in 52 Weeks
Since regular voting is typical among members of my immediate family, I have imagined most my ancestors being regular voters, too. However, there are rarely historical records of a person voting or being registered to vote that could provide proof. I have previously written about discovering news reports of my great-grandfather going to the polls to vote.  But, recently my mother provided a story about my great-grandmother voting for her first time in 1920. I found the story amusing, but I doubt if her experience was unique.
Ella Anne Rumple King
My great-grandmother, Ella Anne Rumple King (1869-1962), lived in northeastern Allen County, Indiana in the fall of 1920.  The U.S. Presidential election of 1920 was the first general election in which women had the right to vote. My great-grandmother turned 51 on October 8th in 1920 and voted for the first time less than 3 weeks later.
The story my great-grandmother told my mother about voting in 1920, and then told to me by my mother, is as follows:
“As I left to go to the poll to vote, your grandfather gave me a slip of paper with the names of the men for whom I should vote. I placed the paper in my left pocket. But, in my right pocket was a slip of paper with the names of those I intended to vote for.”
I imagine many husbands tried to influence how their wives voted in 1920, and probably other years. It’s possible my great-grandmother voted for all, some or none of the men her husband, my great- grandfather, endorsed, but my great-grandmother kept her own council.
Some years are more memorable than others. Voting was not the only major event that marked 1920 for my great-grandmother. Her husband, Homer King (1864-1932) had left home without a word for more than eight months. Ella was left to sow and harvest a crop on their rented farm with just the help of one adult son. Another son was ill, another just 12 years old and a teenage daughter completed the family responsibilities my great-grandmother faced on her own in 1920. I previously wrote about my great-grandmother for the post “Strong Woman” in June 2020. 
The King family gathered for Ella Rumple King’s 51st birthday on 8 October 1920. Homer King had recently returned after being absent for 8 months. Sons: Ray had married in July, Charles worked in Detroit, Oscar had married in March and Warren is 12 years old, Lee was sick with TB and is not in this photo. Daughters: Elsie is married with 2 children and Edith is just shy of 17 years old.
David Louis Osborne
It’s worth repeating here the two newspaper items I found about my great-grandfather going to the polls to vote. [4, 5] My great-grandfather, David Louis Osborne, 1847-1942, was a Civil War veteran and very active in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). One of the newspaper items is from 1932, I am fairly certain he cast his presidential vote for Herbert Hoover that year. In addition to these news items about voting, I have one about my great-grandfather meeting Herbert Hoover at a veteran’s event in 1931.
We rarely get a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of our ancestors, those who lived before we were born. Vital records, newspaper articles and photographs only go so far. It’s the family stories that are shared across generations that give life to those who came before us. Collect those stories while you can, and go vote!
- Blog post, Family Finds: In The Paper; https://barblafara.com/in-the-paper/
- Entry for Ella King, U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Saint Joseph, Allen, Indiana; Roll: T625_422; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 23
- Blog post, Family Finds: Strong Woman; https://barblafara.com/strong-woman/
- Newspaper article: “Man, 86, Faints…”, The Indianapolis Star, Indiana; 9 November 1932, page 17, column 6, on the fold.
- Newspaper article: “One Of Oldest”, The Indianapolis Star, Indiana; 9 May 1934, page 15, column 4, top of page..
Submit a Comment
Frank Takeo Flucawa
Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.
David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.
Do You See A Resemblance?
While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.
Probate of Jesse King 1868
Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.
Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary
A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.
Sarah Smith: Challenge
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846
Laferre to LaFara: Unusual Name
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.
Luella Pressell: Surprise!
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.
Rumple Family Photo 1895
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.
Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.
George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.
In The Paper
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.
Genealogy Brick Walls
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.
Catherine Landon: Out of Place
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.
Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.
William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo
I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.
So Far Away
My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away
I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!
I had to smile at the story of your great-grandmother voting and her husband telling her who to vote for. My father continually told my mother who she should vote for each time they went to the polls. His reasoning was that if she voted the opposite of him they would just wipe out each other’s votes. She would agree with him but then would vote as she pleased.
Love it! I think we’ve had that conversation around here once or twice… Thanks for reading!
Thanks for sharing. I couldn’t think on the theme vote.