Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Anna N. Rusk Pickett (McClain), 1868-1950
By Melissa Belle Sytsma, Dr. Amy Forss, Professor
Undergraduate student, Metropolitan (Omaha, NE) Community College
Anna, Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: gracious. Mrs. Anna N. Pickett devoted her life to fighting for others. Fighting for those without a voice, fighting for equality, fighting for rights of all.
Anna Pickett was born Anna Rusk on September 7, 1868 in Illinois to David and Catherine (McDermott) Rusk. Catherine was born in New York, and was a first-generation American. Her parents came to America from Ireland. In November 1892 Anna married Lindley M. Pickett.
December 14, 1867, Mr. Pickett was born into a family of early pioneers who settled in Indiana. In 1888 his family moved to the Broken Bow area in Nebraska. Lindley Pickett was the son of Dr. C. Pickett and Ann (Pemberton) Pickett, both popular locals of Custer County.
Mr. and Mrs. Lindley Pickett had 6 children, 4 of whom survived. Thirza J. Holmes was married to a soldier in the US Marine Corps. Katie M. Pickett grew up to be a teacher and taught school near Arnold, NE. They had two sons, Otis E. Pickett and Lloyd E. Pickett. The family lived on a Kinkaid homestead on a 100-acre farm. Their farm had an estimated 50 cattle year round. The Pickett family was very successful in raising Duroc-Jersey hogs. They also raised elite horses and mules. The family all worked hard to keep the farm running and profitable.
Anna Pickett's mother divorced Anna's father when Anna was in her mid-twenties. She then moved to her own homestead in North Platte, Nebraska in November of 1891. She lived on a peaceful plot of land. Once Anna and Lindley's children grew up their marriage started to fall apart. It was rocky and they were unhappy. Anna was involved in the women's movement; she wanted to be free and independent, just like her mother was, so she followed in her mother's footsteps. Catherine taught her to be strong and self-sufficient. In August of 1893, Anna followed her mother to North Platte where she lived on a 160-acre homestead. Later she remarried a Mr. McClain.
Anna Pickett was on the Committee on Assemblies; Mrs. Amanda Marble [link to NAWSA bio sketch of this person] was chairman of the committee. They organized an event at the Nebraska State Fair in the summer of 1902. Other events and meetings were presented at the Epworth Assembly-- Chautauquas, pioneer picnics and other gatherings. The committee also included Mrs. O. B. Bowers, Tekamah; Mrs. Ellen A. Miller, Beatrice; Mrs. Ollie King Carriker, Nebraska City.
Together they organized the annual suffrage convention in Tecumseh in December 1902. The agenda included the mayor of Tecumseh, Governor-elect J. H. Mickey, the Hon. C. W. Beal, Senator O'Neill, and other notable citizens. The event also included a memorial hour that was given to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Nebraska suffragists who died that year.
After decades of fighting for others, fighting for those without a voice, fighting for equality, fighting for rights of all. Anna Pickett passed away July 16, 1950. The cause of her death is unknown, but she didn't go down without a fight. She was 81 years of age. Anna Pickett may not be well known around the world but that doesn't mean she wasn't important. She had courage, bravery and heroism. In hindsight, she sure lived up to her name. Anna, Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: gracious.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, The Suffragettes, Complete History of the Movement, an EBook from e-artnow, 2017. Available as a kindle edition of the six volumes of History of Woman Suffrage.
Bureau of Land Management, Land Office Records, https://glorecords.blm.gov
Records related to Anna Pickett, at https://www.findagrave.com
"History of Custer County, Nebraska: A Narrative of the past" (William Levi Gaston)