Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Elizabeth Cutler Jenkins, 1874-1963
By Lynn Cole, Writer, Florence, Italy
Utah State Chairman of the National Woman's Party (NWP) 1916-1919
Elizabeth Taylor Cutler was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 2, 1874 to John Christopher Cutler Sr. of Sheffield, England, and Sarah Elizabeth Cutler (née Taylor). John C. Cutler Sr. emigrated to Utah in 1874 after becoming a member of the Mormon Church. Mr. Cutler was a successful businessman who held board of director seats for several banks, served as president of his family's dry goods business, and became the second Governor of Utah from 1905 to 1909. The Taylors, on her mother's side, were part of the original pioneers who came to Utah before the railroad.
On October 14, 1897, Elizabeth married Edward Elmer Jenkins, whose family was also part of Utah's pioneers. Jenkins was a businessman involved in real estate, banking and was owner of the Salt Lake Telegram newspaper until September 1930. They had four children, all sons.
As the Chairman of the NWP, daughter of Utah's second Governor, and part of the original founding pioneer families of Utah from her mother's side, she could use her standing in Salt Lake City's society to further the cause of women's suffrage in the state. She wrote the petition to Utah Senator William H. King, asking him to support women's suffrage after his refusal to do so. She rallied the women of Utah to protest when the state considered reinstating polygamy after the war.
On October 30, 1917, Mrs. Jenkins advanced the costs to send Mrs. R.B. Quay (aka Minnie), to Washington D.C. to picket after her ouster from the Women's Democratic Club stating that, "We are working for the amendment disregarding party politics. We oppose only those who oppose us." She also sponsored socialist, Lovern (Mrs. C.F.) Robertson. Both women hailed from Salt Lake City and were NWP members.
Minnie and Lovern became part of Silent Sentinels arrested on November 13, 1917 for standing at the White House gates with suffrage banners. Along with over 30 other suffragists, they were to endure the infamous "Night of Terror" at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, Virginia. The next day, on November 14, 1917, Superintendent W.H. Whittaker set his guards on the women. According to one account, they were beaten, kicked, choked, stripped naked, chained to the bars in a workhouse cell, stabbed with a stick from a protest banner, and force-fed until they became ill. The authorities released Minnie Quay and Lovern Robertson early with time served on November 29, 1917. An NWP conference took place in early December 1917 in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the release of the women and the turning point in the cause, which Mrs. Elizabeth Cutler Jenkins attended. President Wilson dramatically reversed his stand on women's suffrage after hearing about the treatment of the women and made an appeal to Congress on September 30, 2018. Finally, in June 1919, the U.S. Senate followed the House's lead in passing the 19th Amendment.
It is not clear in the records how much more Elizabeth Cutler Jenkins participated in politics after 1919. She was a noted society figure in Salt Lake City until she moved to Independence, Missouri in 1928. Her husband Edward Jenkins relocated to Los Angeles, where he died in 1944 leaving behind a second wife. He was buried in Salt Lake City. Elizabeth Taylor Cutler Jenkins died 5 October 1963 in Jackson County, Missouri of pneumonia at the age of 89. She was buried in Independence She was survived by sons Elmer, Harold, and John Christopher.
Corcoran, Brent D. "My Father's Business': Thomas Taylor and Mormon Frontier Economic Enterprise" Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 28, no. 1, 1995, pp. 105-141. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/45228485. Accessed 10 Sept. 2020.
Missouri Death Certificates, 1910 - 1969 [database on-line]. Jackson County, Missouri. https://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1963/1963_00040284.PDF
"New Corporations" Salt Lake Telegram (Utah) Wednesday, May 1, 1912, pg. 12 https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s67m1g8n
"Utah Pioneer Gone" Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) Thursday, October 19, 1905, pg. 12 https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6sr09g7
"Mrs. Jenkins Hires White House Pickets." Salt Lake Telegram (Utah) Wednesday, October 31, 1917, pg. 5 https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6281fw9
"Mrs. J.C. Cutler Dies on Coast." Salt Lake Telegram (Utah) Saturday, December 4, 1928, pg. 2 https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62v3pzq
Esshom, Frank, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, 1913. Photo-reproduction of the original book available on https://www.archive.org. Converted to digital format by Randy Stebbing; digital version created April 2013; Retrieved from pioneers/rstebbing.com