Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Lillian Cash Hough, 1866-1916

By Haleigh Marcello, Graduate Student, Department of History, UC Irvine

President of the Sacramento Equal Suffrage League; President of the College Equal Suffrage Association; President of the Sacramento Women's Christian Temperance Union; founder of the Municipal Voter's League of Sacramento

Lillian Cash Hough was born in 1866 in Missouri to Isabella Cash and her husband. Hough had one sister, Edna Cash (Daniels). By 1893 Hough had moved to Illinois. While living in Illinois, Hough married Mr. Hough. They had a son named Stanley. By 1910 Hough and her husband had moved to Sacramento, California, where she was very active in the local suffrage movement and worked as a nurse.

Hough served as the president of the Sacramento Equal Suffrage League in 1911. Hough was also president of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California. While in this position in 1911, she lobbied for the state of California to declare a Woman's Day or Mother's Day “as a show of support for the right to vote.” Her efforts likely had some effect, as Woman's Day was declared on 26 August 1911. In October of the same year, California enfranchised women. Hough was one of the first five women to register to vote in Sacramento.

Hough was also Second Vice President of the California Equal Suffrage Association. In 1911, she was president of the Amendment League of the organization. She attended the California Equal Suffrage Association's 1912 meeting, reporting on her efforts in Sacramento. At this same event, Hough also served on a committee to reform the organization. In 1911 and 1912, Hough served as the president of the Sacramento Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). By 1912, she had stepped down as the organization's secretary. Hough was a staunch advocate of prohibition and anti-opium activism. It was remarked that she attended the arraignment of several men accused of operating opium dens.

Hough helped to form the Municipal Voters' League of Sacramento in 1912. The organization seemed to have supported a call for nonpartisan candidates to run for City Commissioner – essentially a seat on the city council. In 1912 Hough ran for the position of Commissioner, up against 35 other men and women. In a campaign speech Hough said that she represented all suffragists. Hough promised to enter a letter of resignation as soon as she was sworn in as Commissioner, so that she could easily be taken out of office if she proved to be bad at the job. Hough's campaign, however, was fraught with drama. Many chose not to support her because of her ties to the WCTU. Additionally, one of the people Hough was running against, Mrs. A. J. Johnston, had been endorsed by the local suffrage movement. Following Mrs. Johnston's announcement of her campaign, Hough also declared that she would run for the position. Hough said that Johnston was too conservative, and that her own views more accurately represented those of suffragists. As a result of her campaign, Hough lost many friends in the suffrage movement. They accused her of stealing the spotlight from Johnston's campaign and splitting the suffragist vote.

Additionally, Hough worked as a registrar in Sacramento, helping to register women voters. She registered at least twenty women in one day in 1912. Hough advocated for Sacramento registrars such as herself to receive “a small remuneration for their labor,” as they were unpaid.

Lillian Cash Hough died on 18 July 1916 at the age of 50. One newspaper reported that her death was a suicide, while another stated that she “was found dead in bed.” Hough was found dead in the home of Mrs. E.M. Elliott, a friend in Berkeley whom she was visiting. In the Los Angeles Herald's announcement of her death, the author remarked that “Mrs. Hough had been ill for some time.” Hough's funeral was held 19 July 1916 in Berkeley, and she was cremated.


“California Equal Suffrage Association Holds Its Annual Convention With State Wide< Representation.” San Francisco Call, 6 January 1912.

“Cash Estate Contest Is On.” Sacramento Union, 30 July 1907.

“Cold Stares for Woman Candidate.” Sacramento Union, 3 February 1912.

“Congress of Reforms.” Sacramento Union, 23 July 1912.

Connolly, Elaine and Dian Self. Capital Women: A History of Women in Sacramento, 1850-1920. Sacramento: Capital Women's History Project, 1995.

“Enfranchised Take Arms: New Voters Start World Crusade.” San Francisco Call, 7 January 1912.

“First Women Ask Right to Register.” Sacramento Union, 15 October 1911.

“Former Resident of City Passes Away.” Sacramento Union, 19 July 1916.

Hendricks, Carson. California State Fair. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2010,

“More Candidates Deliver Speeches.” Sacramento Union, 26 April 1912,

“New Voters' League to Name City Ticket.” San Francisco Call, 16 February 1912.

“Nurse Ill for Long Time Ends Own Life.” Los Angeles Herald, 18 July 1916.

“Public Meeting of W.C.T.U.” Sacramento Union, 22 April 1911.

Sacramento Ward 7, Sacramento, California. 1910 United States Federal Census. Digital image. HeritageQuest Online, 8 May 2019,

“State Suffragists to Continue Work.” Sacramento Union, 7 January 1912,

“Studies Municipal Problems in South.” Sacramento Union, 3 April 1912.

“Suffrage Leaders Plan Busy Trips of Organization.” San Francisco Call, 13 August 1911.

“Suffragists Ask for Women's Day.” San Francisco Call, 26 July 1911.

“Week of Sacrifice is Unheeded Here.” Sacramento Union, 16 August 1911.

“Who's Next for Commissioner?” Sacramento Union, 19 February 1912.

“Woman of 77 Registers.” San Francisco Call, 16 October 1911.

“Women are Strong Against Saloons.” Sacramento Union, 7 February 1912.

“Women at Hearing of Opium Cases.” Sacramento Union, 24 October 1911.

“Y.W.C.A. to hold All-Day Meeting.” Sacramento Union, 27 February 1912.

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