Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Annie M. Peebles Brown, 1840-1927

By Mary Paynton Schaff, Reference Librarian at the Washington State Library

Annie M. Peebles was born on June 16, 1840, the second daughter born to Emeline and Hugh Peebles of Schenevus, New York. Annie and her sister younger Elizabeth (Libbie) were both educated at Hartwick Theological and Classical Seminary, which began enrolling women in 1851, and later at the Oneida Conference Seminary. In 1866, Annie and Libbie answered Asa Mercer's call for unmarried women in search of jobs and husbands who would be willing to locate to the Puget Sound area. The second expedition of "Mercer Girls," including Annie and Libbie Peebles, arrived in Seattle on May 28, 1866. The two women paid their own fares in full.

After her arrival in the Puget Sound area, Annie met fellow suffragist Mary Ann Kandle Barnes and stayed with Mary Ann and her husband George in Olympia. George assisted her in obtaining a position as a deputy collector of internal revenue for Washington Territory, which she held for two years. Annie married a wealthy lumberman and land speculator named Amos Brown on November 5, 1867. Together, the couple had five children: son Alson, and daughters Brownie, Ora, Anna, and Helen.

Women's suffrage was very much a family affair in the Brown household. Three Peebles sisters, Annie, Libbie, and Emma, were active in the suffrage movement in Washington State, as was Annie's daughter Ora Brown Richardson. For her own part, Annie participated in the Washington Territory Woman Suffrage Association (WTWSA) and Susan B. Anthony dined at the Brown home on November 2, 1871 during her visit to the Pacific Northwest. Annie served as corresponding secretary for the Equal Rights Association of King County and appeared on voter rolls for Seattle in 1884, when the women of Washington Territory were briefly given the right to vote before it was revoked again in 1887. She was serving as the president of the Woman's Century Club when Anthony returned to Seattle in 1896, and delivered a brief introduction to Anthony's lecture at the Seattle Theater on June 6.

According to the Seattle Times, Annie Brown was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Women's Equal Suffrage Association in October of 1906. In November of that year, she hosted Emma Smith DeVoe during some her visit to Seattle, and stood in the receiving line with her at a meeting of the King County Association of the Washington State Suffrage Association. Her involvement with that organization continued into 1909 when she was listed as chairman of a standing committee, and in June of 1910 Brown was described as a close friend of Carrie Chapman Catt. Throughout the years, Annie was a generous donor to suffrage causes in Washington, and throughout the country.

The Browns' pioneer home at the corner of First Avenue and Spring in Seattle, was a landmark until 1914. The family was credited with caring for the Native American daughter of Chief Seattle, Princess Angeline, during the last years of her life. After Amos died in 1899, Annie moved the family across the water to the family compound in West Seattle. Her involvement in social clubs continued well into old age; she was a member of the West Seattle Auxiliary to the Seattle Red Cross in 1917. Annie Brown died at the summer home of her daughter at Burton, Vashon Island, on September 3, 1927.


Much of the information in this biography comes from Shanna Stevenson's "Here Come the Suffragettes: The Role of the Mercer Girls in the Washington Woman Suffrage Movement." Accessed 16 March 2018.

Seattle Times (1895 – current) online access through Newsbank.

"Amos Brown Residence on 1st Ave and Spring St., 1911." University of Washington Special Collections. Accessed 16 March 2018.

"Brown, Amos (1833-1899) and Alson Lennon Brown (1868-1942)." Historylink essay 3755 Accessed 16 March 2018.

Emma Smith DeVoe's correspondence and scrapbooks, 1880-1920. Washington State Library MS 171. Accessed through Primarily Washington 16 March 2018.

Marriage Record of Amos Brown and Annie Peebles. Washington Digital Archives.

"Mrs. Amos Brown, San Francisco, ca. 1867." Museum of History and Industry. Accessed 16 March 2018.

New York State Census, 1855. Online access through Accessed 16 March 2018.

Susan B. Anthony Journals. Lewis and Clark Special Collections and Archives. Accessed 16 March 2018.

United States Federal Census, 1880. Online access through Accessed 16 March 2018.

United States Passport Application for Annie M. Brown. Online access through Accessed 16 March 2018.

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