Esther Hobart Morris
American judge
Esther Hobart Morris
Esther Hobart Morris, a Tioga County, New York native, distinguished herself as the first female Justice of the Peace in the United States. A mother of three boys, she began her tenure as justice in South Pass City, Wyoming, on February 14, 1870, and served a term of less than nine months. The Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners appointed Morris as justice of the peace after the previous justice, R.  S.
Biography
Esther Hobart Morris's personal information overview.
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Jewish Woman Harassed by Boss for Being Jewish, Eating Banana, Lawsuit Claims - Broward-Palm Beach New Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Esther Morris, director of human resources, wound up removing the reprimand from Ackerman's file -- suggesting that the complaint was bogus to begin with, Ackerman claims. Also, in November 2007, Griffin drafted a new policy for handling violent
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Snow spotted in central Wellington - Stuff.co.nz
Google News - over 5 years
Three-year-old Esther Morris from Te Marua enjoys the snow at Kaitoke. Snow closed the road near the Kaitoke Loop Rd. A truck drives along the Kaitoke Loop Rd. Snow on the hills behind Paraparaumu taken from The Drive
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Dog day afternoons - Boston Globe
Google News - over 5 years
“She was a great lady from Lawrence'' he said of the late Esther Morris, who ran a Greek diner. No matter their lineage, dogs are welcome at Todd Farm, which sits on 23 acres on Route 1A. Those who visit often know the vendors who put out bowls filled
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Alexia Friend, Harris Marks
NYTimes - over 6 years
Alexia Gabrielle Friend, a daughter of Wendy Kaplan Friend and David M. Friend of Woodmere, N.Y., is to be married Sunday evening to Harris Lee Marks, a son of Esther Morris of Great Neck, N.Y., and Richard Marks of Levittown, N.Y. Rabbi Yaacov A. Lerner is to officiate at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, N.J. The bride, 23, is keeping her
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Getting It All
NYTimes - over 11 years
I COULD DO THAT! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote. By Linda Arms White Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Melanie Kroupa Books/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Unpaged. $16. (Ages 5 and up) MAMA WENT TO JAIL FOR THE VOTE By Kathleen Karr. Illustrated by Malene Laugesen. Hyperion Books for Children. Unpaged. $15.99. (Ages 5 to 9) WRITING an engaging
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CHILDREN'S BOOKS; O Pioneers!
NYTimes - over 15 years
A VOICE FROM THE WILDERNESS The Story of Anna Howard Shaw. Written and illustrated by Don Brown. Unpaged. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. $16. (Ages 4 to 8) WHEN ESTHER MORRIS HEADED WEST Women, Wyoming, and the Right to Vote. By Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge. Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers. Unpaged. New York: Holiday House. $16.95. (Ages 4 to 8)
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WOMEN FIND BAR TO BENCH A FAR JOURNEY
NYTimes - over 34 years
When the National Association of Women Judges was created in 1979, its founders expressed the hope that one day the group would prove obsolete. Since then, the organization has in fact taken some steps toward extinction. Last year one of its charter members, Sandra Day O'Connor, joined the United States Supreme Court, which had already dropped the
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Esther Hobart Morris
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1902
    Age 87
    Esther Hobart Morris died in Cheyenne on April 3, 1902, at age 87 (or 90).
    More Details Hide Details She is interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Cheyenne, where a simple stone monument adorned only with her name marks her grave site. Since 1960, a statue of her sculpted by Avard Fairbanks has been one of Wyoming's two statutes in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol. Another statute stands at the Wyoming State Capitol.
