The Washington Equal Suffrage Association places posters in Seattle in 1910 to promote women’s suffrage. (Washington State Archives)

The Washington Equal Suffrage Association places posters in Seattle in 1910 to promote women’s suffrage. (Washington State Archives)

A century later, history of women’s suffrage shows in Everett

A time to remember: Local women helped secure the passage of the 19th Amendment nearly 100 years ago.

EVERETT — Women fighting for the right to vote hung a large banner across Hewitt Avenue more than a century ago, to remind men what to look for on the ballot.

“Vote for Amendment, Article VI: It Means Votes for Women,” it read.

It was placed by the Everett Suffrage Club, near its offices in the Commerce Building along that street.

Those who lived in Everett likely had a large role in winning the vote for women in Washington state in 1910. Since then, Everett has elected the first woman to the mayor’s office. Others have carried on national organizations that started during the movement, and have began local chapters.

The League of Women Voters was created on Feb. 14, 1920. The Snohomish County chapter celebrates that date each year, and is hosting a luncheon next month for women mayors. It’s the last annual party before the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, enacted Aug. 18, 1920.

The founders didn’t associate with one party or endorse candidates. Instead they supported causes that aligned with their morals, said Karen Madsen, the local group’s president.

“From the get-go they were women who were looking for ways to make our country a better place,” she said. “Some of those ideas end up being called progressive or liberal. We think of them as ideas to help enhance democracy.”

The local chapter focuses on education and getting people to vote. They go to high schools and spend National Voter Registration Day in libraries, said Pat Fogarty-Cramer, the chapter’s past president.

“We have folks out in almost every library in the county that day,” she said.

Fogarty-Cramer believes the chapter started in 1957. There are now about 170 members and anyone older than 16 can join.

The group doesn’t talk about Democrats or Republicans. While there can be disagreements, the women haven’t seen people get angry.

“Just check your party credentials at the door,” Fogarty-Cramer said.

President-elect Vicki Roberts-Gassler is in charge of the centennial celebration.

“We’re still in the planning stages, but we’re hoping to make a splash,” she said.

They might join the Edmonds Fourth of July parade and wear all white, the color suffragists wore to campaign.

Mayor Cassie Franklin, of Everett, plans to attend the luncheon in a couple of weeks. Franklin was elected in 2017.

She didn’t see many women in leadership roles growing up, she said. She’s happy that’s changing, so her daughter and other young women have positive role models.

More women also have been represented in politics lately — this year a record number of women were sworn into Congress.

“It’s amazing to see that kind of progress — but when you consider that women make up more than half of the population, it’s clear we still have a ways to go,” Franklin said.

Women’s suffrage started in 1910 in Washington state. Snohomish County likely had a large part in that, historian Margaret Riddle said.

Men in Everett’s labor unions supported the movement. It meant equal pay and safer conditions. Women were hired more often than men, because they were paid less.

Ella Russell (from left), Ida Noyes McIntyre and Missouri Hanna (Everett Public Library)

Ella Russell (from left), Ida Noyes McIntyre and Missouri Hanna (Everett Public Library)

Missouri Hanna, of Edmonds, was one of the most prominent suffragists. She moved to the city in 1904, and years later started a newspaper called Votes for Women, the official publication of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association.

“It is argued that, given the ballot, women will cease to care for the home, leave the meals uncooked, the children uncared for,” she once wrote. “As it only takes about two minutes to perform the function of voting none of the above calamities are likely to happen.”

Ella Russell was president of the Everett Suffrage Club. On the evening of July 5, 1910, a woman named Rae Muirhead was speaking to an audience of about 6,500. She told them to deny women’s suffrage.

Russell stood on a bench in front of the crowd and gave her own speech. After, the region became more enthusiastic about the women’s rights, according to news coverage of the time.

Ida Noyes McIntyre was the club’s vice president and a doctor. She had moved to Everett from Colorado, where she had been able to vote. She often spoke publicly about those experiences.

The Everett Suffrage Club headquarters were in the Commerce Building, at 1801 Hewitt Ave. Now people can eat Russian-style dumplings and drink a craft ale on the bottom floor, at The Independent Beer Bar.

Diners might not have had to leave their seats to see the women’s banner hanging above, all those years ago.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Learn more

The League of Women Voters of Snohomish County hosts a luncheon in honor of women mayors, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 2, at the Everett Legion Memorial Golf Club.

Register by Feb. 26 at Tickets are $25.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A car breaks and waits for traffic to pass before turning onto 123rd Avenue on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Can roundabouts, lower speed limit make 84th Street NE safer?

Maybe, but transportation and disability advocates want design features to make crossing safe.

Two brother bear cubs, burned in a fire last summer, were recently reunited at PAWS in Lynnwood. (PAWS) 20211129
Bear cubs, burned in wildfires, reunited in viral video in Lynnwood

The brother cubs are being treated at PAWS Wildlife Center. They were injured in a wildfire near Lake Chelan.

Madison is one of three aging elementary schools that would be torn down and replaced if the Everett schools bond is passed next year. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Everett school leaders have 2 big levies on February ballot

The district is asking voters to renew a levy for programs and operations, and to pass a $325 million capital and tech levy.

Everett officials have questions about a 125-room hotel shelter

City Council members say they weren’t aware of the county’s proposal until it made headlines.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 identified in deadly T-bone crash in Everett

Otila Retel Azanedo de Jones, 67, and William Jones, 85, died at the scene.

Reagan Dunn to take on U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier in 8th District

The Republican is challenging incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier in a district which could include a slice of Snohomish County.

A man died after he was found with gunshot wounds Saturday in downtown Everett. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Man dead after shooting in downtown Everett

The man, believed to be in his 40s, was found near California Street and Rockefeller Avenue.

Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander of Puget Sound-based Carrier Strike Group 11, in Bremerton on Nov. 23, 2021. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Justin McTaggart)
From Everett, this rear admiral commands a Navy strike group

Christopher Sweeney leads Carrier Strike Group 11, a force of aircraft and ships stretching from here to San Diego.

A rainbow appears in front of Andy Huestis and his girlfriend Alisha Garvin as they and other families gather to remember the victims on the third anniversary of the Oso mudslide on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Oso, Wa. Huestis' sister, Christina Jefferds, and her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Violet Huestis, were among the 43 people killed in the mudslide.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Funding secured: Mudslide memorial will be a place to remember

Since 2014, families have mourned at a roadside shrine near Oso, but “we knew we needed something bigger.”

Most Read