Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Jane Pond, 1835-1911

By Trevor Matthews, Undergraduate Student, University of California San Diego

Jane Spence was born November 29, 1834, in Pike Township, Clark County, Ohio. She was the daughter of English immigrant parents William Spence and Elizabeth Wones. In 1857, Jane married farmer Samuel S. Pierce and moved to Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa, where she was unemployed. By 1870, Samuel and Jane had four children: Helen, Corda, Laura, and Mary Pierce. Between 1880 and 1900, Jane and Samuel divorced, as stated in the 1900 census record of Samuel Pierce. Late in her life, on December 5, 1901, Jane remarried long-time friend John F. Pond, a farmer from Montpelier, Blackford County, Indiana. They lived on the corner of Adams and Monroe streets. It was recorded that John Pond fully supported his wife's suffrage activities until his death. By July 1, 1909, John Pond passed away, leaving his entire estate to Jane. Upon Jane's death, his inheritance would then be divided among his three children: William, Linzy, and Mary Pond. Jane lived the rest of her life in Montpelier.

The first record of suffrage work by Jane Pond is in 1895. From 1895 to 1901, she was a member of the James Brownell Women's Relief Corps No. 26, a patriotic women's organization charged with the task of keeping the memory of the Union Army alive. As recorded in 1904, Jane was a trustee for the Montpelier public school. Between 1904 and 1907, Jane Pond and her husband donated a total of $14 to the National American Woman Suffrage Associations. In 1906, Jane was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in which she held several meetings in her home in Montpelier. Additionally, in 1908, Jane was an active member in the Anti-Tuberculosis Society in Indiana, helping and encouraging those afflicted with the illness.

Most notably, in 1907, Jane Pond was a founding member of the Indiana branch of the Women's Equal Suffrage Association. At the first convention in May 1907, women from all over the state convened in Kokomo, Indiana, and adopted a constitution and bylaws, rejuvenating the suffrage effort in Indiana and officially giving Indiana a place in the national association. Among these founding members was Jane Pond, who was elected as auditor along with Judge Samuel Artman. In 1909, the organization, with Jane still in the position of auditor, wrote a petition to be sent to every state in the United States and eventually to President Taft to ask for his aid and support for the suffrage movement. Jane served as auditor until 1910, but continued as a member of the organization for the remainder of her life.

In 1909, Jane criticized an Iowa state law that gave the husband the sole ability to gift or bequest private property. She protested that the law meant wives and children could lose their entire inheritance, since on a farm, all inheritance is private property. In 1910, Jane published an article titled "Votes for Women?" in the Montpelier Evening Herald, in response to another article which described suffragists as "giddy girls'' and "old women who are dreaming." She presented a logical argument for women's suffrage and signed the article "A taxpayer," demanding the right to vote as a tax-paying citizen. Additionally, in 1910, Jane was requested to solicit for "The Women's Journal," "Women's Standard," and "The Progress," all suffragist publications which gave instructions and education to women on what could be done to further the movement.

As her last request, Jane wished for Mrs. Daisy Barr of the Friends Church to preach at her funeral service. Jane had recently read and been interested in her sermons, prompting the request. Jane Pond passed away on March 3, 1911 at the age of 76. She was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Indiana.


Census records:

1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: "Jane Spence," Operations, Inc., 2009. 322687:8054

1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: "Jane Pierce," Operations, Inc., 2009.

1880 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: "Jane Pierce," Operations Inc, 2010.

1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: "John F Pond," Operations Inc, 2010. 91:6742?_phsrc=uZa91&_phstart=successSource&gsfn=John+F&gsln=Pond&ml_rpos=1&queryId=de8890861b782de53ab496cfa4dde5c4

1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: "Samuel S Pierce," Operations Inc, 2004. ui-content/view/14630438:7602?_phsrc=uZa79&_phstart=successSource&gsfn=Samuel+S&gsln=Pierce&ml_rpos=1&queryId=4dc77baaa6e6add5dbf725ab66c74071

1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA. "Jane Pond," Operations Inc, 2006. Indiana, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA. "John F Pond," Operations, Inc., 2015.

Newspaper Archives:

Cedar Falls Semi Weekly Cedar Falls Gazette. April 5, 1901.

"Notice Monroe Street Improvement." Montpelier Evening Herald, November 9, 1904.".

"W.C.T.U." Montpelier Evening Herald. March 10, 1906.

"Notice W.C.T.U." Montpelier Evening Herald. March 13, 1906.

"Suffragists in Session: Final Steps Taken Towards Formation of League of All the State." Kokomo Daily Tribune. May 14, 1907.

"Women Will Appeal to Taft." Kokomo Daily Tribune. March 19, 1909.

Montpelier Herald. July 8, 1909.

Waterloo Daily Courier. August 26, 1909.

Waterloo Daily Courier. November 8, 1909.

"Votes for Women?" Montpelier Evening Herald. April 5, 1910.

Montpelier Evening Herald. April 19,1910.

"Notice To Heirs, Creditors, ETC." Montpelier Evening Herald. October 26, 1910. 577/

"Death of Mrs. Pond." Montpelier Evening Herald. March 3, 1911.

"Pond Funeral." Montpelier Evening Herald. March 6, 1911.

Hartford City Telegram. March 8, 1911.

History of Women's Suffrage, Volume 6: "Chapter XIII: Indiana." History of Women's Suffrage, Vol. 6, 1900-1920, edited by Ida Husted Harper. New York, NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, pp. 166

National American Woman Suffrage Association Annual Convention Proceedings 1903-1908: National American Woman Suffrage Association, Nettie Rogers Shuler, and Harriet Taylor Upton. Handbook... and Proceedings of the... Annual Convention. (v. 35-38)(1903-1906). pages 144 (1904), 122(1905), Washington: [s.n.], 1800

National American Woman Suffrage Association, Susan B. (Susan Brownell) Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Proceedings of the ... annual convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. (v. 38-40) (1906-1908). pages 101(1906), 148(1907), Washington, D.C.: The Association, 1893-1913.

"Resolutions." Cedar Falls Gazette. January 18, 1895.

"Romantic Wedding" The Star Press. December 7, 1901.

"Holds Out Hope to Consumptives." The South Bend Tribune. August 31, 1908.

"Strange Request." Muncie Evening Press. March 14, 1911.

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