Visit our website by clicking on our logo!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Did You Know??

“The First woman to Vote In the State of Florida Was a Sneads Woman?”
By Sid Riley (Information Provided To Jackson County Times by Mrs. Betty Joyce Hand and Mrs. Pat Crisp)
Until the 19th amendment was passed in 1920, women in the United States could not vote. The first election held in the State of Florida after the passage of that amendment occurred the day after passage, August 26, 1920. In Sneads, the ballot in that election was for the positions of Mayor and Town Constable.
A woman named Fay Gibson Moulton Bridges was working as a clerk at the old Liddon Store in the middle of downtown Sneads, next to the railroad track and just up the street from the movie theater.
Fay had just reported to work when her boss told her it was going to be a very busy day, and if she wanted to vote she should go at once. This put her ahead of Mrs. Liddon who also was trying to get away from the store to vote.
So Fay Bridges went to the polling place which was nearby, and cast her vote. She was later surprised by invitations to come to the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee, and even to the White House in Washington, to take part in ceremonies recognizing her as the first woman to vote in Florida, and among the first in the nation. However, since she was a struggling widow and had seven children, she declined the invitations.
Fay Gibson was born in 1884 in Paw Creek, North Carolina. Her parents later moved to Donaldsonville, Georgia. They are buried in the Friendship Cemetery in Donaldsonville. She married Judson Moulton, and they had seven children. She was widowed sometime around 1918, and subsequently moved to Sneads, Florida where she went to work in the Liddon General Dry Goods Store.
She met William Charles Bridges who was also a widower, and had six children. On December 24, 1921, they married in Jackson County. They had one son, William Charles Bridges Jr., who was the grandfather of the woman who originally provided the information to Betty Joyce Hand and Pat Crisp. Her name is Melanie Bridges Barton, who lives in Bristol, Virginia.
The Bridges eventually moved to Miami where they owned and operated a small store and coffee shop on NW 27th Avenue. Her husband died in the early 1940’s, and Fay remained in Miami until she became too old to live alone. Finally, the stubbornly independent woman sold her property in the declining neighborhood of Miami where she lived, and bought another home near her daughters home. She died peacefully in 1974.
She lived her life as a hard working, fiercely independent woman who was always devoted to her family. However, her simple act of voting in a Sneads election will probably be the legacy for which she will be remembered.
A Story about Fay Bridges being the first woman voter in Florida was printed in the Miami Hearld in the 1980”s. This story is shown below:

No comments: