Biographical Sketch of Abbie E. Krebs

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Abbie E. Krebs, 1842-1924

By George and Christina Legg, Rolling Hills Estates, CA

President of the Women's State Taft Club; National American Woman Suffrage Association

Abigail Elvenia Jackson was born in Providence RI on March 2, 1842 to Jacob Green Jackson and Elvenia Jackson. She married James DeCamp in 1859 and was later married to William Wood in 1865 before her marriage to Col. Henry Krebs, Jr. in 1886. After being widowed in 1914, she married James E. Wilkins in 1917. Abbie had three children who lived to adulthood – Clarence Eastman DeCamp b. 1859, Casimir Jackson Wood b. 1869, and Frances Abbie Wood b. 1873. She also had a daughter Lena Wood who died at 21 months of age in 1868. Abbie (Krebs) Wilkins passed away from complications of diabetes on July 30, 1924 at home in San Mateo, CA.

Abbie Krebs had a wide-ranging and distinguished career in California as a writer, public debater and speaker, successful businesswoman, political activist and women's suffrage supporter. She was a writer and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and was a member and officer, including President, of the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association in the early 1900's. She edited the book, La Copa de Oro: a Collection of California Sketches, Poems and Stories by the Members of the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association (1905).

In addition to her press association activities, Abbie was active in civic life through participation in fraternal and patriotic organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution (her great-grandfather Samuel Jackson served in the Continental Army) and as California Department President of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (her husband Henry served during the Civil War as an officer in the Union Army).

In 1901, upon the death of her father Jacob Jackson, Abbie was elected vice-president of the lumber company Jacob had founded. The Caspar Lumber Company was a major logging and shipping operation located on the Mendocino coast in Caspar, CA. In early 1902 she succeeded her husband Henry Krebs and assumed the presidency of the company. Abbie and Henry later founded the Caspar, South Fork & Eastern Railroad in 1903, in part to carry the lumber company's logs to inland sawmills.

Abbie Krebs's political and suffragist activities were closely intertwined. She was prominent in Republican Party politics in California in the early 1900's, serving for example as President of the Women's State Taft Club, organized to support William Howard Taft's pursuit of the White House in 1912. Her Republican and suffragist roles came fully together and peaked in 1916, when she was a member of the California delegation to the Republican National Convention held in Chicago. She was selected by the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) to address the convention's Resolutions Committee to advocate on behalf of NAWSA for adoption of a party platform plank in favor of equal suffrage. The subject was a controversial one at the convention, generating significant attention and support on both sides of the issue. Eventually, the full convention adopted a compromise plank stating, “The Republican Party...favors the extension of the suffrage to women, but recognizes the right of each State to settle this question for itself.” This was the first time that the national party expressed itself as favorably disposed towards equal suffrage.

Sources

Complete History of the Wakerley/Winney Family Tree, Ancestry.com

N. Gray and Company California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1924 July, Page 271

California County Birth, Marriage & Death Records, 1849-1980 for Lena E. Wood, San Francisco, Death, 1868

“Caspar Lumber Company; Caspar, South Fork and Eastern Railroad,” by Stanley T. Borden, The Western Railroader, Issues 315-316

“La Copa de Oro: A Collection of California Poems, Sketches, and Stories by the Members of the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association” ed. Abbie E. Krebs, 1905

Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of the Women's Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922)

“New Railroad for Mendocino County,” The Healdsburg Enterprise, 7/11/1903, p.1

“Gives Reception in Honor of Ex-Presidents,” San Francisco Call, 2/24/1903, p.2

“Celebrate Tenth Anniversary,” San Francisco Call, 8/27/1905, p.34

“Women Enter Fight for Taft,” San Francisco Call, 3/31/1912, p.45

“Taft Women Rapidly Organizing in State,” San Francisco Call, 4/2/1912, p.15

“Women of Berkeley Hold Taft Rally,” San Francisco Call, 5/10/1912, p.9

“Women Republicans to Lunch and Listen,” Los Angeles Evening Herald, 4/4/1916, p.3

“Political Romance Leads to Altar,” Los Angeles Evening Herald, 7/16/1917, p. 16.

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