Yost, Jones, and Brown Led Fight for Suffrage in West Virginia

Lenna Lowe Yost rallied the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association to success in 1920

One hundred years ago, women won the right to vote.  

The activists who led West Virginia’s suffrage movement faced more than sexism. Despite political setbacks, personal tragedies, and bad roads, they persisted.

Here are just three of those mighty women: a lifelong champion for women’s rights and education, Marion County resident Lenna Lowe Yost attended and later received an honorary doctorate from West Virginia Wesleyan College. She was the mother of a toddler in 1905 when she joined the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. After a bitterly disappointing referendum on the women’s vote in 1916, she rallied the group to success four years later.

Harriet B. Jones, born five years before the Civil War, was West Virginia’s first licensed female doctor, practicing in Wheeling. Active in the state’s suffrage movement from its beginning in 1895, she also ran a hospital, fought for women’s place in higher education, worked for children’s welfare, and served in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Izetta Jewel Brown was an actress, Preston County dairy farmer, political candidate, and WPA administrator during the New Deal. She headed West Virginia’s chapter of the National Women’s Party. She lived to be ninety-five and, in her eighties, lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment.

This message is produced­­­­ by the Kanawha Valley chapter of the National Organization for Women with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council.