Woman of the Century/Anna C Wait
WAIT, Mrs. Anna C., woman suffragist, born in Medina county, Ohio. 26th March, 1837. Her parents were natives of Connecticut Her maiden name was Anna A. Churchill. Her spirit of independence and self-helpfulness manifested itself very early. Her first ambition was "To be big enough to earn her own living," which was gratified when she was eleven years old through the need felt by a near neighbor of "a little girl to do chores." The only achievements in which she seems to take pride are that she has been entirely self-supporting since eleven years of age, and that she assisted in organizing the first permanent woman suffrage association in Kansas. Her second ambition was to go to Western Reserve College. When she learned that girls were debarred from that privilege, her indignation knew no bounds. At the age of sixteen she commenced to teach school, and continued to teach for thirty-two years. She became the wife of Walter S. Wait, of Summit county, Ohio, 13th December, 1857, and moved to Missouri in the spring of 1858, and resided there until the breaking out of the Civil War. Their son, Alfred Hovey Wait, was born there. The fact that he was less than a year old when his father enlisted was all that kept Mrs. Wait from going to the front She returned to Ohio and filled those dreadful years by teaching to support herself and baby. Her husband rejoined her after three years of faithful service to his country, which had recognized his ability by promoting him to the captaincy of Company H, Fiftieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The hardships and severe exposure during the siege of Fort Donelson had undermined his health. The family removed to Indiana in 1869, and in 1871 they went to Salina, Kas. In the spring of 1872 they located in Lincoln county. There Mrs. Wait helped to organize the school district in Lincoln, the county seat, and taught school there-two years. Then came the "grasshopper year." She secured employment in the Salina public school that year, and then returned to her home in Lincoln, where she continued to teach until 1885, when the breaking down of her husband's health compelled her to abandon teaching and assume a part of his duties in the publication of the Lincoln "Beacon." a reform paper started by them in 1880, devoted to prohibition, woman suffrage and anti- monopoly, in which her special department was woman's enfranchisement. To her more than to any other person does that cause owe its planting and growth in Kansas. The first work done in the suffrage line in Kansas since the campaign of 1867 was the organization of a local woman suffrage association in Lincoln. Kan., nth November, 1879, by Mrs. Anna C. Wait, Mrs. Emily J. Biggs and Mrs. Sarah E. Lutes. It began with three members, but increased in numbers and influence. The suffrage sentiment and work it brought out spread throughout the county, overflowed into other counties and eventually crystallized into the State-Equal Suffrage Association, which was organized 26th June, 1884. Mrs. Wait was the first vice- president and second president, and since that time, except one year, has occupied an official position in it. During the first winter of its existence the State association held a convention in Topeka, during a sitting of the Kansas legislature, and caused the municipal suffrage bill to be brought before that body. After running the gantlet of three winters before that law-making body, it became a law, bestowing municipal suffrage upon the women of Kansas. Mrs. Wait is admirably endowed to be one of the leaders in the work.