BERRY, Mrs. Martia L. Davis

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Dublin Core


Political reformer Martia L. Davis Berry was born in Portland, Michigan on January 22, 1844.  She became a teacher in the Portland Public Schools at age seventeen.  

Martia married John S. Berry, a Civil War veteran, in 1865.  She and John had one child, and the family moved to Glen Elder, Kansas in 1871, and then to Cawker City, Kansas in 1872.  There, Martia was a businesswoman for twelve years, working in millinery and general merchandise.  

Very active in Cawker City's Methodist Episcopal Church, Martia served as superintendent of the Sunday School for eight years.  In addition, she was founder of the area's Woman's Foreign Missionary Society.  

According to her obituary, John moved to another state, and Martia's record on notes that Martia and John divorced in 1882. 

Showing her leadership once again, Martia founded the Woman's Club in Cawker City in 1883.  Dedicated to founding a library in her town, she also founded the Woman's Hesperian Library Club.  Martia also gave her time to the State Industrial School for Girls in Belot, Kansas.

Devoted to equal rights for women, Martia was Treasurer of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, where her colleagues included Annie LePorte DiggsAnna Churchill Wait, and Rachel Foster Avery.  On October 28, 1885, she presented a paper, "Womanhood and its Teachings," at the annual convention of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association.  The next week, The Saline County Journal noted that her paper "was well received and merited the encomiums bestowed on it."  In 1887, she played an active part in the successful effort for woman suffrage in  Kansas for "city and school officers and on bonds for school appropriations" (History of Woman Suffrage, v. 4, 650-651).

Martia also was a member of the American Woman Suffrage Association, speaking at the 1886 convention in Topeka, Kansas, and later the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

In addition, Martia was President of the Kansas Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

She passed away on January 13, 1894, shortly before what would have been her fiftieth birthday.  Martia was buried in Prairie Grove Cemetery in Cawker City.

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This Item knows Item: WAIT, Mrs. Anna C.
This Item knows Item: DIGGS, Mrs. Annie Le Porte