Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Elizabeth Nancy Greer Badley, 1851-1941
By Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, Assistant Professor, Montana State University
Elizabeth Nancy Greer Badley was born on October 21, 1851. Little is known about her early life. The 1860 Census lists her family as living in Grand River, Iowa. Her father Alvin owned real estate worth $1500 and worked as a farmer. Like many living in the area, growing sectional tension placed pressure on her family. Just a few years after the 1860 Census, her father enlisted in the Union Army. He served in Iowa's First Calvary Regiment, which saw action in Little Rock, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, and a host of other Southern cities. He died on August 1865 in a military hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Elizabeth married Durbin L. Badley on June 25, 1872. According to the 1880 Census, their first child, Vernie, was born around the year 1875. A son named John Emerson and a daughter named Daisy Edna followed Vernie's birth in roughly two-year intervals. They would eventually have several children. The census listed them as living in White Rock, Kansas, where Durbin worked as a blacksmith. The family was also involved in the temperance movement and attended meetings at the Whitney School House.
At some point, they moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where Durbin enjoyed some prominence. During his 1888 race for the Idaho Assembly, an article in the Statesman called him the "blacksmith orator, whose strong words fall straight and true as the hammer he wields at the anvil." In 1890, Star, Idaho, asked him to deliver their Fourth of July Oration.
Elizabeth was also involved in politics. On January 17, 1895, the Idaho State Legislature agreed to a resolution to a vote on women's suffrage. Suffrage workers mobilized in an attempt to make the outcome a positive one. The Illinois suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe lectured throughout the state and organized local women. When a convention was called in Boise, Elizabeth was elected Vice President. On November 3, 1896, the Idaho Legislature gave women the right to vote. The Badleys did not remain in Caldwell their entire stay in Idaho. Durbin also worked as a poultry farmer, and the family lived in nearby Meridian for a period of time.
Durbin also served in the Spanish American War. Elizabeth submitted a copy of one of his diary entries to the Idaho Daily Statesman. One of the interesting aspects of their life is their adoption of two children. The 1910 Census lists Etolia and Diamond Young living with Badleys as wards. The children likely came into their care after their father committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid. Although their mother was still living, mental illness had rendered her unable to care for them.
Sometime after they adopted the Young children, Durbin and Elizabeth decided to move to Oregon. The 1920 Census lists them as living in Mount Pleasant. There are no children listed as living with the elderly couple, and Durbin's occupation is listed as "general farmer." Durbin died in 1926. For the reminder of her life, Elizabeth appears to have lived with various family members. The 1930 Census lists her as living with her granddaughter Maxine who worked at a beauty parlor as an apprentice. The 1940 Census, on the other hand, lists her as living with her daughter Daisy Payne and a boarder named John Cummings. She died on June 10, 1941.
Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Title: General Index to Civil War and Later Pension Files, ca. 1949 - ca. 1949; NAI Number: 563268; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007; Record Group Number: 15; Series Title: U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Series Number: T288; Roll: 186; Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009; Family histories suggest that he died in a military hospital. Although I have been unable to confirm this, it is consistent with available records. For these family histories, see: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/boards/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=1480&p=surnames.greer
Ancestry.com. Iowa, Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
1880 Census, Place: White Rock, Republic, Kansas; Roll: 394; Family History Film: 1254394; Page: 8C; Enumeration District: 272.
"Temperance Meetings," The Belleville Telescope, August 12, 1880, 5.
"The Candidates," The Idaho Daily Statesman, October 13, 1888, 3.
"Celebration at Star July Fourth," The Idaho Daily Statesman, June 17, 1890), 3.
"Red Badge of Courage," The Idaho Daily Statesman, March 22, 1899, 4.
Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper, History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4, (1902), p. 591. [LINK]
1930 Census, Place: Portland, Multnomah, Oregon; Roll: 1951; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0194; FHL microfilm: 2341685
1940 Census, Place: Portland, Multnomah, Oregon; Roll: T627_3388; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 37-173.