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A letter dated October 25, 1922, was sent to women from fellow women in Coosa County endorsing George B. McDonald for the office of probate judge, now that women had the right to vote. Letter submitted by J.T. McDonald
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
Ratified on August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed all American women the right to vote, and after a lengthy and difficult struggle to gain that right, many women did not waste time letting their voices be heard.
Rockford resident J.T. McDonald recently came across a letter to women in Coosa County from fellow women in Coosa County. The letter is dated October 25, 1922, only two years after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, and it endorses George B. McDonald for the office of probate judge.
That letter from 100 years ago was signed by Mrs. W.J. McAllister, Mrs. G.W. Miller, Mrs. F.L. Smith Sr., Mrs. F.L. Smith Jr., Mrs. J.R. Hardy, Mrs. T.O. Kimbrough, Mrs. T.L. Burks, Mrs. R.O. Snider, Mrs. G.H. Allen, Mrs. J.T. Fielding, Mrs. W.B. Prater, Mrs. Lida Crawford Pond, Mrs. Arthur L. Thompson, Mrs. A.D. Bentley, Mrs. E.L. Boyett, Mrs. W.F. Robinson, and Mrs. L.C. Ellis.
The letter gives a glowing recommendation for McDonald as probate judge, commending his character and his experience as sheriff of the county.
“I’m sure my grandfather, George B. McDonald, benefited from this endorsement by these and other ladies as he won his first of two terms as probate judge in 1922,” J.T. McDonald said. “Can you see something like this appearing in a newspaper for a candidate today? I can’t, because we know politics have certainly changed, as society has.”
The 100-year-old typewritten letter reads, “Dear Lady – Now that the women are voting, we are faced with a great responsibility and are charged with a most important public duty.
“We women want upright men in office, and it is our duty to ourselves, our children and our homes to cast our ballots for good men, who will conduct themselves and the affairs of the office to which they aspire, so as to build up our county, protect our homes and protect us.
“There is no more important office than that of Probate Judge. He largely controls the business policy of the county. If we have good roads it is largely through the initiative of the Probate Judge. He is the Judge of the county criminal court, and the enforcement of law largely depends on his judgments. That which more nearly concerns us is, that the Probate Judge is the guardian of the rights of widows and orphans.
“We know not when we will be left to the cold mercies of the world by reason of the passing away of our husbands. When this time comes, as it may come to any of us, it will be a comforting thought to us to know that we have in the office of Probate Judge a man who will protect our rights. We believe that Hon. Geo. B. McDonald is such a man. We have known him for many years; he has had a successful and serviceable career, both as a business man and a public officer.
“He is one of the best sheriffs this county has ever had. There is not a blot on his record. He is a member of the church. He loves and honors his wife and children and has a happy home.
“From a long acquaintance with Mr. McDonald we heartily commend him to our sisters, as a man who is in every way worthy of the votes of the good women of our county.
“We hope that you will cast your vote for Mr. McDonald, for you will never have cause to regret it.”
While the letter was written 100 years ago and women’s right to vote was still fairly new, voting remains as important today and a critical action to have such good people in office. With the general election being held on November 8, remember to be informed and make wise decisions as you visit the polls.