Have you ever heard of Lydia Taft? She was the first recorded woman to ever vote in colonial America.
Lydia was born in 1712 in Massachusetts. Lydia was one of nine children in her family, and her father was Seth Chapin, a well-known and respected man in their community.
When Lydia was 19-years-old, she married Josiah Taft, and they settled in Uxbridge. They had eight children together.
Josiah was a prominent member of Uxbridge, as he was a wealthy landowner, farmer, and Massachusetts legislator.
He was a member of the town’s select board for several years and a town clerk and moderator. At one point, he was the largest taxpayer in the town.
Tragically, in 1756, Josiah fell ill and died. Then, Lydia inherited his large estate. Josiah died right before the town was supposed to vote on the town’s support for the French and Indian War.
At the time, women were not allowed to vote. However, Lydia and Josiah’s eldest son at the time was not old enough to take over his father’s role and estate. Therefore, under extremely rare circumstances, Lydia was allowed to take her husband’s place and vote.
So, on October 30th, 1756, when she was 44-years-old, Lydia voted in favor of appropriating funds for the war, making her the first woman in recorded history to vote in colonial America.
Women would not be legally given the right to vote in America until 164 years later after the Women’s Suffrage Movement pushed toward the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
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