OGDEN — As the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote is celebrated across the nation this year, the Weber County Heritage Foundation is striving to honor local women central to the Women’s Suffrage movement in Northern Utah.
2020 marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment — the constitutional revision that guaranteed women’s right to vote. The foundation is seeking what is known as an “encroachment permit” from Ogden City to erect a historical marker for Sarah Anderson at the northwest corner of 23rd Street and Kiesel Avenue.
Anderson was one of Utah’s first female legislators. According to a biography written by Gabi Price at www.utahwomenshistory.org, Anderson was born in Weber County in 1853. She ran as a Democrat for the Utah House of Representatives in 1896 and was elected as one of the first three women legislators in Utah (Eurithe LaBarthe and Martha Hughes Cannon were the others).
In 1895, she sparred with the Ogden City registrar, Charles Tyree, by asking to be registered to vote. According to Price’s biography, women over 21 had been voting in Utah since 1870, but their voting rights were revoked in 1887 with the Edmunds-Tucker Act. Anderson told Tyree that Congress’ Enabling Act of 1894, which centered around Utah’s application for statehood, didn’t specify that only men could vote to ratify the state constitution.
Tyree refused Anderson’s request, but the case ultimately came before the territorial Supreme Court, which decided that women would have to wait for official statehood in 1896 to vote. The Standard-Examiner once described Anderson as a “naturally strong woman, mentally and physically, and one of the most prominent and popular women in Ogden City and Weber County.”
Kate Stewart, from the WCHF, said the site of the proposed historical marker, which would be located in the Junction just north of the Megaplex Theaters, was where Anderson’s home once stood.
Stewart said the WCHF is working with Better Days 2020, a nonprofit dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history, and the Pomeroy Foundation to place Anderson’s marker, along with two others. The Pomeroy Foundation is private organization based in upstate New York that promotes the importance of local historic preservation. Stewart said Pomeroy would provide funding for the markers if the WCHF’s applications are chosen.
Stewart said the foundation is also hoping to place a marker for Kate Hilliard at her former home on 26th Street, and another for Jane Richards at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum, 2104 Lincoln Ave.
Hilliard was a Populist a delegate in the 1901 state organizing convention. In the late 1800s, Richards was the first president of the Weber County Relief Society.