Ellen Martin's Historic Vote
Lombard resident and Chicago attorney Ellen Martin made regional news in 1891 when she used her wit and courage to cast a ballot in a local election.
She demanded the right to vote, basing her legal claim on the fact that the town charter enfranchised all citizens, with no mention of gender. After Martin voted, another fourteen women followed her to the poll.
The polling judges were completely stunned by Martin. "Mr. Marquardt was taken with a spasm, Reber leaned stiff against the wall, and Vance fell backward into the flour barrel." However, the victory was short-lived when the men reorganized the town charter in line with the state charter so that women were only allowed to vote in school elections.
In Illinois, the right to vote was given in 1913. Ellen Martin returned to her native New York and died in 1916, four years before the 19th amendment was passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote in all elections.