Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Margaret Effie Hayes Stickney, 1858-1919
By Alan Lin, Student, University of California, San Diego
Margaret "Maggie" Effie Hayes, was born in 1858 in Vermont to Irish immigrants Mary Boyle (1824-1913) and Daniel Hayes (1822-1908). In 1885 Margaret married Dr. Victor H. Stickney (1855-1927) who worked as a physician. They had two daughters and their names were Marjorie Ann Stickney and Dorothy H. Stickney. Mrs. Stickney began her career in teaching, as noted in a newspaper published on Ancestry.com. The newspaper states that Mrs. Stickney had been elected as the president of the Dickinson Organization, a school board-run committee. She would stay in that professional career until the 1910's as indicated by another article. Mrs. Stickney was in her 50's at this time according to the North Dakota census of 1910.
The first evidence of Mrs. Stickney's activity within the suffrage movement was around the summer of 1914, in which she participated in one of the largest suffrage campaigns conducted across North Dakota. In this campaign, Mrs. Stickney helped lead "The Votes for Women League," an organization with the message to fight for women's rights, especially emphasizing the importance of women being able to vote and having equal protection to their rights. The Votes for Women League would soon be joined by more than 200 clubs, with the two most noticeable groups being the "Women's Christian Temperance Union" and the "Federation of Women's Club" as noted on the Minot Daily News, a newspaper outlet that covered many sources of the Suffragist movement. The movement was soon put to a halt as they were disassembled that fall of 1914 according to Minot Daily News. Although the movement was disassembled, the message that Mrs. Stickney and the 200 plus group were able to convey, helped emphasize the importance of women being able to vote and garnered the trust and support of many. The North Dakota legislature voted for presidential and municipal suffrage for women in 1917 and then in 1919 ratified the 19th Amendment that gave women full voting rights.
Stickney's dedication and interest in the suffrage movement helped move forward the demand to pass the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. Mrs. Stickney passed away in December 1919, the same month that North Dakoka ratified the 19th Amendment, and eight months before the ratification vote in Tennessee, the 36th and final state to approve the Amendment. Her work has inspired many and given the next generation of activists the chance to fight for equality and justice.
"Was Your Grandmother a North Dakota Suffragist?" Minotdailynews.com, 15 Aug. 2020, www.minotdailynews.com/news/local-news/2020/08/was-your-grandmother-a-north-dakota-suffragist/.
"Dickinson Federation Meeting Best Ever Held in State, Delegates Agree," The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, 3 October 1917, p. 7.
"American Medical Directory." Google Books, Google, www.google.com/books/edition/American_Medical_Directory/Vu85AQAAMAAJ?hl=+en&gbpv=1&dq=mrs.%2Bv.%2Bh.%2Bstickney%2Bfargo%2Bnorth%2Bdakota&pg=PA925&printsec=frontcover.
03 May 1917, Page 2 - The Bismarck Tribune at Newspapers.com
U.S. Census, North Dakota, 1900-1920. Ancestry.com. Entries for Victor and Margaret Stickney and family.
U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Ancestry.com
Find-a-Grave entries for Margaret Effie Stickney, 24 December 1919, and Victor Hugo Stickney, 26 July 1927. Accessed via Ancestry Library Edition.
National Park Service, "North Dakota and the 19th Amendment," accessed online at https://www.nps.gov/articles/north-dakota-and-the-19th-amendment.htm