Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Ruth Ellen Buchholz, 1894 – 1993
By Craig Specht, Binghamton University
Ruth Ellen Buchholz (or Buckholz/Buckholtz) was born in South Carolina, on September 5, 1894, daughter of Herman C. Buchholz, who hailed directly from Germany, and Lura E. Buchholz, who was born in Virginia. Buchholz also had two older sisters; Lura, born in 1892, and Bernice, born in 1887. By 1910, Buchholz and her family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where she remained for the next few years. Within the decade, she finished high school, began teaching, and on April 21, 1920, married Winifred (Winfred) Sheldon Bearden, a soldier, (b. 1891). They married in Rabun County, Georgia, where they started a family together. The two adopted a young boy, Glenn S. Bearden, sometime between 1926, and 1930.
Buchholz was a lifelong suffragist, starting out as early as the beginning of the 1910s. In 1914, Buchholz aided the Georgia's Young People's Suffrage Association by giving out merchandise which promoted suffrage. By June of the next year, Buchholz aided in a project headed by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in which women would go to local institutions and aid those in need. Buchholz, along with her mother, brought food, flowers and care to ailing patients at the Baptist Infirmary. Her father was involved with the Women's Mission Union, so it is likely her early inspiration as a suffragist was due to her parents' humanitarian involvement.
By September 1914, Buchholz became the President of the Georgia's Young People's Suffrage Association. Under her leadership, the group worked closely with other local groups such as the Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association and the Georgia Men's League for Women's Suffrage. These 1915 events included a pro-suffrage film screening and marching in a major harvest parade. During December of that year, Buchholz and Amelia Woodall, the president of the Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association, used funds raised from the parade and to buy Christmas presents and trees for children living in poverty.
In the following years, Buchholz would continue to fight for women's suffrage throughout the state of Georgia; Buchholz was constantly giving public addresses, and further publicly campaigned for her cause. Not much information exists about Buchholz after 1916, but she did continue to teach. It is apparent that although she was only active as a suffragist for a short time, she spent her time succinctly, and allowed the women's suffrage movement in Georgia to vastly grow, and influence the nation as a whole. Ruth Buchholz outlived her husband and son by almost 30 years when she passed away from unknown causes in January 1993, almost 100 years old.
"Young Suffragists Canvass Streets for the Shaw Meeting." The Atlanta Constitution, December 11, 1914; "Flower Mission Day." The Atlanta Constitution, June 9, 1915; "Suffragists to Hold." The Atlanta Constitution, September 16, 1915; "Suffrage Calendar." The Atlanta Constitution, September 26, 1915; “Baptist to Pledge $10,000 for $1,000,000 Building Fund." The Atlanta Constitution, November 15, 1913; "Encourage Defectives." The Atlanta Constitution, November 21, 1915; "Christmas Tree to Be Provided By Suffragist." The Atlanta Constitution, December 24, 1915; "Young People's Suffrage Association." The Atlanta Constitution, April 16, 1916;
Ruth Buchholz. 1910, 1920, 1940 United States Federal Census; Bernice Buchholz. 1910 United States Federal Census; Lura Buchholz. 1910 United States Federal Census; Glen S Bearden. 1930 United States Federal Census; Glenn S Bearden. 1940 United States Federal Census; Wilfred Bearden. 1940 United States Federal Census; Ruth Ellen Buchholz. Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978;
Winfred Sheldon Bearden. U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918; Ruth E Bearden. U.S. Find A Grave 1600s – Current; Winifred Sheldon Bearden. U.S. Find A Grave 1600s – Current; Glenn S Bearden. U.S. Find A Grave 1600s – Current; Glenn S Bearden (1926 - 1973) - Find A Grave; Newspapers.com; Ancestry.com.