East, to the knaves of clubs and diamonds in the West, charge that "free-love" is the "shibboleth" of the advocates of equal rights for women. With polygamous, free-love Utah tolerated by our National Government, under successive administrations; with the "social evil" licensed in city after city, through male suffrage, and in defiance of the earnest protests of woman suffragists in all sections of the country, our opponents seem oblivious of the terrible fact that the responsibility of a demoralized public sentiment rests with the governments which, by tolerating and licensing these manufactories and resorts of licentiousness, have encouraged the demand and protected the supply.

     Separated from its vile uses, the term free-love is still a misnomer, and though it might be washed "white as wool," it would involve uncalled for martyrdom, failing as it does to express the idea implied in our demand for equal legal rights, which is properly free marriage. A free government supposes all the institutions under it to be free. Under our government, marriage alone is an exception. As a civil relation it does not rise to the dignity and uses of a free institution, however near it may approximate thereto in those exceptional cases in which the husband is innocent of using the despotic power with which the law endows him.

     Civil law imposes upon the wife personal subjection to the will of her husband, and secures to that will absolute and tyrannical efficiency. It is a despotism embalmed in the cerements of freedom. As it stands to-day -- tried by common and statute law in our courts -- the civil institutions of marriage in nine-tenths of these United States, is, in its letter, the counterpart of what black slavery was, excepting the power to sell. And the slave wife, released from one master, groans to-day under the rule of another equally irresponsible, and as often less as more considerate of her needs.

     I believe I speak for nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand of the advocates of woman suffrage, when I assert that we are not asking for the abolition of civil marriage, nor for Mosaic divorce facilities, but for such freedom in the marriage relation as equally of rights is competent to secure. Women, it should be remembered, are not responsible for existing divorce laws. Our male legislators, improving upon Moses to the extent of transferring the divorce power from the husband to the courts, and allowing the wife an equal right of appeal, still persist in regarding divorce as the remedy for a "hardness of heart," which, in nine cases in ten, would never have obtained had men been trained by equal laws to respect the rights of women -- in all their human relations -- to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," as set forth in our fathers' declaration of rights. And I do most emphatically deny that the divine idea of marriage can be realized in a relation in which one party is endowed with irresponsible power and the other is a legal nonentity.

     Self-government, the right and duty of every human being, is impossible, separated from self-ownership. And civil marriage, in abrogating her right of self-ownership, legalizes outrages upon the wife's person which -- perpetrated by any man not her husband -- are declared crimes, and punishable by fines, imprisonment, and, in most countries of Christendom, death! Such, in brief, is the legal relation of husband and wife. And it is a sad commentary on the civilization of the nineteenth century that Christian women, for protesting against its despotic provisions alone, are met by honorable men with the shameful cry of "free-love," "prostitution," "husband murder," and the like.

     Self-ownership, or the right of personal freedom, as enjoyed by all male "good citizens," in all their legal relations, marriage included, is a woman's rights, is Bible Christianity, and should not be forfeited by marriage in the wife's case more than in the husband's.

     The New York Tribune denied that the wife "is legally divested of self-ownership," [and] asked, "What is the law? Who enacted it? Where is it written?" and charged that the resolution of your convention of 1871, demanding self-ownership, was a demand for legalized free-love. [65]

     Not to my knowledge has the Tribune been answered, and I reply: "It is English common law -- by which law our courts are ruled in their decisions." Being an unwritten law, it is not found in our statute books, and can be learned only from Law Digests and reported decisions of our own and English courts. In Judge [Henry] Dutton's [66] revision of Chief Justice [Zephaniah] Swift's [67] "Digest of the Laws of Connecticut," the power of the husband is thus briefly stated: "The husband has power and dominion over his wife; as he is responsible for her actions, he may control, regulate, and restrain her conduct, keep her by force within the bounds of duty, and under due subjection and subordination." The published report of the case of Shaw vs. Shaw, by the Supreme Court of Connecticut, (in 1845), illustrates the criminal uses of the legal subjection and subordination of the wife. [68]

