Suffrage – Farmington

Catherine Fish Stebbins

  • 1823-1904, spouse Giles Stebbins, no children
  • From early Quaker family involved in anti-slavery movement
  • Born in Farmington but family moved to Rochester
  • Joined the WNYASS (Western New York Anti-Slavery Society) in 1842
  • Married Giles Stebbins, anti-slavery lecturer in 1848
  • Was active participant in the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls
  • Signed Declaration of Sentiments
  • Was a secretary at the second Women’s Rights Convention in Rochester
  • Follower of the Fox sisters with Amy and Isaac Post
  • Moved to Michigan, continued anti-slavery and women’s rights activities
  • Attempted multiple times to vote in Michigan
  • Signed S.B. Anthony’s 1876 Women’s Rights Declaration
  • Personal friend of Anthony
  • On revising committee for E.C. Stanton’s controversial “Woman’s Bible”, “The light of a more generous religious thought, a growth out of the old beliefs, impelled the learned ‘Committee on Revision’ to speak the truth in regard to the religious character and work of women, and they have exalted here where before she was ‘degraded’.”

Farmington Women who voted in NYS in 1917

Many of the Farmington women belonged to the same organizations (WCTU, Grange, Friendly Aide Society) and church (Quaker). They were long time friends or were related to one another.

Please note that the common denominator among the women who voted in 1917 was the Grange. The Grange supported enfranchisement and publicly advocated for women’s right to vote. Before 1917, the Grange sent an edict to all branches suggesting that they support the “cause”. They ran ads in local newspapers encouraging the vote. The Grange believed that a farmer’s helpmate (woman) role was as important as the farmer. Women were treated as equals.

Many of the women descended from early settlers……we know that in the Quaker religion that a woman was given the same respect as the men. Some were ministers and many of the early suffragists were Quakers. They joined the Temperance Society in 1833, became involved in the Female Anti-Slavery Society and then supported the vote issue. (Phoebe Hathaway’s sister in law [her youngest brother Jared’s wife] was cousin to Susan B.)