The Moneka Womans Rights Association
Moneka Feb 2nd 1858
After one of Mr. J. O. Wattles lectures a proposition was made to organize a Women’s Rights Society. Mrs. Esther Wattles was chosen President. A committee to form a Constitution was chosen. The meeting then adjourned to meet here Feb 13th.
Monika Feb 13th
Meeting was called to order by Mr. J. O. Wattles. A President and Secretary pro-tem were elected. The report of a committee on a constitution was called for read and accepted. The Constitution was then read and discussed, and adopted article by article.
Preamble and Constitution
Moneka Women’s Rights Association.
Because, Woman is constitud of body and mind and has all the common wants
of the one and the natural powers of the other
Because she is a social being and has all the relations of life to sustain which belong to an Associated condition of existence – and
Because she is a progressive being ever out-growing the past and demanding a higher and greater Future – or in other words,
Because she is a Human Being and as such is endowed by her Creator with the full measure of human rights whether educational, social or political; and
Because by the present arrangement of the world she is shut out of Colleges and the higher order of educational institutions, thereby deprived of great opportunities for intellectual improvement
- shut out from most of the lucrative professions and the mechanic arts, thereby
deprived of the facilities for the accumulation of wealth and enjoyment of
social life, - made subject to laws which she has no voice in making and which
deprive her of the ownership of property & of herself, and give even her
daily earnings to the control of others; dragged before courts to answer for
crimes, against laws to which she has never given her assent, to be tried as
a criminal in Halls where she can neither sit as judge or juror, or officiate
as counsel: and
Because, from the Pulpit and the Rostrum woman is called upon to give character to the rising generation and charged with the responsibility of shaping the destiny of the race,
Because she is demanded to make statesmen to wield the fate of Nations, and divines to wake the wor[l]d to glory,
We therefore form ourselves into an Association to be governed by the following Constitution
This association shall be called The Moneka Women’s Rights Society
It shall be the object of the Society to secure to woman her natural rights and to advance her educational interests. In furtherance of these objects the Soc. shall consider what womans natural rights are, and the means best calculated to secure them. It shall also encourage lectures on this subject in the Society and elsewhere; and give its support to some paper devoted to the elevation of Woman
The officers of the Society shall be a President. Vice Pres. Secretary Corresponding Sec. and Treasurer who shall perform the duties usually ascribed to such offices. Officers shall be elected quarterly by ballot, a
majority of votes constituting a choice
The regular meetings of the Society shall be held Monthly. And other meetings may be held as often as the wishes of the Society require it. At the regular meetings an address shall be given by some member of the society appointed at a previous regular meeting, After which some question previously agreed upon shall be discussed by the members
The first Anniversary shall be on the last Wednesday in Sept. At which time addresses lectures and discussions on the various subjects connected with the rights of women and of progression in general shall be given.
Terms of membership shall be a mutual agreement in the objects of the Society, the signing of the Constitution and paying twenty five cents into the Treasury
The Constitution may be altered or amended by a vote of two thirds of the members present at any regular meeting, notice having been given at a previous regular meeting
Elizabeth S. Denison
Mollie A. McGrath
Sarah G. Wattles
Susan E. Wattles
Lima S. H. Ober
Angeline P. Crystal
Rebecca E. Hulbert
Mary P. T. Snyder
Huldah A. Goodwin
Matilda S. Gibbons
R. W. Gibbons
Permelia [?] Knox
Rhoda W. Ransom
Geo E Denison
John O. Wattles
H. P. Danforth
J. H. Stearns
U. E. Morse
C. E. Shearer
Emma L. Burritt
John C. Anderson
R. A. Frazell
E. L. Taylor
Thomas J. Addis jr.
J. S. Craig
Thom. J. Addis sr.
Charlotte S. Anderson
Hatty Addis [?]
The following officers were then elected
Pres. Mrs. Elizabeth S. Denison
Vice Pres. Mrs Esther Wattles
Sec. Sarah G. Wattles
The following resolutions were then offered and adopted.
