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West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail

Zone 1 of 10: Wheeling

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Dr. Harriet B. Jones (1856-1943) was the first woman in West Virginia licensed to practice medicine in the state. She lived and operated her practice here and ran a woman's hospital down the street. Jones campaigned for the improvement of healthcare in West Virginia, including Hopewell Sanitarium and the West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the West Virginia Children's Home and West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls, and general education about healthcare. Dr. Jones was active in the suffrage movement, including serving as president of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. The Wheeling Political Equality League was formed here November 14, 1895.


Dr. Harriet B. Jones, c. 1897

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Location of 52 15th Street

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Dr. Harriet B. Jones, from 1926 WV Blue Book

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Harriet B. Jones, May 26, 1939

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Wheeling City Directory , 1896

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Weston State Hospital in Weston, WV. Dr. Jones was assistant superintendent of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane 1888-1892.

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The Women's Hospital opened by Dr. Harriet B. Jones in 1892.

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80 15th Street, c. 2021

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Letterhead of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association when Lenna Low Yost was president and Dr. Harriet B. Jones 1st Vice President, c. 1913.

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Jones campaigned for tuberculosis education and prevention in West Virginia and supported the establishment of Hopewell Hospital in Terra Alta, WV.

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West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium

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Harriet Jones lobbied the state for the establishment of the West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls, now called Salem Correctional Center.

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Mock Ballot, Moundsville Daily Echo, September 1, 1920

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Glendale, WV, February 29, 1940: "Mayor Roy Arrick surrenders to the Leap Year Day "proposal" of Dr. Harriet B. Jones, chairman of the National Consumers Tax Commission unit here, that the city launch a survey of its operations and expenditures to develop more economical and efficient methods and thus reduce taxes. First woman physician in West Virginia, Dr. Jones' participation in the NCTC's nationwide crusade for municipal economy climaxes 60 years of public service. She is 84."

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A speaking tour by Rev. Henrietta G. Moore of Ohio spurred the creation of several suffrage clubs in West Virginia, including in Wheeling.

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Harriet B. Jones was born June 3, 1856 in Ebensburg, PA and spent most of her childhood in Terra Alta, WV after her family moved in 1862. She graduated from Wheeling Female College in 1875 and then the Women’s Medical College in Baltimore where she specialized in gynecology and abdominal surgery. After graduating in 1884, Jones pursued further training in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. In 1886 Jones opened a practice in Wheeling as the first woman in West Virginia licensed to practice medicine in the state.

Between 1888 and 1892, Harriet B. Jones was the assistant superintendent of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane in Weston, WV (originally named the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and later called Weston State Hospital). After 1892, Jones returned to Wheeling to open a women’s hospital. The hospital was located at 80 15th Street and operated for about twenty years. Jones was active across the state of West Virginia

Jones was secretary for the West Virginia Anti-Tuberculosis League and she campaigned for the establishment of Hopemont Sanitarium near Terra Alta that opened in 1913 and for the West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium that opened in Denmar. She also called for the establishment of the West Virginia Children’s Home and West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls. She lobbied the state legislature for six years to establish institutions for the welfare of homeless girls and in 1897 the legislature passed the act providing funding for that cause. The West Virginia Children’s Home opened in 1899. Jones later also served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Industrial Home for Girls for over a decade. Like many reformers of her time, she was involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, organized the Society of the White Cross in Weston, and was part of the United Chautauqua Circles of Wheeling.

Harriet B. Jones was an active suffragist in West Virginia, a member of the West Virginia Federate of Women’s Clubs, and West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association (WVESA). She advocated for women to gain admission to West Virginia University and other state colleges, which occurred in 1889.Jones served in several leadership positions for the WVESA, included as president in 1906. The following year, Jones addressed the state legislature alongside Dr. Anna Howard Shaw in support for a suffrage amendment. During the 1916 referendum campaign on the question of woman suffrage, Jones organized a speaking tour for several suffrage advocates, including Mary E. Craigie, the chairman of church work for the NWSA. Jones also headed a mailing campaign, drafting a questionnaire that she sent to 150 newspaper editors gauging support for suffrage. After the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, Jones became active in the League of Women Voters.

Jones was elected to the House of Delegates as a Republican from Marshall County in 1924 to serve two terms. She also authored several pieces about politics and a history of the women’s suffrage in West Virginia.

