Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists 1890-1920
Biography of Eloise Landes Stuart McConnell, 1849-1918
By Jacalyn Kalin, teacher (retired): Montgomery College, Maryland
Activist in Civic Affairs and Suffrage
Eloise was born on February 24, 1849 in Ohio, the daughter of Levi and Jane (nee Littsell) Landes. Her father was a clerk, and then an accountant. After the death of her mother, Eloise and her father moved to Logansport, Indiana; he remarried there in 1859. Eloise married Seldon P. Stuart in 1867 and they had a son. Four years after her husband's death, Eloise married Stewart Thompson (S.T) McConnell, a widower, in November 1885. He was a lawyer, later a judge. Eloise remained a resident of Logansport for the rest of her life.
The fight to gain women the right to vote in Indiana spanned sixty-nine years. Indiana held its first woman's rights convention in Dublin, Indiana in 1851. A year later the Indiana Woman's Rights Association organized, thus making Indiana one of the first states to form a suffrage association. By 1870, it became the Indiana Woman's Suffrage Association. The suffragists actively engaged for a number of years, holding annual meetings, signing petitions and giving speeches to the state legislature. However, the state association became largely inactive during the late 1800's.
The state suffrage movement flourished again in the early 1900's. A suffrage convention was held in Kokomo in 1906 and women formed a suffrage society affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). A year later, the Indiana Equal Suffrage Association (ESA) was officially organized with a constitution and the election of officers. It began to hold annual conventions. Its 1912 convention resolved "...women will attain their inherent right by agitation and organization, and that they may have influence in the political world..." Other resolutions: to determine the suffrage positions of candidates running for office; and to put out publicity against candidates who opposed suffrage. The ESA joined with the Legislative Council (formed in 1914) and Woman's Franchise League (formed in 1911) to lobby the legislature for a state constitutional convention, and a full suffrage amendment. The Partial Suffrage Act enabling women to vote in municipal, school, and special elections passed the legislature in 1917. The victory was short-lived; the law was later declared unconstitutional in October. The woman's groups turned their energies to the passage of a federal suffrage amendment.
Eloise actively participated in the Equal Suffrage Association (ESA). She attended annual conventions and hosted suffrage meetings at her home. She served as a member of the state board and as chairman of the membership committee. Suffrage was a family affair in the Mc Connell household. Her husband Judge S.T. McConnell was chosen legal adviser to the suffrage association at the Kokomo meeting and spoke at the 1914 ESA convention.
Besides her suffrage work, Eloise engaged in Logansport civic activities. over a twenty-five year period, starting in 1888. The Humane Society, Orphan's Home Society, Art Association, Industrial Board, Kindergarten Association, Educational Committee of the Social Services Bureau - all were causes to which Eloise committed herself. She with others founded the Humane Society in 1888, the Art Association in 1891, and the Kindergarten Association in 1896. She served in leadership positions: one of the directors of the Humane Society and the Industrial Board, president of the Kindergarten Association, and vice-president of the Logansport Art Association and also the Orphan's Home Society.
Eloise remained active in her endeavors up to 1918. On April 28, 1918, Eloise Stuart McConnell passed away. She was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Logansport, Indiana.
Sixty-nine years after the state's first woman's rights convention, Indiana ratified the 19th amendment to the Constitution on January 16, 1920. Governor Goodrich termed the ratification "an act of tardy justice."
Indiana Women's Suffrage Centennial. "An Act of Tardy Justice": The Story of Women's Suffrage in Indiana. https://indiana https://indianasuffrage100.org.
"Board of Managers." Logansport Reporter. January 15, 1895. p. 3
"Kindergarten Association." Logansport Reporter. April 16, 1896. p. 3.
"Logansport In The Past - 50 Years ago." Logansport Pharos-Tribune. January 19, 1938. p. 4; March 2, 1938. p. 4.
Mount Hope Cemetery, Logansport, Indiana. www.findagrave.com.
"Social Service Bureau Organized." Logansport Pharos-Tribune. November 7, 1916. p. 3.
"Suffrage Meeting." Logansport Pharos-Tribune. June 9, 1917. p. 8.
"Suffragists End State Meeting." The Argos Reflector. July 11, 1912. p. 2.
"Through the State." The Culver Citizen. May 30, 1907. p. 6.
"Women Will Put Candidates on Record." Logansport Pharos-Tribune. February 12, 1916. p. 4.
U. S. Bureau of the Census: manuscript censuses: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910. Ancestry.com