Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Sarah “Sadie” C. Richardson Nutter (Mrs. S.C.), 1853-1936
By Dylan Roberts, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Sarah C. Richardson was born in 1853 in Scotland County, Missouri, to Thomas H. and Sarah Richardson. On October 28, 1874, she married Burrell Nutter in Schuyler County, and the couple had one surviving child, William G. Nutter, born around 1877. Burrell Nutter died in 1891, making Sadie Nutter a widow. In 1900, Nutter lived with her mother in Lancaster. By 1906, Nutter moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sadie Nutter supported temperance and was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She served as a state vice president in both Iowa and Missouri, holding the title in Missouri for a decade. By 1906, she led her local WCTU in New Mexico, and she presided over the Territory of New Mexico's branch. In April 1910, the Albuquerque Journal reported on her travels throughout the territory, organizing eight new temperance groups. Her tenure as state president lasted six years, and she removed herself from consideration for the presidency in 1912. She served as Albuquerque's president for sixteen years. Her temperance work continued despite retiring from leadership: she continued to edit the temperance periodical, Searchlight.
In 1909, the Albuquerque Journal reported that the local WCTU discussed woman suffrage at its latest meeting, with Sadie Nutter in attendance as the territory's president. The meeting's attendees heard arguments both for and against woman suffrage. The article concluded that “respectable women” would use the vote for the collective good of society, like enacting prohibition. Given Nutter's influence in the territory's WCTU, her presence at this meeting demonstrates an example of the early connection of temperance and suffrage in New Mexico. She joined other New Mexico temperance workers, like Katherine Patterson, in support of woman suffrage.
In July 1913, Sadie Nutter wrote to the state's attorney general regarding clarification on whether women could vote on a local bond issue in Clovis. The AG confirmed that women who met the qualifications could vote in school elections, including bond issues. Most importantly, Nutter published this correspondence in the Albuquerque Journal. She wanted to publicize what kinds of voting rights women held in the new state despite lacking suffrage in most elections. In 1915, Nutter served as second vice president of the New Mexico Federation of Woman's Clubs, presiding over parts of the annual meeting in Portales in 1915. She also wrote to Jane Addams, inquiring about the peace resolutions adopted at the International Congress of Women at The Hague. In January 1917, Nutter led a discussion of the Clovis Woman's Club, titled “Open Parliament, Legislation, Woman Suffrage and Preparedness.” For Sadie Nutter, issues like woman suffrage, temperance, and peace efforts were all connected.
By the 1920 census, Sadie Nutter had moved to Venice, California, to live with her son's family. She died on July 31, 1936, in San Bernardino.
“Believe Woman's Suffrage Power for Good.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). May 26, 1909, p.8. Newspapers.com.
“Clovis Woman's Club.” Clovis News(Clovis, N. Mex.). April 9, 1915, p.1. Newspapers.com.
“Club Women Map Out Program for New Legislation.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). January 30, 1919, p.3. Newspapers.com.
Clyee, Coral. Society. Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). April 10, 1910, p.8.
“Executive Board of White Ribboners.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). September 20, 1906, p.7. Newspapers.com.
Find a Grave. Burrell Nutter. Accessed March 7, 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47193780/burrell-nutter.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “New Mexico.” Chapter XXX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 434-39. [LINK]
Jones, Charles R., Alonzo E. Wilson, and Fred D.L. Squires, ed. American Prohibition Yearbook for Campaign of 1912. Chicago: National Prohibition Press, 1912. Google Books, 176.
“Mrs. Nutter Made Honorary President of the W.C.T.U.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). August 13, 1912, p.6. Newspapers.com.
Sadie C. Nutter to Jane Addams, Clovis, N. Mex., August 15, 1915. Jane Addams Digital Edition. Accessed March 7, 2019. https://digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu/items/show/9768.
United States Census 1860-1920,: “Sarah E. Richardson, Jefferson, Mo.”; 1870, “S Richardson, Memphis, Mo.” 1880, “Sarah C. Nutter, Lancaster, Mo.”; 1900, “Sadie Nutter, Lancaster, Mo.” ; 1910, “Mrs. S.C. Nutter, Albuquerque, N. Mex.”; 1920, “Sadie C. Nutter, Venice, Calif.”; All in HeritageQuest.com.
“Woman's Club.” Clovis News(Clovis, N. Mex.). January 18, 1917, p.1. Newspapers.com.
“Women Entitled to Vote at All School Elections in State.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). July 9, 1913, p.2.
“Women's Club Meeting.” Clovis News(Clovis, N. Mex.). October 22, 1915, p.1.