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Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall


Mary Jane Coggeshall is my great grandmother. She was 34 years old when she came to Des Moines in 1865 from Indiana in a covered wagon with her husband John Milton Coggeshall and their three children. Mr., apartner in a successful pottery business, was to acquire substantial real estate in the city. His wife, a Quaker, who associated with the Unitarian Church after coming to Des Moines, was a dedicated woman's rights advocate from the time of her girlhood in Indiana when she was influenced by the writings of Hannah Tracy Cutler and Frances Dana Gage in the "Ohio Cultivator". A modest gentle woman who came to be noted for her brilliant repartee and sharp wit, Mrs. Coggeshall gave steadfast devotion to the woman-suffrage cause from the date of the organization of the Polk County society in 1870 to the time of her death in 1908.

 Mrs Coggeshall never forgot her lonely days during her first years in Des Moines when "a few women unknown to each other walked their daily rounds of domestic duties with the thought in the mind of each that 'I alone of all women in this young city believe in the equality of women with men.'" These women first became known to each other Mrs. Coggeshall said when the "active educated and many-sided" Annie Savery invited Mrs. Bloomer and Mrs. Cutler to Des Moines following the Mount Pleasant convention in June.

Mrs. Coggeshall was the 19th & 20th president of the Iowa Women Suffragist Society in 1890-91 and also the 31st 32nd & 33rd in 1902 1903 & 1904. --From Louise R. Noun's "Strong-Minded Women"


Honored by: Cynde C. Fanter

Brick Location

Section: F Row: 21