Frances D. Gage

From Ohio History Central
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Frances Dana Gage was an influential participant in the abolitionist, temperance and women's rights movements in Ohio in the years before the American Civil War. Frances Dana Gage (nee Barker) was born in Marietta, Ohio, on October 12, 1808. In the 1840s, she participated in the anti-slavery cause. She also became a vocal advocate of women's rights as well.

After the Seneca Falls Convention in New York in 1848, a number of Ohio women became interested in women's rights. Several women's conferences were held in Ohio in 1850 in the months leading up to the state constitutional convention. Gage presided over one of these meetings, which was held in McConnelsville. This conference, along with others, collected petitions asking the constitutional convention to give women the right to vote. When the Constitution of 1851 was ratified women's suffrage was not included.

In the early 1850s, Gage continued her involvement in the women's rights movement. She led another state convention in Akron on May 29, 1851. At this meeting, Gage and the other women found that some members of the local community did not approve of their goals. A number of men, including several ministers, came to the convention to heckle the speakers. It was at this conference that Sojourner Truth, a former slave, gave her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech. Gage also served as president of a national conference held in Cleveland in 1853.

In spite of her work, Gage did not see women gain significant ground in the years prior to the Civil War. After the war, when it became evident that women would not gain rights from the Fourteenth Amendment or the Fifteenth Amendment, women began to establish a number of national organizations to seek the right to vote.

Frances Dana Gage continued to be active in many different reform movements even after she was disabled with injuries from a carriage accident in 1867. The mother of eight children who lived to adulthood, Gage was also the author of several books and a large number of articles. She wrote children's stories and verses under the pen name of "Aunt Fanny." Frances Dana Gage died in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1884.

See Also


  1. DuBois, Ellen Carol. Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1869. N.p.: Cornell University Press, 1999.
  2. James, Edward T. Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. N.p.: Belknap Press, 1974.