Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Rebecca J. Cagle Forney (Barnes), 1867-1941

By Necia Wolff, independent scholar

Rebecca J. Cagle was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1867 to farmers Mathew J. Cagle and Rebecca Bone Cagle. By the time she was three years old, the family had moved to Walnut Township, Kansas. Rebecca married Edward Forney. She is listed as living in Autwine, Oklahoma, a town that was destroyed by fire in 1906 and was located near Blackwell, Oklahoma.

Rebecca Forney is listed a pledging $25 at the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) meeting in February 1900. She was elected as an auditor at the first Twin Territorial Woman Suffrage Association conference in Oklahoma City in December 1904. As an auditor, Rebecca's charge was to "examine and verify the books of the Treasurer" and report on her finding at the annual meeting.

No record was found of Rebecca Forney's suffrage activities after 1904.

The woman suffrage issue, during the territorial period in Oklahoma, focused on the effort to enshrine woman suffrage in Oklahoma's constitution. At the first convention in 1904, attendees adopted a resolution that noted, "Whereas in the building of this great commonwealth women have been equal factors with men in bearing equal burdens and share equal responsibilities therefore, Resolved ... of the Hamilton statehood bill, so the clause shall read: 'Said statehood shall never enact any law restricting the right of suffrage on account of sex, race, color or previous condition of servitude.'"

Rebecca Forney divorced Edward Forney in 1906. On August 10, 1910, Rebecca Forney married widower Cassius McDonald Barnes in Chicago, Illinois. Cassius M. Barnes was appointed, by Republican President William McKinley, as the Oklahoma Territory Governor from 1897-1901. By the time he met Rebecca, he was serving as the Guthrie, Oklahoma mayor. Rebecca moved with her second husband to Leavenworth, Kansas. She had one son, Victor Barnes. Cassius Barnes died in 1925.

Rebecca Barnes died in New Mexico in February 1941.


"Year: 1870; Census Place: Walnut Township, Butler, Kansas; Roll: M593_429; Page: 697A; Family History Library Film: 545928," n.d. Accessed July 12, 2018.

Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Held at the Church of Our Father ... Washington, D.C., February 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14, 1900. (Philadelphia: Press of Alfred J. Ferris, 1900): 46. Accessed July 10, 2018.

"Oklahoma," in The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (New York: Fowler & Wells, 1922), 521. [LINK]

Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. (Washington, D.C., 1893): 159. Accessed August 21, 2018.

The Times Record (Blackwell, OK) 25 October 1906. The Gateway to Oklahoma History. Accessed August 21, 2018.

Bill Corbett. "Suffrage Amendment." The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed August 21, 2018.

Oklahoma State Register (Guthrie, OK) 22 December 1904. The Gateway to Oklahoma History. Accessed June 28, 2018.

The Blackwell Sun (Blackwell, OK) 1 March 1906. The Gateway to Oklahoma History. Accessed June 28, 2018.

"Rebecca Forney and Cassins M. Barnes. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920," n.d. Accessed July 1, 2018.

Dianna Everett, "Barnes, Cassius McDonald." The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed June 29, 2018.

"Year: 1920; Census Place: Leavenworth Ward 6, Leavenworth, Kansas; Roll: T625_537; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 108," n.d. Accessed July 11, 2018.

Rebecca Cagle Barnes. "U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007." n.d. Accessed July 12, 2018.

"Year: 1940; Census Place: Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Roll: M-T0627-02452; Page: 81B; Enumeration District: 25-20A," n.d. Accessed July 12, 2018.

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