Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890 - 1920
Biography of Charlotte Evelyn Bartlett Laughlin (Putnam), 1879-1940
By Debra Neubert, Historian
Charlotte Evelyn Bartlett was born on 15 September 1879 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father, Ellery Channing Bartlett (1852-1924) was a salesman, and her mother Ida Eveline Hassell (1854-1900) a housekeeper. 1900 Census records show the family living in Brooklyn, New York; Charlotte would have been 21 at that time. On March 27, 1905 she wed Cyrus James Laughlin (1878-1959) in St. John's, Florida. Research did not yield any information about a divorce; however, the death dates confirm the reason for separation was not death. At the age of 40, Charlotte married Walter Edward Putnam on October 28, 1919. Records show that Mr. Putnam owned an office supply store, and that Charlotte managed a gift and art store called "The Magic Door."
The only evidence found at this time on Charlotte Laughlin's involvement in the Ohio suffrage movement, is the attached letter from her to a Mrs. Davisson in Dayton, Ohio. The letter is responding to a request of 500 slips. From the letter it seems the slips may have been used for recruiting. Charlotte apologizes for the late response and explains that there has been a flu outbreak and that she and a Mrs. Simmons had heeded the call for volunteer nurses. This flu would later be known as the Spanish flu. The influenza pandemic of 1918 was one of the deadliest pandemics in history, killing between 50 million to 100 million people around the world. The epidemic affected about 25% of America's population.
With limited resources on Charlotte's activism, we do know that, in Ashtabula County, the suffrage movement took form even before the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York, according to the Committee to Preserve the Women's Suffrage History of Ashtabula County. Many of the first county suffragists were women who were active abolitionists. The Ashtabula County suffragists were smart, strong-willed, dedicated and accomplished. They endured the hardships of traveling throughout the state and nation to communicate about women's issues and voting. They were faced with backlash at speaking engagements and laws that prohibited gatherings to discuss political issues. But through their perseverance, they were integral to the women's right-to-vote movement.
Charlotte Evelyn Bartlett Laughlin Putnam died in 1940, and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Ashtabula, Ohio. Cause of death unknown at this time. She had no children.
Robert Kessler. "Outbreak: Pandemic Strikes." EcoHealth Alliance, EcoHealth Alliance, 13 June 2018, www.ecohealthalliance.org/2018/05/outbreak-pandemic-strikes?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyoSrm9W_8AIVmrrICh12jQvfEAAYASAAEgLFV_D_BwE.
Used as information on the Spanish flu
Shelly Terry. "Much of History of Women's Suffrage Occurred in Ashtabula County." Star Beacon , 26 Aug. 2020, pp. C1-C4, bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/starbeacon.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/6e/86e15954-e798-11ea-8b3f-cfa1629597fa/5f46599e11038.pdf.pdf.
Weekly local newspaper
Mark Todd. "Spanish Flu in Conneaut Topic of Lecture." Star Beacon, 14 Oct. 2018, www.starbeacon.com/news/local_news/spanish-flu-in-conneaut-topic-of-lecture/article_08ae1200-eb0b-5584-b468-adf947855edf.html.
Local town newspaper