     Chief Justice [Tapping] Reeve [69] says: "It seems to be well settled that, if the wife leaves her husband without cause, the husband may seize upon her person and bring her home." The husband's ownership of the wife's person nullifies her "right of private judgment in matters of conscience," and robs her of the right of an American citizen, to "worship God according to the dictates of her conscience." In the case of Lawrence vs. Lawrence, (3 Paige, 272,) Chancellor [Reuben Hyde] Walworth, [70] in his decision says: "Although it was an act of great unkindness and of unreasonable oppression on the part of the husband to use his marital power in separating his wife from the church of which she was a member, I have no hesitation in saying that she mistook her duty in not submitting to the oppressor." [71]

     In conclusion let me say, if I have spoken over earnestly to the public questioning, it is due in part to its apparent obtuseness in understanding "what these women want," and in part to the consciousness that neither men, who are better than their laws, nor women, who see the wrongs they inflict on both men and women, in the tenderest relations of life, can afford silence on the marriage question, when it is being used by the opponents of woman's enfranchisement and the advocates of free-love, to bring suspicion and disaster upon our demand.

Yours affectionately,

(Part Seven, the Clarina I. H. Nichols Papers of 1873-1880,
Will Appear in the Autumn, 1974, Issue.)

JOSEPH G. GAMBONE is a member of the manuscript and archives staff of the Kansas State Historical Society. He wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Vivian Bryan, Vermont State Library at Montpelier, T. D. Seymour Bassett, University of Vermont at Burlington, and Eva J. Leech, Brooks Memorial Library at Brattleboro, Vt., for their assistance in gathering these papers.

1. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, January 26, 1870.

2. Henry W. Cook, an attorney from Iowa, migrated to Kansas in 1863 and settled in Wyandotte. In 1868 he was elected to the state legislature and served one term. In 1869 he was defeated by Vincent J. Lane for reelection. For additional biographical information, see The United States Biographical Dictionary, Kansas Volume, pp. 51-52.

3. Vincent J. Lane, Democratic politician and journalist, migrated to Kansas in 1857 and eventually settled in Wyandotte. He was a member of the state legislature in 1868 and 1870, and, in 1872, established the Wyandotte Herald, a leading Democratic weekly. For additional biographical information, see ibid., pp. 637-639; Morgan, History of Wyandotte County Kansas and Its People, v. 2, pp. 505-506; "Biographies of Members of the Legislature of 1868," pp. 274-275.

4. For the law to protect sheep, see The Laws of the State of Kansas, 1869, p. 204.

5. For the 1868 law restraining dramshops and giving married women the right to sue for damages, see The General Statutes of the State of Kansas, 1868, p. 402.

6. The Revolution, February 3, 1870.

7. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the woman's suffrage convention held in Cleveland in November, 1869, at which the American Woman Suffrage Association was organized under the leadership of Lucy Stone. The American association worked independently of the National Woman Suffrage Association which had organized in May, 1869, under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two organizations clashed not on whether women should vote, but on how that goal should be achieved. For additional information, see Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian, pp. 169-173; Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, pp. 151-153. For the proceedings of the Cleveland convention, see New York Daily Tribune, November 25, 26, 1869.

8. Miss Anthony spoke at the Cleveland convention and attempted to unite the two organizations for the sake of the woman's suffrage movement. She asserted: "I care not what may come out of this Convention, so this great cause shall go forward to its grand consummation! And though this Convention, by its action, shall nullify the National Association of which I am a member, and though it shall tread its heel upon The Revolution, to carry on which I have struggled as never mortal woman or mortal man struggled for any cause . . . still, if you will do this work in Washington so that this amendment shall be proposed, and go with me to the several Legislatures and compel them to adopt it, I will thank God for this Convention as long as I have the breath of life." -- The Revolution, December 2, 1869.

9. The blatant omission of the work "sex" from the 15th Amendment forced Miss Anthony and Mrs. Stanton to initiate an amendment of their own, a 16th Amendment, which provided that the right of suffrage should be based on citizenship without any distinction because of sex. This amendment was introduced in congress by George W. Julian in March, 1869, and was the first federal woman suffrage amendment ever proposed in congress. For additional information, see HWS, v. 2, pp. 348-355; Lutz, Susan B. Anthony, Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian, pp. 160-162.

10. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, February 26, 1870.

11. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the letter written to the commonwealth by "J. C." and the editorial commentary concerning the accusations of corruption and fraud against the Kansas congressional delegation -- Samuel C. Pomeroy, Edmund G. Ross, and Sidney Clarke -- and the state legislature's proposed investigation of such activities. For the text of "J. C.'s" letter, see "J. C." to the editor, Topeka, January 2[6], 1870, cited in ibid., January 28, 1870. For the Commonwealth's editorial commentary, see, ibid., January 26, 28, 1870. For the legislative debate over the house resolution for the congressional investigation, see ibid., January 21, 1870; Leavenworth Times and Conservative, January 23, 1870; House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kansas, 1870, pp. 274-276.

12. Mrs. Nichols refers here to a letter written by Samuel D. Lecompte concerning the legislature's investigation of the Kansas congressional delegation. For the text of Lecompte's letter, see Lecompte to William Larimer, John McKee, and Martin Schmidt [February, 1870], cited in Kansas Weekly Commonwealth, Topeka, February 10, 1870.
   Samuel D. Lecompte, an administration Democrat, was appointed chief justice of Kansas territory by President Pierce in October, 1854, and held that position until March, 1859. He was a proslavery sympathizer and figured prominently in the territorial border troubles. After the Civil War he asserted his allegiance to the Republican party and was elected probate judge of Leavenworth county and served in the state legislature in 1867 and 1868. For additional biographical information, see "A Defense by Samuel D. Lecompte," KHC, v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 389-405; Malin, "Judge Lecompte and the 'Sack of Lawrence,' May 21, 1856," KHQ, v. 20 (August and November, 1953), pp. 465-494, 553-597.

13. James H. Lane, former congressman from Indiana and Free-State party leader during the Kansas imbroglio, was elected to the U. S. senate immediately following Kansas statehood in 1861. The Lane-Robinson feud, which began in the territorial period over control of the Free-State party, continued throughout their political careers until Lane's death in 1866. For the best available biography of Lane, see Wendell H. Stephenson, The Political Career of General James H. Lane (Publications of the Kansas State Historical Society, v. 3, Topeka, Kansas State Printing Plant, 1930).

14. For the legislative resolutions, see House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kansas, 1870, p. 211.

15. Franz Sigel, German military officer, immigrated to the U.S. in 1852. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he organized the Third Missouri infantry and later commanded the Second Missouri brigade. At the battle of Pea Ridge in 1862, his military skill contributed greatly to the decisive Union victory. For additional biographical information, see DAB, v. 17, p. 153.

16. The Revolution, March 3, 1870. In regard to Mrs. Nichols's efforts for woman's rights, Susan B. Anthony wrote that she was "the woman to whom all Kansas wives and mothers are indebted for their right to their property and their children." Miss Anthony concluded: "During those fearful 'Border Ruffian' years of 1857, '58 and '59, Mrs. Nichols traveled from settlement to settlement persistently -- attended the Territorial Convention and Assemblies for framing the Constitution, -- everywhere urging equal rights for women. -- Ibid.

17. Byron Sherry, an attorney from Leavenworth, served in the state legislature 1863, 1864, and 1870 and supported the concept of woman's suffrage. For additional biographical information, see The United States Biographical Dictionary, Kansas Volume, pp. 256-257; Kansas Daily Commonwealth, March 1, 1870.

18. For Sherry's resolution on the 16th Amendment, see House Concurrent Resolution, No. 39, "Kansas State Legislature Papers, 1870." For the legislative proceedings and the final vote on the resolution, see Kansas Daily Commonwealth, February 1, 3, 1870; House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kansas, 1870, pp. 363, 385-386; Senate Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kansas, 1870, pp. 206-207.

19. Kansas Weekly Commonwealth, March 10, 1870.

20. Byron Stewart, farmer, stockman, and state representative from Jackson county, migrated to Kansas in 1855. He served in the 1860 territorial legislature and was elected to the state legislature in 1869. For additional biographical information, see Kansas Daily Commonwealth, February 11, 1870.

21. For Stewart's resolution, see House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kansas, 1870, p. 577.

22. Wisconsin Chief, Fort Atkinson, April 23, 1870, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.

23. Unfortunately there are no extant copies of the Wisconsin Chief for 1870.

24. Wyandotte Gazette, April 14, 1870.

25. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, April 24, 1870.

