Ellen A. Martin
|Ellen Annette Martin|
January 16, 1847|
Kiantone, New York
|Died||March 13, 1916
Rochester, New York
|Parents||Abrahm and Mary Eliza (Burnham) Martin|
Ellen Annette Martin (January 16, 1847 – March 13, 1916) was an early and little-known American attorney who achieved an early victory in securing women's suffrage in Illinois. She was the first woman to vote in Illinois.
On April 6, 1891, in Lombard Illinois, Ellen Martin led a group of 14 prominent women to the voting place at the general store. Although suffrage was restricted to men in Illinois at that time, Lombard was governed by its pre-1870 compact which omitted any mention of gender. Miss Martin therefore demanded that the three male election judges allow the women to vote. Reportedly, the voting judges were flabbergasted by Miss Martin: "Mr. Marquardt was taken with a spasm, Reber leaned stiff against the wall, and Vance fell backward into the flour barrel."
A county judge eventually proclaimed the legitimacy of the women's votes, which became the first women's votes tabulated in Illinois history. Thus, Ellen Martin was the first woman in Illinois to vote. However, the men of Lombard quickly reorganized the town charter in line with the state charter, so that women were only allowed to vote in school elections. By 1916, Illinois women could vote in national elections, and the 19th Amendment (the Women's Suffrage Amendment) was passed in 1920.
In 2008 the city of Lombard, Illinois declared April 6 to be "Ellen Martin Day" in commemoration of Ms. Martin's historic victory for women's suffrage.
- Leonard, John William. "". Woman's Who's who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915. American Commonwealth Co., 1914. Page 543. Retrieved on November 08, 2008.
- Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Anthony, Susan Brownell; Gage, Matilda Joslyn; and Harper, Ida Husted. (1886). History of Woman Suffrage. Published by Susan B. Anthony.