This week marks the sinking of the whaling ship Ocmulgee, owned by Annie Osborn’s father. Thirty years earlier, Daniel Read (D.R.) Anthony’s father went bankrupt, causing him to lose his business and have to start over in another city. I believe that the sadness of those troubles may have formed a bond between Annie and D.R..
Read more about the Ocmulgee here.
What Annie Missed
The Osborns’ loss could have had a two-pronged effect. First, Annie’s family may have had less money to pay for her “coming out” to society and attracting a mate who lived closer to their Vineyard home. Second, seeing the repercussion of such a loss may have made her want to get away from herseafaring community. Why else would a captain’s daughter be willing to leave everything familiar to start life anew with Daniel in Leavenworth?
How Loss Shaped Daniel
The Panic of 1837 caused Daniel Anthony Sr. to lose his entire business and bankrupt the family. This prompted 18 year-old Susan to quit her private education and take up teaching, where she learned self-reliance. Like his sisters, D.R. also had to end his private education, but he had fewer years of expert instruction than his older siblings. He finished his education at a normal school and helped his father in the mill instead.
Throughout his several terms as mayor of Leavenworth, he made bids for the post of governor. But he never realized that high position. Would he have achieved his dream if he had had the benefit of a law degree?
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting “All for Suffrage: Susan B. Anthony’s Kin” at Susan’s birthplace museum in Adams, MA, near the border of New York State.
After my presentation, my friend and I received a private tour by Adams Historical Society president Eugene Michalenko of the East Hoosuk Quaker Meetinghouse not far from Susan’s home. That is where Susan’s Aunt Hannah Hoxie (her father’s sister) sat on the “high seat” sharing spiritual insights during meetings. Hannah was regarded by the congregation as a gifted speaker in an era when women outside of Quakerism rarely spoke in public.
The high seat turned out to be on the top row of pews facing the congregation, nearest the center. Hannah’s central position connotes some importance. Measuring about 45×45 feet, the building features separate doors for men and women, who held their own meetings and kept separate records.
Once inside, a movable partial wall divides the two sides, with women and children sitting on the side with a huge open fireplace. (How kind those Quaker gentlemen were!) The dividing wall was removed during worship; thus, Hannah could be seen (and heard) by both men and women.
The Meetinghouse website includes more photos and describes many tenets of Quaker beliefs, including their opposition to war. Annually Daniel Anthony, Susan’s father, greeted the taxman by telling him that he refused to support a government that wages war and if he must extract the tax, he should riffle through Anthony’s wallet and take it himself.
Later, Susan’s brother D.R. Anthony ran afoul of Quaker pacificism when he killed a rival publisher in a streetfight in Leavenworth. By that time, the Anthonys belonged to the Rochester, NY Meeting, and a delegation wrote to D.R. questioning his adherence to the beliefs of his ancestors. Read more about that conflict in my book The Truth About Daniel, published in January.
“All For Suffrage: Susan B. Anthony’s Kin” will be Jeanne Gehret’s topic in an evening presentation at the Penfield (N.Y.) Public Library this coming Thursday, April 27, from 7-8:30. Admission is free.
Miss Anthony’s devotion to woman suffrage is well-known. Lesser-known is how she also campaigned for black suffrage–and how her entire family supported her in both efforts.
Come discover how the members of Susan’s family thought for themselves and stood up for their beliefs–even when they risked public disapproval, arrest, the ruin of career, or death.
Copies of The Truth About Daniel, the first in the Dauntless Series about this amazing family, will be available for sale and author signing. This talk commemorates the 100th anniversary of woman suffrage in New York State.
I have blogged extensively about the Anthony family in Kansas and Martha’s Vineyard because those two areas were the focus of my first book in “The Dauntless Series.” In the process, I’ve slighted one of the most obvious places anyone should mention when discussing the Anthony family: Rochester, NY, where all of Susan’s nuclear family lived at various times between 1848 and 1907.
So here’s my commitment: I will include the Rochester connection on a regular basis from now on. Not only am I currently researching Rochester sites and people that the Anthonys knew, but I have also created a program entitled “All for Suffrage: the Kin of Susan B. Anthony” where I will share my findings in person with a Powerpoint program. Several libraries have already booked this presentation, in addition to costumed appearances, to celebrate New York State’s centennial of woman suffrage.
If you want to share some Rochester historical tidbits or old photos, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and use the comment box.
I am excited that tomorrow I will be getting a private tour of the Talman Building on Rochester’s Main Street. It was the home of Frederick Douglass’s newspaper The North Star and also a site on the Underground Railroad. Watch for upcoming entries and photos from that visit!
About the photo on today’s post: I never stop puzzling over it. It was taken on the Anthony farm near Rochester, and none of the people in it are identified. Do you find their poses as curious as I do? I like to think that the man on the extreme right is Daniel Read, but have no way of knowing other than that he seems to be copping an attitude!
This is the home where both Daniels–Susan’s father and brother–lived, as well as Merritt. None of the men in the family ever lived on Madison Street, where the famous Susan B. Anthony House stands today. Two chapters of my book take place in this farm home.
Daniel Anthony, the father of Susan B. and her siblings, was of such an independent mind that he married “out of Meeting,” i.e. someone who was not a Quaker. In fact, he married a girl who had been his student, a Baptist named Lucy Read. For this he was temporarily ousted from the Meeting, as he was at numerous other times during his life. Continue reading
Did young Susan B. dutifully eat her vegetables, wonders Sonja Livingston, in Queen of the Fall. And when she got older, was she too preoccupied with higher things to attend to such mundane realities as food?
Hardly! For an up-close and personal view of Rochester’s very own heroine, come see my costumed portrayal of her this month:
Writers & Books, 740 University Avenue, Rochester
Saturday, March 19, 11 AM $3.50 adults, children free
Why did Sonja Livingston include Susan B. Anthony among the “girls and goddesses” in her memoir Queen of the Fall?
To find out, come to my performance of “Failure is Impossible,” presenting Susan B. Anthony herself in costume!
11 AM Saturday, March 19
740 University Avenue, Rochester
(585) 473-2590, x107.
$3.50 for adults, children free