Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Florence E. Williamson Head, 1876-1960
By Sara Landaverde, Instructor of English and Composition at Southern Arkansas University Tech, Camden AR; PhD Student at Texas A&M University—Commerce
Florence E. Williamson was born in Lockesburg, Arkansas on May 3, 1876 to Henry Clay Williamson and Mary Flowers. Having just completed four years of college, Florence married her husband, James DeKalb Head, on April 25, 1899. They moved from DeQueen, Arkansas, to Texarkana, Texas, where they had two children, Norma and James Junior. Throughout her marriage, she remained a homemaker and became active in the Arkansas Women's Suffrage movement. After being married for forty-seven years, she became a widow on September 9, 1946 and died on October 22, 1960 at eighty-four years of age.
In October 1916, the second annual convention of the State Woman Suffrage Association was held in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Mrs. Head of Texarkana was elected second vice-president. In the April 12, 1917 edition of the Texarkana Gazette, as president of the Political Equality League, and boasting 278 registered women voters in Texarkana and Miller Country, Arkansas, Mrs. Head expressed the highest hopes for the future of their organization as they worked on plans to develop the Miller County organization alongside the strongest political lines.
At the 1918 Democratic State Convention, for the first time in the history of Arkansas, Mrs. Head was elected as the first female member of the Democratic Central Committee and became the first woman to vote in the Democratic State Central Committee as the holder of her husband's proxy. Later that year, she was also appointed as a member of the Democratic Women's National Committee and chairman of her congressional district for the suffrage organization. In 1919, she served as a delegate for the Arkansas Equal Suffrage Central Committee at the National American Woman Suffrage Association: Jubilee Convention, March 24-29 in St. Louis, Missouri.
In Women in American Politics: History and Milestones, Mrs. Head is listed as a prominent women's rights pioneer of Arkansas along with several other women who were active in the politics of their time. She is buried alongside her husband at Redman Cemetery in DeQueen, Arkansas.
“Complete Roster of Women.” Texarkana Gazette [Texarkana, AR], 12 April 1917.
“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVGR-PZVX : 13 December 2015), Florence Williamson Head, 1960; Burial, De Queen, Sevier, Arkansas, United States of America, Redmen Cemetery; citing record ID 134655574, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.
The History of the Woman Suffrage. Ed. Ida Husted Harper, vol. 6, J.J. Little & Ives, 1922. [LINK].
National American Woman Association Suffrage Association. Handbook of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the Jubilee Convention. Ed. Justina Leavitt Wilson. National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, 1919.
Taylor, A. Elizabeth. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in Arkansas.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, vol. 15, no. 1, 1956, pp. 17-52.
US. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth census of the United States, 1900-Population. Ancestry.com website.
US. Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth census of the United States, 1910-Population. Ancestry.com website.
US. Bureau of the Census. Fourteenth census of the United States, 1920-Population. Ancestry.com website.
Weatherford, Doris. Women in American Politics: History and Milestones, vol. 1, Sage, 2012.