26. Wyandotte Gazette, June 9, 1870.

27. In regard to the raid on the houses of prostitution, the editor of the Gazette asserted: "The city is nearly $100 better by this raid, but it should be expended in some manner where its application could affect no one, for no one can follow its use, for if it be considered a shameful thing in an individual to live on the wages of a woman's sin is it not much worse if a city does so." -- Ibid., May 12, 1870.

28. The Woman's Journal, June 4, 1870.

29. Mrs. Nichols refers here to an editorial that appeared in the Burlington Free Press denouncing Lucy Stone's speech on woman's rights during the 1870 woman's suffrage campaign in Vermont. The editor stated that Miss Stone's lecture "would have been quite effective, if it had only been correct." He concluded: "As it was, it was as pretty a piece of assumption and unsupported assertion as we have listened to in some time. We fear that taking fancies for facts and jumping to conclusions has become a habit with the little lady." -- Burlington Daily Free Press, February 5, 1870. For the complete test of Lucy Stone's speech, see ibid., February 4, 1870. For a scholarly and judicious account of the 1870 Vermont woman's suffrage campaign, see Bassett, "The 1870 Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Vermont," pp. 47-61.

30. The 1847 law gave married women the right to inherit, own and bequeath property, while the 1849 legislation provided homestead protection for widows. For the complete text of the Vermont laws, see The Acts and Resolves Passed by the Legislature of the State of Vermont, 1847, p. 26; ibid., 1849, pp. 14-16. For additional Vermont woman's rights legislation, see ibid., p. 13; ibid., 1851, p. 29; ibid., 1855, pp. 17-18; ibid., 1858, p. 27; ibid., 1864, p. 75; ibid., 1865, p. 28.

31. For the text of the 1850 descent of real estate law, see ibid., 1850, pp. 8-9.

32. For the text of the 1853 adoption of persons law, see ibid., 1853, pp. 42-44.

33. For the Vermont divorce laws, see ibid., 1866, pp. 45-46; ibid., 1867, pp. 30-31.

34. Jacob Collamer, attorney, judge, and Republican politician, was an assistant justice of the Vermont supreme court from 1833 until 1842 when he declined reelection. He served in congress from 1843 to 1849 and was appointed postmaster general in President Zachary Taylor's cabinet. In 1854 he was elected to the U.S. senate as a candidate of the nascent Republican party and served until his death in 1865. For additional biographical information, see DAB, v. 4, p. 300; Allen F. Davis, "Why Jacob Collamer," Vermont History, Montpelier, v. 27 (January, 1959), pp. 41-53.

35. The Revolution, Jane 16, 1870. Susan B. Anthony was forced to transfer The Revolution to Laura Curtis Bullard on May 26, 1870, because of financial reasons. For additional information, see Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian, pp. 178-179; Lutz, Created Equal: A Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1892, pp. 191-192; The Revolution, May 26, 1870.

36. Mrs. Nichols refers here to Mrs. Stanton's lecture tour of the west. In 1869 she had been engaged by the New York Lyceum Bureau to lecture on the role of women in contemporary society. For 12 years, eight months every year, from October to June, Mrs. Stanton lectured for the Lyceum Bureau. For additional information, see Lutz, Created Equal: A Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1892, pp. 192-206.

37. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the 1860 New York married women's property rights law. For the text of the law, see Laws of the State of New York, 1860, pp. 157-159. In 1862 the New York legislature amended the law, giving married women greater control over their property. For the text of the 1862 law, see ibid., 1862, pp. 343-345.

