GREENVILLE — Approximately 50 women walked Saturday morning during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ohio ratifying the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Dressed in period garb, some carrying umbrellas and others bearing signs, the group gathered on the lawn in front of the Darke County Commissioners office prior to the march.
The event, sponsored by the Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the League of Women Voters of Darke County, was emceed by Darke County’s own Jim Buchy, former member of the Ohio House of Representatives.
“This is for the leaders who made a commitment 100 years ago to give women the right to vote,” he said. “Their work paid off.”
He introduced the guest speaker for the dedication, Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio since May 1, 2018.
“Jen is from Shelby, Ohio,” Buchy said. “She has been in public service a long time. She has a diversified background.”
“I am the granddaughter of George Overmeyer, Revolutionary War hero,” Miller told the crowd. “I have always been passionate about voting. Our vision at the League is that we use this 100th anniversary to inspire young people, especially young women. It was a 72-year struggle to get the right to vote.”
Also taking part in the dedication portion of the celebration were Darke County Municipal Court Judge Julie Monnin, who gave the invocation, and Karen Burkett of the DAR, who said the benediction.
Following the dedication, an old-fashioned women’s suffrage march took place in the street, and via a police escort, they paraded up Broadway and headed down East Third Street to the St. Clair Manor, where light refreshments were provided for participants outside by the fountain.
A tea party followed at the St. Clair Manor, with proceeds raised from the sale of $10 handmade ribbon buttons to go toward Fort GreeneVille Chapter’s local scholarship for high school female students through the Darke County Foundation. Recipients of the scholarship are to be given to Darke County high school female graduates who meet the DAR standards.
At that destination, Miller spoke some more to Darke County Media.
“I love that we get to work with women and men all over Ohio to promote voting,” she said.
Before getting involved with the League of Women Voters of Ohio, she worked 15 to 20 years in public service for the city of Columbus and on environmental issues.
“I realized the people of Ohio needed an organization like the League, which provides non-partisan information on voting,” Miller said. “There is a big diverse set of women with a vision of empowering citizens and becoming informed voters.”
“This was a 100th anniversary celebration and not a political or women’s issue event,” Nisonger said. “Historically, we shouldn’t forget what suffrage is about because it still plays a part in life. This event was to honor our history and celebrate women’s right to vote.”
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage. On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Senate passed the 19th Amendment by two votes over its two-thirds required majority, 56-25. The amendment was then sent to the states for ratification. Within days, Ohio followed on June 16, 1919. By August 1920, 36 states (including Ohio) approved the proposal and it became law. The 19th Amendment made women’s suffrage legal all across the country. “Plan to attend and invite all your family and friends,” the committee urges. “For more information including ribbon buttons, contact any of the committee members.”
“We’re happy with the turnout, and that we missed all the rain,” concluded Nisonger, who is regent of the DAR.
Serving on the committee for this event with her were Chris Nehring and Sherri Jones, both of the DAR; Holly Finnarn, League of Women Voters of Darke County; and Greenville Mayor Steve Willman.