Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” (Mrs. Willliam P.) Hutton, 1853-1936
By Amanda Ritter-Maggio, English Instructor, University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana
Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” Engew Hutton was born in Tennessee to George R. and Ruth Eliza Holden Egnew in 1853. George Egnew was a Confederate veteran and influential Memphis magistrate who ran for several public offices. On June 30, 1877, Mary wed William Pierce Hutton in Memphis. William's father, William Maury Hutton, was the founder of two newspapers, The Memphis Daily Avalanche and TheMemphis Appeal, the latter of which later merged with the Commercial.
Mary gave birth to the couple's first child, William George, in Memphis on August 22, 1878. The next summer, Mary's mother died in the Yellow Fever epidemic that gripped the city; soon after, her father moved in with Mary, William, and their infant son. Sometime around 1880, the couple moved to Little Rock, AR, where William became district manager of R.G. Dun and Company, a large credit agency. The 1889 publication Goodspeed's History of Pulaski County, Arkansas states, “[Hutton] has established a branch office at Fort Smith, and presides over one of the most prosperous branches of the great system of R. G. Dun & Co. in the Southwest.” In Little Rock, Mary and William welcomed three more children, daughter Blanche in 1883, another son, Marion Cleveland, in 1885, and daughter Norma Ruth in 1888.
The Huttons enjoyed a life of prosperity and popularity in Little Rock; William was a respected businessman who was asked to run for mayor of the city but declined, and Mary was a member of many social clubs and circles. She became involved in the burgeoning suffrage movement in Little Rock, lobbying for suffrage at the capitol building and attending hearings before the state legislature. She was elected vice-president of the newly-formed Political Equality League in 1911. She later served as the organization's president and as president of the Little Rock Seventh Ward Suffrage Club. She was one of the first female delegates elected to represent Pulaski County at the Democratic state convention in 1918. Her daughter-in-law, Mrs. M.C. (Mabel Montague Voss) Hutton, was elected as an alternate delegate. In reaction to the election of female delegates, the convention chairman remarked, “This is the first time I have had the honor to preside over a Democratic convention when I was able to address the delegates as ‘Ladies and Gentlemen.' And I am glad of it.”
In addition to suffrage activism, Mary advocated for the Little Rock chapter of the Boys' Club and served as President of the Keller Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She was also involved with the Little Rock chapter of the American Red Cross, lending a hand as a fundraising chair for various charities and causes, including tuberculosis research.
Mary's children were clearly influenced by her activism and continued her legacy of support for social and suffrage causes. Her son William became a sheriff and was later elected Pulaski County Treasurer; in addition, he served as secretary for the state Democratic Central Committee. When he ran for the office of County and Probate Judge in 1920, William claimed himself to be “one of the most prominent suffrage and social workers in Pulaski County.” He later ran for U.S. Senate but lost. Mary's daughter Norma was a popular socialite who was selected to represent Little Rock in a delegation to meet President Theodore Roosevelt at the Arkansas State Fair in 1910.
Mary's husband's health began failing in late 1918; he died on February 14, 1919. As a widow, Mary continued living in Little Rock with her daughter Norma. Mary died on September 13, 1936, and was buried alongside her husband in Oakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park in Little Rock, AR.
“Arkansas.” History of Woman Suffrage Vol. VI: 1900-1920. Ed. Ida Husted Harper, pp. 17-18. https://chswg.binghamton.edu/docs/historyofwomansuffrage_vol6.pdf.
Biography of W.P. Hutton. Goodspeed's History of Pulaski County, Arkansas 1889, Chapter 19, pp. 415-524. Transcribed by Charlotte Curlee Ramsey and Pat Stacks Ramsey, 2006. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~cramsey/genealogy/Goodspeeds.Pulaski.Co.AR.by.CRamsey.html.
“Calls on Suffragettes.” Arkansas Democrat 22 June 1917. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/146700368/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 18 June 2019), memorial page for Marion Cleveland “Pete” Hutton (27 Sep 1885–8 Dec 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 185147547, citing Oakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA ; Maintained by Andrea Maloney (contributor 46812465).
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 June 2019), memorial page for Mary E. “Mollie” Egnew Hutton (unknown–13 Sep 1936), Find A Grave Memorial no. 182350359, citing Oakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA ; Maintained by Andrea Maloney (contributor 46812465).
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 18 June 2019), memorial page for Ruth Eliza Egnew (unknown–28 Aug 1879), Find A Grave Memorial no. 199977317, citing Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Mary & Kent (contributor 47170788).
“Have You Bought Red Cross Seals?” Arkansas Democrat 19 Dec. 1914. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/140531317/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
“Miss Norma Hutton Is Wed at Hot Springs.” Arkansas Democrat, 13 Nov. 1910. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/140542949/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
“Personal” and “Yellow Fever: Seven Deaths Since Yesterday Noon.” MemphisPublic Ledger, 27 Aug. 1879. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/171538439/?terms=mrs.%2Bg.r.%2Begnew%2Bill.
“Prominent Woman Endorses W.G. Hutton for County and Probate Judge.” Arkansas Democrat 9 Aug. 1920. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/165811459/?terms=mary%2Bhutton.
“Pulaski Elects 17 Women Delegates, Will Represent County at State and Two District Conventions.” Arkansas Democrat 4 June 1918. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/143037515/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
“Sheriff Hutton Addresses Rumor.” Pine Bluff Daily Graphic 21 Feb. 1915. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/288414028/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
Taylor, Paula Kyzer. “Women's Suffrage Movement.” Encyclopedia of Arkansas, 2 Jan. 2019. https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/womens-suffrage-movement-4252/.
Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950. Familysearch.com. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-T53D-QF?i=2077&cc=1619127.
“To Aid Boys' Club.” Arkansas Democrat 3 May 1917. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/146762850/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
“To Attend Funeral.” Arkansas Democrat 13 Oct. 1917. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/145044309/?terms=william%2Bp.%2Bhutton.
"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDW8-RJG : 15 July 2017), Geo R Egnew in entry for Wm P Hutton, 1880; citing enumeration district ED 150, sheet 310C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d), roll 1280; FHL microfilm 1,255,280.
"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKVT-T1S : accessed 16 June 2019), Mary E Hutton in household of William P Hutton, Little Rock Ward 7, Pulaski, Arkansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 131, sheet 10A, family 180, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 62; FHL microfilm 1,374,075.
"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMGZ-ZSF : accessed 19 June 2019), Mary E Hutton, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 32, sheet 12B, line 62, family 293, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 91; FHL microfilm 2,339,826.
“W.P. Hutton is Called By Death.” Arkansas Democrat, 17 Feb. 1919. Newspapers.com, https://www.newspapers.com/image/165803484/?terms=w.p.%2Bhutton%2Bobituary.