Harriet B. Jones died June 28, 1943 in Glen Dale, WV. 

Wheeling Political Equality League

The Wheeling Political Equality League was founded November 14, 1895 at Dr. Harriet Jones’ home. This was a consequence of efforts by the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) to spur a women’s suffrage movement in West Virginia. By 1895, West Virginia was one the few states in the country that had no organized movement for suffrage equality and the NAWSA sent Rev. Henrietta G. Moore to do a series of speaking engagements in West Virginia to increase interest. Dr. Jones hosted Rev. Moore at her home on November 14, 1895 and the gathered women organized the Political Equality League. Jones was elected president of the suffrage club with Jennie B. Wilson, Annie Caldwell Boyd, and Fannie Wheat as the other founding officers.

The Wheeling Political Equality Club was one of the most active and long-lasting suffrage clubs in West Virginia. There was a lull in activity around 1902, but in January 1905 Wheeling was in the process of rewriting the city charter and women took the opportunity to advocate for suffrage to be included in the new charter. Wheeling women reformed as the Woman’s Municipal League during the city charter process, spurred by Political Equality League president M. Anna Hall. National leaders Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Kate Gordan also spoke during the Wheeling charter campaign.

Suffrage activity in Wheeling reenergized again after 1912 after the suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. around President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Dr. Harriet B. Jones was one of three Wheeling women who marched in the parade and when the women arrived back from the capital city they held a meeting in the Market Auditorium that reorganized the original Political Equality Club and the Woman’s League into the Ohio County Equal Suffrage League.

“Biography: Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5300.

“Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” Changing the Face of Medicine. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_346.html.

Effland, Anne Wallace. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in West Virginia, 1867-1920.” M. A. Thesis, West Virginia University, 1983.

Hoge, Florence. “Miss Florence Hoge Tells of the Forming of Suffrage Organizations in Ohio County: Their Contest for Recognition Has Been Most Spirited.” Wheeling Intelligencer, May 1, 1916. Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote. A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit. Accessed January 17, 2022.

Fluharty, Linda Cunningham. “Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” WVGenWeb. 2003. Accessed January 12, 2022. http://www.wvgenweb.org/ohio/nurses/nurses-drjones.htm.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Hostuttler, Lori. “Dr. Harriet B. Jones, West Virginia Physician, Suffragist, and Activist.” West Virginia University. March 26, 2018. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://news.lib.wvu.edu/2018/03/26/dr-harriet-b-jones-west-virginia-physician-suffragist-and-activist/.

Google Maps. Accessed March 7, 2022.

“Biography: Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5300.

“Biography: Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5300.

Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed January 12, 2022.

"Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum." Wikipedia. Accessed January 13, 2022.

Fluharty, Linda Cunningham. “Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” WVGenWeb. 2003. Accessed January 12, 2022. http://www.wvgenweb.org/ohio/nurses/nurses-drjones.htm.

Google Maps. Accessed January 12, 2022.

Hostuttler, Lori. “Dr. Harriet B. Jones, West Virginia Physician, Suffragist, and Activist.” West Virginia University. March 26, 2018. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://news.lib.wvu.edu/2018/03/26/dr-harriet-b-jones-west-virginia-physician-suffragist-and-activist/.

"Hopemont Hospital History." West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://dhhr.wv.gov/officeofhealthfacilities/Pages/Hopemont-Hospital-History.aspx.

"West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Denmar Opens in 1919." Black Then: Discovering Our history. Accessed January 13, 2022. https://blackthen.com/west-virginia-colored-tuberculosis-sanitarium-denmar-opens-1919/.

"West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls." Asylum Projects. Accessed January 13, 2022. http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php/West_Virginia_Industrial_Home_for_Girls.

"Mock Ballot, Moundsville Daily Echo, September 1, 1920." Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote. A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit. Accessed January 12, 2022. http://archive.wvculture.org/history/exhibitsonline/suffrage/suffrage60.html.

“Biography: Dr. Harriet B. Jones.” Ohio County Public Library. Accessed January 12, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/wheeling-history/5300.

"Woman of the Century/Henrietta G. Moore." Wikisource. Accessed January 17, 2022. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Woman_of_the_Century/Henrietta_G._Moore.