Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Lula Barnes Ansley, 1861 – 1914
By Sarah Carrier, North Carolina Research and Instruction Librarian, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Native Georgian Sarah Jane Tallulah Lee "Lula" Barnes was born in 1861 in Harris County Georgia. She married her husband, the Reverend James Jefferson Ansley, in 1886.
Ansley was a dedicated member of Georgia's Woman's Christian Temperance Union (GWCTU). The WCTU worked towards prohibition in the early 1900s and saw suffrage as a means to enact legislation favorable to their agenda. Ansley served as their historian and wrote History of the Georgia Woman's Christian Temperance Union from Its Organization, 1883-1907, published in 1914.
Georgia statewide prohibition was accomplished in 1908, and leading up this, Ansley contributed to the WCTU's mission by writing editorials to national papers. She was a writer, not only of the WCTU history, but also of editorials to newspapers across the country. Additionally, she lectured on a regular basis. An October 4, 1906 lecture delivered at a meeting of Georgia WCTU chapters was called, “Marks of Progress in the Georgia Woman's Christian Temperance Union.”
In 1910, Ansley wrote a piece published in the Black Hills Daily Register of Lead, South Dakota called, “Woman Suffrage Judged by Its Fruits.” The editorial makes a strong argument in favor of the right to vote. She references the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and adds, “we have come by slow degrees to feel the beneficent influence of women's wisdom in church and in state.” She also states that the furthering of humanitarian causes is due to the contributions of women in the public and political spheres. Ansley states, “the muddy stream of politics is being purified through woman's ballot, and through the influence of her character.”
Another representative editorial by Ansley is, “Are Women Needed in the State Government?” published in The Huntington Herald of Indiana in 1912. Ansley makes the argument that not only should women have the right to vote, but women should be admitted to universities alongside men, and they should also participate in church activities at the same level as men. She says, “women of the world are asking for the privilege of performing the duties of citizenship.”
She died in 1914 and is buried in the Barnes Family Plot in Hamilton, Harris County, Georgia.
Ansley, Lula Barnes. History of the Georgia Woman's Christian Temperance Union from Its Organization, 1883-1907. Columbus, GA: Gilbert Printing Co., 1914; Ansley, Lula Barnes. “Woman Suffrage Judged by Its Fruits.” Black Hills Daily Register, March 30, 1910; Ansley, Lula Barnes. “Are Women Needed in the State Government?” The Huntington Herald, July 15, 1912; Chirhart, Ann Short, and Betty Wood. Georgia Women: Their Lives and Times. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009.