Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Julia E. Smith (Mrs. Henry) Allen, 1852-1913

By Debra Neubert, Historian

Vermont Woman's Suffrage Association: Executive Board, Vice President for Addison County

Julia Ella Smith was born April 8, 1852 in Ferrisburgh, Addison County, Vermont. Her father David Smith (1813-1889) is listed as a banker and farmer. Julia's mother, Sarah D. Barnum, (1818-1823) was a housekeeper. Both were Vermont natives. Not much information is found about Julia's early life, but her obituary notes that her father had been a Director and Vice-President of the Vergennes National Bank and President of the Lake Champlain Marble and Granite Company, indicating that his two daughters were women of means. Indeed, in 1900, Julia was head of her own household, which she owned outright. She was single until the age of 48, when she married widower Henry Esbon Allen in April 1901. Census records list that Henry and his daughter Amy (aged 13 at the time), were boarders at Miss Smith's home in 1900. The couple had no children together; Henry is recorded as being a farmer.

Julia was involved with suffrage early on, first appearing in the annual report for the third annual meeting, held in 1887, as a Vice President for Addison County and a member of the local committee for Ferrisburgh. In that role, she circulated a petition in town to "enact a law extending suffrage to women in all municipal elections" that was signed by 163 people, and she reported that in one Ferrisburgh district, "all save two families signed the petition." In 1888, it is recorded that she did some fundraising for a bazar to be held later that year. According to the annual meeting reports, she continued to be active in the Association after her marriage, serving as VP for Addison County and on the local committee for Ferrisburgh throughout her tenure.

Julia E. S. Allen was dedicated to the cause of suffrage and spent time and energy devoted to gaining the vote for women at least until 1909. Like many others, she would pass away before being able to cast a vote for herself. Julia died on January 29, 1913 at the age of 60, in Vergennes, Addison County, Vermont, while temporarily staying at the Phoebe Rogers house. She died from pulmonary edema.

Sources

Minutes of the Third Annual Meeting of the Vermont Woman's Suffrage Association, 1887

Minutes of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Vermont Woman's Suffrage Association, 1888

United States. Bureau of the Census. Ninth Census: Population, 1870.

United States. Bureau of the Census. Tenth Census: Population, 1880.

United States. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census: Population, 1900.

"Obituary" The Enterprise and Vermonter (Vergennes), January 30, 1913 p.8

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