Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Sarah Frances Wood, 1858-1938

By Patricia Lyn Scott, Independent Historian; Jefferson County Historical Society (Idaho) Board of Directors.

President, Idaho Chapter of the National League of Women Voters

Sarah Frances Wood was born on August 9, 1858, in Winthrop, Maine, to Thomas Camp and Emily Waugh Wood. In 1891, she, her mother, and younger sister, Nellie, left Maine and joined older brother, Fremont and his family in Boise, Idaho. He had arrived a decade earlier to serve as assistant U.S. Attorney and would later become one of Idaho's most prominent judges. Miss Frances Wood remained a single, working woman. First, she worked for the Idaho State Secretary of State and was recognized for her, "neatness and accuracy." For thirty-one years, she served then as the Ada County deputy recorder. Her service ended on January 27, 1938, when she fell walking to work. She broke her hip and never fully recovered, dying of a heart attack on April 28.

Miss Frances Wood was described as an "earnest worker in the [suffrage] movement." While she appeared not to have been elected to any position nor appointed to any public committee in Idaho's suffrage fight, she was a solid supporter of the amendment. She did serve as a delegate to the 1896 Idaho Equal Suffrage Association convention. Newspaper articles record her attendance and participation in in a variety of other suffrage gatherings. After the Idaho suffrage fight was won, another barrier fell when on October 5, 1897, she became one of the first Idaho women to serve as a juror. In fact, she and three other women served on the jury for a civil suit, Dr. Fairchild vs. Ada County, in the Probate Court of Boise. When the Idaho Chapter of the Council of Women Voters was formed she became one of its first members and served as secretary, vice-president, and then president. She lobbied Idaho's Congressional delegation to support the Susan B. Anthony amendment, but did not criticize Idaho's Senator William Borah when he opposed it because of the "actions of the militants."

Sources: "Public Member Trees – Emily Waugh [on-line database]," Provo, Utah:, 2018. (Accessed: September 30, 2018).

"Blame Militants for Defeating Amendment," Evening Capital News (Boise, Idaho), February 5, 1918, 5. (Accessed: September 30, 2018).

"Broke the Record," Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), January 3, 1901, 6. (Accessed: September 20, 2018).

"Fremont Wood Dies in Boise, "Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), December 23, 1940), 1, 2. (Accessed: September 30, 2018).

French, Hiram T. "Women of Idaho – Equal Suffrage," in Idaho History. Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing, 1914, 516.

"Funeral Services [Emily W. Wood]," Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), October 30, 1894, 3. (Accessed: September 6, 2018).

"Idaho Women Serve as Jurors," Idaho Falls Times (Idaho Falls, Idaho), October 7, 1897, 2. (Accessed: September 6, 2018).

Larson, T.A. "Woman's Rights in Idaho," Idaho Yesterdays 16 (Spring 1972), 2-19.

"100 Meet at Banquet in Honor of Birthday of Susan B. Anthony," Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), February 16, 1917, 2. (Accessed: September 25, 2018).

"Sarah Frances Wood, Certificate no. 108204," Idaho Death Records, 1890-1967 [on-line database]. Provo, Utah: Operations, 2014.

"Sarah F. Wood Dies in Boise," Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), May 1, 1938, 2. (Accessed: September 25, 2018).

"Want Borah's Suffrage Vote," Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), February 5, 1918, 5. (Accessed: September 5, 1918).

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