Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Agnes Farrell, 1862-1927
By Bayan Moheisen, Haley Leleniewski, and Kanika Karmaker, students, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Agnes Stevens was born in Illinois, in March 1862. Her parents were Enoch B. Stevens and Elizabeth (Larminie) Stevens, natives of Maine and Ireland. She was one of eight children and was the only girl.
Agnes Stevens married Mr. Percy J. Farrell, a well-accomplished and wealthy man from Detroit, Michigan, on June 14, 1888 in Cook, Illinois. Once she was married, she took on her husband's name and was well known as Mrs. Percy J. Farrell. They lived together in Detroit, Michigan for many years. Because of her husband's work, they relocated to Southport, North Carolina in 1890. They had a daughter, named Ethel E. Farrell, in May of 1892. They also had another daughter named Dorothy Farrell who was born on April 6, 1898 but she died during infancy. The Farrell family moved back to Detroit in 1894. Agnes Farrell's brother, Stanley Stevens, lived with them at their Detroit residence. Agnes and Percy J. Farrell were well known for taking part in the development of Pingree Avenue district in Detroit. Mr. Percy J. Farrell died on January 1, 1927, leaving Agnes and her daughter Ethel.
Farrell was actively involved and held very important positions in many organizations throughout her life. She is best known for being an advocate for women's equal right to vote and women's suffrage. She was the president of the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association from 1918 to 1919. She was also part of the State Suffragist Association and was president in 1919. During this time, Farrell called upon the 66th Congress to finalize an amendment to give nationwide suffrage to women, fought for legislation of the physical education of children, and developed educational campaigns for social morality. Farrell, along with many members of the association, was an important advocate for Michigan women's suffrage and called for full suffrage for voters during general elections. Farrell held the presidency position of the Girls' Protective League for nine years. This league provided assistance to women who are out of work by providing low-priced food, employment, and general aid. She worked alongside other members as part of the Detroit branch of the Public Health Committee to help the American Army Nurses, whose committee headquarters was in Washington D.C. For seven years Farrell also held the presidency of the Priscilla Inn for girls, a hotel for poor working girls who did not have homes in Detroit. Farrell helped form the Women's City Club which was a club specifically for women leaders interested in the city of Detroit to meet and engage in informal discussions and open forums. She was the vice-president of this club as well. She held the vice-chairman position of the national ways and means committee of the Republican Party.
Mrs. Percy J. Farrell died on July 14th, 1958 at the age of 96 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.
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"Mrs. Percy Farrell is Appointed to Important Office." Detroit Free Press, Mar 14 1920, p. 1.
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