Woman of the Century/Mary A. Powers Filiey
FILLEY, Mrs. Mary A. Powers, woman suffragist and stock-farmer, born in the town of Bristol, N. H., 12th December, 1821. Her great-grandfather, William Powers, an old Revolutionary soldier, was one of the early settlers of the neighboring town of Groton, and lived on what is known as Powers' Hill, where her grandfather and father, Jonathan Powers, were born. Her mother, Anne Kendall, whose grandparents were early settlers of the town of Hebron in 1771, became the wife of Jonathan Powers, and, dying early, left a family of six children, of whom Mary was the oldest daughter. At eleven years of age she was left with the cares and responsibilities of a woman, filling the place of the mother and making the bread, when she was obliged to stand on a chair to reach the table. The cares so early thrust upon her developed strong traits of self-reliance and capabilities that were afterward shown in her maturer life work. About 1840 she went to reside with her aunt, Mrs. Deborah Powers, of Lansingburg, N. Y., a woman of remarkable individuality of character, in business for many years, who died in 1891 at the advanced age of 101 years. In 1851 Mary Powers became the wife of Edward A Filley, of Lansingburg, and went to St. Louis, Mo., to live. There her three children, a son and two daughters, were born. Mrs. Filley, though always feeling the justice and need of equal political rights for all, lived a quiet domestic life, till the passage of the law legalizing prostitution in St. Louis roused all die mother indignation in her, and she felt the time had come to act. Mrs. Filley with other prominent ladies felt that they must do what lay in their power to secure the repeal of such a law. She worked vigorously with pen and petition, though against great odds, sparing no effort, from vigorous articles written for the papers to personal appeals for influence from members of the legislature. Anything that could be done to save the youth of St. Louis from the degradation of such a law was don-. The effort was crowned with success, and the law was repealed. Soon after Mrs. Filley removed to her country home in North Haverhill, N. H. Upon her uncle's death, in 1880, she bought his large stork farm, which she has since conducted. It was a dairy farm, and MARY A. POWERS FILLEY. though entirely new work to her, she learned the process of butter-making, found a market in Boston for her butter and made one year as much as 4,000 pounds. In connection with the dairy work she continued to raise a fine grade of Jersey stock. Finding the work too great a tax upon her strength, she sold the greater portion of her stock and turned the farm into a hay farm. While raising stock, her attention was called to the fact that the average man is cruel to animals, and it has been one of her special points to teach by precept and example the good effects of kindness to dumb animals. Her interest in all reforms has been active. From her small community she has sent long petitions to Congress for equal suffrage. She has drawn lecturers into the village, and in many ways made the moral atmosphere of those around her better for her having lived among them.