Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Blanche E. Housel Hawley, 1871-1952
By Amanda Ritter-Maggio
English Instructor, University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana
Blanche E. Housel was born in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1871 to James Monroe Housel, a Civil War veteran, and his wife, Anna E. Gooch Housel. She had two brothers, William and Barron, and a sister, Mabel. The family moved to Oklahoma when the territory was opened for settlement in 1889; J.M. Housel opened the first drug store in Oklahoma City, and both he and his wife became prominent residents in the new territory.
Blanche married Franklin Marshall Hawley, a physician, on February 12, 1890. The couple lived for a time in Chicago, Illinois, before returning to Oklahoma City to live with Blanche's parents. Franklin worked first as a pharmacist for Blanche's father and later as a physician for construction gangs in Wewoka, Seminole Nation and McAlester, Oklahoma. The couple had two daughters, Helen Edna, born and died in 1892, Alma Mia, born in 1894, and a son, born and died in 1895. Blanche and Alma frequently traveled by themselves and with Blanche's parents to cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Both Blanche and her mother were active members of the Order of the Eastern Star in Oklahoma City. In 1906, Blanche was elected the organization's Worthy Matron. She was elected treasurer of the Oklahoma Suffrage Association, a NAWSA chapter, in 1918. That same year, Franklin Hawley was killed in action in France during World War I.
As a widow, Blanche continued living with her mother in Oklahoma City until her mother's death in 1932. Blanche was an active member of the 89ers social club in the 1920s and 1930s and elected treasurer of the organization in 1930.
Blanche Housel Hawley died on July 16, 1952. She is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City with her father, mother, children, and sister Mabel.
The Oklahoma News (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 2 January 1928; The Evening Gazette (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 11 March 1891; The Oklahoma County Register (Luther, Oklahoma), 4 February 1932; U.S. Find A Grave 1Lt Franklin M. Hawley, Blanche E. Housel Hawley, and James Monroe Housel, accessed on findagrave.com on March 28 and 31, 2020; The Oklahoma City Times (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 2 January 1907; The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 16 December 1894; The Oklahoma News (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 1 January 1930; The Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, Oklahoma), 29 September 1918; U.S. Census, 1910, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.