Biographical Sketch of Annie Kinkead Dent

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Annie Kinkead Dent, 1872-1930

By Heather M. Kuzma, independent historian

Woman Suffrage Activist

Annie Kinkead was born in January 1872 in Mississippi. Her parents were Richard Kinkead, an immigrant from Limerick, Ireland, and Mary Ann Kinkead of South Carolina. The Kincaids raised their large family on the plantation they owned in Yazoo County, Mississippi. On March 9, 1892, she married James K. Dent, a steamboat captain and plantation owner. They had one child, James K. Dent, Jr. in 1894. The family settled on Dent's plantation outside of Yazoo City, Mississippi. James K. Dent, Sr. died in 1909.

After her husband's death, Dent assumed the management of their farm. When her son reached adulthood, he helped his mother manage the plantation, but she continued to lead the operation. Dent was a successful business woman. A newspaper article published in 1914 described Dent as "one of the most extensive and progressive farmers in Mississippi, [who] sent the first bale of cotton of the year to Yazoo City market, it weighing 540 pounds." Aside from her business, Dent was active in other endeavors and community organizations. She served as postmistress of the House of Representatives, a board member of the Daughters of the Confederacy Mississippi Division, and an active member of the woman suffrage movement.

Dent's activity with the suffrage movement accelerated when she assumed a leadership role in the state suffrage movement in 1912. That year, she served as 2nd vice-president for the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) as well as serving on several committees. In 1913, she was elected to serve as president for the association, a position she held for two terms. A business minded woman, one of the major causes endorsed by Dent during her tenure was the "Wear-a-Cotton-Dress" movement. This movement encouraged southern women to wear cotton in support of the major crop grown in their states. The movement was also supported by suffrage associations in Texas and Louisiana before Dent introduced it to Mississippi. Due to this movement, Dent made great strides for women in the cotton industry. Citing the success of the movement, it was argued on Dent's behalf during the meeting of the state's cotton growers that she serve as a delegate from Yazoo County to the Cotton Convention. Although present at the state convention prior to her nomination, she was merely a listener in the gallery. This recognition gave her a seat on the floor and an invitation to be a delegate to the national convention in New Orleans.

In 1914, while Dent continued her service as president of the MWSA, a major suffrage bill came before the State House of Representatives. Under Dent's guidance, the suffragists of Mississippi were mobilized to speak on their cause and round up supporters to appear in Jackson while the bill was being discussed. At her own expense, Dent sent literature to the legislators about the suffrage movement for three months in advance of the bill. Representative N.A Mott of Dent's home county introduced the bill on January 9, 1914, and passed a resolution that allowed the women to speak on behalf of the cause. Dent along with six other women spoke in front of the legislature. The bill was presented for vote the following day but, unfortunately, failed to pass. Despite her work toward this significant legislation, Dent was not reelected as president the following year.

Dent passed away in 1930. She is buried beside her husband in Glenwood Cemetery.

SOURCES:

1880 U.S. Census, Mississippi. Yazoo County, p. 456B, Enumeration District: 125. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1900 U.S. Census, Mississippi. Yazoo County, p. 19, Enumeration District: 0115. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1910 U.S. Census, Mississippi. Yazoo County, p. 16A, Enumeration District: 0080. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

1920 U.S. Census, Mississippi. Yazoo County, p. 1A, Enumeration District: 103. Digital images. Ancestry.com.

"Cotton Convention." Yazoo City Herald. (Yazoo City, Miss.), September 25, 1914. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065709/1914-09-25/ed-1/seq-1/

"Daughters Visit the Tomb of Lee." The Hattiesburg News. (Hattiesburg, Miss.), May 5, 1910. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065167/1910-05-05/ed-1/seq-1/

Eighth Annual Report: Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. #x200eLily Thompson Collection, Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries.

Harper, Ida Husted. The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920) New York, N.Y., 1922. pp. 330-336. [LINK]

Minutes of the Ninth Annual Convention: Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. Lily Thompson Collection, Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries.

Mississippi, Compiled Marriage Index, 1776-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

"Mrs. Dent's 'Wear-a-Cotton Dress' Movement Heartily Endorsed by Her Home League." Yazoo City Herald. (Yazoo City, Miss.), September 25, 1914. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065709/1914-09-25/ed-1/seq-1/

U.S., Find A Grave Index 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

"Woman Gets in First Bale." The Semi-weekly Leader. (Brookhaven, Mississippi), September 19, 1914. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86074065/1914-09-19/ed-1/seq-4/

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