Susanna Madora Salter

Susanna Madora Salter
In 1887 Susanna Salter, a 27-year old temperance activist, became the first woman in the United States to be elected to the position of mayor. The town was Argonia, Kansas, a small Quaker village with a population of less than five hundred that had only incorporated in 1885. She was nominated, without notification, by men intent upon embarrassing and defeating temperance. Local Republicans uncovered the plan early on election day. They asked if she would serve, if elected. Salter agreed and with the support of Republicans and Prohibitionists, she was elected with a two-thirds majority. She became famous in the United States and abroad for this "first," but did not desire a life in politics and, after serving the mandated one-year term, did not seek re-election. Salter attended Kansas Agricultural College before marrying Lewis A. Salter, son of former lieutenant-governor Melville J. Salter. Salter's father had served as Argonia's mayor and her husband had been selected as town clerk. The family was respected and Salter knew a great deal about politics. She had four children and was pregnant at the time of her election. Even opponents of woman suffrage were won over, however, by her reputation and her commitment to temperance. In October of 1887, Salter attended the annual conference of the Kansas woman suffrage organization, held that year in Newton, Kansas.
Biography
In 1887 Susanna Salter, a 27-year old temperance activist, became the first woman in the United States to be elected to the position of mayor. The town was Argonia, Kansas, a small Quaker village with a population of less than five hundred that had only incorporated in 1885. She was nominated, without notification, by men intent upon embarrassing and defeating temperance. Local Republicans uncovered the plan early on election day. They asked if she would serve, if elected. Salter agreed and with the support of Republicans and Prohibitionists, she was elected with a two-thirds majority. She became famous in the United States and abroad for this "first," but did not desire a life in politics and, after serving the mandated one-year term, did not seek re-election. Salter attended Kansas Agricultural College before marrying Lewis A. Salter, son of former lieutenant-governor Melville J. Salter. Salter's father had served as Argonia's mayor and her husband had been selected as town clerk. The family was respected and Salter knew a great deal about politics. She had four children and was pregnant at the time of her election. Even opponents of woman suffrage were won over, however, by her reputation and her commitment to temperance. In October of 1887, Salter attended the annual conference of the Kansas woman suffrage organization, held that year in Newton, Kansas.
Birth Date
1860
Death Date
1961
State
Kansas
Social Reform Affiliation
Temperance
Marital Status
Married
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