Reprinted from an article by Trisha Morris-Kopinski, Warsaw Country Courier, May 15, 2003
When most people think of the turn-of-the-century fight to get women the right to vote, names such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton often come to mind. Locals may also throw Wyoming's Lydia Avery Coonley Ward on to the list.
But some in Warsaw wanted to make sure one of their own isn't forgotten.
Suffragist leader Ella Hawley Crossett, who was instrumental in forming the Warsaw Political Equality Club in the early 1890's was honored with the dedication of a state historic marker on the lawn of the Warsaw Public Library in July 2001.
Crossett was born in Gainesville in 1853, attended school in Warsaw and grew up learning from her parents the beliefs of freedom, equality for all and the advancement of women, according to an article written in 1998 by Jean Lind, Crossett's great granddaughter.
A number of years after her 1878 marriage to John Crossett, Warsaw's suffragist was sent to Washington, D.C., as a delegate at the national women's suffrage convention.
Shortly after her return, she arranged a Wyoming County suffrage meeting, at which Susan B. Anthony spoke. The Warsaw Political Equality Club was formed out of that in the early 1890's. Crossett was elected present of the group.
Active members of the club included the Humphreys, Conables, Gouinlocks, Averys, Barbers and Beardslees. They, along with Crossett, were involved in educating themselves on parliamentary procedures, voting etiquette, various laws and other areas that would help them support the cause.
The members were also instrumental in women becoming part of the Warsaw School Board in 1893. Crossett herself served as a school trustee and never missed the annual school meeting through 1924.
Crossett also helped organize the Wyoming County Red Cross and the women's auxiliary of the Wyoming County Community Hospital.
Crossett's strong involvement at the local and county levels led her to serve as a member of the executive board of the New York State Suffrage Association. She was first vice-president of the association in 1902. She held the office for eight years but was a consistent member for more than 20 years attending state and national conventions.
After the right to vote was granted to women in 1917, and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution ratified in 1920, Susan B. Anthony cited Crossett's dedication, tenacity and perseverance.
"Ella's dedication, commitment and high ideals live on as an inspiration to me and to my three children," Lind Crossett, her great-granddaughter, wrote. "The women of that time were courageous in their determination to stand up for fairness, justice and equal rights for all."
The Warsaw Public Library houses the original six-volume set of the History of Woman Suffrage, edited by Ida Husted Harper. Crossett provided information for the books and there is an inscription and autograph by Susan B. Anthony.
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