  • 1889
    Age 74
    Other research leads to Morris' friend Melville C. Brown, who was president of the 1889 Constitutional Convention in Cheyenne, and claimed that Morris had presented the suffrage bill to the legislature.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequently, Morris' son Archibald also began referring to his mother in the Cheyenne Sun newspaper as the "Mother of Suffrage". The tea party story might have faded quietly were it not for H. G. Nickerson. Nickerson, who had discovered and opened the Bullion Mine in 1868, later served as territorial legislator. He wrote a letter to the Lander Wyoming State Journal, published February 14, 1919, in which he recounted the tea party and his attendance as a legislative candidate, some 50 years after the event had taken place. In a tip of the hat honoring Morris, Nickerson notes: "To Mrs. Esther Morris is due the credit and honor of advocating and originating woman's suffrage in the United States." Nickerson's story gained widespread prominence after his friend Wyoming historian Grace Raymond Hebard (1861–1936) published the account in a 1920 pamphlet entitled "How Woman Suffrage Came to Wyoming (1869)". The pamphlet eventually became so widely distributed that students throughout the state's public schools read the story memorializing Morris's suffrage feats. Hebard spent many years advancing the claim, promoting Morris as an instigator and co-author of Wyoming's suffrage legislation.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1871
    Age 56
    Perhaps it was case of cabin fever after being cooped up all season during a particularly bad winter of 1871–72 that spurred Morris to action.
    More Details Hide Details She left the camp and her husband. Morris traveled to Laramie where she briefly lived with her son Archibald. The former judge remained unsettled however. She moved to Albany, New York, then to Springfield, Illinois, where she spent her winters, according to Massie. Summers saw her returning to Wyoming, where she spent time with her sons. Morris' wandering ended in the 1880s when she returned to Cheyenne to live with her son Robert. Meanwhile, Morris had been but one of many in a long history of residents who saddled up and called it quits in South Pass City. Short-lived gold strikes in the 1880s, 1890s, and 1930s once again lured miners back to the mountains seeking their fortunes. For many years, Esther Hobart Morris has been celebrated as the "Mother of Woman Suffrage". Soon after its enactment, Morris was widely credited as the instigator and even co-author of the Wyoming Territory's groundbreaking 1869 legislation granting women the right to vote. The legislation had been written a year before she became a justice of the peace, by Civil War veteran, and South Pass City resident William H. Bright.
    Troubles continued to mount for the family. An 1871 fire struck the South Pass City newspaper office owned and operated by Esther Morris' son, Archibald Slack, forcing him and his wife Sarah to move to Laramie in Albany County.
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  • 1870
    Age 55
    Moreover, the territory's appointment of Morris as the first woman justice of the peace in the United States in 1870, and the first woman to hold judicial office in the modern world, drew widespread national attention.
    More Details Hide Details Morris' involvement in women's causes also continued after she left the gold mines and South Pass City:
    She held her justice of the peace post until the term that she had been appointed to fill expired on December 6, 1870.
    More Details Hide Details Morris sought reelection but failed to muster a nomination from either the Republican or Democratic Party. Morris' historic judgeship garnered favorable review upon the completion of her term in the South Pass News, as her son Archy was the editor. However, the historical record reveals little fanfare in the remainder of Wyoming's press. The Wyoming Tribune, published in Cheyenne, did note the comments of Territorial Secretary Lee: "the people of Sweetwater County had not the good sense and judgment to nominate and elect her for the ensuing term." Esther Morris, as a working mother, held court over a camp of miners, gamblers, speculators, business owners, prostitutes, and rounders. Men outnumbered women 4 to 1 in her mountain community. The challenges in the court dealing with a rough constituency were compounded by her husband, John, who had a reputation as "a brawler, an idler, and a drunk." Morris had him arrested after her term in office was over for assault and battery, according to the American Heritage Magazine.
    Morris began her tenure as justice in South Pass City in 1870 by arresting Stillman, who refused to hand over his court docket.
    More Details Hide Details Ultimately, Morris dismissed her own case with a ruling that she as an interested party did not have the authority to arrest Stillman, according to author Lynne Cheney. Morris began anew with her own docket, holding court sitting on a wood slab in the living room of her log cabin. Cheney notes: "When the lawyers who appeared in her court tried to embarrass her with legal terms and technicalities, she admitted her lack of training but was quick to let them know just whose court they were in. One of the lawyers who practiced before her recalled that 'to pettifoggers she showed no mercy.'" Morris looked to her sons for support in the courtroom. She appointed Archibald as district clerk and Robert as a part-time deputy clerk with the tasks of keeping court records and drawing up arrest warrants. Her husband John's support was not so forthcoming. John actively opposed his wife's appointment and reportedly made such a scene in her court that Esther had him jailed.
