Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Verna (Mrs. Frank W.) Meyer, 1893-1982
By Thomas Dublin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, SUNY Binghamton
Verna Izetta Wood was born in Beadle County, South Dakota in October 1893. She completed high school and in 1910 resided in Redfield, SD, where she worked as a salesgirl in a news store. In 1915 she married Wisconsin-born Frank W. Meyer. In 1918-1920 the couple lived in Huron, SD, and she worked as a stenographer for W.H. Maul, an Insurance Agency, while her husband was a train superintendent. Their only child, David, was born in 1927. In 1930 the family resided in Lansing, SD and her husband was employed as an agent at a railroad station. By 1940 they had returned to Beadle county and Frank continued to work as a railroad station agent. They continued to move about South Dakota and in 1945 lived in Hecla and in 1952 in Aberdeen.
Proposals for a woman suffrage amendment to the South Dakota constitution were defeated in 1890, 1895, 1898, and 1910. The founding in 1911 of the South Dakota Universal Franchise League, gave a boost to the suffrage movement, but another suffrage amendment was defeated in 1914. After one more unsuccessful referendum campaign in 1916, woman suffrage was approved by the state's male voters in November 1918.
Verna Meyer worked as a secretary/stenographer in the Huron headquarters of the South Dakota Universal Franchise League in 1918. A 1918 account of the campaign in The Woman Citizen (Nov. 16, 1918) noted, "As much as any one person Mrs. Frank Meyer, office secretary contributed to the success of the campaign. Absolutely reliable, absolutely untiring, she kept everything moving for everybody."
South Dakota then ratified the 19th Amendment in December 1919, becoming the 21st state to do so. I've found no surviving evidence of Verna Myer's participation in any other suffrage efforts in South Dakota, other than the successful 1918 campaign.
Frank W. Myer passed away in Aberdeen, SD in 1961 and Verna Myer passed away in Sacramento, CA in in 1982. The couple are both interred in the Houghton Cemetery in Houghton, SD.
McMahon, "How to Win a State," The Woman Citizen, 3 (Nov. 16, 1918), p. 509.
"Biographies of Women's Suffrage [in South Dakota]. " Accessed online at https://historysouthdakota.wordpress.com/womens-suffrage-in-sodak/biographies-of-womens-suffrage-m/
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK to SD state report].
"Suffrage in South Dakota," accessed online at https://libguides.usd.edu/c.php?g=753247&p=5394871.
National Park Service, "South Dakota and the 19th Amendment," accessed online at https://www.nps.gov/articles/south-dakota-women-s-history.htm.
Federal Manuscript Censuses of South Dakota, 1910-1940 and 1945 South Dakota Census. Accessed online via Ancestry Library edition.
City Directory, Aberdeen, SD, 1952. Accessed online via Ancestry Library edition.
Find-a-Grave death records for Frank Wolfgang Meyer and Verna Izetta Meyer. Accessed online via Ancestry Library edition.