The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony


From the Diary of SBA [5-12 January 1855][1]

Steuben Co. W. R. Convention held at Bath Friday Jan 5, 1855—  Meeting in Court House
Did not succeed in getting the names of representatives from but 4 Towns—  House Full in the p.m. & crowded in the evening, though an admission of 12½ cts was charged—Mrs. Rose spoke full two hours—  Every one we meet is ready to tell some fact under the cruel laws to woman—
A Mrs. Rose of Avoca acted as President— [2]  Good attention & order—  Mrs President a woman of Dignity & intelligence— had on the short dress as did two other ladies, brave women, it does my soul good to see them—
Six women of Cohocton sent their names & reasons why they demanded the right of suffrage—
Mrs. Rose spoke on Saturday eve the 6th to a good audience, then all took Cars for Corning at 9½ Oclock— Mrs. R. stopped at the Dickinson House—Miss Richmond & self at Mr. Lowers[3]— had a meeting in Concert Hall Sunday evening—  None of the Ministers would give the notice of our meeting, which so incensed some of the men, that they went to the printing office, struck off handbills & had boys standing at the doors of the Churches to give them to the peopple as they passed out— had some 150 or 200 present—
In the evening, I could but ask "at whose day lay the sin of Sabbath breaking— at the Ministers who refused to read the notice, or their Laymen, who set the type & struck of the Bills— ["]

Chemung County Woman's Rights Convention held in Ely Hall, Elmira Monday Jan 8th 1855.
Mrs [blank] Gleason[4] was elected President, A Mr. Peeble's Universalist Minister one of the Vice Pres.[5]— he sat on the Platform, & in the evening made a few remarks—
The meeting was not large, but two or three towns represented
Thomas K. Beecher attended part of the time— took tea at Mrs. Holbrooks, Mr Beecher in company— [6]
His Theology as set forth that evening is a dark & hopeless one— sees no hope for the progress of the race— does not believe that education will enable man to improve his own species— as it has that of the the Animal races—
Spent the night at Dr. Glasons—  Mrs. Rose remained & spoke on Tuesday evening—  I returned to Corning Tuesday a.m. at 9 Oclock & spoke there to a small house again— a perfect apathy seems resting upon the people of Corning—  The Clergy are responsible for it—  returned returned to Elmira, on the 10 Oclock evening Train—   Found Mrs. Welling[7] just retired—were up again at 4 Oclock a.m. to go to Pen Yan—  Mrs. Rose' meeting was small again—
The Rev. Mr. Murdock,[8] preaches in one of their most popular churches & his bigotry is enough to enslave the whole community—

Yates County W. R. Con. held in Wesleyan Methodist Church at Pen Yan, Wednesday Jan 10th 1855
Arrived here from Elmira, about 8 Oclock a.m.— Miss Richmonds Cousin met her at Depot & took her to his home—  A Mr. Brigham also met us & took Mrs. Rose & self to the house of Mr. Curtis[9]— very fine family indeed— every thing in beautiful order— & the cooking scientifically done— oh the murderous work that is perpetrated in the culinary departments of nine tenths the establishments of the land—  The domestic sphere, considered the only appropriate one for woman— & yet not one woman in ten taught the art of bread making even—
Here we came in collission with Elder Knapp[10], the great Baptist Revivalist— he had been at work three weeks— still we had a full house, & great interest manifested
In the evening— had a full house again, & a full vote, asking Mrs. Rose to remain & speak again Thursday night[11]— but we were too tired to think of it— had been broken of our sleep so much for the week past—

