The Suffrage Army Occupies Harford County

Maryland is invaded.  General Rosalie Jones and her army cross the state line.  source:  Baltimore Sun, February 21, 1913

Maryland is invaded. General Rosalie Jones and her army cross the state line. source: Baltimore Sun, February 21, 1913

Part I — Cecil County

After an overnight stay at their Army’s first Maryland headquarters, the Howard House in Elkton, the company of suffragettes broke up camp and headed for Harford County.  At Perryville they were met by the Bayside Brass Band and a large delegation of citizens from Havre de Grace escorted the hikers across the bridge, where they were “greeted by half the town.”  Completely “tired out and foot sore,” the troops “remarked that the worst piece of public road in the United States was between Perryville and Elkton,” the Havre de grace paper reported

But the tired army was closer to its objective, a show of strength and solidarity for the first massive national civil rights parade in the nation’s capital, so  spirits were high.

Before they could get a good night’s rest at the Harford House, the hikers were escorted to the Mayor’s office, where congratulations were exchanged and addresses made.  In the morning a big crowd accompanied the ladies for a distance as they hiked to Bel Air.

A few miles outside town, the general received a note from Scoutmaster A. B. Hollock of the Bel Air Troop saying:  “I warn you against continuing your march tomorrow.  Such action would work against your cause in Maryland, where you need all the good will you can win.  It would be a grave mistake, for Maryland people are Sabbath keeping people.  So I earnestly request you to rest tomorrow in Bel Air.”

The “Army of the Hudson” camped in the county seat that Saturday night (February 22), twenty-two miles straight out the pike from Baltimore.  Despite the scoutmaster’s warning that the fourth commandment was strictly observed, the Sabbath journey was taken as the troops marched on.

“Roosters were really the objection to spending a day of rest in Bel Air,” the Sun reported.  “At Havre de Grace and Elkton the hikers declared they were awakened at 5 o’clock by vigilant chanticleers [dominant roosters] crowing, “Votes for women, votes for women.”  Village curiosity was another contributing cause.

Thieves followed the pilgrims, collecting pocketbooks, overcoats, and suitcases, so the Harford County police were on alert.  In Havre de Grace, the chief recognized three pickpockets in the camp with whom he had trouble at the last racetrack meet.  He warned them away and telephoned Chief Jackson of Bel Air and Marshall Fernance of Baltimore to be on the lookout.

There were some curiosities on this leg of the mission.  “The old home of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth his brother drew much interest.  Of even more interest was Chief of Police John Jackson, 78, and for 23 years a Baltimore Deputy sheriff.”  He is a veteran of the Civil War and when Lincoln was shot Chief Jackson was sent out from Washington with a squad of 42 men to Booth’s home to search for him, the Baltimore sun reported.

The chief was on the fence concerning the suffrage question, but when challenged by the militant, Miss Freeman, his only definite position was this:  “if women folks do get the ballot,” they would need separate polling booths” because of Jim Crow laws, the Sun reported.  “Miss Freeman had not considered the southern point of view and decided to think it over before commenting, an unusual thing with suffragettes,” the Sun’s remarked.

A largely attended meeting was held at the Masonic Hall, while they were in town.  “Rev John L. Yellott presided.  His speeches were humorous and appreciated by both audience and suffragette speakers.”

Among the suffragists of Bel Air who greeted the pilgrims were Margaret Lake of Forest Hill, Mrs. Henry D. Harlan, wife of Judge Harlan, whom they met on the road; May Hanna, daughter of John B. Hanna, Mrs. A. F. Van Bibber, Mrs. J. Wilson Moore of Fallston an officer of the Harford County Just Government League, and Col.  and Mrs. Herman Stump of Waverly, Bel Air who have visited General Jones at her Long Island Home.

On  Sunday, the “Army of the Hudson” moved out, prepared to occupy Baltimore.

The first picture of the suffrage hikers on Maryland soil.  source:  Baltimore Sun, February 21, 1913

The first picture of the suffrage hikers on Maryland soil. source: Baltimore Sun, February 21, 1913

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