Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ethel Naylor, 1892-1987

By Karen Lerner, independent historian

Mrs. Bayard Naylor was born Ethel Irene Foreman in Canada in 1892 to Jacob and Ida Foreman. She and her parents moved to Bound Brook, New Jersey, when she was a young girl. It was there that she later met Bayard Naylor, whom she married on June 22, 1912. Ethel gave birth to their only son, Carl Milliard, on September 5, 1913. The boy perished of pneumonia two years later in December of 1915.

Mrs. Naylor's official work on behalf of the suffrage movement began in November of 1914, when she attended the annual convention in Camden, New Jersey, and was elected corresponding secretary. In June of 1915, she was appointed to the Enrollment Committee for the Bound Brook Equal Suffrage League. She continued to be involved with the cause after the death of her son, and was elected corresponding secretary at the state convention for Women's Suffrage at Carteret Arms in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in January of 1916.

1916 was the last documented year of Mrs. Naylor's active involvement with the Suffrage movement, but she continued to be socially engaged. That year, she agreed to donate her time as a nurse, in support of Dr. George L. Mack, for the school children of the area. In April of 1917, she was elected to the executive board of the Bound Brook Welfare Society at their annual meeting as a representative of her Methodist Episcopal church.

After moving with Bayard to Stamford, Connecticut, she went on to take what might be viewed as a feminist step well ahead of her time: she left her husband. Mr. Bayard Naylor was granted a divorce from Ethel in April of 1924 on the grounds of desertion. The 1930 census record shows that by then she was living back home with her mother in Bound Brook, under her maiden name, and working as a private nurse. She would later marry chemist John E. Wetherwax, with whom she had a daughter, Patricia Ann.

On February 24, 1987, Ethel I. Wetherwax passed away at Newton Memorial Hospital at the age of 95. She was survived by her daughter, Patricia Ann Wetherwax Powelson, and four grandchildren.


Ida H. Harper, ed., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 [LINK]

Blackwell, Alice Stone. The Woman Citizen - Volume 4. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

"Harriman Neilson Simmons." Historical records and family trees – MyHeritage, Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

"Leading Clubwoman, Church Worker Dies." The Central New Jersey Home News, 13 Oct. 1942, p. 12. neilson simmons. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017. *

Lewis, Jan Ellen. Rethinking Women's Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776-1807. .Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

"New Jersey Victory Convention." State leagues pushing citizenship; Woman's Journal, vol. 4,no. 40, 1920, pp. 1182–83. The Gerritsen Collection. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

"Why New Jersey Defeated Suffrage." hv-proquest _to_45.pdf. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

*The bulk of the information for the above sketch came from this specific source.

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