Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Elizabeth Calmese Kincaid Stringfellow, 1860-1937
By Karen Urbec, Archivist and Digital Collections Specialist, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Elizabeth Calmese Kincaid Stringfellow was a beloved member of her community of Gainesville, Florida. A life-long resident of Alachua County, Elizabeth was born just outside Gainesville on May 30, 1860.
Her parents, Sarah A. Moore and James Kincaid, were both from South Carolina and had moved to central Florida in the early 1850s. Elizabeth was their oldest child and by the time of the 1870 U. S. Census, when she was 10 years old, she had four younger siblings: Mary, 8; Susan, 6; Thomas, 4; and William, 2. In 1870, James Kincaid was a 47-year-old planter and Sarah was a 31-year-old homemaker. Little is known of her education, but according to census records, Elizabeth could read and write English.
On November 29, 1881, Elizabeth married Joseph Dogan Stringfellow, a merchant and farmer from the Gainesville area. They had three children, two of whom died young, including their daughter, Bessie Kincaid Stringfellow, who was born in 1885 and died in 1888. Their son, Marion Glenn Stringfellow, was born in 1888. He served the infantry during World War I, though he was not posted overseas, and was honorably discharged in December, 1918. Unfortunately, he also passed away quite young; after a short illness, he died in 1928 aged 39 years. Earlier that same year, Stringfellow was widowed when her husband passed away in January 1928.
Stringfellow's local civic work began around 1903, when she was a charter member of Gainesville's Twentieth Century Club. This club, formed with the intention to meet the social and intellectual needs of the community, began after an organizational meeting that she hosted in her home. The group met regularly to study different world countries and cultures, while also working to better the Gainesville area. During their first year of operation, Stringfellow was the third vice-president and served on the board. She was the group president in 1918-1919. During her presidency, a local historian notes that, "there were several talks on woman suffrage." One of the club's first and most enduring tasks was to bring a Carnegie library to Gainesville. The Twentieth Century Club started the town's first library, for subscribers, in 1905. Then the Carnegie Corporation was approached in 1915, finally resulting in the Gainesville Public Library opening on February 25, 1918.
Documentation of Stringfellow's involvement in suffrage work is limited. However, she was elected auditor of the Florida Equal Suffrage Association at its annual convention in October 1919, working in that position alongside Mrs. J. W. McCollum. The following spring, she and McCollum continued as auditors when the association became the Florida League of Women Voters.
Stringfellow is remembered as a charming woman with a gentle disposition. She was known as "Aunt Sweetie" and was a well-loved member of her community. Towards the end of her life, she maintained close ties with her family. In the 1930 Census, she lived with her sisters Mary and Susie, her brother Boliver, and Susie's husband Armistead. Stringfellow died at home on February 23, 1937, and is buried in the family plot in Evergreen Cemetery in Gainesville.
A photo of Kincaid is available online at http://wizardofar.org/cfdocs/common/FAPageTemp.cfm?PhotoID=22.
1870 U. S. Census, Florida. Alachua County, p. 54B. Digital images. Ancestry.com.
1900 U. S. Census, Florida. Gainesville, Alachua County, p. 28, Enumeration District 0007. Digital images. Ancestry.com.
1930 U. S. Census, Florida. Gainesville, Alachua County, p. 1A, Enumeration District 0012. Digital images. Ancestry.com.
Alachua County Library District History
Alachua/Gilchrist County Family Photo Album Project
Florida Memory, State Archives of Florida; WWI Florida Military Department
History of Gainesville Florida with Biographical Sketches of Families, Jess G. Davis, published 1966, available at University of Florida Digital Collections
"League of Women Voters." The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida), March 26, 1920, p.6.
The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI, edited by Ida Husted Harper. J.J. Little and Ives Company, 1922, p. 118. [LINK]