Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Lavina [also spelled Lavinia] Jane Sterling Spaulding, 1843-1904
By Linda D. Wilson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Independent Historian
Maine suffragist Lavina [also spelled Lavinia] Jane Sterling, the daughter of John and Sarah (King) Sterling, was born on April 19, 1843, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After her birth, the family moved to Fort Fairfield, Maine. In Fairfield, she met and married William Cole Spaulding (1841-1915) on July 17, 1865. He served as a private in the Sixteenth Regiment of the Maine Infantry during the Civil War. They had two sons named John Sterling Spaulding and Atwood William Spaulding. William Spaulding was a successful hardware merchant, founder of a bank, and director of the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad in Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine.
Before Lavina Spaulding's entry into the Maine woman suffrage movement, she was active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the 1880s. Extant records indicate that her involvement in the Maine suffrage movement occurred in 1891. At the annual meeting of the Maine Woman's Suffrage Association held in Portland, Maine, on December 3, 1891, Spaulding was appointed as an "additional vice president" to represent Aroostook. Spalding actively participated in other organizations. In October 1902, she was on the nominating committee of the Maine Federation of Women's Clubs. After the Social Club of Caribou organized in 1898, Spaulding served as one of its presidents. As an involved member of the Literary Club, she and other ladies in Caribou established the town's first library. Spaulding was active in charitable work and a member of the Episcopal church.
Lavina Spaulding died on April 1, 1904, in Caribou, Maine, and was buried there in the Evergreen Cemetery. Her husband William Cole Spaulding died on July 6, 1915, and was buried in the same cemetery in Caribou, Maine.
SOURCES: "Caribou Financier Dies Tuesday," Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), July 7, 1915. Find A Grave for Lavinia Jane Spaulding and William Cole Spaulding, accessed on Ancestry.com on December 14, 2020. Julia Ward Howe, et al, eds., Representative Women of New England (Boston: New England Historical Publishing Company, 1904), https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Representative_women_of_New_England. George Thomas Little, comp. and ed., Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine (NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1909), dunhamwilcox.net/me/me_bio_spaulding.htm. Maine Marriages, 1771-1907, database, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4FC5MT : 14 January 2020, William C. Spaulding: 1865. Maine, U.S., Death Records, 1761-1922, for William C. Spaulding. "Maine," Woman's Journal Vol. 22, No. 50 (December 12, 1891): 404. Shannon M. Risk, "In Order to Establish Justice": The Nineteenth-Century Woman Suffrage Movements of Maine and New Brunswick" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 181. http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/etd/181, p. 151 and Appendix F. Albert Mack Sterling, comp., The Sterling Genealogy, Vol. 2 (NY: Grafton Press, 1909), 1247. U.S. Census, 1860 [surname misspelled as Starling], Fort Fairfield, Aroostook County, Maine. U.S. Census, 1870, Fort Fairfield, Aroostook County, Maine. U.S. Census, 1880 and 1900, Caribou Village, Aroostook County, Maine. U.S., Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865, accessed on Ancestry.com on December 16, 2020. "Women's Clubs in Convention," Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), October 6, 1902.