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Saturday, February 7, 2015

First to Stand for Women’s Suffrage in St. Lawrence County:
Helen M. Hinsdale Rich

By Bryan Thompson

Copyright @2015. All rights reserved by author.

Helen Hinsdale Rich with her daughter Mary.
Mary was born in 1857, photograph circa 1861.
Helen Rich’s biography in A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in all Walks of Life states, “She was the first woman of northern New York to embrace woman’s suffrage.” A letter detailing the Rich family history written to the Rev. Roger F. Williams in 1923 states, “Mrs. (Helen) the age of 35, she was an advocate of woman’s sufferage- the first one in her county – St Lawrence Co. N.Y.” The Sacramento Daily Recorder described her as, “well known in the East as an earnest worker in the cause of woman’s rights and temperance.” While all these sources mention Helen Hinsdale Rich’s contributions to the woman’s suffrage movement there is almost no mention of her involvement in the 100’s of entries about her in the local press.

If Helen H. Rich was 35 when she became the first suffragette in St Lawrence County the year was 1862. The same year Helen Rich gained wide acclaim as a public speaker, as she campaigned, from Richville, around the North Country recruiting for the Union army.