Biographical Sketch of May Hornbrook (Boyd-Carpenter)

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of May Hornbrook (Boyd-Carpenter), 1877-?

By Sydney Stapleton, Master's Student in Museum Studies - Cooperstown (N.Y.) Graduate Program

West Virginia Woman Suffrage Association, Municipal Suffrage,

May Hornbrook (also known as Ivy May) was born in 1877 in Sedalia, MO to Henry Hornbrook and Abigail Carter. Her father was a Civil War veteran from Wheeling, West Virginia. After the war he returned to Wheeling. In 1866 the family moved to Missouri where they spent some years in stock-raising and farming. Mary was born in Sedalia along with her siblings June, Jessie, and Percival. The family returned to Wheeling in 1875 where her father was recorded as a farmer in the 1880 census. Abigail, May's mother, died after 1880 and her father remarried to Alice Cracraft, Together they had one son named Earl. In 1900 Henry Hornbrook was employed as Superintendent of an iron mill. In 1902, at 25, May married Wheeling businessman Thomas Clay Hornbrook.

Beginning in 1907, May served as the leader of West Virginia Woman Suffrage Association. She attended her first National Convention in 1908 although she had been engaged in civic work with the General Federation of Women's Clubs. As president of the Wheeling Municipal League, In 1907, May had led a campaign for muincipal suffrage when the city adopted a new charter. In 1908, she also helped to organize a vote in both the West Virginia legislature and senate for women's suffrage. Both efforts failed. May described herself as "a suffragist by inheritance" since her father encouraged her interest in securing the vote for women. Local newspaper coverage of the upcoming convention made sure to note that May had the "cooperation" of her husband in "all her public work." After her husband's sudden death in 1909, May continued her work with the organization until 1911, when it appears she attended her last national convention.

Sometime before 1912, May travel traveled to England and returned to the US in March of 1916 on the ship Baltic at Ellis Island. She would return with William Boyd-Carpenter who she would marry on August 1, 1917 in California. May Hornbrook's life after her return to the United States is difficult to follow. It is unknown if she continued her suffrage work when she returned to the US. In 1958, she was living with her sister in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is unknown when she died but she is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Wheeling, West Virginia with a tombstone reading only "May Boyd-Carpenter."


Domestic Engineering and the Journal of Mechanical Contracting, Volume 46. (The University of Michigan, 1909)

"Equal Suffrage In Convention" Fairmont West Virginian. (Fairmont, W. Va.), 29 Oct. 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Gibson Lamb Cranmer, History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizen. (Chicago, Illinois, Biographical Publishing Company, 1902) p. 733.

"History of the Upper Ohio Valley", Vol 1, p. 324.

"Obituary" Las Cruces Sun-News (Las Cruces, N.M.) 2 June. 1958.

"Passenger Manifest". Accessed December 27, 2017.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, and Mathilda Joslyn Gage. History of Woman Suffrage. 1900-1920. (New York: Arno Press, 1969.)

Taylor Upton, Harriet, Susan Walker Fitzgerald, Nettie Rogers, Shuler Justina, and Leavitt Wilson. The Hand Book of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association. (Warren, OH: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1908)

"West Virginia Vital Research Records - Record Image." Accessed December 27, 2017.

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