Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Nancy Catherine Mohr Conner 1851-1935
By Janolyn Lo Vecchio, independent historian
One of Nebraska's most vigorous suffragists, Nancy Catherine Mohr Conner (also spelled as Connor) was born on August 11, 1851 in Logan County, Ohio. Her parents were Mary (Garber) and Daniel Mohr. After living in Logan County, Ohio for several years where their first three children were born, the Mohr family moved to Elkport, Clayton County, Iowa in 1852. Daniel owned a 160-acre farm and also worked as a cabinet maker in addition to farming to support his wife and nine children. In 1865, Daniel and Mary Mohr moved to Manchester, a town in Delaware County, Iowa.
At age 19, Nancy Mohr married Isaac Conner in Manchester, Iowa on December 19, 1870, and they moved to the three-year old state of Nebraska where they lived in Ponca, the county seat of Dixon County. Isaac owned a general store and in 1885 was nominated at the Democratic Convention in Ponca for the position of Ponca postmaster. When his nomination was approved by Congress he served as the Ponca postmaster from 1885 to 1889 and again in 1901. After living in Ponca for 35 years, Nancy and her husband moved to Omaha in 1905 where Isaac established the Conner Investment Company of Omaha and sold real estate.
During these years, Nancy and Isaac became the parents of three children: Estella Gail, Martha Jean, and Daniel. Nancy quickly became active in civic organizations in Ponca as well as Omaha and was described as giving "her abundant energy to the education and social uplift of the town". She became deeply involved in the Nebraska suffrage movement and was an active member of the Omaha Suffrage Association. Nancy hosted suffrage meetings at her home and worked with other suffrage club members to organize bazaars and ice cream socials for fund-raising events and host the 1912 Nebraska State Suffrage Convention in Omaha.
In 1911, Nancy was elected treasurer of the Omaha Suffrage Association, a position she held for several years. She was one of three club officers who greeted English suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst when she arrived in Omaha to lecture on "The English Woman's Fight for the Vote" at the Boyd Theater as part of her 1916 tour through the United States to support American suffrage organizations. After lecturing in Omaha, Pankhurst was the keynote speaker at the Nebraska State Suffrage Association convention in Lincoln.
In addition to working for women's suffrage, the Omaha Suffrage Association also worked to address other women's issues. In 1913, Nancy and the other Omaha Suffrage Association members unanimously approved a resolution to protest unequal pay for employees of the Omaha Postal Telegraph Company. Female employees described as "girl messengers" were paid $20-25 monthly while male employees described as "boy messengers" earned $30 monthly. The Omaha Suffrage Association members also endorsed the Keating-Owen bill in Congress which was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 but later ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1918. The Keating-Owen Bill was an attempt to protect under-age children workers by prohibiting sales of inter-state commerce of goods produced by children younger than age 14 who worked in factories and mines.
In 1914, the Omaha Suffrage Association decided to use a more aggressive advertising technique and established a "propaganda committee" to "place suffrage speakers at every available meeting...to interest all young people's societies in the cause."
Although the Nebraska Legislature approved a limited form of suffrage in 1917, Nebraska women did not receive full suffrage until three years later. At age 68, Nancy celebrated with other Omaha Suffrage Association members when the Nebraska Legislature unanimously ratified the 19th Amendment in August, 1919. In recognition of her hard work for suffrage, Nancy was one of several Nebraska women named to the Honor Roll of Suffrage which was one of the last acts of the National American Women's Suffrage Association before it dissolved in 1920 when the League of Women's Voters was created. Nancy's copy of the Honor Roll was signed by Carrie Chapman Catt the president of the National American Women's Suffrage Association, and it was one of Nancy's most cherished possessions.
In 1920, Isaac and Nancy Conner celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in their home at 2854 Dodge street in Omaha. They continued living in Omaha until Nancy's death at age 84 on December 17, 1935 and Isaac's death at age 89 on November 29, 1939.
The History of Delaware County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, Illinois, 664, 1878.
Dunning, Corra Garber: Geneaology of the Ludwig Moher Family in America Covering A Period From April 4, 1696 to June 15, 1921, Nebraska Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska, 44-45, 1921.
"News of Nebraska", The McCook Tribune, May 21, 1885, p. 3.
"Coleman's Nomination Confirmed", Omaha Daily Bee, February 14, 1889, p. 1.
"Disposes of Ranch", The Bayard Transcript, March 2, 1922, p. 1.
"Suffrage Convention at Omaha", The Hastings Daily Republican, November 25, 1912, p. 5.
"Suffragette Comes Quietly", Omaha Daily Bee, November 17, 1911, p. 7.
"Girls Are Better Messengers", The Norfolk Weekly News Journal, February 28, 1913, p. 5.
"Equal Suffrage Column", Alliance Semi-Weekly Times, March 18, 1913 p. 2.
"Suffs Raise Funds By Ice Cream Social", Omaha Daily Bee, July 31, 1914, p. 10.
"Suffs Arrange To Put More Talkers Into Active Work, Omaha Daily Bee, August 1, 1914, p. 10.
"Suffrage Bazaar Is Planned for March", Omaha Daily Bee, February 23, 1916, p. 11.
"Clubdom", Omaha Daily Bee, January 23, 1916, p. 13.
"Omaha Suffragists Reorganize to Combat the Antis", The Lincoln Star, August 14, 1917, p. 5.
"Nebraskans on the Honor Roll", The Lincoln Star, February 17, 1920, p. 10.
"Distinguished Service Veterans", Omaha Daily Bee, February 17, 1920, p. 2.
The Pilot, December 22, 1920, p. 8.