Woman of the Century/Martha Strickland
STRICKLAND, Mrs. Martha, lawyer, born in St. Johns, Mich. 25th March, 1853. Her father was Hon. Randolph Strickland, well known in Michigan for his legal ability and broad and liberal mind. He represented the old Sixth Congressional District in Congress in 1869. Her mother was Mrs. Mary S. Strickland, one of the earliest friends of woman's advancement in that State. MARTHA STRICKLAND. While her father was in Congress, Martha, then a bright, vivacious miss of sixteen, was his private secretary. When she was twenty, she began the study of law with her father, and after a few months she entered the law department of the Michigan University. Her eyesight failed soon after, and she was compelled to give up her studies. In the meantime she had become a forceful and eloquent platform orator, and for several years after she had quit the study of law she lectured on various phases of the movement to enlarge the field of activity for women. In 1875 she became the wife of Leo Miller. She has one son. She has always retained her maiden name, for she believes in the individuality of women. In 1882 she again entered the Michigan University, and in 1883 she was graduated from the law department. For three years thereafter she practiced in St. Johns, Mich., the home of her parents, where she acted as assistant prosecuting attorney for the county, in which capacity she showed rare legal ability. Mrs. Strickland was the first woman to argue cases in the Supreme Court of Michigan, and it was due to her untiring efforts that there was won before that tribunal the greatest legal victory for women known up to that time. The case involved the right of women to hold the office of deputy county clerk. About ten days before the final hearing Mrs. Strickland was called into the case. She was satisfied that women were eligible to such offices, and she went to work to prove it to the highest court in the State. Some of the best lawyers doubted her position, but she prepared her brief, appeared before the court, made her argument and won. In 1886 she went to Detroit, Mich., and entered a law office, and a few months later opened an office of her own. There she has formed a large circle of acquaintances. Her classes in parliamentary law and the active interest she took in every movement for the advancement of women brought her in contact with the more intellectual women of the city, and she occupies a leading place among the prominent women of Detroit.