Biographical Sketch of Amelia Hatcher Heath

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Amelia Hatcher Heath, 1842-1921

By Kim Viner, independent historian, September 2017

Amelia Hatcher (later Heath) was born in England in 1842 of Scottish parents. The 1870 census shows that she was in Laramie and living in the house of her father Robert Galbraith with her 8-year-old son Robert. That year she was called by Sheriff N.K. Boswell to serve on the first formal jury in the world to seat women. She served with five other women on the March 1870 grand jury convened in Laramie, Wyoming Territory.

Her father was the pioneer master mechanic of the Wyoming division of the Union Pacific Railroad. She moved here after the death of her first husband. Little is known of her life before arriving in Laramie. While in Laramie, she was the owner of a millinery store, which was located on Second Street. She listed $1000 as the value of her estate in the 1870 census, making her one of the wealthiest women in town. She owned the shop through the summer of 1871.

Mrs. Hatcher married Nathan A. Heath not long after she concluded her jury duties. He was a conductor on the Union Pacific Railroad for many years and thereafter ran the drug store at the corner of Second and Thornburgh streets (now Ivinson Avenue). They lived at the corner of Fremont and Third streets. In December 1871, she was one of 30 women to sign a petition addressed to the Wyoming Territory Legislative Assembly arguing that the 1869 Suffrage Act should be preserved in the face of an attempt by the assembly to overturn the act. Their stance prevailed as Governor John Campbell vetoed the assembly's actions.

The family left Laramie in the late 1880's and moved to Hebron, Nebraska, where Mr. Heath was a banker. From Hebron they moved to Ogden, Utah, where he died in March 1921. Amelia died that same year on 17 October, also in Ogden. She was the last of the original women jurors to pass from the Scene.

Sources:

1870, 1880, 1910 and 1920 U.S. Census at https://www.familysearch.org/

Utah Death Certificates 1904-1964 at https://www.familysearch.org/

Find a Grave at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/126098348

Laramie Semi-Weekly Edition "Served on the First Jury" no byline. October 22, 1921. p 2 at http://newspapers.wyo.gov/

Laramie Boomerang "Women on the Jury" October 17, 1889, p 1. At http://newspapers.wyo.gov/

Viner, Kim. Laramie Wyoming Women Made World History. Laramie, Wyoming: Laramie Plains Museum Association, 2015.

Wyoming Tribune December 2, 1871, p. 4 at http://newspapers.wyo.gov/

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