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Lucy A. Clark - Davis County Sister Suffragette

Article Published 10/03/2020

“As election day approaches and the responsibility of exercising the very important duty of casting a ballot before the principles we admire is before us, we, the women of Utah, should seriously consider the obligations resting upon us, and as a part of this great commonwealth should weigh the situation in a correct balance before doing so… Let the vessel of opposition which was sunk in the constitutional convention remain where it is until the banner of equal suffrage is raised over it.”  --Lucy A. Clark, November 6, 1898; The Salt Lake Tribune

Born in Farmington in 1850, Lucy A. Clark devoted her life to furthering public affairs for both the Church and state. Her passion for advancing the interest of the people began at the young age of eight when she began to assist her mother teaching at the community school. She took over her own classes at age sixteen, which she continued until her marriage. After the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 repealed women’s right to vote in the Utah Territory, groups began to form all over the state in support of Women’s Suffrage.

In 1891, a group of women actively involved in social, civic, political, and religious endeavors met at the offices of the Women Exponent, a newspaper based out of Salt Lake, to organize the Utah Women’s Press Club. It was formed on behalf of “women engaged in active journalistic or newspaper work in the Utah Territory.” Lucy, though not an officer of the Press Club, was one of the eight original founders and assisted in writing the Club’s by-laws. Lucy served as president of the Farmington City Woman Suffrage Association,  the Davis County Woman Suffrage Association, and the Davis County Ladies’ Columbian Club, and the vice president of the Utah Woman Suffrage Association and the Utah Columbian Exposition. The members used the movement to prepare themselves for future elections they could vote in: history lessons, lectures on civics, and current United States issues flooded the meetings. In 1893, Lucy purchased a parlor set that was upholstered in brocaded Utah silk which she took to the Chicago World’s Fair. Here, she spent two weeks sitting at the Utah Women’s Exhibit booth informing visitors about Utah and Women’s Suffrage. As of January 1, 1894, Utah Suffrage held second place in the nation, New York being the only state that had an association with a greater number of membership.

Since the admission of Utah to Statehood, Lucy was involved in various political affairs, both serving as a political manager and running for office herself. On September 28, 1896, the Republican delegates from the Third Senatorial district met in Layton where Lucy was nominated unanimously to run against the democratic appointment. The government in Washington appointed her to postmistress of Farmington after a lost election, a position which she held for seven years. At the 1908 Republican National Convention, Lucy had the chance to become a delegate after one of the regular delegates was unable to make it. This made her the first woman to vote in a national convention. While on the floor she stated “Woman suffrage is getting past the stage of being a joke. The jocular attitude with the movement used to be treated is now giving way to a more respectful attention. Many persons who treated our cause indifferently in the past now are willing to discuss the enfranchisement of women.” Lucy’s assessment of women’s suffrage was correct. At the end of her life, she was able to witness the adoption of the 19th amendment in 1920, guaranteeing women the right to vote. Her dedication to civic, social, and political duties continued until her death in 1928.