Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Bertha Chase (Mrs. F.C.) MacDiarmid, 1881-1952

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

Activist - Woman Suffrage in Reno, Nevada

Mrs. F.C. MacDiarmid, was born Bertha Claire Mason, on February 1, 1881 in Jackson, California to Josiah David Mason and Eliza Jane Roll. Her father was a Gold Rush pioneer, arriving in California in 1849. He was a successful miner, rancher, and real estate agent-- involved in local politics--and was one of the first school trustees for Amador County, California.

Bertha was a teacher in Amador County from 1901 to 1903. In 1904, she moved to Sacramento County where she continued to teach in rural communities in that county. She secured a life-time diploma to teach elementary school from the State of California in 1906. In addition to her job as a teacher, Bertha continued her education at Chico State Normal School (now Chico State University), and at Heald College.

In 1907, she married Frank C. MacDiarmid. They relocated to Reno, Nevada where they became active in the community. Bertha was involved with several women's organizations, including the Order of the Eastern Star; the Nevada Rebekah Lodge; and the Reno Suffrage League of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society.

She was one of the founding members of the Reno Woman Citizens' Club, an organization formed in 1915 by Florence Humphrey Church under the auspices of the Reno Suffrage League. The mission of Woman Citizens' Club was to educate voters and to be a legislative lobbying group. By 1917, the Woman Citizens' Club of Reno was the largest organization of women voters in the State, with a membership over 200 women. Bertha was the organization's first librarian as well as its first secretary.

In 1918, Bertha and her husband moved to Santa Cruz County, California, where they farmed and speculated in real estate. The MacDiarmid family moved to Oakland, California in the early 1930's, where Bertha returned to teaching.

Bertha died on September 26, 1952 in Corona, California.

Sources:; California Death Index, 1940-1997. [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA; Operations Inc., 2000.

"Attention Rebekahs." Reno Gazette-Journal, June 1, 1910; p. 5.

"Bertha Mason, Daughter of '49er, Dies." Riverside independent Enterprise. Sept. 28, 1952; p. 8.

"Candidates Appear Before New Voters, Three Minute Talks Made at Meeting of Woman Citizens' Club Meeting." Nevada State Journal. Apr. 29, 1915; p. 1.

"City Will Vote on Saloon Limit Plan, Council Orders Proposal for New Ordinance Placed on Election Ballot." Nevada State Journal. Sept. 2, 1915; p. 16.

"Column of Local Squibs." Amador Weekly Ledger. Sept. 14, 1900. Vol. 1900; p.4;

"Complete Roster of the Public Schools of Amador County." Amador Weekly Ledger. Oct. 2, 1903. Vol: 1903; p. 2.

"Eighty Women in New Society, Voters Enfranchised at Last Election Plan Work." Reno Gazette-Journal. Jan 14, 1915; p. 8.

"Election Laws Explained to Women Citizen's Club." Reno Gazette Journal. May 11, 1916; p. 1.

"F.C. MacDiarmid Buys Ranch at Watsonville." Reno Gazette-Journal. Aug. 1, 1918; p. 8.

Florence Humphrey Church, Nevada Women's History Project, at

Journal of the Assembly of the Twenty-Eighth Session, Legislature of the State of Nevada. Printed by State Printing Office. 1917 Print. p. 248.

"Late Society Happenings." Reno Gazette Journal. Jan 11, 1913; p. 5.

List of School Districts, Trustees and Teachers." Amador Weekly Ledger, Sept. 5, 1902. Vol: 1902; p. 2.

"Marriage Announcement, McDearmed-Mason." Nevada State Journal. Dec. 26, 1907; p. 8.

"Mass Meeting to Be at Majestic. Gambling and Divorce Bills Will be Discussed at Gathering." Reno Gazette-Journal. Feb. 1, 1915; p. 1.

"Mrs. Neva Williams Heads O.E.S. of Nevada, Election of Officer of Grand Chapter held; Tonopah is Next Meeting Place." Reno-Gazette-Journal. Jun 16, 1917; p. 6.

"New Teachers for Rural Districts." The Sacramento Star. 31 July 1905; p. 3.

"News from Buena Vista Ranch." Amador Weekly Ledger. Sept. 26, 1857. Vol. 2; p. 3.

Real Estate Classifieds. Santa Cruz Sentinel. Dec. 9, 1948; p. 15.

"Republicans in Amador." Sacramento Daily Union. Aug. 15, 1867; p. 2.

"School Trustee Election." Amador Dispatch, July 1, 1876; p. 3.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper, Eds.,. History of Woman Suffrage Volume VI. pp. 390. [LINK].

"State Board of Education Diplomas Granted this Afternoon for Sacramento Teachers." Sacramento Bee. Dec. 4 1906; p. 1.

"Teachers selected." Amador Weekly Ledger. July 29, 1904; p. 3.

"The Woman Voter." Nevada State Journal. Jan 24, 1915; p. 4.

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