38. In regard to Mrs. Nichols's letter, the new editor of The Republican, Laura Curtis Bullard, wrote: "The above communication calls attention to a very important question, and takes what we conceive to be rather extreme ground in regard to the control, by the wife, of property acquired by husband and wife during coverture. That there are defects in the laws of New York, and of every state, regulating property, is undoubted; but to give a wife control of her husband's property, or even of property acquired by him in business in which the wife took no actual part, it seems to us would be fraught with great danger. To give both husband and wife control of their own property, except by wise provisions respecting dower, seems to us the proper course. Women should not be denied the right of going into business for themselves, or from sharing with their husbands in business as actual partners, with all the rights of partners, but aside from this the greatest caution must be exercised. Unless marriage be recognized as only a partnership in business, as well as in social duties, the principle indicated by our correspondent can have no foundation. If marriage is recognized as a business, as well as a social partnership, then one of the partners must have the same rights as the other. One partner among men is now able to bind his fellow in all contracts made in their joint business, and one not unfrequently ruins the other. If a wife could alienate any part of the property in which she has a right of dower at her husband's death -- if she could control the capital employed in his business, even to a limited extent, she might destroy her own prospects and her husband's at any time. Women and men ought to be independent in all business matters, but a husband and wife choose to conduct any business as partners, then each ought to have the same rights. When women get the ballot, and their spheres of action are extended, we will need additional laws to preserve them in all they rights. But even then, we think that to make husband and wife independent of each other in the control of their property will be found to be the best way." -- The Revolution, June 16, 1870.

39. Ibid., July 28, 1870.

40. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the 1860 married women's property rights law.

41. The 1862 married women's property rights law repealed the provisions of the 1860 law regarding guardianship rights and equal inheritance rights of widows and widowers.

42. In regard to Mrs. Nichols's letter, the editor of The Revolution wrote: "In reply to our correspondent we would say, that the first letter, containing her queries with regard to the rights of women to property, we gave to a lawyer, with the request that he would answer them, as we were not versed enough in legal lore to reply to the questions intelligently. Our legal friend is, therefore, responsible and not we, for the vagaries of the answers given." -- The Revolution, July 28, 1870.

43. Kansas Daily Commonwealth, December 4, 1870.

44. In 1869 Mrs. Nichols was appointed temporary guardian of a seven-year-old Wyandot Indian girl, Lucy Lincoln.

45. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the ceremony held at Humboldt in Allen county celebrating the completion of the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston railroad to that point. For a brief account of the railroad celebration, see Kansas State Register, Iola, November 26, 1870. For additional information on Humboldt, see Blackmar, Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc., v. 1, pp. 879-880; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp, 671-672; L. Wallace Duncan and Charles F. Scott, eds., History of Allen and Woodson Counties Kansas (Iola, Register Printers and Binders, 1901), pp. 91-94. For additional information concerning the L. L. & G. R. R., see Harold J. Henderson, "The Building of the First Kansas Railroad South of the Kaw River," KHQ, v. 15 (August, 1947), pp. 225-239.

46. Lucy B. Armstrong was the daughter of the Rev. Russell Bigelow, Methodist missionary among the Wyandot Indians in northern Ohio. In 1838 she married John McIntyre Armstrong, a quarter-blood Wyandot and in 1843 migrated to the area of present-day Wyandotte county. For additional biographical information, see Kansas City (Kan.) Gazette, January 2, 1892; Kansas City (Kan.) Daily Journal, January 2, 1892; "Wyandot and Shawnee Indian Lands in Wyandotte County Kansas," p. 129. For Mrs. Armstrong's account of the excursion to Humboldt, see Armstrong to the editor, Solomon City, December 12, 1870, cited to Kansas Daily Commonwealth, December 14, 1870.

47. Mrs. Nichols refers here to James Faulkner, mayor of Iola, and George M. Brown, Allen county register of deeds. For additional biographical information on Faulkner and Brown, see Duncan and Scott, History of Allen and Woodson Counties Kansas, pp. 66, 74, 182.

48. Iola, the county seat of Allen county, was founded in 1859 and incorporated as a second class city in February, 1870. For additional information on Iola, see ibid., pp. 73-82; Blackmar, Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc., v. 1, pp. 939-940; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 675-677.

49. Leonard L. Hartman served as president of Baker University from 1864 to 1865. Prior to his arrival in Kansas, he had taught mathematics in Pennsylvania and Indiana and had served as president of the University of Missouri for two years. For additional information, see Ebright, The History of Baker University, pp. 71-72.

50. ALS in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.

51. Apparently Mrs. Nichols refers here to the 1870 appropriation bill for the Department of Indian Affairs. See U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 17, 1870, pp, 335-363.

52. George McCowan was the father of Helen McCowan Carpenter, wife of Aurelius O. Carpenter and Mrs. Nichols's daughter-in-law.

