“Grand Co. W. S. A.,” Woman’s Exponent, June 15, 1895.
The Grand County Woman Suffrage Association was organized in Moab just days after women’s suffrage was included in the Utah constitution drafted by convention in 1895. Fifty women joined at the first meeting headlined by leading suffragist Margaret Caine from the Utah Woman Suffrage Association. Sarah J. Elliott was elected president, with A. W. Warner as vice president, Helen Kirk as secretary and Esther Tangreen as treasurer.
Sarah J. Elliott
Moab resident Sarah J. Elliott was a schoolteacher and suffragist. Before moving to Utah, she had heard Susan B. Anthony and Rev. Anna Howard Shaw speak in Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1895, her school participated in Arbor Day and the teachers and students chose important people in U.S. and Utah history to name the trees after. Sarah wrote to the Woman’s Exponent that her students had chosen Mary and Martha Washington, Frances Willard, Elizabeth Grannis, Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Eliza R. Snow, and Emmeline B. Wells. Sarah wrote that she hoped to attend the suffrage convention in Salt Lake City with Susan B. Anthony in May 1895 if her school closed for the summer before that time. Sarah was elected that month as president of the newly-formed Grand County Woman Suffrage Association. Her efforts with her pupils and in her town show how committed and active Utah suffragists were across the entire territory.
On April 15, 1895, led by their teacher Sarah J. Elliott, students in Moab’s school planted trees in honor of important men and women in Utah and U.S. history. Two of the women represented were Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline B. Wells, Utah’s leading suffragist. Since yellow was the color of suffrage (dating back to Susan B. Anthony’s use of the sunflower as a symbol in her 1860s campaign for suffrage in Kansas), Sarah and her students tied yellow ribbons around the trees for these two women in their first Arbor Day celebration.
As Sarah wrote to the Woman’s Exponent, “‘Taxation without representation is tyranny,’ and we plant this yellow ribbon tree to keep this thought ever before us.”
Grand County Woman Suffrage Association founded.
The Grand County Woman Suffrage Association was formed on May 8, 1895, just days after women’s suffrage was included in the constitution drafted for Utah at convention in Salt Lake City. Fifty women joined the organization at the first meeting, which was held in Moab.