Biographical Sketch of Louise Parlin Lillard

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Louise Parlin Lillard, 1876-1965

By Melanie Beals Goan, University of Kentucky

Louise A'Glaire Parlin was born March 13, 1876 in Pensacola, Florida. She was the daughter of Andrew Jackson and Stella Barton Parlin. The family later moved to Newport, Kentucky and it is there that she married William Franklin Lillard "one of the wealthiest young men in central Kentucky" and the son of a prominent distiller on February 5, 1896. The newlyweds settled near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and her husband became a recognized "agriculturalist," growing one of the largest tobacco crops in the region and raising cattle. The couple had three children, although only one survived to adulthood.

Lillard settled into marriage with a full social calendar as illustrated by newspaper announcements of euchre tournaments and river cruises. Her interest in suffrage may have been inspired by her new social connections, particularly her friendship with Esther Burnam of Richmond, friend and neighbor of the Clay women.

Or, she may have been drawn to support votes for women by her work to end illiteracy. She assisted with Cora Wilson Stewart's Moonlight Schools movement in 1914 alongside other women connected to the suffrage movement, including Mrs. Lee M. Campbell also of Lawrenceburg, who became the first female school superintendent in Anderson County. Lillard was one of 100 women who joined forces to raise ten thousand dollars in an illiteracy campaign in 1916.

Lillard devoted several very active years to the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. She served as Auditor in 1915 and 1916. She also served as Chairman for the 8th Congressional District after Kentucky and helped organize "send off" parties to encourage lawmakers returning to Washington to make suffrage a priority.

Beyond suffrage work, Lillard was also active in church work. She was a devout Episcopalian. She was president of the Lawrenceburg Episcopal Woman's Auxiliary in 1904. Additionally, she raised money for the Diocese of Lexington and helped support mission work.

Following her husband's death in 1918, Louise Lillard moved to Cincinnati to live with her father and to run the family business, the Snow King Baking Powder Company. She served as its president for sixteen years before it was acquired by General Foods. She remained active in Episcopal church work, the Cincinnati Woman's Club, and the Three Arts club. She kept a full social calendar and traveled often. She died at home in Cincinnati on August 14, 1965. She is buried in Lawrenceburg Cemetery.

Sources:

Ancestry.com
1910 Census
1920 Census
Kentucky County Marriage Records

"Lawrenceburg," Louisville Courier-Journal, January 11, 1896, 10.

[Lexington] Daily Leader, February 4, 1896, 3.

"Big Crop," [Danville] Kentucky Advocate, June 26, 1914, 1.

"Personal," Richmond Climax, August 25, 1897, 2.

Heather Tompkins, "Biographical Sketch of Esther Burnam Bennett," Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920, Alexander Street Press, https://documents.alexanderstreet.com/d/1009860173

Harold G. Peach, Jr., "Lee Davis Maddox Campbell, The First Female Superintendent of Anderson County Schools," unpublished essay in possession of the author.

"One Hundred Women Enlist in Illiteracy Campaign in Kentucky; Raise $10,000 Fund," [Owensboro] Messenger-Inquirer, June 21, 1916, 4.

History of Women Suffrage: 1900-1920, Volume 6, ed. Ida Husted Harper (National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), 215. [LINK]

Kentucky Equal Rights Association, Report of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Convention of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association Held at Louisville, Kentucky, November 15 and 16, 1916, https://exploreuk.uky.edu/catalog/xt70vt1gmg8v?q=kentucky+equal+rights+association1889&per_page=20#page/1/mode/1up/search/kentucky+equal+rights+association1889.

"Convert Congress to Equal Suffrage," Owensboro Messenger, October 19, 1915, 6.

Journal, Ninth Annual Council, Diocese of Lexington, Held in St. Paul's Church, Newport, Ky, May 31st, June 1st and June 2nd, 1904. Cincinnati: Sellers, Davis, & Co., n.d., https://books.google.com/books?id=XOwQAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA3-PA80&lpg=RA3-PA80&dq=%22mrs.+w.+f.+lillard%22&source=bl&ots=SwCSI9IhAa&sig=ACfU3U20VLV42KPnfYbmarQzxDzjUnMbcg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjN6Nyp-vTnAhUQQ60KHViBCBAQ6AEwCHoECAsQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22mrs.%20w.%20f.%20lillard%22&f=false

"Society," [Washington, D. C.] Evening Star, October 19, 1928, 19.

"In Society," Cincinnati Enquirer, June 5, 1929, 5.

"Newly Elected President of the Three Arts Club," Cincinnati Enquirer, April 28, 1938, 6.

"Mrs. Louise Parlin Lillard," Louisville Courier-Journal, August 15, 1965, 217.

back to top