Monday, August 9, 2010

Nevada Bloomer, Spokane's Suffragette

In the June 2001 issue of the EWGS Bulletin I wrote an article to go along with the index of the 1887 Spokane County Territorial Census that was being published in the Bulletin. It took many issues to get all of the census published, and now the 1887 census is online at the Washington State Digital Archives. I had only indexed the name of the person and their age to go with the page number so I could copy the whole page when I looked up someone in the 1887 census, but the Digital Archives wanted more fields indexed, so today you can view an actual page online.

Why is this important? 2010 marks 100 years for women being able to vote in Washington, they actually had the vote a couple of times when Washington was a territory, but they lost the vote due to court actions, and this is a story on Nevada Bloomer who was one of the court cases the women lost. Washington was the 5th state to allow women to vote and so on November 8, 1910, women of Washington got to vote. Here is the article I wrote in 2001:

Nevada Bloomer, Spokane's Suffragette


Most of the ladies probably already know where the word “bloomers” came from. They were named after the Temperance and Womens Rights activist Amelia Jenks Bloomer. She was born 27 May 1918 in Homer, New York and died 30 December 1894 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She did a lot of speaking at Womens Rights rallies and she always wore her “Bloomer Costume” or “Bloomers” as they became known.
Spokane had its own woman suffragette named Bloomer, first name Nevada. I was asked by Professor Sandra F. VanBurkleo of Wayne State University to see if I could find anything about Nevada while she was living in Spokane, and where she is buried. In the 1887 Census No. 2, page 39 we find E.M. Bloomer, age 46 a saloon keeper. The next person listed appears to be “U.M. Bloomer, a female age 31; then two males, D.E. Bloomer age 8 and F. Bloomer age 5. Upon further searching, I realized the census taker made his “U's” and his “N's” almost exactly the same, so the 31 year old female should be “N.M. Bloomer,” undoubtedly E.M. Bloomer's wife Nevada.
Edward Montague Bloomer died 1 July 1917 and is buried in the Republic Cemetery in Ferry County. Nevada died in Seattle 23 July 1923, age 67, according to her death certificate #1569. It is not clear where she is buried, but it is not in Republic.
Woman Suffrage Declared Unconstitutional was the decision made in the Nevada Bloomer case on August 14, 1888 by the Washington Supreme Court. Nevada Boomer, wife of a Spokane saloon keeper, had lost the case where she was trying to get the right to vote for women. Suffragettes then raised $5000 to appeal the case, but Nevada refused to cooperate, so the case stood as originally decided.

1 comment:

  1. Charles, great to see this! I am about to publish the book, in fact, and I'll gladly slip you some cash if you can help with one more problem: WHS hasn't responded for a request for information about a Tacoma woman, Henrietta Somerville, flourishing in about 1912 when the Wash Supr Ct rulined in Somerville v. State. Can we find out anything about her??? contact me at svanbur@Comcast.net Prof. S. F. VanBurkleo, Wayne State University

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