Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Jence Cornelia Holland Feuquay, 1863-1925
By Hunter Winstead, student, University of Oklahoma
Jence Cornelia Holland Feuquay was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, August 26, 1863. The daughter of West and Sally Holland, she came from a large wealthy merchant family in North Carolina. She had eight brothers and five sisters. Jence came to Chandler, Oklahoma Territory from North Carolina with her husband John Wesley Feuquay. Born on July 10, 1842 in Indiana, he was a veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War and quickly became a leading and very successful businessman. He established Feuquay and Company, a lucrative coal business. The couple met in Newton, Kansas and were married on October 3, 1887. The Feuquays had three sons: Eugene, Bob, and Courtland, who became a prominent lawyer.
Jence and her husband were active politically and supported the Democratic Party. Upon arrival in Oklahoma Territory in 1891 both joined campaigns to rally for statehood. She called for voting equality to be built into the new constitution. She attended a woman suffrage convention in December 1904, well before Oklahoma achieved statehood. Also, Feuquay sewed one of the first United States flags showcasing forty-six stars after Congress passed the Enabling Act paving the way for statehood. Unfortunately, John Feuquay died five days before Oklahoma statehood, November 11, 1907. Jence did not remarry.
Although the Oklahoma Constitution discriminated on the basis of race, sex, color, and prior servitude, Feuquay continued to work for state and local women's clubs and organizations, such as the Oklahoma Women's Suffrage Association, a NAWSA chapter, and the Women's Relief Corps. She remained in Chandler, continuing to use her family's wealth and political influence in pursuit of women's enfranchisement. Traveling between Chandler and Oklahoma City, in 1910 she served as vice-president of the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association and in 1914 was elected its president. She held meetings in her home and attended state and national conventions. "Mrs. Feuquay [is] courageous, frank, and self-reliant, her practical qualities and splendid judgement are always at the service of the woman suffrage cause."
Little is known about Feuquay's life in later years. Family stories tell of her enjoyment for adventure. It is believed that she was the first woman to climb Mount Shasta, California. Feuquay lived to the age of sixty-two, dying on November 9, 1925 in Chandler, Oklahoma and she was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Arkansas City, Kansas.
Sources: U.S. Find A Grave, Jence Cornelia Holland Feuquay, accessed on findagrave.com on April 5, 2020; The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 10 November 2007; Joseph Bradford Thoburn, A Standard History of Oklahoma, Vol. 5 (New York: American Historical Society, 1916), 1899; "Kansas County Marriage Records, 1811-1911," Jence C. Holland, accessed on Ancestry.com on April 5, 2020; "U.S. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934," Jence C. Feuquay, accessed on Ancestry.com on April 4, 2020; U.S. Census, 1900, 1910, and 1920 Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma; New-State Tribune (Muskogee, Oklahoma), 25 June 1908; Chandler New-Publicist (Chandler, Oklahoma), 6 November 1914; The Chandler News (Chandler, Oklahoma), 12 January 1905; Industrial Democrat (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 26 February 1910; The Hartshorne Sun (Hartshorne, Oklahoma), 5 November 1914; The Chandler Tribune (Chandler, Oklahoma), 8 October 1914.
See also Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 [LINK]