Biographical Sketch of Mayme Patricia C. Morrison (Cole)

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mayme Patricia C. Morrison (Cole), 1883-1962

By Margaret R. Curry, Attorney (retired); Vice Regent, Captain John Oldham Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution; member of Nevada County Historical Society, Nevada City, California.

Mayme Patricia C. Morrison was born in Rough and Ready, Nevada County, California on March 17, 1883. She was the daughter of Daniel C. Morrison, who immigrated to California about 1876 from Nova Scotia, and Anna Mary Flint, who was born in Rough and Ready. The Morrison family was well-known in the county. Her father owned and operated the first marble and granite works in Grass Valley, and her mother ran a successful dressmaking business.

Mayme was involved in many community organizations, events, and issues. She was an expert horsewoman, a "crack shot;" unafraid of hard work; and was a leader in expanding the rights of women in Nevada County.

In February of 1912, only a few months after women obtained the right to vote in California, Mayme became the first women appointed as a deputy registrar of voters in Nevada County. She sought out this appointment in part because of an upcoming special election called by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, to determine the number of saloons and liquor licenses that would be issued for the county.

Locating voters and getting them registered was no easy task. Many voters lived in remote areas of the county in mining and lumber camps, or on farms and ranches, and they hadn't registered in years because travelling to the county seat in Nevada City to register was too difficult.

There was some skepticism about how much success Mayme would have in finding these elusive voters. However, she prevailed and registered approximately 500 people (mostly men) after being away from home for extended periods of time and after spending long days on horseback riding throughout the county.

Her success story and the adventures she encountered along the way were reported by local newspapers, as well as newspapers in Sacramento and San Francisco. Her notoriety and success caused other Northern California counties to consider appointing women as deputy registrars.

Mayme made history again as the first women in the history of Nevada County to be nominated to hold a position at the local Nevada County Republican Convention, in September 1912, where she represented the Rough and Ready precinct. She was also a committee member for the resolutions and the party's platform positions at the convention.

Mayme married George Cole on September 8, 1915 in Grass Valley, California. They settled at Wolf, California, where they worked a 160-acre ranch and raised three daughters. Mayme died on November 30, 1962. She is buried in Clear Creek Cemetery, Grass Valley, California.

SOURCES: California, Death Index, 1940-1997, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc. 2002. California, Death Index, 1905-1939, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc. 2013. California State Library; Sacramento; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc. 2017. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Find A Grave. Year: 1930; Census Place: Grass Valley, Nevada, California; Page 2A; Enumeration District: 0009; FHL microfiche 2339913 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc. 2002.

"Bull Moose Rides Over Regulars; Capture Republican Organization Old-Liners Done Up in Convention Yesterday, Roosevelt and Johnson are Endorsed and Taft Out in the Cold. Light Convention but Some Fight in Vote on Resolution Showed Progressives to Be Firmly in the Saddle." The Morning Union, September 15, 1912; p. 5.

"California Village of Rough and Ready Enjoys Proud Distinction." The Oakland Tribune, March 11, 1912; p. 3.

FamilySearch ( 12 May 2014), California, County Marriages, 1860-1952, FHL 005686493, Image 1352 of 1509; County Courthouses, California.

"Girl Registrar in Saddle Hunts Voter, Scours Virgin Hills Fulfilling Duty." The Sacramento Union, Volume 164, Number 33, 2 April 1912; p. 8

Lardner, W. B., and M. J. Brock. 1990. History of Placer and Nevada counties California: with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present. [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified]; p. 1198.

"Lone Woman for Each Convention Held Saturday." The Sacramento Union, Volume 67, Number 16, 16 Sept. 1912; p. 7.

"Miss Morrison Wedded Last Night." The Morning Union, September 9, 1915; p. 2.

"Sisters will Ride Overland to Capital from Ranch Home, Noted Horsewomen Will Seek Fair, Taking Trip to Sacramento on Horseback." The Sacramento Union, Volume 166, Number 11, July 11, 1912; p. 7.

The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California 1906.

"This Nevada County Cow-Girl is Roping Voters." The San Francisco Call, 1895-1913, April 28, 1912; p. 5.

"Voters Pursued by Dauntless Woman Deputy, Adventures of Mamie Morrison, Theme of Glowing Newspaper Narrative. ‘Rode Alone Through Hills and Canyons.' Declared that She Found and Registered Over 500 Unknown Voters." The Morning Union, May 1, 1912; p. 2

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