Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version “REWIND”
February 15, 2015
For this issue of Rewind, we are re-publishing a story from Howard Mason’s “Backward Glances,” Volume II. It is time to remind everyone that Warren County Historical Society has republished all three volumes of “Backward Glances” into one volume, and it is available for sale at the Society’s office on Sunnyside Road in Queensbury. It is also fitting to publish this story on February 15th, as it was Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.
SUSAN B. ANTHONY
by Howard C. Mason
In 1956 my good friend, John P. Burke and his wife of Fort Edward attended the unveiling ceremonies of the bust of Susan B. Anthony in the Hall of Fame. Mr. Burke was so impressed by the address of Florence H. Allen of Cleveland, Ohio, one of the nation’s foremost jurists, that he had it published verbatim in the Glens Falls papers.
Soon after reading Miss Allen’s address I wrote the following letter to the local newspapers:
“It is with great interest that I have read the articles concerning Susan B. Anthony that have been published in your paper since the Susan B. Anthony stamp went on sale at post offices all over the land, (and, by the way, if you haven’t already done so, buy one or more of these stamps at your local post office if they are still obtainable. You may someday soon be very glad that you did).
“How Susan B. Anthony spent her early years in nearby towns; Fort Edward, Easton, Center Falls and Battenville, and taught school in these places has been told in the above mentioned articles and will not need repeating here. However, the following bit of history will, I believe, be of interest to many people in this section.
“The Anthony’s were Quakers. David and Judith Anthony left Rhode Island with sons Elihu and Humphrey, and with other families joined in a westward migration. While Humphrey remained in Adams, Mass, where his eldest son Daniel (father of Susan B.) was born, and where Susan also was born on February 15, 1820, Elihu moved on to Greenfield in Saratoga County where he spent his entire life. He had 12 children, 6 sons and 6 daughters, many of whom in turn had large families, so that today there are hundreds, or more probably, thousands of his descendants living in Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Fulton and Montgomery Counties, as well as in many other places. My grandmother, Mary Anthony, was a daughter of Elihu Anthony, and my son, Captain Anthony M. Mason, was givers the family name.
“When I was a child in the early ’90’s, Susan B. Anthony visited my parents at the farm home on Sanfords Ridge on two different occasions and the impression that I got, as a child, was that she was doing something that wasn’t just right; at least when her name was mentioned among my elders, there would be queer expressions or raised eyebrows.
“To show that Woman Suffrage was not popular even at the turn of the century, I remember that in 1901 I was on the affirmative side in a debate, “Should Women Have the Right to Vote?” My very able partner was Ella Jones whom some will remember as valedictorian of her class at Glens Falls High School. We lost.
“One hundred years ago women were not only denied the ballot, they could not even own property or hold office. They had no legal jurisdiction over their own children and they were restricted to very few fields of employment. In the light of all this it is difficult for us today to understand that many of Susan’s bitterest opponents were women.
“Here was a woman who almost single-handed and alone, for nearly 50 years, fought for these and other rights for women, certainly with no thought of monetary reward. She lectured almost constantly from early womanhood until a few months before her death at the age of 86. She traveled from coast to coast in the United States and also made trips to Europe. She spoke more times from the lecture platform than any other woman who ever lived. She braved ridicule, slander, abuse, even arrest for what she believed to be right.
“Although Susan B. Anthony is, of course, a national figure, she belongs to this part of the country more than any other. It was here that she spent her early years teaching the young for the princely salary of $1.50 per week. Therefore, it is highly proper that a national movement be sparked right here in this locality where she once lived and taught school, to make Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, Feb. 15, a national holiday.
“We, as a nation, have never so honored a woman. Let us now, belatedly grant this woman the honor that has long been her due.
“I am asking every person in this land, from President Eisenhower down; every congressman, every senator, every church, every reputable organization, and especially every woman’s organization to get behind this movement and complete the Triumvirate of great emancipators; Washington, who freed our country from a tyrant king; Lincoln, who, struck the shackles from our colored Americans, and Susan B. Anthony who devoted her life to the emancipation of women.
“Let this be our slogan; ‘Susan B. Anthony, the third emancipator.’ Let us not relax our efforts until we have made February 15 a national holiday.”
This morning I received the following letter from Mrs. James Coulter of Cambridge which is self-explanatory:
“Miss Hazel Hill has told me you are a descendant of the Anthony family and would be interested to know what our D.A.R. Chapter is going to do about the dedication of a plaque in memory of Susan B. Anthony.
“The house is very close to the road and the marble wall in front on which the plaque has been placed was put there to protect the yard. It is placed on a large marble block in the wall.
“We feel it is not a location where a dedication program would be advisable. We are having resume history of Miss Anthony’s life and a picture taken of the house, wall and plaque. It will be published in the Country Post. I will see that you have a copy and perhaps you would like to publish the same in your ‘Backward Glances’.”
I take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Coulter and the D.A.R. for their interest in the old Susan B. Anthony home in Battenville which has so long gone unnoticed.
The photographs here are from the internet and not part of the original article, which is from Volume 2 of “Backward Glances” by Howard Mason. Copies of “Backward Glances,” a compilation of all three volumes is available from the historical society. Call 518-743-o734 for more information.