Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Georgiana Petrina Geertsen Marriott, 1865-1946
By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian
Utah suffragist Georgiana Petrina Geertsen was born on June 29, 1865, in Huntsville, Weber County, Utah. Her father Peter Christian Geertsen (1837-1894), a farmer, married Mariane Pedersen Gjoderum (1836-1919) on May 15, 1862, in Denmark. While living in their homeland, Denmark's government adopted a constitution in 1849, that provided religious freedom for the first time since 1536, when Lutheranism became the state religion. By the early 1850s, Mormon leader Joseph Smith sent missionaries to Denmark to convert Danes. The Geertsens were among thousands of Danes who converted from the Lutheran Church to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. In 1864, they emigrated from Denmark to Weber County, Utah, where five of their six children were born.
Georgiana Geertsen received her education in the Ogden, Utah, public schools. In June 1882, she graduated from the University of Deseret in Salt Lake City. On January 18, 1883, Georgianna Geertsen married Moroni Stewart Marriott, Sr., a sheep and cattle rancher, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had four children: Winifred, Glenna, Lois, and Sherman. The Marriotts were missionaries to New Zealand from 1885 to 1888. On July 25, 1902, Joseph Smith ordained Moroni Marriott as High Priest and Bishop of the Marriott Ward, North Weber Stake, Utah.
The earliest known account of Georgiana Marriott voicing her opinion on women's rights occurred at a Mormon church conference held in Nevada in September 1913. She attended the meeting as the North Weber Stake president of the Women's Relief Society and gave a talk "on the general movement for the uplift of women."
Her next documented participation in women's suffrage occurred in 1916, when she was elected president of the newly organized Women's Republican Club of Weber County, Utah. On October 14, 1916, more than one hundred women gathered for the organization's first meeting, held at the regular Republican headquarters. Lucy Branham of Baltimore and E. G. Mills of Seattle addressed the group. Branham, an organizer of the National Woman's Party (NWP), explained why women needed to oppose the election of Woodrow Wilson and Democratic congressional candidates. She noted that the Republican platform was favorable to women's suffrage. Three days later Marriott arranged for the NWP to hold a mass meeting in the Orpheum Theater, where national suffrage leader Inez Milholland Boissevain was the principal speaker. Boissevain reiterated Branham's plea that Wilson needed to be defeated. Other speakers included Helen M. Todd, suffragist and workers' rights activist, from Chicago, and Abby Scott Baker, from Washington, D.C. On October 20, 1916, Marriott announced that she would open an office in the Republican headquarters and that Utah women would be taking an active part in the Republican presidential campaign. While serving as president of the Women's Republican Club, she chaired the women's campaign for president elect Charles Evans Hughes.
As early as December 1912, Georgiana Marriott was active in the Chautauqua Science and Literary Circle, an organization that offered regularly scheduled topics to broaden knowledge an individual's knowledge. She conducted the January 1913 meeting, when Frederick Austin Ogg's book, "Progress in Contemporary Europe" was discussed. In April 1914 Marriott participated in the Utah Chautauqua Association's "advertising campaign" to increase membership. She served as one of the directors of the state organization in 1915.
In addition to her work in the suffrage and Chautauqua movements, Marriott taught school for fifteen years. She served as president of the North Weber Stake Women's Relief Society, as well as the Child Culture Club. She was a member of the State Federation of Women's Clubs and the State Fair Board. During World War I, Marriott was secretary of the Young Women's Home Guard, a women's group to work on war relief efforts. As a member of the women's committee of the third Liberty Loan drive, she solicited funds. Additionally, she served in the Red Cross.
Her husband Moroni Marriott died on May 27, 1939, in Marriott, Utah. Georgiana married Jens Chris Peterson on August 29, 1939, in Randolph, Utah. Georgiana Marriott Peterson died on August 7, 1946, in Ogden, Utah. She was laid to rest in Altorest Mausoleum.
Julie K. Allen, Danish but Not Lutheran: The Impact of Mormonism on Danish Cultural Identity, 1850-1920 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2017).
Beverly Beeton, "How the West Was Won for Woman Suffrage," in Marjorie J. Spruill, ed., One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement (2d ed.; Oregon: NewSage Press, 2021), 133-151.
Death Certificate for Georgiana Geertsen Marriott, accessed through Ancestry.com on September 22, 2021.
Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT), August 4, 1914, and April 2, 1915.
Evening Standard (Ogden, UT), December 12, 1912.
Ida Husted Harper, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage, 1900-1920, Vol 6 (National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), pp. 648-649 [LINK].
Moroni Stewart Marriott in the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, accessed through Ancestry.com on September 22, 2021.
Rebecca J. Mead, How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914 (New York: New York University Press, 2004).
Ogden (Utah) Daily Standard, December 4, 1909, and July 2, 1917.
Ogden (Utah) Evening Standard, December 12, 1912.
Ogden (Utah) Standard, January 9, 1913; January 15, April 10, and July 18, 1914; May 12 and November 13, 1915; October 23 and November 1, 1916.
Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, August 8, 1946.
Salt Lake Herald-Republican (Salt Lake City, UT), September 14, 1913; October 15, 17, 20, 21, 26, and 28, and November 2, 1916.
Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), August 11, 1913; March 1, 1914; October 18, 1916; May 9, 1918.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Missionary Registers (Worldwide), 1860-1937," database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/ark:61903/1:1:QKDW-TC9G), November 27, 2019. Accessed on September 25, 2021.
United States Western Marriage Index, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZDH-1VH), October 19, 2018. Accessed on September 25, 2021.
U.S. Census, 1900, Marriott, Weber County, Utah.
U.S. Census, 1910, 1920, and 1930, Ogden, Weber County, Utah.
Women of the West, 1928 [database online]. Provo, Utah. Accessed through Ancestry.com on September 22, 2021. Original publication: Max Binheim, comp. and ed., Women of the West (Los Angeles, CA: Publishers Press, 1928).