1st Resolved That we will exert whatever influence we can over the public sentiment of this Territory that the Constitution about to be formed may prohibit the distillation of all alcoholic liquors within its boundaries
2nd Res. That we will invite to our Territory such women lecturers as are accustomed to public speaking to labor with us in procuring this desirable end and we will sustain them when they come.
3rd Resolved That Kansas cannot be truly
free while the words “white” or “male” are found within
the limits of her constitution.
4th Res. That the Secretary be instructed to correspond with the Editor of the Lilly and ascertain what tracts are on hand, if any, that treat of Women’s Rights &c and ascertain on what terms they can be obtained
Miss Mollie A. McGrath was then appointed to deliver an address at the next meeting. Question for discussion at the next meeting, Resolved. That all human beings by virtue of their physical organizations have a right to as much of the earth as they can cultivate and no more. On motion the Society adjourned to meet at this place two weeks from to day at 2 o’clock P.M.
Sarah G. Wattles Sec.
Moneka Feb 27th 1858
The Society met according to previous adjournment. Meeting was called to order,
Minutes of preceeding meeting were called for read and adopted. The Constitution
was called for and read. Corresponding Sec. & Treasurer were then elected,
Susan E. Wattles Cor. Sec.
Pamelia Doy Treasurer
The following was offered and adopted
Whereas women can not vote and yet feel the necessity of just laws, therefore Res. That every woman in Kansas who believes that equal rights belong to women should consider herself a committee of one whose duty it is to do all in her power to convert to her views at least one legal voter.
The following forms of petition were then presented.
To the Constitutional Convention
We the undersigned citizens of Kansas respectfully petition the Convention now assembled to frame the organic law of the State of Kansas for the citizens without any invidious distinctions
To the Legislature of Kansas,
We the undersigned citizens of Kansas respectfully petition your honorable body to enact such laws
1st As will secure to woman the property which she possesses before marriage
2nd Also a just proportion of the joint property of the husband & wife acquired during marriage
3rd Also at the death of the husband or wife that the same laws shall govern the widow or widower in the possession and disposal of the estate and children belonging to them jointly.
4th That no bond or security given for another shall be valid without the
signature of the wife
After some discussion it was
Res. That we accept & adopt these forms of petition for circulation
Res. That we respectfully ask the cooperation of other ladies of Kansas in circulating these petitions
Res. That these forms of petition and the resolutions be sent to the “Herald of Freedom,” Lawre[n]ce Republican” & “Topeka Tribune” with the request that they publish them and that other papers copy them.
Miss Mollie McGrath then read an address. Her subject was “Why should woman seek to change her present condition” The question, Resolved That all human beings by virtue of their physical organization have a right to as much of the earth as they can cultivate and no more, was discussed Question chosen for next meeting, ‘That women should seek to enter into more lucrative
employments or prepare themselves for professional life. Mrs. L. C. Ober was appointed to deliver an address at the next meeting. On motion the Soc. adjourned to meet here two weeks from to day
Sarah G. Wattles Sec
Moneka March 13th 1858
Soc. met according to adjournment. Sec. report read and adopted The Constitution
On motion it was,
Res. That the President and Recording Sec constitute a committee to receive the petitions to the Constitutional Convention and forward it to some member of that body. The address was delivered by Mrs. L. C. Ober. Mrs. Lucy Stone’s lecture on taxation was read by Mrs Susan E Wattles
On motion the discussion was postponed to the next meeting Mrs S. E Wattles was appointed to address the Society at the next meeting. Soc. adjourned to meet here four weeks from to day at 2 P.M.
Sarah G. Wattles Sec.
Moneka April 10th 1858
Soc. met according to adjournment Minutes of previous meeting read and adopted The address was read by Mrs Susan E Wattles. The Subject, Deficienc[i]es in woman’s Education. Question was then discussed. Esther Wattles appointed to address Soc. at next meeting. Adjourned for 4 weeks
S. G. Wattles Sec
Moneka May 8th
Soc. met per adjournment Sec. report was called for read and adopted.