  • 1869
    Age 54
    Morris' momentous appointment followed the resignation of Justice R. S. Barr, who quit in protest of the territorial legislature's passage of the women's suffrage amendment in December 1869.
    More Details Hide Details However, according to author Lynne Cheney writing in American Heritage, the county board appointed Morris to complete the term of Judge J. W. Stillman.
    Subsequently, the county clerk telegraphed a press release announcing the historic event of the first woman justice of the peace. The Wyoming Territory's enfranchisement of women to vote in 1869 made Morris' unprecedented appointment possible.
    More Details Hide Details The clerk's telegraph to the world in part read: "Wyoming, the youngest and one of the richest Territories in the United States, gave equal rights to women in actions as well as words."
    In 1869, Morris and her two eighteen-year-old twin sons, Robert and Edward, ventured west to rejoin the rest of their family.
    More Details Hide Details They first traveled by train to a waystation on the newly completed transcontinental railroad at Point of Rocks, 25 miles east of present-day Rock Springs, Wyoming. From there, Morris and her boys continued north by stagecoach. They crossed the Sand Dunes before ascending a gradual mountain pass to Mining District. The dry, rocky landscape that confronted fifty-five-year-old Morris as she stepped off the stage at South Pass City appeared startlingly different from the fertile landscape she had known in Illinois and New York. Instead, her new home at in elevation meant scratching out a living in a barren gulch at the mouth of canyon near the Continental Divide. The Morrises settled into a 24-foot by 26-foot (7 × 9 m) log cabin with a sod roof that Esther's oldest son had purchased. Winters were brutal. South Pass area residents, whose population swelled to as many as 4,000 residents, according to one estimate, either left the camp for the winter or faced extreme isolation during the long winters. Those who stayed on the mountain passed the battled sub-zero temperatures, high winds, and deep snow which might not retreat until June. Both John Morris and Archy purchased interest in mining properties soon after their arrival, including the Mountain Jack, Grand Turk, Golden State, and Nellie Morgan lodes, according to historian Michael A. Massie.
    The Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners appointed Morris as justice of the peace after the previous justice, R. S. Barr, resigned in protest of Wyoming Territory's passage of the women's suffrage amendment in December 1869.
    More Details Hide Details Popular stories and historical accounts, buttressed by state and federal public monuments, point to Morris as a leader in the passage of Wyoming's suffrage amendment. However, Morris' leadership role in the legislation is disputed. It is clear, however, that she had strongly encouraged and influenced South Pass City saloon owner William H. Bright, then a representative to the Wyoming Territorial Constitutional Convention, to introduce in 1869 a women's suffrage clause into the territorial constitution. When the constitution was approved by territorial Governor John A. Campbell in December 1869, Wyoming became the first jurisdiction in the United States to grant women the right to vote, a right which was not granted women nationally until 1920. Esther Hobart was born in Tioga County, New York, on August 8, 1814. Orphaned at an early age, she apprenticed to a seamstress and ran a successful millinery business out of her grandparents' home, "making hats, and buying and selling goods for women". Moreover, Hobart agitated as a young woman against slavery, reportedly during one incident countering efforts of slavery advocates who threatened to destroy a church that supported abolition.
  • 1868
    Age 53
    In the spring of 1868 her husband, along with Esther's son from her previous marriage, Archibald "Archy" Slack, moved to a gold rush community at South Pass City, Wyoming Territory, to open a saloon.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1850
    Age 35
    Thereafter she moved to Peru, Illinois, where in 1850 she married a local merchant, John Morris.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1841
    Age 26
    Eight years into her millinery business, Hobart married Artemus Slack in 1841.
    More Details Hide Details Three years later, just short of her 30th birthday, her husband died. Morris subsequently moved to Illinois, where her late husband, a civil engineer, had acquired property. She encountered legal roadblocks, however, in settling her husband's affairs because women were not allowed to own or inherit property.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1814
    Born
    Born in 1814.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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