Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography ofGrace Virginia Bendon Marron Gilmore, 1869-1950
By Caitlyn Heinrich and Sydney Senter, student researchers, Montana State University, Bozeman
Clubwoman, temperance advocate, newspaper columnist
Grace Virginia Bendon (1884-1950) was born in Alliance, Ohio on January 4, 1869, to Mary Cecelia McCoy (1843-1928) and Nathaniel John Bendon (1841-1922). Mary McCoy Bendon took care of the house while Nathaniel Bendon worked as a carpenter. In 1870, the McCoy family moved to Perry, Pennsylvania. On April 1, 1873, in Butler, Pennsylvania, Grace's brother, Ira Llewellyn (1873-1951), was born. On November 6, 1875, in Ohio, her sister Blanch (1875-1882) was born. Grace's brother Thomas (1878-?) was born in Minnesota in 1878. Grace moved to Glendive, Montana in early 1881, before the Northern Pacific railroad came through later that year. On December 27, 1884, Grace married Edward Marron (1857-1898), a distinguished stockman and manager of the HS Ranch, which was owned by many New York City millionaires. On December 25, 1900, Grace married her second husband, James W. Gilmore (1837-? but by 1920).
Gilmore was active in her community. She was a leading hostess in Glendive and was involved in the ladies bridge club. and the secretary of Ladies Aid. She also was well-known in Glendive as a church member, clubwoman, and temperance advocate. She was a longtime member of Sacred Heart Church in Glendive. She also was the secretary and eventually the president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Glendive, and held WCTU meetings in her home. Gilmore founded the Glendive Women's Club in July of 1908 and was an active member of the Club for more than forty years, serving as president of the Past Presidents' Club until 1949.
Gilmore's community involvement translated into political activism. During Montana's successful statewide suffrage campaign in 1914, Gilmore represented Glendive at the suffrage parade at the state fair. After the achievement of woman suffrage at the state level, Gilmore continued her political engagement. She went to Paris, France in 1919 with the National Catholic War Council during World War I as a hostess with the Catholic Welfare, after doing war work in Washington, D.C. In 1924 The Flathead Courier noted that Gilmore was a part of the executive committee to help the Democrats organize events to elect members of the Democratic Party to various positions in government. Gilmore also engaged in politics as a contributor to the Independent Voice of Eastern Montana, a progressive weekly publication that later became the Glendive Independent. During the 1930s, she wrote several articles for the paper, including "The Home Library," "The Prairie Fire," and "Prominent Women of Today."
Gilmore also contributed a historical column, "Pages From the Past," to The Independent Voice in the mid-1930s, gaining a reputation as Glendive's first resident historian since she remembered Glendive before the railroad. On May 22, 1950, Grace Gilmore passed away in Glendive.
Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census: Year: 1870; Census Place: Perry, Armstrong, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1301; Page: 295B; Image: 77; Family History Library Film: 552800, (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data - 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record).
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"Bryan Not Indorsed by Printers' Union," Yellowstone monitor. (Glendive, Mont.), 27 Aug. 1908, Image 8. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075153/1908-08-27/ed-1/seq-8/>
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Dawson County Review. 25 May 1950. (Montana Historical Society, Helena).
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Grace Marron Gilmore Papers, 1884-1943, Small Collection 319, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.
Gilmore, Grace Bendon Marron Vertical File. Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.
H. Norman Hyatt, An Uncommon Journey: The History of Old Dawson County, Montana Territory, the Biography of Stephen Norton Van Blaricom, (Farcountry Press, 2010).
"In Social Circles," by Mrs. F. C. Stiles, Fergus County argus. (Lewistown, Mont.), 01 Nov. 1899, Image 5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84036228/1899-11-01/ed-1/seq-5/>
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"Noted Journalist-Lecturer Coming," Yellowstone monitor. (Glendive, Mont.), 16 July 1914, Image 5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075153/1914-07-16/ed-1/seq-5/>
Women's History Matters, Manuscript Bibliography Montana's 20th-Century Women, (WordPress) <http://montanawomenshistory.org/research/bibliographies/manuscript-bibliography-montanas-20th-century-women/>;