The election of officers resulted as follows
Pres. Mrs. Mary P. T. Snyder
Vice Pres. Miss Mollie A McGrath
Treas. Mrs. Esther Wattles
Sec. Mrs. Lima C. Ober
Cor. Sec. Mrs. Susan E. Wattles
The address was read by Mrs. Esther Wattles Subject The formation of character Question discussed Cor. Sec read a letter from Mrs C. I. H. Nichols of Quindaro
concerning a state organization of the woman’s movement, also her reply to it. Sarah G. Wattles was appointed to read the address at the next meeting. Soc then adjourned for four weeks
Sarah G. Wattles Sec.
Moneka June 5th 1858
Our Hall being occupied by a protracted meeting the Soc. adjourned. S. G. W. Sec.
July 3 The celebration of the 4th to day (tomorrow being Sunday) causes us to adjourn one week.
S. G. Wattles Sec.
Moneka July 10th
Soc. met according to adjournment Vice Pres. in the chair. Sec. report called for read and adopted, but few present. Society adjourned to meet on Wednesday Sept 29th the time for the anual meeting
Sarah G. Wattles Sec.
In consequence of sickness the Society did not meet at the time of adjournment.
Moneka, Apr. 17 1859
Society met & organized by choosing Mrs. Dennison President pro. tem.
A letter was read from Mrs C. I. H. Nichols, in which she expressed her interest
in the cause of Woman’s Rights in Kan. & the necessity of of [sic]
having an agent to speak before the Constitutional Convention.
Res. To send to Mrs. N. for the forms of petition she would like to present to Con. Con.
Res.- That we request the Cor. Sec. to write to Wendall Phillips asking him to appropriate a part of the fund in his hands to sustain lecturers & advance the cause of Women’s Rights in Kansas.
Read the constitution. Mrs. Strong joined the Society.
Res.- That J. O. Wattles be requested to address the Society at the next meeting Question—Shall we petition for special rights or shall we ask for, equal rights for all. Adjourned subject to call of members.
Moneka May 13th 1859
Society Met & organized by appointing Mrs Dennison President pro-tem Minutes of the preceding meeting read & adopted- George E Denison & John O. Wattles joined the society The Sec then read the following form of petition prepared by Mrs. Nichols of Qunindaro
To the Constitutional Convention of Kansas
Greeting We the undersigned citizens
of Kansas Territory do respectfully represent to your Honorable Body that,
whereas - the women of the state have individually an evident common interest
with its men in the protection of fife [sic], liberty property and intelligent
culture; and whereas by inherent laws and the “universal concent of mankind” their
inalienable relations to humanity do involve them in greater and more complicated
responsibilities; and whereas, in virtue of these common interests and responsibilities,
they have pressing need of all the Legal and Constitutional guarantees enjoyed
by any class of citizens - and whereas the enjoyment of these guarantees involves
the possession of equal political rights –
Therefore we the undersigned being of full age, do respectfully petition and protest against any constitutional distinctions based on differense of
sex – To this end your petitioners will ever pray
Res That we will circulate this petition and request Mrs. Nichols to present
the same to the Constitutional Convention
Res That we most earnestly invite and urge the friends of progress in the Territory to co-operate with us in circulating petitions; requesting that they also will forward them to Mrs C. I.. H. Nichols of Quindaro, that she may receive them by the 25 of June without fail
Res That an abstract of the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Linn County Herald and that other Kansas papers be requested to copy
Res That we adjourn to meet on Saturday the 21st at 9 o’clock A.M. & that the lecture which was expected today be delivered at that time
Esther Wattles Sec Pro-tem
Moneka May 21st
There not being a quorem present the meeting adjourned to the call of the officers
Cottage Hill July 3rd 1859
The Meeting was organised by appointing J. H. Stearns President Pro-tem & E
Wattles secretary Pro-tem J. O. Wattles then gave a full & satisfactory
report of his labors for the elevation of women & his success in procuring
names to our petition Susan E. Wattles then presented the following resolution
which was read & accepted
Res- That we request John O. Wattles to act as our agent in southern Kansas & also to attend the Con. Convention and to operate with Mrs Nichols in advancing the cause of Womans rights. Adj to meet at the call of the officers
E. Wattles sec
Moneka. July 22nd 1859.
