Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Flora Trueblood Neff, 1858-1943
By Hibatullah Taher, student
Harry S Truman College - City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Suffragist, Poet, Animal Rights Activist
Flora Emma Trueblood Bennett Neff was born January 12, 1858, in Howard County, Indiana, and she died on April 5, 1943, in Los Angeles County, California. She was the daughter of Thomas Elwood Trueblood (1827-1893), a grocery dealer, and Sarah Jane White (1830-1900). She had two siblings, Elnora Trueblood (1851-1955), a teacher and advocate for the American Humane Association, and Lindley Trueblood (1853-1890). Flora Trueblood married Asher C. Bennett (1843-1888), a lawyer and Civil War veteran, on January 1, 1885, in Howard County, Indiana. His death in 1888 made her a widow. On November 21, 1896, she married Jasper N. Neff (1852-1929), a physician, who she divorced in 1913. There is no record of Flora Trueblood Bennett Neff having children.
Flora T. Neff wrote a book called Along Life's Pathway: A Poem in Four Cantos with Recreations, published in 1911 by Publisher's Press out of Chicago, Illinois. She also wrote music for churches. She served as state supervisor for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), an organization set up by a group of women who were concerned about alcohol and tobacco use in society. An avid supporter of the Logansport Humane Society, she was against killing animals and expressed that in her poetry. In 1913, her divorce lawsuit picked up national media coverage because she demanded that her soon-to-be ex-husband become both an active member of the humane society and an advocate for woman suffrage as part of the terms of the settlement for his "cruel, inhuman and unsympathetic" tendencies.
Flora T. Neff was a suffragist and an active member in the Indiana's woman suffrage movement. She began participating in 1909, when Harriet Taylor Upton of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) attempted to re-organize the Indiana suffrage women. A state convention was held in Logansport, Indiana, on March 16-17, 1909, to get more delegates in support of woman suffrage. Not only did Neff attend the convention, but she was elected the chair of literature for Indiana. On June 28-29, 1912, again in Logansport, another Indiana state convention was held to attract local societies, and eleven joined the state association. It was a success. At this convention, Neff became chair of the state affiliate's press committee. Afterward, Flora T. Neff participated in the parade, which was viewed by 50,000 people. The Indiana state government ratified the federal Nineteenth Amendment in special session on January 16, 1920, and Hoosier women voted in state-level elections in September 1921.
"Cemetery Walk Bios: Elnora Trueblood Gause (1851-1955)." Kokomo Tribune. October 5, 2007. http://www.kokomotribune.com/web-exclusive-cemetery-walk-bios/article_da42cd74-037e-56d8-bc21-10723f523274.html
Find a Grave. Asher C. Bennett. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20040059/Asher-C-Bennett.
Find a Grave. Flora Emma Neff. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/148499641/Flora-Emma-Neff.
Find a Grave. Jasper N. Neff. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20087047/Jasper-N.-Neff.
Find a Grave. Thomas Elwood Trueblood. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/45522602.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. "Indiana." Chapter XIII in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]
"He Must Advocate Woman's Suffrage to End Divorce Suit." Pittsburgh Press. October 7, 1913. Evening edition, 5.
Neff, Flora Trueblood Bennett. Along Life's Pathway: A Poem in Four Cantos with Recreations. Chicago: The Publisher's Press, 1911. https://archive.org/details/alonglifespathwa00neff.