Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Aloysius Larch-Miller, 1886-1920
By Linda D. Wilson
Oklahoma suffragist and Democrat Aloysius Larch-Miller sacrificed her life in order to get Oklahoma Governor James B. A. Robertson to call a special session of the state legislature. The seventh legislature had adjourned without voting on the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Larch-Miller said, "We shall keep up the effort to get action from Governor Robertson." Upon learning that Oklahoma State's Attorney General S. P. Freeling would be at the Pottawatomie County Democratic convention to speak in opposition of calling a special session, Larch-Miller attended the meeting against doctor's orders. She was secretary of the Oklahoma State Suffrage Ratification Committee. Her oratory abilities exceeded those of Freeling and she was able to obtain a vote of two to one to call a special session with legislators paying their own expenses. However, she contracted pneumonia and influenza and died two days later on February 2, 1920. She was buried at the Calvary Cemetery in Shawnee. Twenty-six days later the Oklahoma legislature met in special session and ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.
Aloysius Larch-Miller was born on September 27, 1886, in Tennessee. Circa 1903 she, her sister Genevieve, and their parents George and Ellen (Burke) Larch-Miller moved to Shawnee, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma Territory. After graduating from high school, Larch-Miller attended Central State Teachers' College in Edmond. Following her course work at the college, she taught kindergarten for several years at Shawnee's Harrison School.
Like many women during World War I Larch-Miller worked with the American Red Cross. She served as state secretary of the nursing department for that organization for the southwestern division. Her service was noticed by R. H. Wilson, state superintendent of education, who appointed Larch-Miller to supervise the teaching of Red Cross nursing at the state normal colleges. Larch-Miller worked as Pottawatomie County's chairperson and helped make the Third Liberty Loan a success. She was also an official of the Oklahoma State Federation of Women's Clubs.
Described as a gifted orator, having abundant energy and impressive ideas, as well as charm, Larch-Miller has a memorial to honor her. Citizens and children raised funds to build the Larch-Miller Park located centrally in Shawnee. In 1982 in recognition of her suffrage work Larch-Miller was posthumously inducted into the first Oklahoma Woman's Hall of Fame.
Ada Weekly News (Ada, Okla.), 5 February 1920. "Aloysious Larch Miller," vertical file, Oklahoma Room, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City. Beaver Herald (Beaver, Okla.) 16 October 1919. Drumright Evening Derrick (Drumright, Okla.), 3 February 1920. Eleanor Flexnor and Ellen Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States (Enlarged ed., Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996), 311. Guthrie Daily Leader (Guthrie, Okla.), 6 August 1918. Ida Husted Harper, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 5, 1900-1920 (National America Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), 607. New York Tribune, 19 August 1920. Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) Times, 12 April 1919. Oklahoma Teacher 2:7 (March 1921): 24. U. S. Census, 1900, Fifteenth District, Madison County, Tennessee, accessed on Ancestry.com, August 30, 2016. U.S. Census, 1910 and 1920, Shawnee, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, Accessed on Ancestry.com, August 30, 2016. Woman Citizen 4:31 (February 21, 1920): 904. Beaver Herald (Beaver, Oklahoma), 16 October 1919.