Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Bertha Rogers Leahy, 1875-1948
By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian
Oklahoma suffragist Bertha (Rogers) Leahy, the daughter of Judge Thomas L. and Nancy Chambers (Martin) Rogers, was born on January 1, 1875, in Indian Territory (IT). Her father was of Cherokee and Osage descent and served as president of the Osage National Council. He fought for the Confederacy under General Stand Watie, a Cherokee, in the Civil War. Bertha Rogers received an education at a local academy. She married Timothy John (also known as John T.) Leahy, a lawyer, at her parents' home in Pawhuska, Indian Territory, on September 26, 1895. In 1906 Timothy Leahy served as a delegate from the Osage Nation to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention held in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. The couple had four children.
Bertha Leahy actively participated in women's organizations. In September 1917, at the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association, Leahy, representing Pawhuska, was elected sixth vice president. At that meeting association members passed a resolution condemning the militant suffragists who picketed the White House. Oklahoma suffragists characterized them as "unpatriotic" and "impolite." By 1918 women turned their attention and time to World War I relief work. Leahy served as chair of the military relief committee that produced garments. The women made clothing six days a week in sewing rooms located in a Pawhuska municipal building.
As a member of the Pawhuska Women's Club (organized in 1911), she entertained the club's literary department at her home. The members discussed Oklahoma writers at one of their meetings. At another meeting Leahy presented a paper entitled "Cherokee Legends" and her sister Martha (Mrs. W. T.) Leahy spoke about "Osage Legends." Bertha Leahy was a Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star and served as a delegate to its state convention in April 1912. Additionally, Bertha Leahy was a member of the local Needle Craft Club, the Delphian Club, and the Art Club, a department of the Pawhuska Women's Club.
Following the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Bertha Leahy remained active in club work and the Eastern Star. She died May 20, 1948. Her husband John Timothy Leahy preceded her in death on March 3, 1934. They are buried in the Pawhuska City Cemetery.
Cushing Citizen (Cushing, OK), September 4, 1917. Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), May 21, 1948. Hominy Journal (Hominy, OK), March 8, 1934. Indian Chieftain (Vinita, OK), September 26, 1895. Oklahoma Free Press (Pawhuska, OK), January 3, 1913. Oklahoma News (Oklahoma City, OK), September 28, 1917. Oklahoma Osage Tribe Roll, 1921, for Bertha Leahy, accessed on Ancestry.com on July 21, 2020. Osage County News, (Pawhuska, OK), March 12, 1920 and November 4, 1921. Osage Journal (Pawhuska, OK), January 7, 1909; September 26, 1911; February 15 and December 5, 1912; January 10 and 24, May 9, and September 5, 1918; and January 30, 1919. Pawhuska Capital (Pawhuska, OK), April 11, 1912, February 19, 1914, March 4, 1915, and April 3, 1919. Pawhuska Daily Journal (Pawhuska, OK), January 1, 1925. Ponca City News (Ponca City, OK), May 21, 1948. Luretta Rainey, History of Oklahoma State Federation of Women's Clubs (Guthrie, OK: Cooperative Publishing Co., 1939), 107. Times-Democrat (Pawnee, OK), September 20, 1895. "Timothy John Leahy," in Joseph B. Thoburn and Muriel H. Wright, Oklahoma: A History of the State and Its People, Vol. 3 (NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1929), 207-208. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK), September 8, 1918. Vinita Leader (Vinita, OK), October 3, 1895. U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1891, 1892, 1924, 1930, and 1937, Osage Nation, Oklahoma, accessed on Ancestry.com on July 19, 2020. U.S. Census, 1900, Pawhuska, Osage Nation, Oklahoma. U.S. Census, 1910 and 1920, Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma. U.S. Census, 1930, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, for Bertha Rogers Leahy, accessed on Ancestry.com on July 21, 2020.