Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Marietta M. Bones, 1842-1901


BONES, Mrs. Marietta M., woman suffragist and social reformer, born upon a farm in Clarion county, Pa., 4th May, 1842. Her father, James A. Wilkins, was born in Clarion county, where he resided for forty-eight years, when he removed to Iowa, and died six months later. Mr. Wilkins was a noted Abolitionist, known to have maintained an "undergound railroad station." The mother's (Jane Trumbull) family, the Trumbulis, were orginally from Connecticut, and were descendants of Jonathan Trumbull, better known by Washington's pet name, "Brother Jonathan." Her education was received in the Huidekooper Seminary, Meadville, I'a., and in the Washington, Pa., female seminary. Mrs. Bones was elected vice-president of the National Woman Suffrage Association for Dakota Territory, in 1881, and was annually re-elected for nine years. She made her début as a public speaker in an oration at a Fourth of July celebration in Webster, Dak., in 1882. In September, 1883, she addressed Dakota's State Constitutional Convention on behalf of woman's enfranchisement. Failing to have her claim for woman's equality before the law recognized in the State Constitution there framed, she earnestly petitioned both houses of Congress to deny Dakota's admission to the Union as a State. Then she carried on several lively newspaper controversies against efforts to make the social question of temperance a political question. She is an active temperance worker and was secretary of the first Non-partisan National Woman's Christian Temperance Union convention in Chicago, in 1889, for which the local Woman's Temperance Union in Webster, over which she had presided the previous year, discharged her, returning her dues, paid nearly three months before, with an official notice "That the ladies of Webster union moved and carried that Mrs Bones' dues be returned on acccount of her having joined the secession movement, and also on account of her antagonism to our State president." As a pioneer settler in her town, she secured for it a donation of a block of lots for a courthouse and county buildings, and through her influence Day county was divided and a part added thereto, in order that the county-seat should be centrally located. So interested was she that their State capital should be situated at the geographical center, that the board of trade in the city of Pierre invited her to be the guest of their city. Through her intercession three infirm veterans of the war have been sent, at the expense of her county, to the Soldiers' Home in Hot Springs, S. Dak. Mrs. Bones was an able assistant of Mrs. Matilda Joslyn Gage in organizing the Woman's National Liberal Union. She addressed the convention in Washington, D. C., and is one of the executive council of that organization. The energy of Mrs. Bones knows no bounds when work is needed, and her perfect health helps her willing hand.

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