Suffragists demonstrating outside the Ohio Statehouse in 1914 (photo courtesy of Ohio History Connection)
Ohio Life

Women Rally for the Right to Vote at the Ohio Statehouse

On July 30, 1914, suffragists from throughout Ohio made their way to the capitol with a petition to put a woman’s right to vote on the November ballot.

Wearing white dresses trimmed with yellow, suffragists from across the state marched to the state capitol on July 30, 1914, to bring the issue of women’s suffrage to the voters. The Dayton Daily News reported in its coverage that the petitions containing 120,000 signatures (reportedly 16,000 more than what was required by law to get the issue placed on the November ballot) were carried to the capitol building by two women from each of Ohio’s 88 counties.

“Although suffrage workers had not intended the parade today to reach the proportion of a great demonstration, suffragists from Columbus and central Ohio turned out in large numbers to line the streets and attend the rally on the Statehouse steps after the presentation,” the newspaper reported.

About 300 women, accompanied by a man from each county to carry the county’s banner, participated in the march. Others carried banners for places where women had already achieved voting rights, including Australia, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and other U.S. states and territories that had followed suit.

Prominent male participants present that day included Ohio State University President W.O. Thompson, Rep. W.B. Kilpatrick of Trumbull County and attorney Thomas McNamara Jr. of Youngstown, among others who were on the program to deliver speeches following the presentation of petitions.

The Dayton Daily News reported the following day that while the suffragists were treated well, they were unhappy that Ohio Secretary of State Charles H. Graves did not meet them on the Statehouse steps to personally receive the petitions.

“There was only one thing to mar the affair in the least, and that was the absence of [Ohio] Secretary of State Graves,” Carrie Flarida, secretary of the local woman’s suffrage association, told the newspaper.

Despite their best efforts, it would be another five years before the state of Ohio would ratify the 19th Amendment on June 16, 1919, granting women in the state the right to vote.