Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Jeannett Opes, 1860-1939
By Erica Schaeffer, student, Michigan State University
Jeannett Thornton was born in May 1860 in Morrow, Ohio. In 1886 she married Apollo Opes, a merchant in New Philadelphia, Ohio, where the couple permanently settled. Her numerous civic activities included participating in the local chapters of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Red Cross, becoming a charter member of the New Philadelphia Civic Club, and serving as Treasurer of the Tuscarawas County Anti-Tuberculosis and Health League. She became heavily involved in child welfare work, serving for twenty years as Probation Officer for the Tuscarawas County Juvenile Court. She was a member of the State Prison Inspection Board and the State Board of Charities. In 1910 the governor of Ohio appointed Opes as a delegate to the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Opes lived in New Philadelphia, Ohio for more than fifty years. In 1900 the couple lived alone and Apollo was noted as a book dealer. In 1910 Apollo was the proprietor of a drug store and Jeannette worked as a detective officer for the Juvenile Court. They are missing in the 1920 census but appear again in 1930. The couple live alone and Apollo is retired at this time. They've been married for 44 years and had no children.
Opes participated in the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association (OWSA), headquartered in Warren, serving on the Advisory Campaign Committee in 1912. Woman suffrage was defeated in this statewide vote, with more than 57 percent of voters rejecting the amendment. However, in 1919 the Ohio state legislature ratified the 19th Amendment, being the fifth state to do so.
On March 11, 1939 Jeannett Opes died at the age of 79. She is buried in the East Avenue Cemetery in New Philadelphia, Ohio. In reporting her death, The Daily Times referred to Opes as "one of the city's most prominent women" who was a "pioneer in county movements."
"Jeanett Opes," U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Ohio Woman Suffrage Association, "An Open Letter to Ohio Women," 1912, accessible online at https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms147_correspondence/2/. This open letter is on OWSA letterhead and lists Mrs. Apollo Opes as a member of the Advisory Campaign Committee
National Park Service, "Ohio and the 19th Amendment," accessible online at https://www.nps.gov/articles/ohio-and-the-19th-amendment.htm.
The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, Ohio):
"Appointee Delegate to Nat'l Convention," April 23, 1910, p. 1.
"Girls Roam Streets, Complaint Claims," July 19, 1924, p. 1.
"Health League Holds Meeting, Shows Balance," March 17, 1920, p. 3.
"Long Public Service Ends," April 30, 1925, p. 1.
"Prominent Woman Here Dies," March 13, 1939, p. 1,
"W.C.T.U.," July 19, 1924, p. 4.
"Woman on Home Board is Urged," July 19, 1924, p. 1.