ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – On election day, many voters made a pilgrimage to Susan B. Anthony’s grave site in Rochester, NY, in honor of the pioneering women’s suffragist. But her’s wasn’t the only grave visited. In St. Louis, voters made their way to Bellefontaine Cemetery and the grave of Virginia Minor.
Virginia Minor was an officer in the National Woman Suffrage Association when they decided to challenge United States voting restrictions that excluded women. On October 15, 1872, Virginia Minor tried to register to vote for the upcoming presidential election but was refused by St. Louis’ sixth district registrar, Reese Happersett, because she was female. Virginia and her husband, Francis Minor, a lawyer, filed a civil lawsuit. Minor contended that women were U.S. citizens under the 14th amendment to the Constitution. The case was later heard in room 212 of the Old Courthouse. The Minors lost their case, but appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Minor’s action was part of a nation-wide effort where hundreds of women attempted to vote. Susan B. Anthony was successful in casting her vote for Ulysses S. Grant, but was arrested three weeks later on the charge of voting fraud.