Tuesday was the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, with the State of Tennessee ratifying on Aug. 18, 1920, finally recognizing women’s right to vote.
Women in Texas were permitted to vote in party primaries 2 years before they could legally vote in general elections. State politics then being so far dominated by the Democratic Party, voting in the Democratic Primary was more important than voting in the general election.
There was, however, some question over whether it was necessary for women to register to vote before casting their primary ballots. It was recommended that women who wanted to vote in the primaries err on the side of caution and register beforehand to avoid any possible challenge on that ground.
The Vindicator of June 28, 1918 records that the first woman who registered to vote in Liberty County was Coushatta “Shattie” Emanuel.
“Four women, desiring to have the distinction of ‘being the first to register’ appeared at the collector’s office Wednesday morning and were duly recorded full-fledged primary election voters. Miss Shattie Emanuel was the first.”
Some of our readers might remember Shattie as Mrs. Dixon when she taught at Liberty ISD in the 1950s. Before then she taught at Fuqua and at Hull.
She was born in 1889 or 1890 to Cornelia Emanuel, the third of her four daughters, married Grover C. Dixon in 1922, and died in 1979. Her grave can be found in the Concord Community Cemetery.
Shattie Emanuel attended what is now called the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, but was then Baylor Female College, where she pursued their “Academic” course and matriculated in 1910. The college motto was “A Liberal Education With True Womanliness,” said its 1910 college catalogue. “Baylor College is a training school for girls and young women. It aims, by most approved methods, to cultivate the intellect, and at the same time to preserve and perfect the truest womanhood.”
Mrs. Dixon would later be remembered by her Liberty students as a strict, no nonsense classroom teacher. Her experience at Baylor was very likely a strict one. Its 1910 rule on “Visiting” begins, “As freedom from excitement and from the distractions of modern social life has been proven to be a pre-requisite to progress in school, all social visiting is discouraged. Pupils will not be permitted to receive callers or attentions of any kind from gentlemen even though it should meet with the approval of the parents and guardians.”
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