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Meet “Militant” Mary Osmond, First Woman to Vote in Clarke County

The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, is something to celebrate, which is why in its 100-anniversary year, Chamber-Main Street chose “Women’s Suffrage Salute,” as the Fourth of July theme. For Clarke County, it is fitting to pay tribute to the woman who, among other notable accomplishments, cast the first vote: Mary Osmond.

Miss Osmond contributed much to local causes. Although born in Philadelphia, when she was quite young her family moved West to Farmington, Iowa, then resettled in Clarke County on a farm near Hopeville. In the 1951 news article, the headline was “Militant Editor was Colorful Figure in Osceola Affairs in [18] ‘90’s.” Mary Osmond led a non-conformist lifestyle for that time.

Although Mary lived the hard-working life of the frontier, she had access to books, magazines, and newspapers. As an avid reader, she was largely self-educated until she moved from home to attend Southwestern Normal School in Lebanon, Ohio. Her first teaching job was in the Clarke Country Schools, then in Osceola and Murray. Recognized as a successful teacher, she was elected on the Republican ticket to be Clarke County Superintendent, where she ended her career in education after serving four years.

During her teaching years, Mary wrote occasional pieces for the local paper and other periodicals. After retiring from education, she put that background to good work as an editor and publisher. Associate Editor at the Osceola Sentinel was her first job, then she became sole owner and editor of the Osceola Gazette- which she started and ran for 15 months. After the Gazette merged with the Sentinel, she returned to become editor and half owner.

Osborn’s other associations included being a long-time member of Chapter K of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) P.E.O. supports…the bonds of sisterhood and women through educational scholarships, grants, awards, and loans. She was elected editor of the P.E.O Magazine without her knowledge at the 1890 state convention. After three years, she brought the magazine to Osceola and eventually became the editor, printer, and publisher. It is noted that ‘Mary had all the practical skills of a man with far more knowledge.’

Other associations included the Iowa Press and Authors Club of Des Moines, Research Club, Chautauqua Circle, an adult education and social movement highly popular in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, and Women’s Relief Core, an organization designed to assist the Grand Army of the Republic in promoting Memorial Day, petitioning the federal government for nurses pensions, and promoting patriotic education.

During all these years, Mary, unknowingly, grew an expansive circle of friends across the nation, and was honored as a Life Member of the P.E.O State and National Convention.

Mary strongly believed in equal suffrage and ardently advocated for the rights of women. She was known to wear the bloomer costume of the Suffragettes as she went about her daily business, which is apparently why the news article title included the word ‘militant.’

Did you know the Osceola Library Resources are open source? Go tohttps://www.osceola.lib.ia.us/do-researchto learn more about Mary Osmond and other Clarke County leaders.

Fourth of July Updates

Stay up-to-date at www.facebook.com/osceola4thofjuly/ and watch for the schedule in The Advertiser this week.

From the Monday Morning Update: Get the latest information in your ‘in-box’ocms@osceolaia.net

The Osceola Public Library is giving Warrior Dollars as prizes for their summer reading program. They know supporting small businesses puts your money back into the local economy!

D.E.S is hiring, call 641-342-6182-virtual interviews available.

Community Activities from the Table Tent Flyers

Clarke County Public Health: Covid-19 Updates-Every Thurs. @ 10am. www.facebook.com/ClarkeCountyPublicHealth/

Clarke County Emergency Management Notifications: Sign up today! https://entry.inspironlogistics.com/clarke_ia/wens.cfm

Clarke County Farmer’s Market open for season: Tues. 3-6, Sat. 8-12. See Facebook for Covid-19 rules. facebook.com/ClarkeCountyFarmersMarket/

East Lake Park Campgrounds: Now open-must register on-line

salonREDwellness Center: Yoga Mon. 5 & 6:30 pm; Wed. 9 & 1:30am; every other Fri. Rage Yoga 7pm call to reserve spot 515-238-8934

Osceola Eagles: Bingo Monday – 1st 40 people -6:30pm

July 18:Trivia Night -maximum 6 players, $10 per player

Your Sweet Pickins’ Venue: call to reserve spot641) 414-2329

July 9:Jewelry Workshop 7-9pm

July 25: Pop-up shop, 9am-1pm

Osceola Public Library (closed to public)

June, July & August- “Writer’s Corner” Facebook event
Jul 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29: Craft to go bags for kids available 1-4pm

Jul 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30: Craft to go bags for teens available 1-4:pm

July 6:Virtual visit with Blank Park Zoo-2pm

Jul 6, 13, 20, and 27: “Can You Guess the Fairy Tale?” scavenger hunt around town (new clues released on Facebook every Monday around 10am)

Jul 21:Virtual story time with Miss Iowa-10:00am

Jul 23:Virtual visit from Aaron Fowler (musician) and his dog

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