Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Coucheta Ferris Lutz, 1861-1956
By Emma McEachern
Undergraduate, State University of New York at Oneonta
Coucheta Ferris was born January 8, 1861 in Fillmore County, Minnesota. Her mother, Sarah Jane McMillan, and father, Elias K. Ferris, were both born in New York. Sarah Jane had a reputation as an incredible singer, while Elias was devoted to his country and fought in the Civil War. Together they had eight children and raised them to be dedicated members of the Baptist Church. On June 1, 1885, Coucheta married George W. Lutz. George was a well-known minister in Minnesota and together they had five children.
A “bright and enthusiastic woman suffragist,” Coucheta Lutz joined the movement by 1895. She traveled the state as a lecturer for the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association. She also became the Constitution and bylaws chair for the association and gave speeches at venues such as the local Presbyterian Church. Two years later, members elected Lutz as vice president of the State Executive Committee of Minnesota. She gave a speech, “Wife & Mother,” about the importance of equal rights for women, at an Equal Suffrage Conference and Convention in 1897. Lutz represented Minnesota at the National American Woman Suffrage Association conference held in Washington DC from February 14 to February 19,1898. In the early years of the twentieth century, as a member of the executive board of the State Executive Committee, Lutz supported women's right to vote and gave speeches at conferences and schools. In 1902, Coucheta gave a speech, “Should Women Vote?” examining woman's right to vote and the importance of women having having freedom for themselves. Lutz then served as the State Organizer of Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association. She organized the Jane Addams Club, where people worked to educate young people as advocates for equal suffrage. In 1914, Lutz joined the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, focusing on a constitutional amendment for women's suffrage.
Little is known about Coucheta Lutz after 1914. There are reports that she became a pastor of a Congregational Church in Little Falls, Minnesota in 1921, when she was fifty-eight years old. Widowed between the years of 1910 and 1920, in 1930 she lived in San Diego, California. On February 2, 1956 Lutz died in Los Angeles, California.
Note: Alternative spellings of her first name include, “Conche,” “Concheta,” “Cheta,” “Concheeta.”
“McMillan Genealogy and History” accessed online at: https://www.ancestry.com/sharing/14737099?h=94d955&o_xid=61782&o_lid=61782&o_sch=Email+Programs; “Find a Grave.” Concheta Ferris Lutz, accessed online at: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22258784/concheta-lutz; “Town Talk,” Freeborn County Standard, July 17, 1895, 5; “Sunday Morning,” Saint Paul Globe, September 8, 1895, 5; “Wednesday Morning,” Saint Paul Globe, September 11, 1895, 6; “Equal Suffrage,” Star Tribune, Nov. 16, 1897, 5; “Ranks are Solid,” Star Tribune, November 17, 1897, 7; “Of Future Interest,” Saint Paul Globe, February 13, 1898, 16; “Suffragists End Work,” Saint Paul Globe, October 26, 1901, 1; “Their Chance to Vote,” Saint Paul Globe, June 5, 1902, 6; “Jane Addams Club,” Mower County Transcript, July 24, 1912, 3; "News of Washington's Club World," Washington Post, April 19, 1914, 14; “Swanville,” Little Falls Herald, December 9, 1921, 6.