Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890 - 1920
Biography of Hannah St. Clair Lind Hemphill (Mrs. M. T.) Coleman, 1872-1968
By April Akins, University Archivist, Lander University, Greenwood, South Carolina
President of South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs, President of South Carolina Equal Suffrage League
Hannah St. Clair Lind Hemphill was born April 17, 1872, in Abbeville, South Carolina to General Robert R. and Eugenia Brewton Hemphill. She attended Abbeville High School.
On January 27, 1892, Hannah married Martin Teague Coleman. The couple had four children: Robert, Lavenia Teague, Eugenia Cornelia, and James Finlay (who would die while serving in the US Army Signal Corps during World War II). Hannah was a member of the Methodist church. Hannah was the assistant editor of the Abbeville Medium from 1889-1892.
Hannah followed in her father's footsteps to champion woman suffrage. General Hemphill, a hero to South Carolina suffragists, was a champion of women's rights during the 1890s. His brother James Hemphill, editor of the Charleston News and Courier, also supported woman suffrage. Both men supported an effort to include female enfranchisement at the South Carolina constitutional convention in 1895. That year General Hemphill delivered an address before the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first time that a NAWSA conference was held in the South – part of an extensive effort by national suffrage leaders and southern suffragists to bring the South into the movement. As a former Confederate officer, General Hemphill's support was extremely welcome as suffragists fought southern white prejudice against the woman suffrage movement as an offshoot of the radical northern anti-slavery movement. He also introduced a bill into the South Carolina senate to change the constitution to allow women to vote.
Hannah was very active in the community holding the position of president of the South Carolina Federation for Women's Club, the Abbeville Civic Club, and the Abbeville Music Club. When the Spartanburg Herald sponsored a special edition on March 30, 1913 devoted to women's rights, she wrote an article urging the women of the state to prepare themselves for the full responsibilities of citizenship.
On May 15, 1914, the South Carolina Equal Suffrage League was organized and Hannah was elected president. At that time she was the retiring president of the South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs. In October 1915, Hannah declined continuing as president of the League.
Hannah was a member of the commission appointed by Governor Benjamin R. Tillman to investigate and report advisability of establishing industrial school for girls, as result of whose report Winthrop College was established. According to the 1920 census record, she was a secretary for the Red Cross.
Hannah died on November 17, 1968 and is buried with her parents and husband in Melrose Cemetery in Abbeville, South Carolina.
Capt. James Finley Coleman. www.findagrave.com/memorial/55923428/james-finley-coleman(accessed 3 July 2018).
Gen Robert Reid Hemphill. www.findagrave.com/memorial/66570447/robert-reid-hemphill (accessed 3 July 2018).
Hannah St. Clair Lind Coleman. www.findagrave.com/memorial/86453998/hannah-st._clair-coleman (accessed 3 July 2018).
Hannah H Coleman. ancestry.com (accessed 3 July 2018).
Hannah Hemphill Coleman (Mrs. M.T. Coleman), candidate for the office of Judge of Probate of Abbeville County, asks your support on the following grounds. (1920). Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified.
Leonard, J. W. (1914). Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914 - 1915.
Martin Teague Coleman. www.findagrave.com/memorial/86453917/martin-teague-coleman (accessed 3 July 2018).
Antoinette Elizabeth Taylor, “South Carolina and the Enfranchisement of Women: The Later Years.” (1979). The South Carolina Historical Magazine,80(4). Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/27567577
Marjorie Spruill Wheeler, New Women of the New South: The Leaders of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States, Oxford University Press, 1995, 116-18.