Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Mrs. C. W.) Smith, 1853-1939
By Thomas Dublin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University
Lizzie Williams was born in Williamsburg, IL in 1853, the second of five children of Ralph and Mary Williams. Her father was a physician in 1880, when the family lived in Lawrence, KS. That year, Lizzie married Charles W. Smith, a lawyer, and the couple lived in Stockton, KS. Charles was appointed a judge in 1889 and in 1896 he appointed his wife court stenographer. By 1900 the Smiths had six children, ages 18 to 7.
The first reference to Mrs. Smith in connection with woman suffrage comes with an Equal Suffrage meeting in Stockton at which Lizzie Smith presided. As the meeting concluded Mrs. Smith was elected president of the Rooks County branch of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association (KESA) and 45 attendees became KESA members.
In 1912 Lizzie Smith attended a KESA meeting in Topeka. By October 1912 she was serving as the vice president and organizer of the KESA for the 6th congressional district. The Association was then in the midst of a referendum campaign on woman suffrage. Their victory made Kansas the eighth state to grant women the right to vote.
In February 1916 Mrs. Smith served as secretary of the Kansas Good Citizenship League, the successor for the KESA after Kansas adopted woman suffrage. One of her accomplishments in this position was securing letters from Kansas congressmen and Senators pledging support for a federal woman suffrage amendment. Kansas ratified the 19th Amendment on June 16, 1919, making it one of the first states to do so.
Lizzie Smith died in Topeka in May 1939.
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK].
Federal Manuscript Censuses, 1880, Williams household, Lawrence, KS, and 1900 and 1910 for C.W. and Lizzie Smith, Stockton; 1930, Topeka, Lizzie and Catharine Smith household. Accessible online line via Ancestry Library edition.
Find-a-Grave death entry for Elizabeth Ann Smith, May 1939. Accessible online via Ancestry Library Edition.
Untitled, Pratt (KS) Republican, 23 January 1896, p. 6.
"Equal Suffrage Meeting," Stockton Review and Rooks County Record, 22 November 1901, p. 4.
"Suffragists to Meet," Kansas City Globe, 9 May 1911, p. 4.
Topeka Daily Capital, 27 October 1912, p. 19.
National Park Service, "Kansas and the 19th Amendment," Accessible online at https://www.nps.gov/articles/kansas-and-the-19th-amendment.htm.