In 1887, She Became The First Woman Ever Elected Mayor– But How She Even Came To Run For Office Is An Entirely Different Story

On April 4, 1887, Susanna M. Salter became the first woman mayor ever to be elected in the United States.

But, exactly why Susanna came to preside over the city of Argonia, Kansas, is a lesser-known tale of how prejudiced societal norms backfired on male politicians.

Susanna was born on March 2, 1860, in Belmont County, Ohio, before she and her family later settled on an eighty-acre farm in Kansas.

There, Susanna attended the Kansas State Agricultural College in 1878 but unfortunately had to leave early due to illness.

Nonetheless, it was around this same time that she met Lewis Allison Salter– the son of former Lieutenant Governor Melville J. Salter. The pair quickly fell in love and got married in September of 1880.

And Susanna and Lewis were very eager to start their life together following marriage. So, they decided to move to Argonia, Kansas, where Lewis managed a hardware store before beginning to study law.

Meanwhile, Susanna welcomed two children into the world.

Then, in 1885, the city of Argonia was officially incorporated. That same year, Susanna’s parents, Oliver and Terissa Kinsey. also moved to town to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren.

Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; pictured above is Susanna

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