Fanny Smith Crenshaw was born in 1841 in Tennessee, but by the late 1850s her family had moved to Springfield, Missouri. In 1867, she married Lewis Allen Dicken Crenshaw, a widower with five children. They had six children together before Lewis died in 1884.
In 1913, Fanny told a reporter with the Springfield Republican that she had been a proponent of women suffrage “since she was a little child.” She had met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and, like Anthony, had once attempted to vote even though it was illegal. Unlike Anthony, who was arrested, Fanny Crenshaw was turned away without incident.
Seventy-two-years old at the time of the interview, Fanny said, “I hope I won’t have the fate of Susan B. Anthony…to work and dream and think about the new day, and then to die before it comes.” Sadly, Fanny died in January 1919, just a few months before Congress passed the 19th amendment.
***Women of the Ozarks will be the focus of my next book. Fanny Crenshaw is one of the fascinating women who will be included. Stay tuned!