Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Katherine E. Stiles, 1880- ?
By Julia Venditti, Undergraduate, SUNY Oneonta
Katherine (Kitty) Schitt was born in Pennsylvania in 1880 and was a high school graduate. She married Linford Stiles in 1900 and the couple had one son. She is referred to as one of the youngest of “General” Rosalie Jones’s Suffrage Pilgrims in 1912, and her efforts were tied to New York City, specifically Brooklyn. See Rosalie Jones's bio sketch. [LINK]
The family is traceable in censuses of Brooklyn between 1910 and 1940. Linford was a civil engineer and Katherine is not listed with an occupation in any of these years. She was registered to vote in Brooklyn in 1924. The family continued to live in Brooklyn in 1930 and owned a home valued at $20,000 in 1930 and their household included an Irish-born servant in both 1930 and 1940.
Rosalie Jones was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, as was Stiles. In December 1912, Jones led twenty-six loyal suffrage “pilgrims” (as they styled themselves) on a bitter cold New York winter trek from Manhattan to Albany. Their goal, aside from acquiring publicity for their cause, was to present their suffrage petition to the recently-elected governor, William Sulzer, a suffrage supporter. Their hike lasted thirteen days, from December 16 to December 28. The women walked an astonishing 170 miles, wearing skirts. Katherine Stiles was among these brave women and is said to have walked with leaders “General” Jones and “Colonel” Ida Craft every step of the way, one of three loyal hikers who marched from Manhattan to Albany.
No death record has been found for Katherine or Winford Stiles.
Federal Manuscript Censuses of Brooklyn, 1910-1940. Accessible online via Ancestry Library Edition.
"Suffragettes in Plan to March on Washington," San Francisco Call, December 27, 1912.
Ida Husted Harper, History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922), 451-53 [LINK].
Jennifer A. Lemak and Ashley Hopkins-Benton, "Winning the Vote, 1890-1920," in Votes for Women: Celebrating New York's Suffrage Centennial (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2017), 121-23.
"25 Suffragettes Start Hike from New York to Albany to Push 'Cause,'" BinghamtonPress and Sun-Bulletin, December 16, 1912, 1.
"New York, New York, Voter List, 1924," Ancestry.com.