Quote

When the 19th Amendment finally passed the Senate, Marie Stuart Edwards, Peru, IN said: "... we rejoice that this has come just now to the women of America at the dawn of this wonderful reconstruction period. Women are to “sit in” at the remaking of the world. I believe women will bring to our body politic an independence of action, a clarity of thought, unhampered by precedents, and an inspired desire to vote for the best interests of human society. We are calling on all women of the state to study, to carry through their plans for educational work along civic and citizenship lines. We are urging them to put loyalty to humanity, loyalty to country and to state above all ideas of party loyalty, since these new voters have yet to participate in party councils.
“I am glad to see this amendment pass. I am anxious to see it ratified. Most of all, am I anxious to see this great new force in action.
Marie Stuart Edwards, 4 Jun 1919

Monday, July 6, 2020

Lizzie Bunnell Read, Pioneer "Printeress"


Many Thanks to Dr. Anita Morgan for turning my attention to Lizzie Bunnell and her work.  I have found The Mayflower filled not just with great material on woman’s rights but the content has helped me gain a better sense of the circumstances and fill in major gaps with information until now lost in time. Thank You to Brenda Weaver, and her sister Rhonda at the courthouse for digging up the deeds.  Thank You to Dave Birnell for always being ready to help. 
Thank You to the Miami County Museum for use of their newspaper collections.

When we started this search little did we know Miami County was so deeply rooted in the early days of the Woman's Suffrage movement in Indiana.

Elizabeth Currence Bunnell was a teacher, a journalist, editor, suffragist whose mark on the world seems to have almost been erased, yet the words we still have are as relevant today as they were almost 150 years ago. During the Civil War she published, in Peru, IN, the only Woman's right newspaper in the country.  She met the challenges head on but could not fight the odds.

She was  born Christmas Eve 1834 in Dewitt Twp, near Syracuse, NY, to Edmund Harger Bunnell (son of Nathan Bunnell and Currence Twitchell) and his wife Betsey Ann Ashley (daughter of Dr. John Ashley of Catskill, NY and Elizabeth Johnstones).
Edmund Harger Bunnell was born on 29 Jan 1804 in Oxford, New Haven, CT to Nathaniel Bunnell[1] (1782-1847?) and Mary Currence Twitchell (1784-)
All their children were born in New York:
-          Hester Ann Bunnell, b about 1828
-          Francis Ashbury Bunnell, b 4 Mar 1830, NY – died 14 May 1896, Syracuse, NY
-          John Ashley Bunnell, b. about 1832
-          Elizabeth Currence Bunnell, b Christmas Eve 1834
-          Harriet Maria Bunnell, born 27 Jun 1837, New York – died 8 Dec 1890, Santa Cruz, CA. She married Richard Smith with whom she had 2 children: George Grant Smith and Flora Belle Smith[2]
-          Jane P Bunnell, born about 1841
-          Nathan Twitchell Bunnell, born 1843
-          Mary Bunnell, born 1845
-          George Bunnell, died age 3 months[3], before 1850.

In 1849 the family moved from New York to Indiana, settling in Wayne Township, Allen County.
The mother, Betsey, died within six weeks after they arrived, on 24 Jul 1849, Fort Wayne, IN[4]. 
Edmund H Bunnell[5] needed help raising his younger children so on June 8, 1850, he married Anna King. On March 3, 1853, there is another marriage record for an Edmund H Bunnell, to Nancy Waters.  We did not try to find out if these marriages worked out or if the wives died, but we understand Fortune did not smile on Edmund.  Destitute, in 1860, Edmund H Bunnell was residing at “Home Cottage”, in Peru, IN with his daughter Elizabeth C aka Lizzie.  He may have died in 1869[6].  

Already in 1852, Lizzie was displaying a deep interest in Woman’s rights as she attended the October 15-16 session of the Woman’s Suffrage Association of Indiana and signed[7] the constitution adopted by the participants.

Lizzie must have always been very resolute.  She began teaching school before she was even 16.
And when an opportunity presented itself for her to learn the printing business, she jumped on it.  

She apprenticed for 2 years in Fort Wayne, IN where her family resided, then accepted the foremanship of a weekly paper (The Peru Republican) in Peru, IN.
 
The Peru Republican was still a brand new publication in Peru.

Its publisher, Ebenezer Loveland, was a man of conviction who wanted to give a voice to his political party, and balance out the opposing influence of the Miami County Sentinel.  He purchased the Peru Weekly News and renamed it The Peru Republican.  The first edition was published on October 9th, 1856.  It is easy to believe Lizzie Bunnell helped publish it, since it is said her foremanship lasted 4 years. 