The Society met as per call, and organized by the appointment of Susan E Wattles
as President & J H Stearns, Secretary. Minutes of the last meeting read
and approved. The Constitution was read and circulated for signatures: J. O.
Wattles made some remarks with regard to it, its objects and designs, and gave
a report of his mission and success at the Constitutional Convention. The following
resolutions were then offered and adopted.
1rst Res – That we cordially invite Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols to attend the Womans Rights Convention, to be held at this place, Sept 7th/59 -& - that we
take into consideration the propriety of holding several conventions in Southern
Kansas immediately after that time.
2nd. Res. That the frivolous objections offered by the opponents of Women’s Rights, show that such objections are not based upon reason, and are therefore of no avail, and that we gather courage therefrom to hope and expect the speedy triumph of Justice and the Right.
3rd. Res. That the corresponding Secretary be instructed to open a correspondence with the friends of our cause at the East and elsewhere for the purpose of securing moneyed funds for the purchase of a press: for the use of Mrs C. I H. Nichols to be established at Moneka or some other suitable point in the Territory.
Mrs Pierpont was requested to lecture before the Society, four weeks from date. The subject of, “How can Woman increase her sphere of usfulness or productive industry was selected for investigation by the Society at the same date. Adj. to meet Friday Aug-19th.
J H Stearns.
Sec. Pro. Tem.
Moneka Aug 19th/59
Society met as per adjournment and organized by the appointment of Mrs. E. S. Burritt, Pres and J. H. Stearns, secretary Pro Tem On motion adjourned to Sep 7th.
J. H. Stearns.
Sec Pro Tem
Moneka Dec [XX] 1859
The Society met at the call of the officers and organized electing Mrs Susan E Wattles Pres’t. and Emma Wattles Sec. Pro-Tem The following forms of petition were then presented
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Kansas
We the undersigned, Petitioners, inhabitants of Kansas male and female having attained the age of legal majority believing that Woman both married and single should enjoy the same rights as men, in regard to the holding, conveying, and devising of real and personal property, and the guardian-ship of children, do earnestly request
your Honorable Boddies to frame the Laws of the State of Kansas in these particulars so as to fully establish the legal equality of Women with men -
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Kansas
Whereas Governments derive their just power from the consent of the Governed, we your Petitioners male and female inhabitants of Kansas do earnestly request of your Honorable Boddies to propose to the people of the State such amendments of the Constitution of the State as will secure to Females an equal right to the Elective Franchise with males
After some discussion it was
Res That we accept and adopt these forms of petition for circulation The Society then adjourned to meet at the Accademy in Moneka on Saturday the 7th day of Jan. 1860
Emma Wattles Sec Pro-Tem
S. E. Wattles Prest. Pro. Tem
Moneka Jan 7th 1860
Society met per adjournment, making Geo. E. Denison Presdt. Pro Tem. and E.
S. Denison Sec Pro. Tem. Proceedings of the previous meeting presented and
approved. Reading of the Constitution was followed by an Election of officers
for President Mrs. E. S. Denison
vice President Mrs. M. A. Taylor
Secretary Miss Emma Wattles
Cor. Secretary Mrs S. E. Wattles
Treasurer Mrs Esther Wattles
A Resolution was offered and accepted
that Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols be requested to attend the Ter Leg. for the purpose of advancing our cause as far as practicable- The usual discussion was laid over to next meeting- Treasurer’s report called for and approved by Society- motion made and sustained for adjournment- subject to the call of the officers subsequent to close of the Ter Legislature.
Elizabeth L. Denison Sec Pro Tem
Moneka May 25th 1860
Society met at call of the officers. Called to order by the President. Minutes
of previous meeting called for read and approved. Constitution was then read
and circulated for signatures. The following resolution was then offered and
Res. That we wish to employ Mrs C. I H. Nichols to lecture on Womans Rights in Kansas and we authorize our Cor. Sec. to employ her and pay her out of the funds in our Treas-
ury. The Soc. then adjourned to meet at the call of the officers.
Emma Wattles Sec
Mrs E. S. Denison Pres.