They Made the List
I find my great grandmother, Mary Ahern Bradley, my grandmother, Agnes Bradley Kircher, and my great aunt, Elizabeth Bradley, on a very special list in 1912.[i] My other grandmother, Mary Jane Hardy, wasn’t on the 1912 list, but by 1914 she’d met the age requirement and she, too, got her name on that powerful roster.[ii]
Before 1911, none of these women, regardless of age, were entitled to have their names on that significant roll. But in a special election, California Proposition 4 narrowly passed with 50.7% support, granting women the right to vote. In Marin County, home to the Bradleys and Kirchers, only 41.6% of the male voters approved allowing their mothers and daughters and sisters this right.[iii] Did my great grandfather, Patrick Bradley, and my grandfather, Charlie Kircher, ignore the majority of their neighbors and support their wives? I hope so.
I believe my Grandma Kircher took her privilege and responsibility seriously. In 1914, not only did she cast a ballot, but she was an election judge for her local Tiburon precinct.[iv] That civic-mindedness continued for the rest of her life. In 1961 she and her sister, Miriam served as precinct inspectors. [v]
What would she think of this historic election of 2016? How would she vote? I can only guess. But one thing I do know for certain - she would vote, and she would expect me to exercise my right to vote as well. I’m glad I can. Be like Agnes. Vote.
[i] Index to Great Register of Marin County, October 1912, Tiburon Precinct, Tiburon, Marin, California. From California State Library, Ancestry.com. California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008, Original data: State of California, United States. Great Register of Voters. Sacramento, California: California State Library. (accessed 6 November 2016), images 418 and 419 of 697
[ii] Index to Registration Affidavits Amador County, State of California, 1914, North Amador Precinct, Amador, California. From California State Library, Ancestry.com. California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008, Original data: State of California, United States. Great Register of Voters. Sacramento, California: California State Library. (accessed 6 November 2016), image 258 of 542
[iii] “California Proposition 4” from Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_4_(1911) (accessed 6 November 2016)
[iv] “Primary Election Notice” Marin Journal, 13 August 1914, page 4, col 1, from California Digital Newspaper Collection, http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=MJ19140813.2.39&srpos=1&e=-------en--20--1-byDA-txt-txIN-%22agnes+b+kircher%22-------1 (accessed 6 November 2016)
[v] “Proclamation and Notice of Special County Election,” Daily Independent Journal, San Rafael, California, 9 Jun 1961, page 21, col 6 from Newspapers.com (accessed 6 November 2016)
11/7/2016 05:40:15 pm
My great-grandmother could vote in the 1912 presidential election because the family was in California just after women's suffrage was passed, but couldn't vote four years later after having returned to Pennsylvania. See <a href="http://frommainetokentucky.blogspot.com/2016/11/marguerite-hunter-registered-voter.html">Marguerite Hunter: A Registered Voter in 1912 (in California)</a>.
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Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.