In May 1857, we find her purchasing a piece of property from Warren and Ellen Mead for $550 in cash.  The property was located in downtown Peru, at what is now known as 20 East 5th Street, next door to The Miami County Sentinel newspaper.  It is unclear whether she was already dreaming of printing her own paper and there are no clues to know exactly what she used the building for.  Maybe her press came from there.  She held on to this piece of property until 1881, when she sold it to Alexander Porter for $600.



On July 8th, 1859 she purchased an “out lot” from the estate of James Mowbray, on the outskirts of Peru, in the Godfroy addition, now known as 375 Hoover Avenue.  She named the location “Home Cottage” and according to her accounts in The Mayflower, this is where she printed the “quarto”.


 
We believe this is what the location currently looks like today.


(original plat map and 1877 map of Peru, Miami County)

Interestingly, the 1860 census indicates her boss, Ebenezer Loveland, lived nearby as the enumerator assigns # 433/435 to the Loveland family and the Bunnells follow with # 434/436.

On January 1st, 1861, she launched The Mayflower.

Her “Prospectus” states: “The Mayflower, a Semi-Monthly Quarto, devoted to the Interests of Woman, Temperance and Chaste Literature”.
The Mayflower welcomed authors with original articles on the topics of woman’s enfranchisement, education, employment and legal status.  Poems, letters to the editor, attention to fashion and even gardening and other women activities.  One such frequent writer was her partner and associate-editor, Mary F. Thomas, of Richmond, IN.

In one issue of The Mayflower she recounts making the trip to Richmond by train to visit with Mary F. Thomas: South to Indianapolis then East to Richmond. It must have taken quite a while as they made stops to have lunch.  Civil war troops were traveling in another car and paid them a visit and wanted to stay in their more comfortable accommodations but were sent out again.  She digressed as she saw women working in the fields, realizing women would have to step up and do ‘a man’s work’ while so many young men were off to fight the war.

Mary F. Thomas, a physician by trade, had helped Mary Birdsall edit “The Lily” newspaper after the latter bought it from Amelia Bloomer, its founder. 

The Lily’s story began in the early days of the women’s movement, in Seneca Falls, as a Temperance sheet.  Amelia Bloomer took on editorial and financial responsibility for its publishing.  She soon began to include women’s rights articles as well.  By 1853, the paper had a circulation of 6,000, even after her husband moved the family to Mount Vernon, Ohio.  But another move to Council Bluffs, Iowa, this time, made it clear, it was time to sell the paper.  Mary Birdsall and Amelia Bloomer had both attended the 1853 National Women’s Rights Convention in Cleveland, Ohio and Amelia had made a point to swing by Richmond to become better acquainted with Mary before selling The Lily to her in late 1854.  Amelia Bloomer would continue to write for it.

Had Mary F. Thomas hoped Mary Birdsall would sell her The Lilly in 1859 or was she pushing Lizzie to negotiate with Birdsall?  In the end, Mary F Thomas threw her lot in with our industrious Lizzie and together they embarked on a journey with The Mayflower.

The March 5th, 1861 issue (#5)[8], brought some clarifications and a much welcomed endorsement from Amelia Bloomer introducing The Mayflower as The Lily's successor, confirming the latter's demise, and since the negotiations with Mary Birdsall had not been successful, no list of current subscribers was shared. Lizzie's call went out for readers and subscribers.

Mary F. Thomas authored a great many articles for the Mayflower, often signing only her initials.
Only 32 copies of The Mayflower are known to exist today. 

One almost pristine copy is in the care of the Miami County Museum, in Peru, IN. 
The other 31, donated to the Schlesinger Library, in Cambridge, MA by Louise Noun have been digitized by Harvard University and are accessible online to all researchers.

The Mayflower addressed women’s issues for the most part but once in a while, Lizzie digressed and showed us a touch of local activity, as it tied with her focus on Woman’s rights. 

The Peru graded schools had given the position of administrator to a woman,
There had until then been doubts that a woman would function adequately in that line of work.
XXX apparently managed just fine.

The Peru Republican of the day gave a detailed account and triggered editorial remarks from Lizzie in the Mayflower.  Ebenezer Loveland obviously read the commentary as he himself commented on her editorial in another issue of the Peru Republican on her misuse of the word “capacity”, in August 1861.

I mentioned earlier that “Home Cottage” was not far from where her former boss, the editor and publisher of the Peru Republican, Ebenezer Loveland, lived as the 1860 census indicates the enumerator recorded them one after the other. 
The obvious banter between the two denotes a familiarity she does not display with anyone else.
That seems to have pushed Lizzie’s button enough however, that in the August 15, 1861 issue[9] of the Mayflower, she responds to his patronizing with a skilled bout of word fencing that she clearly wins.