Ontario County W.R. Con. held at Bemus' Hall Canandaigua, Friday Jan. 12th 1855
Miss Richmond left us at PenYan to Lecture by herself— Too expensive to pay Fare for three—  Mrs. R & I took carriage to Mrs. Sands,[12] who had written us to go directly to her house— when there, she took us into a little room not 11. feet square, containing bed, Cooking Stove, beauro, table & three or four chairs— on the stove was a pot boiling some kind of fresh meat— the floor was strewn with papers, chips & straws— gave evidence of not having felt the impress of a broom for weeks—
She & her husband have been in a quarrel for years about this property— Soon learned that he J. D. Sands had issued Bills, announcing that he would be at our meeting & give his experience in Womans Rights for the last five years—  Suffice it to say that he did not speak— though called out in the eve at close of Mrs. Rose speech—  We declared the meeting adjourned—  After learning the state of things I went out & hired a carriage to take us to the Candaigua Hotel— then took Carriage & went to every school, & gave the notice of the meeting
There was a great commotion about the Sand's affair—  The poor man & his chums seemed to think we had gone there for the purpose of settling individual quarrels, instead of advocating great first principles— [13]
    [1.] Entries for 1-3 January are omitted. Ernestine Rose met SBA at Corning on the third and traveled with her to Bath.
    [2.] Adeline Rose of Avoca presided and her husband, probably H. S. Rose, served as vice president, according to the coverage in the Farmer's Advocate and Steuben Advertiser, 10 January 1855, Film, 8:116-17.
    [3.] SBA stopped with him on 3 January also.
    [4.] Rachel Brooks Gleason (1820-1905) and her husband Silas Orsemus Gleason (1818-1899), both of them doctors, opened the Elmira Water-Cure in 1852. A student of Lydia Folger Fowler at Central Medical College in Rochester, Rachel Gleason earned her medical degree in 1851, and her skillful combination of hygenic, hydropathic, and medical treatments attracted many female patients. (American Women; Donegan, "Hydopathic Highway to Health," 39-49 ; Weiss and Kemble, Great American Water-Cure Craze, 155, 157-60.)
    [5.] James Martin Peebles (1822-1922), from Vermont, preached at Oswego in 1854, at Elmira in 1855, and in Baltimore in 1856. He became a prominent lecturer and leader among spiritualists. (Braude, Radical Spirits, 47, 167-68; assistance from the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society.)
    [6.] Thomas Kinnicut Beecher (1824-1900), younger brother of Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, became pastor of the Independent Congregational Church in Elmira in June 1854. Modern scholarship echoes SBA's summation of his theology. A heartbroken widower, Beecher was living with the Gleasons at the Elmira Water-Cure. The tea party may have occurred in the home of George W. Holbrook, a physician who lived on Church Street near High. A "Mrs. Holbrook" signed the call to the state convention in 1853. (Dictionary of American Biography; Caskey, Chariot of Fire, 249-83; City directory, 1857.)
    [7.] Catherine E. Welling, age thirty-six, wife of local manufacturer G. Post Welling, and mother of three children. She signed the call to the state convention in 1853. (Federal Census, 1850.)
    [8.] David Murdoch (1800-1861) was called to Elmira's First Presbyterian Church in 1851 and stayed until 1860, when a new Second Presbyterian Church called him. He was a graduate of the University of Glasgow. (Peirce, History of Tioga, Chemung . . . Counties, N.Y., 254, 257; City directory, 1857.)
    [9.] Probably Samuel F. Curtis, a cabinet and chair maker born in Connecticut about 1800, his wife Mary, two years older and born in Massachusetts, and their two children. (Federal Census, 1850, 1860.)
    [10.] Jacob Knapp (1799-1874), a popular, itinerant Baptist evangelist, preached wherever a church would have him and always drew large crowds.
    [11.] A report of the meeting appeared in the Yates County Whig, undated clipping, Film, 8:123.
    [12.] The Sandses signed the call to the woman's rights convention at Rochester in 1853, and Mrs. Sands attended, speaking "a few words of encouragement." James B. Sands was a farmer at Canandaigua, age forty-five in 1850 and married to Catherine, also forty-five years old. In 1850 they had a four-year-old son. (Frederick Douglass' Paper, 16 December 1853, Film, 7:844ff; Federal Census, 1850.)
    [13.] After writing a heading for the Monroe County meeting on 14 January, SBA stopped keeping this diary.
Bound volume, SBA Papers, MCR-S.