53. In December, 1871, Mrs. Nichols migrated to northern California along with her son, George and his wife and family. Unfortunately there is no extant correspondence during her last year in Kansas. Prior to her emigration from Kansas, the editor of the Wyandotte Gazette wrote: "We regret to learn that Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols finds her health so much impaired that she feels impelled to try the climate of California in hopes of improving it. She sells her household furniture, farming implements, stock and etc., at auction. . . . She has rented her farm, and will leave as soon as she can get ready." -- Wyandotte Gazette, November 16, 1871.

54. Ibid., May 30, 1872.

55. Samuel Mewhinney migrated to Kansas in 1854 and was involved in the Free-State party during the early years of the territorial struggle. He was a delegate to the Big Springs convention, a delegate to the Topeka constitutional convention, and a member of the Topeka legislature. He migrated to California in 1857. Unfortunately no additional biographical information has been found.

56. The term "digger" was applied to every tribe known to use roots extensively for food and became derogatory as the root-eaters were supported to represent a low type of Indian. The term included many tribes in California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.

57. Wyandotte Gazette, September 12, 1872.

58. No information has been found on Miss Morrison.

59. For the Gazette's historical account of the "Quindaro cannon," see Wyandotte Gazette, August 8, 1872.

60. ALS in "Nichols Papers."

61. For a description of the Lugubihl land allotment, see "Wyandot and Shawnee Indian Lands in Wyandotte County, Kansas," p. 169.

62. Henry Wilson, Republican senator from Massachusetts from 1855 to 1873, was the Republican party's Vice-Presidential candidate in 1872 and served in that capacity during Grant's second administration until his death in 1875. For additional biographical information, see Richard H. Abbott, Cobbler in Congress: The Life of Henry Wilson, 1812-1875 (Lexington, University Press of Kentucky, 1971); Ernest McKay, Henry Wilson Practical Radical, a Portrait of a Politician (Port Washington, Kennikat, 1971).

63. Horace Greeley was the unsuccessful Presidential candidate of the Liberal-Republican party in 1872.

64. Unidentified newspaper clipping in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz. Mrs. Nichols's letter was written for presentation at the annual convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D. C., on January 16 and 17, 1873. For the proceedings of the Washington convention, see The Evening Star (Washington, D. C. ), January 17-18, 1873. For additional information, see HWS, v. 2, pp. 521-533.

65. For the proceedings and resolutions of the 1871 convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association, see New York Daily Tribune, May 12-13, 1871; New York Daily Times, May 13, 1871. For additional information, see Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, v. 1, pp, 383-384; HWS, v. 2, pp. 484-492.

66. Henry Dutton, lawyer, jurist, and politician, was appointed judge of the supreme court of errors and of the superior court of Connecticut in 1861. He was the author of A Revision of Swift's Digest of the Laws of Connecticut (2 vols., 1848-1853), and The Connecticut Digest (1833). For additional biographical information, see DAB, v. 5, pp. 555-556.

67. Zephaniah Swift, Federalist politician and chief justice of the Connecticut superior court, the author of the first American law textbook, A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut (2 vols., 1795-1796). In 1823 he published a Digest of the Laws of the State of Connecticut which was used throughout the country in legal instruction. For additional biographical information, see ibid., v. 18, pp. 250-251.

68. For the text of the Shaw divorce decision, see Connecticut Reports, 1845-1846, pp, 189-197.

69. Tapping Reeve, jurist and founder of the Litchfield (Conn.) Law School, was a judge of the Connecticut superior court for 16 years. In 1814 he became chief justice of the Connecticut supreme court of errors until his retirement in 1816. For additional biographical information, see DAB, v. 15, pp. 468-470.

70. Reuben Hyde Walworth, jurist and Democratic politician, was a member of congress from 1821 until 1823. He was appointed circuit judge of the supreme court for the fourth judicial district of New York and served in that position until 1828 when he was appointed chancellor of the New York court of chancery. For additional biographical information, see ibid., v. 19, pp. 406-407.

71. For the complete text of Walworth's decision in the Lawrence divorce case, see Paige's Chancery Reports, 1831-1832, pp. 268-272.

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