Ebenezer's oldest son in 1860 was Henry Clay Loveland who is listed as a printer also likely worked with or replaced Lizzie when she left.  Was Lizzie friends with Celia F (14), Alice (12) and Clara (10)?

Henry was the same age as Lizzie's brother Nathan(iel) T.  They both joined the military in 1862.
Nathan first, with the 20th IN Volunteers, then Henry with the 14th.  Both would die weeks apart from each other, Henry first.  Her anguish[10] is apparent when Lizzie relates her search and how she has inquired from all she could think of as to what has become of her brother. 

Lizzie’s older sister Hester married William Rockwell, a physician. Jane and Mary resided with them in 1860.  Hester had 3 children: Harriet G, Horace E and Eva.  They lived at St Mary’s, Adams Co., IN.  Dr. Rockwell secured quite a few subscriptions for his sister-in-law's Mayflower.

We are not sure how Dr. Samuel George A Read met Lizzie but he describes her distress at having lost her younger brother Nathan T Bunnell in July 1862.  He was a widower with 4 daughters: 
 1.  Mary Josephine Read (1841-29 Nov 1925, Seattle, WA) married Pitman Raymond Paul on 9 May 1860 in Whitley County, IN.
      2. Julia A Read [11] (1844, Ohio – 11 May 1922, Algona, IA) who married Samuel H Hill on 6 Jan 1866 in Marion Co. IN. They had one child:
    o   Jessie Hill
-       3.   Matilda A Read (1850-1934)
-       4.  Martha A Read (1853-)

On March 4th, 1863, Lizzie married Dr. Samuel George Alexander Read in Peru, Miami, IN and followed him to Columbia City to live.
S G A Reed had settled in Columbia City in 1851, “holding a commission from the state to survey the swamp lands of the county… He was a schoolteacher and knew much more of mathematics than medicine...  He built a house and barn … (on the) corner of Van Buren and Wayne.[11a]

Lizzie entrusted the Mayflower to her father and younger sister Mary[11b], in whom she had all confidence.  She would continue to edit and they would do the printing.

The arrangement proved unsuccessful however and in October 1863, Lizzie moved the press to Columbia City at considerable trouble.  Lizzie mentions that it took a week for the press to travel the less than 100 miles from Peru to Columbia City.
Her absence from Peru to oversee the work had also proven costly to her readership and in January 1864 she was calling out to her earlier subscribers to return.  Unfortunately, they didn’t return in numbers large enough to sustain the operations and later that year the Mayflower folded.

It is thought the newspaper circulation dropped because the cause of Woman’s suffrage had been surpassed by war times concerns.  Fewer original contributions along with more reprinting of articles previously published elsewhere surely played a part in the loss of readership, not discounting the difficulty to get supplies.

In 1865, S G A Read decided to "go west" and off to Iowa they were.

Lizzie Bunnell Read and her husband arrived in Algona, Iowa on the 4th of July 1865.

She immediately purchased the failing Pioneer Press from Ambrose A Call, founder of Algona. 
She renamed it the Upper Des Moines hoping it could gain a regional appeal since no other county around had a paper of their own at the time.  She and her husband bought a light wagon and a horse and together began canvassing the region to solicit subscribers and advertisers.
Keep in mind that in the 1860s, that section of Iowa was still fairly unsettled and the Reads had to blaze their own trail, through tall prairie grass and around small lakes and sloughs.  They made their way to county seats such as Peterson, Spirit Lake, Estherville and what would later become Emmetsburg.
Mr. Harvey Ingham, in his tribute to Lizzie after she died, noted that:
There were only 694 people in Kossuth county in 1865 and her subscription list never exceeded 100.”[12]

The first edition of The Upper Des Moines[13] was published on August 5th, 1865, in Algona, Iowa. 
The subscribers were interested in news about the outside world. That news came by stage coach to Fort Dodge and in bad weather the stage could only make a few trips each week and sometimes not at all. Between that and trouble with the old press only 37 issues were printed from August 1865 to November 1866.
The old press had indeed been purchased in 1850, brought by riverboat and ox team from Cincinnati, Ohio to Des Moines, Iowa.  Ambrose Call had hauled it to Algona years later.

Lizzie sold the paper for $600, to J H Warren, whose son Robert had apprenticed with Lizzie that first year.  He published the 38th number of Volume 1 on November 29th, 1866.

