Biographical Sketch of Kate Himrod Biggers

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Kate Himrod Biggers, 1849-1935

By Tally D. Fugate, Independent Historian

As president of the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association, Kate Himrod Biggers led the movement for women's voting rights in Oklahoma from 1904 to 1911. Born on July 15, 1849, in Waterford, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of David and Abigail Patton Himrod. In 1874 Kate married Thomas B. Biggers, a Civil War veteran and farmer eleven years her senior. They had no children. By 1880 the couple lived in Painterhood, Kansas, and by 1900 they moved to Chickasha, Indian Territory. By 1910, the Biggers had moved to a farm in Marlow, Oklahoma.

Suffragists from both territories met in 1904 in Oklahoma City and established the Equal Suffrage Association of Oklahoma and Indian Territory. Serving as the organization's first president, Biggers spoke to various women's clubs and mailed petition forms and letters enlisting help from pro-suffrage individuals. During the 1906 Oklahoma Constitutional Convention, she directed the suffrage efforts and spoke before the convention saying that "woman needs the ballot for her protection and development" of the home. In 1910 Biggers ran as a Republican candidate for commissioner of charities and corrections against incumbent Catherine "Kate" Barnard. Biggers thought it necessary to run against Barnard, who did not endorse woman's suffrage. However, she lost the election 91,907 votes to Barnard's 120,703 votes.

Biggers continued to serve as president of the association, which had changed its name in 1907 to the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association, a NAWSA chapter. Although unable to do field work, she lobbied through a suffrage column, sending editorials and articles to newspapers, such as the Marlow Review, the Oklahoma Post, and the Daily Oklahoman. In 1911, after serving seven years as the association's president, she declined the presidency, but agreed to perform the duties of treasurer.

In 1916 Biggers joined eight other women to form the Neighborly Home Demonstration Club of Stephens County. Two years later she served as vice president of the Marlow Suffrage Club. By 1919 her husband had died. She returned to Waterford, Pennsylvania, and lived with her family until her death on August 27, 1935.

Sources:

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 6 February and 24 June 1910. Louise Boyd James, "Woman's Suffrage, Oklahoma Style, 1890-1918," in Women in Oklahoma: A Century of Change, ed. Melvena Thurman (Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1982), 187 and 192. Ida Husted Harper, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage 1890-1920 vol. 6 (New York: J. J. Little & Ives Company, 1922), 521. Journal of the Senate of the State of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, OK: Warden Company, 1911), 14. Chickasha Daily Express (Chickasha, Indian Territory), 14 December 1906. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Elk County, Kansas. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Chickasha Nation, Indian Territory. 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Stephens County, Oklahoma. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964 [database on-line]. (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014).

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