Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday's Obituary - Mary Dyer Jackson, Early Suffragette

Mary Dyer Jackson (1844 -1934) 
(Oneida, Madison County, New York)

Mary (Dyer) Jackson was my maternal gr-gr-grandfather (George B, Dyer)'s first cousin. She was a fascinating and accomplished woman. She married her sister's widower, was a founding member of the county historical society, was an early activist in the women's suffrage movement, and did so much more in her full life.

Note that in the obituary, Mary's mother's name, Mahala Barnard Dyer, was misspelled as Masala.

Oneida Daily Dispatch
Thurs., Nov. 8, 1934
page 1 column 4 - page 6 column 1

Mrs. Mary Dyer Jackson Dies Early Today - A Leader in Civic Activities


Mrs. Mary Dyer Jackson, 90, a pioneer resident of this vicinity and prominent club woman, died in her apartment, Gables, at 7:20 o'clock this morning following an illness of two months.

She was born February 29, 1844 at Wampsville, daughter of the late Benjamin Wood Dyer and Masala Barnard. Although 90 years old, Mrs. Jackson only celebrated 21st birthday anniversaries in her lifetime.

Mrs. Jackson was graduated from Oneida Seminary, then located on the present C. Will Chappell estate at Elizabeth and Grove Streets. Later she studied voice culture at New England Conservatory of music and for seven years sang in a quartet choir in one of the Boston churches. She possessed a fine contralto voice.

Mrs. Jackson was the widow of the late Darius Jackson whom she married in 1874. He died two years later. During their married life they lived in Brooklyn where Mr. Jackson was a commission merchant. His first wife was Mrs. Jackson's sister, Julia Dyer, who died in 1870.

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Jackson established her residence in Oneida and became active in civic affairs which she continued until her recent illness.

She was the founder of the Progress Club in 1889 which today is one of the outstanding women's organizations of this city.

Mrs. Jackson was also a charter member of the Madison County Historical Society, founded in 1898, and the Political Equality Club established in early 90's which is now merged with the Madison County League of Women Voters.

She was more prominently known as a member of the latter organization as Mrs. Jackson was the first woman to circulate a petition in Central New York for women's suffrage cause. She obtained 50 or 60 names on the petition which was mailed to Albany asking the legislature to allow women to vote.

This was in 1897 or 1898 and although the document received little or no attention at the time, Mrs. Jackson lived to see her work accomplished about 20 years later as the 19th amendment was adopted.

She was a member of First Presbyterian Church.

Mary is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Oneida, Madison County, New York in her father's family plot. Frank Dyer was her brother. Her husband, Darius Jackson and his first wife Julia Dyer Jackson are buried in the same family plot, Their memorial is inscribed on another side of the shared Dyer/Jackson family monument.

The Dyer - Jackson Family Monument
Glenwood Cemetery
Oneida, Madison, County, New York

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