Lizzie did not leave any copies of these early issues to the Warrens and when her husband’s office building burned down on State Street in March 1895, all that was left of her work vanished with the flames.  The Warrens and Lizzie herself provided the Upper Des Moines with the story of the early days.
As explained in the Dec 11, 1872 of the Upper Des Moines: “the Upper Des Moines… was born under difficulties.  In a new and sparsely settled country, far away from supplies and with a meager support, … the proprietor struggled on through thirty-seven numbers of the first volume.  It was then a twenty-four column paper, printed on old and badly worn type upon a Washington hand press.”
In that same issue of 11 Dec 1872, two notices on behalf of Dr. Samuel G. A. Read, Lizzie’s husband, request payment from all the people  he has treated for the past seven years and who have apparently not bothered to settle their due to him.

In 1873 she accepted the role of journalist for the “Twice-a-Week” paper.
She was reelected President of the Iowa Suffrage Association at the convention in Des Moines, in September 1874.[14]

SGA Read died in 1893 and she advertised Dr. Read’s property in the south-east part of Algona for sale in the Upper Des Moines on July 25th, 1894; Aug 1st, 1894;

A series of arsons burned down his building on State Street in March 1895, taking with it the remainder of Lizzie's newspaper dreams.

She moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1897 where she remained till she died, apart from an occasional visit to Algona.  She continued to write letters that were read at Woman's rights conventions but she did not attend these meetings any more.

Lizzie died on 15 May 1909, in Arkansas[15] and is buried at the Riverview Cemetery[16] in Algona, Iowa.  The memory of what a formidable woman she had been already all but gone.

Her obituary was reprinted in the Algona Upper Des Moines, on May 30th 1984 in the newspaper’s “75 Years Ago” column:

Tuesday J R Laird received a line from Fayetteville, Ark. Stating that Mrs. Lizzie B Read died Sunday morning, May 16, and that the remains would be brought to this city for burial.  But little of Mrs. Read’s early life can be learned at this time more than that her name Elizabeth Bunnell and was a native of Indiana. She was married to Dr. Samuel George Alexander Read in 1863 in Indiana.  Dr. and Mrs. Read arrived at Algona July 4, 1865, and Mrs. Read at once took hold of the editorial management of what was then known as the “Pioneer Press”, but which was changed into the Upper Des Moines and finally merged into the present Upper Des Moines-Republican.  Mrs. Read had been a resident of Arkansas for the past 12 years.”

The words of Harvey Ingham, later publisher of the Upper Des Moines conclude for now:
"Mrs. Read belonged to the advance guard of the new woman movement. She was an ardent advocate of the ballot for woman at a time when the notion was much more unpopular than it is now.  While not apparently a woman of a wife range of sympathies, she was a woman of intellectual vigor, and was fearless and aggressive.  She might easily have been a writer of distinction, for she had an appreciation of literary values.  ...  It is a pleasure , having known Mrs. Read, to speak in appreciation of her, now that she is gone.  It is a pleasure to pay some slight tribute to the memory of one of the pioneers."[17]



[1] https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/116106321/person/372059693543/facts
[2] https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/10103415/person/24007526308/facts
[3] https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/80156857/person/310132382001/facts
[4] https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/80156857/person/44424723665/facts
[5] 1850 census shows he lived in Wayne Township, Allen County, IN (15 Aug 1850)
[6] https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/80156857/person/44424723665/facts
[7] Palladium Item March 15, 1942
[8] https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:53759199$4i
[9] https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:53759182$2i
https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9064/images/007593715_00475?pId=1390880&backurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ancestry.com%2Ffamily-tree%2Fperson%2Ftree%2F21568433%2Fperson%2F332074719494%2Ffacts%2Fcitation%2F962103619058%2Fedit%2Frecord
[11a]The History of Whitley County, IN, p182
[11b]Mayflower 15 April 1863, Peru, IN https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:53759205$7i pages 6-7
[12] Upper Des Moines 26 May 1909
[13] https://algona.advantage-preservation.com/search?bcn=1&i=t&by=1866&d=01/01/1861-12/31/2018&t=29224
[14] The Algona Republican, Sep 9, 1874, Algona, IA – page 1
[15] https://algona.advantage-preservation.com/
[16] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/66279597#view-photo=45641729
[17] The Upper Des Moines 26 May 1909
[18] last photo - https://mediasvc.ancestry.com/v2/image/namespaces/1093/media/cefe5896-44bd-4980-8113-a7eca1a52241.jpg?client=trees-mediaservice&imageQuality=hq&maxWidth=2116.5&maxHeight=1947

Lizzie Bunnell Read, Pioneer "Printeress"

Many Thanks to Dr. Anita Morgan for turning my attention to Lizzie Bunnell and her work.   I have found The Mayflower filled not just wit...