The first woman elected

Oz is not political. Not because he doesn’t have a point of view. It is just that Oz knows that everyone has their mind made up about things and even if they don’t they want to figure things out on their own. Will Rogers, our neighbor from Oklahoma, said this, “There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again.”

One might as well hang on to their own ‘two cents’ and save it for the beer.

Still, it is a remarkable day for American politics. Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated by the Democratic Party as the first female candidate from a major party for president of the United States.

The Brits will point out that they did it before us. They even had a queen or two. So too, the Germans did it, the Indians did it and Pakistanis did it. Even the Russians did it with Catherine and she was Great. And the Hawaiians did it with grace and style.

And all of these female leaders seem to have been quite good. Now to wait and see if we do it.


Susanna “Dora” Salter

That got Oz thinking about Susanna Madora Salter of Argonia, Kansas.  She was ‘Dora’ to  family and friends and she lived to be one hundred and one (1860 – 1961). She was the first woman elected mayor and the first woman elected to a political office in the United States. It was international news in 1887 when it happened, and it wouldn’t have happened had the foolish men of Argonia not intended it as a prank.

Dora was head of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Argonia. Tired of drunken men coming home to their wives and families, she tried to put a little common sense into effect. Twenty-seven year old Dora, wife and mother, and the wise women of Argonia drew up a list of sober candidates for office. It was a short list. When the guys in the back room heard this, they decided to pull a quick one and substituted Susanna as a candidate for mayor. There were 98 votes cast of whom 20 were women. Dora got 78 votes. The twenty drunken men who put Dora up, promptly retired to the back room to drink and commiserate.

Read about it.

She acted as mayor for a year. The year was uneventful except for the flurry of national and international reporters who came to interview the first female political figure in the United States. Dora acted in a dignified manner and showed up the doubters and naysayers. When the year was over she went back to being a mother.

Kansas hasn’t forgotten her accomplishment. Her home at the corner of Garfield and Osage Streets in Argonia is listed on the historic register.

Read more about it.


Directions to Argonia via Mapquest and Garfield and Osage Streets.


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