Grafton & Women’s Suffrage

Local History by Ron Patch. Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email

Below are two November 1911 Bellows Falls Times newspaper clippings I found pasted in a scrapbook kept by Mary Harris. Mary lived in the home that today is Bill Dakin’s law office.

Many will know of the women’s suffrage movement. I was surprised with its local connection. For those wanting to know more about Miss Daniels, you should search online: “L.J.C. Daniels suffrage.” Lucy was arrested and jailed when protesting at the White House.

Suffragists picket the White House
Suffragists picket the White House. Public Domain

“Miss Daniels’s letter

“Miss Daniels would like her townspeople to understand that when her taxes had been delinquent 10 months the constable went to Bellows Falls October 31, and attached National bank stock and went again November 4, to advertise it.

  “Miss Daniels leaves Grafton today, leaving the fate of the stock in the hands of the town. She has been notified six shares will be sold by auction Saturday, November 11, at 2 o’clock at the office of the town clerk. Deducting this stock used up in time for taxes or sold would reduce the tax list considerably and it bought by Mr. Williams, cashier of the National bank of Bellows Falls would simply transfer the taxes on the portion sold from Grafton to Bellows Falls.

  “Miss Daniels removes her residence which would reduce the taxable list to less than half what it now is. The taxes which have been some $200 a year will in course of time be less than $100.

  “Although Miss Daniels has lived away from Grafton on an average of 10 months each year for the past 10 years and more, she has preferred to give her depopulating native the town the advantage of her domicile knowing that it needed every cent possible to pay for its 30 weeks of school out of 52 weeks in the year, and to expend on its indifferent roads.

  “As women are not voters it little matters to them where their residence is counted. The town evidently recognizing no such favor placed itself on record at Montpelier in 1910 as believing in taxation without representation. It was the little mossback towns of Grafton, Windham, Athens, and Somerset that helped defeat by three votes only the municipal suffrage bill. The large live towns of Rockingham, Brattleboro, Dummerston, Springfield, Rutland and Burlington went in favor of this bill.

  “In spite of this possible outcome has a result of forcing taxes from non voters, the town officers will congratulate themselves that they have been able to enforce the man-made law. Miss Daniels understands that delinquent taxes of voters have been permitted to outlaw.

  “Some friends think it would have been the better part of valor had the town allowed the taxes to run two years and accumulate at eight percent; then next fall through woman’s influence, redeem itself at Montpelier, after which it would probably collect the whole, meantime attaching bank stock if desired, though not selling same, and keeping it intact to be taxed hereafter. Nov. 9, 1911. L.J.C. Daniels.”

  “Tax Fight At Grafton

  “Grafton was stirred on Saturday when the sale of four shares of Bellows Falls National Bank Stock took place at auction in the Town Hall, at 2 p.m. No open protest was made but a selectman claimed that one man had vigorously protested claiming the sale was high-handed and unnecessary. Several of the most influential citizens regretted the sale, but declared for the influence of other taxpayers it was imperative that they collect the account.

  “Last summer, Miss L.J.C. Daniels, a wealthy woman and a leading advocate of woman suffrage, sent a written notice to the town clerk, J.H. Stowell, that she refused to pay her taxes, giving as a reason that the representative from Grafton, A.M. Covey, voted against woman suffrage in the last Legislature and that she objected to taxation without representation at the ballot box. Ernest B. Stowell, collector of taxes, through Attorney W.A. Graham of Bellows Falls, distrained six shares of Bellows Falls Bank stock on October 31, three shares the property of Miss L.J.C. Daniels and three shares the property of Miss S.E. Daniels.

  “Four shares were sold at auction, par value $50, for $70.50, $70.25, $70 and $65.25, or enough to satisfy the demands for tax and costs. Cabot Daniels, nephew of Miss Daniels, bought all the shares and claimed they were for Hon. F.B. Daniels, attorney for the Pullman Parlor car company of Chicago, Ill. The total tax was $107.15, cost $16.76, of the L.J.C. Daniels estate was $92.65 and cost of $15.50.”

  This week’s old saying: “Live free or else.”

Back To Top