Women’s Suffrage in Ouachita Parish

I found this article in the February 22, 1907 Winnfield newspaper called The Southern Sentinel.  The first part of the article quotes the Monroe News.  The News was one of the two forerunners of the modern Monroe News-Star.  Unfortunately, no copies exist for this time period.  This is a rare glimmer of Monroe’s history once lost. 

            Genie Layton was Eugenia Stubbs Layton, wife of Dr. Robert Layton, and daughter of F.P. Stubbs.  Genie was involved in the redesign of Mulberry Grove Plantation into what we now know as Layton Castle.  Her granddaughter still owns the Castle. 

               “Grandma” Wright is probably Mary Ann Woodruff Wright, the widow of Wade Wright, a Confederate soldier.  She was widowed in 1871 and left to raise nine kids on her own.  My favorite line about her is the last one in the article!  I would have loved to meet her!

Women Voting.

     The first ballot ever cast by a woman in Ouachita parish is an event worthy of note. It bore the name of Mrs. Genie Layton, the charming chatelaine of the Layton homestead, and daughter of Col. F. P. Stubbs, and it was cast yesterday at the voting booth in ward six of the city of Monroe in favor of the proposed railroad, called by some the Arkansas and Gulf, and by others the Rock Island. It has already been built (on paper) from some where [sic] up in Arkansas through Bastrop and Monroe to a point in Catahoula parish, where it will connect with the Southern Pacific or Frisco most probably.
     Mrs. Layton said that she was glad to avail herself of the privilege for the good of Monroe. The special five mill tax was voted with little opposition, evidencing a progressing spirit in the good people of the city and redounding to their credit.
     So, the time has at last arrived when women are allowed to help build railroads, and have the courage to do it. Well, it’s a “glad day in the morning” for us, sisters, all, and is significant of great things for the future in this old man-ridden world of ours. –Social and Otherwise in Monroe News.
     It was in 1898 that the first woman voted in Winn parish, and she helped to build a railroad, the first Winn parish ever had.  It was quite an event when Mrs. M. A. (Grandma) Wright drove up to the courthouse, entered the booth and deposited her ballot.  She did not display any “greenness” on that occasion, for after voting she looked around, feigned bewilderment and asked the bystanders where must she slip around to get a drink.

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