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Suffrage at the Garrison Corn Show


On this date in 1914, last minute preparations were underway in Garrison as participants set up for the Garrison Corn Show, which was organized by the Garrison Industrial Association. This was the second year of the show, and folks were preparing for the big get-together. The Bismarck Daily Tribune noted, “The merry clatter of carpenters’ hammers resounds at the new corn show building proclaiming the coming event as one of the most important in the history of Garrison. Never before has a community been aroused to active interest in agricultural affairs as that for many miles around Garrison, where the work of the Garrison Industrial Association in its campaign for more and better farmers, is reaching its height in getting ready for the second annual corn show.” 


Complete with exhibits of grain, parades, speeches and presentations, and community outreach, much was put into the affair. Like so many other events at that time, suffrage became a part of the schedule. Suffragists were busy campaigning for the upcoming statewide election in which women might be granted the right to vote, and events like the corn show allowed them to reach a great number of people. The local suffrage league in Garrison handed out pro-suffrage literature “from a charmingly decorated booth.” Mrs. Clara Darrow, president of the Votes for Women league of North Dakota, was one of the speakers, and Mr. Gaius Woolwedge, a lawyer from Minot, also delivered a suffrage address. It was reported that “his speech was received with tremendous enthusiasm.” 


A report in Wahpeton read, “The recent Corn Show at Garrison was more of a victory for suffrage than even the most optimistic had hoped for. The parade was almost a suffrage parade, for every float, every school child, [and] every auto and rider carried the ‘Votes for Women’ pennants and badges.”


The anti-suffragist contingent was also invited to the Corn Show in Garrison. They sent an express package to Garrison for their own booth. However, when their representative, Mrs. Olliphant, arrived in town to pick up the box, she discovered that some parties unknown had rifled through it! 


The Noonan Miner noted, “It is said that as a result of the incident, some of the men of Garrison are planning an anti-suffrage meeting… sometime early in October.” 


Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker



Bismarck Daily Tribune, September 11, 1914, p6; September 22, 1914, p5; September 26, 1914, p1

The Wahpeton Times, October 1, 1914, p6; October 8, 1914, p3

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, September 26, 1914, p6

The Noonan Miner, Thursday, October 1, 1914

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