Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Emma L. Polk LaPrade, 1856-1932

By Brenda Harper, volunteer researcher for 2020 Vision Committee, Clarksville, TN

Member of the Clarksville Equal Suffrage League; Attended Woman Voters' Convention in Nashville, May 1920; Ratification Committee and charter member of Clarksville-Montgomery County League of Women Voters

Emma L. Polk was born on October 10, 1856 in Robertson County, TN to Abie Long and Thomas B. Polk. She lived there until her November 19, 1901 marriage at the age of 45 to 60 year old Gustavus A. LaPrade. They resided for a short time in Birmingham, AL before settling in Clarksville by 1910.

The Clarksville Equal Suffrage League met in the LaPrades' Madison Street home multiple times. At the September 17, 1914 meeting, one of the speakers was Mrs. Lockhart H. Wallis, president of the Woman's Political Union of Houston, TX.

In 1920, Emma LaPrade was one of the Clarksville women who attended the May 18th Woman Voters' Convention in Nashville. Billed as the last Tennessee suffrage convention, its intent was to continue to advocate for and prepare women to participate as responsible voters.

Active in the Clarksville League of Women Voters, Emma LaPrade was a member of the Ratification Committee and helped plan the July 26th reception held for Gov. Roberts at the Women's Club to show support and urge him on toward the ratification of the federal amendment.

In her later years, Emma moved into the Bellview Apartments, very modern and the first of their kind in Clarksville. She lived there until in declining health she went to stay with her sister Blanch Polk Smith in Adairville, KY where she died June 12, 1932 at age 76.


U.S. Federal Census Records accessed July 29, 2017

Year: 1860; Census Place: Western Division, Robertson, Tennessee; Roll: M653_1270; Page: 457; Family History Library Film: 805270

Year: 1870; Census Place: District 5, Robertson, Tennessee; Roll: M593_1556; Page: 57B; Image: 99481; Family History Library Film: 553055

Year: 1880; Census Place: District 5, Robertson, Tennessee; Roll: 1277; Family History Film: 1255277; Page: 63C; Enumeration District: 181

Year: 1910; Census Place: Clarksville Ward 6, Montgomery, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1513; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0132; FHL microfilm: 1375526

Year: 1930; Census Place: Clarksville, Montgomery, Tennessee; Roll: 2265; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0015; Image: 646.0; FHL microfilm: 2341999 Tennessee, State Marriages, 1780-2002 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2008. Marriage record accessed July 29, 2017. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed July 29, 2017 U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed July 29, 2017 Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1964 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2007. Accessed July 29, 2017

"Mrs. Wallis of Texas to Address at LaPrade Home," Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, September 16, 1914

"Enthusiastic Suffrage Speech," Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, September 18, 1914

"Over 500 Women from Over State," Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, May 17, 1920

"Women Form Voters League," Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, July 23, 1920

"Governor Roberts Defends Record in Speech Here: Ladies Give Reception," Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, July 26, 1920

"Death Summons Beloved Woman," Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, June 12, 1932

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