Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ann Foss (Mrs. J. P.) Baldwin, 1841-1916

By Debra Neubert, Historian

Vermont Woman's Suffrage Association: Executive Board, Finance Committee

Ann Foss was born in Middlesex, Washington County, Vermont on June 21, 1841. Her parents, Seldon Foss and Roxann Wheeler, were both born in Grafton, New Hampshire and appear to have moved to Vermont prior to Ann's birth, as she was their first child born there. Research was unable to find what her parents' occupations were, nor what prompted their move to Vermont. Records show Ann attending the Orleans Liberal Institute for the school year of 1856-7. The school was considered one of the best in Vermont, and taught music, penmanship, mathematics, elocution, philosophy, and astronomy. At the age of 19, Ann married Joseph Porter Baldwin (1833-1894) on January 9, 1861, in Barton, Vermont. Census records show Joseph's occupation as being in lumber and farming, while Ann kept house. The two had three children, George C., Charles C., and Henry P. Baldwin.

The couple would have had their hands full, keeping three active boys and a farm running, however Ann seemed to have found time to contribute to the cause of suffrage. According to the annual reports published by the Vermont Woman's Suffrage Association, (later called the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association), Ann first appears in 1892, which would have made her 50 years old. At this 8th annual meeting she is listed as working on the Finance Committee, and for making a $1.00 donation. The annual meeting reports show her being active from 1892-1903. She worked on the Barton local committee and is listed as giving several donations. Her committee work would have included petitioning local leaders, fundraising, letter writing and possibly speaking engagements.

In December 1894, Ann became a widow, and the 1910 census lists her as living with her sister-in-law in Lyndon, Caledonia County, Vermont. Thirteen years would pass from her first appearance in the suffrage records to her death on August 7, 1916 at the age of 75 years. In her obituary she was remembered as a woman of exceptionally strong character, who was interested in all of the best things in the community. In addition to her suffrage work, for many years she was an active member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and was considered one of their most earnest workers. She served on the board of trustees of Barton Academy, and again was listed as a most efficient worker. She was considered to be smart, well read, and many sought her out for her wise counsel. Ann passed away after a long battle with cardiorenal disease and was laid to rest at the Welcome O. Brown Cemetery, in Barton. Unfortunately, she did not see the fight for enfranchisement realized, as suffrage would come four years later.


Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Vermont Woman's Suffrage Association, 1892-1903

United States. Bureau of the Census. Population, 1870, 1880, 1910.

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