Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 2, 2009

TC's early women leaders


Mrs. B.D. Ashton, born Margaret P. Lackey, wife of Dr. Benjamin D. Ashton, a medical doctor and surgeon hired by lumber baron Perry Hannah in 1862.

Clymene Bates, 1830-1872 wife of Grand Traverse Herald publisher Morgan Bates. Founder with seven other women in 1869 of the Ladies Library Association.

Martha E. Cram Bates, 1839-1905, associate editor in charge of the Herald's new Home and Children's department, a charter member of the Ladies Library Association, Traverse City Woman's Club and Michigan Women's Press Association. Husband Thomas T. Bates, was third owner of the paper from 1876-1912.

Mrs. Hatch was Almira Hatch, wife of Congregationalist minister Reuben Hatch Sr., first president of Olivet College and Benzonia's first minister. He served as Traverse City's First Congregationalist Church 1866-1872.

Mary Knizek, about 1850-1901, a Bohemian immigrant who came to Traverse City in 1861 with her parents. Her father was the village's first boot/shoemaker. A writer and poet, she married Charles Buck, a general store owner/entrepreneur, member of school board and public works board.

Mrs. Cary Hull, was Lola Peckham Hull, originally of Mancelona who in 1891 married Cary Hull, son of Henry Hull, founder of the Oval Wood Dish Co, a leading Traverse City employer from 1892-1917.

Mina Leach, was the daughter of DeWitt C. Leach, a former Mackinac Indian agent and former congressman who was the second owner of the Grand Traverse Herald from 1867-1876.

Mrs. William Love, 1867-1948, or Agnes Love, was a teacher, local school board member for nine years, a Traverse City Woman's Club member and president of the Grand Traverse Equal Suffrage Association. She founded and was chairwoman of the county's Junior Red Cross for a half-century, and charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary to the Bowen-Holliday Post.

Her husband was William Love, and longtime city Light & Power superintendent.

Mrs. J.W. Milliken, born Callie Thacker in 1878, a recognized artist whose ceramic art earned a first prize in an international exhibit in New York; wife of merchant J.W. Milliken.

Mrs. J. T. Milliken was Hildegarde Milliken, daughter of Charles and Helen (Blackwood) Grawn. Her father was Traverse City school superintendent from 1884-1899 and later president of what is today Central Michigan College. She was the city's first elected woman school board member.

Ada K. Sprague Pratt, 1843-1924, first woman in Traverse City to start a business -- a millinery shop -- in 1861; sister of Traverse Bay Eagle/Daily Eagle publisher Elvin Sprague. Her husband, Edwin S. Pratt, was a lawyer, county prosecutor and circuit court commissioner.

Mrs. M.A.S. Roberts, or Mary A. Stevens Roberts, an Oberlin College graduate who originally settled in Benzonia with husband Lorin, a teacher and later a public school superintendent in Traverse City, lawyer, prosecutor, judge and investor in a flooring company and brick yard.

Mrs. Dr. Augusta Rosenthal-Thompson, born in 1859, graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1884 and had a practice in Traverse City 1886-1911; Son Isaac Jr. died of diphtheria in 1896 at age 6. She returned to medical schools in New York and Europe to study diphtheria and came back with new skills and life-saving equipment.

Sources: "Grand Traverse Legends Vols. 1-3," Robert E. Wilson; "Glimpses of Grand Traverse Past," and "Who We Were, What We Did," Richard Fidler; "Grand Traverse Herald," "Grand Traverse Region," H.R. Page & Co."''