Southern Utah News Articles
Kanab celebrates 100 Year Anniversary of nation's first all-woman city council
Kanab made history in 1912, when its newly-elected mayor and city council took the oath of office making it the first time in the history of the United States where the town board and mayor were entirely comprised of women. 2012 marks the 100-year anniversary of this tremendous feat and Kanab is honoring and paying tribute to the women throughout the year.
On Tuesday, at the January 10 Kanab City Council meeting, a special guest appearance was made by the 1912 council including Mary Woolley Chamberlain (Mayor), Luella Maude Atkin McAllister, Vinnie Farnsworth Jepson, Tamar Stewart Hamblin, Sarah Blanche Robinson Hamblin and Ada Pratt Segmiller. (Note: Vinnie resigned after she was elected, and was replaced by Ada).
“We have a tremendous history in Kanab and we are happy to honor this national groundbreaking accomplishment,“ said current Kanab City Mayor Nina Laycook. Laycook went on to say, “The council was ahead of their time and we are pleased to honor the ladies with reenactments of the original council starting with the first city council meeting of the year. We invite the community to join us in paying tribute with several planned events in 2012, including a visit to the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake on January 27, on Rural Utah Day at the Legislature.”
Many of their city policy and management decisions are still in place today and during their tenure, they were highly active and effective, causing some constituents to declare the ladies did more for Kanab than all the preceding boards combined. The town cemetery was surveyed and plotted during their administration and they established the first animal control ordinances and regulations. The women implemented the licensing of dogs and arranged for the building of bridges and dikes to protect the town from storm water.
The Kanab council broke a trend with Woman Suffrage in the United States that was finally achieved gradually at state levels, culminating in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution providing “The right of citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or by any state on account of sex.”