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West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail

Zone 4 of 10: Fairmont

You are vieweing item 16 of 40 in this tour.

This was the home of Owen S. and Anna A. McKinney in the early 1900s. Anna Belle Ayers McKinney and their daughter Margaret Ellen McKinney were both West Virginia suffragists involved with the Fairmont Political Equality Club and West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. The McKinney family hosted many speakers and suffrage events at their First Street home, including organizational meetings for a 1915 conference of the WVESA in Fairmont. Anna and Margaret witnessed the 1920 vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in Charleston. 


The Fairmont West Virginian, November 4, 1907

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The Fairmont West Virginian, January 15, 1913

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The Fairmont West Virginian, October 27, 1913

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The Fairmont West Virginian, August 25, 1915

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The Fairmont West Virginian, October 20, 1915

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The Fairmont West Virginian, October 4, 1916.

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The Fairmont West Virginian, November 20, 1917

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The Belington Progressive, February 26, 1920

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The Fairmont West Virginian, March 1, 1920

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The Fairmont West Virginian, May 2, 1921

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1910 Census

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Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia, May 1902

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Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia, December 1918

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1920 Census

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Anna Belle Ayers was born to Daniel and Hannah Bunner Ayers in 1852. She attended Fairmont Normal School and graduated in the first graduating class of 1872. She taught for about three years after graduation and married Owen S. McKinney May 25, 1874. Owen McKinney was a newspaper editor and publisher in Fairmont and later was a member of the WV state legislature and served as speaker of the House of Delegates. Owen McKinney was pro-suffrage and supported the work of his wife and advocated for women’s suffrage in the state. Anna and Owen McKinney had five children: two who did not survive childhood (Gertrude and Mary Louise) and three who survived to adulthood: Nola McKinney (1875-1950), Margaret Ellen (1877-1963), and Odell Payne (1879-1944).

Anna Ayers McKinney was involved in the West Virginia suffrage movement very early and was a charter member of the Fairmont Political Equality Club, which organized in November 1895. She later served as president of the Fairmont Political Equality Club. She was also an early member of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. In 1889 McKinney was elected as an auditor for the WVESA and in 1906 she was a delegate for West Virginia to the 38th Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Margaret Ellen McKinney joined her mother as a suffragist. Margaret McKinney attended the Pennsylvania College for Women and worked with the State Board of Children’s Guardians and Associated Charities of Fairmont. She was also an active member of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association and served as the organization’s president in 1913. When the 19th Amendment went to the states for ratification, Margaret McKinney was on the Ratification Committee chaired by Lenna Lowe Yost.

Both Anna and Margaret Ellen McKinney were present at the legislative sessions in 1920 for the ratification of the 19th Amendment and were present on March 10 to witness the final vote for ratification.

Anna Belle McKinney died on April 30, 1921 and Owen McKinney died September 25, 1926. Margaret Ellen McKinney died in 1963. Anna, Owen, and Margaret Ellen, along with siblings Nola, Odell, and Gertrude, are all buried in Fairmont’s Woodlawn Cemetery. 

“Anna Belle Ayers McKinney.” Find A Grave. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88433099/anna-belle-mckinney.

Gonzalez, Suronda and Morgan McMinn. “Biography of Anna Belle Ayers (Mrs. OS) McKinney, 1852-1921.” Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://documents.alexanderstreet.com/d/1011147329.

“Margaret Ellen McKinney.” Find A Grave. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88433077/margaret-ellen-mckinney.

“Nola McKinney.” Find A Grave. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88433083/nola-mckinney.

“Odell Payne McKinney.” Find A Grave. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88433118/odell-payne-mckinney.

“Owen S. McKinney.” Find A Grave. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88433110/owen-s-mckinney.

“Suffrage Movement in West Virginia. Excerpts from The History of Woman Suffrage.” Ohio County Library. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.ohiocountylibrary.org/document_center_uploads/2p_Suffrage-Movement-in-West-Virginia.pdf.

“Women in the West Virginia Woman Suffrage Movement.” Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote. A West Virginia Archives and History Online Exhibit. Accessed June 27, 2022. http://archive.wvculture.org/history/exhibitsonline/suffrage/suffragewomen.html.

1900; Census Place: Fairmont Ward 4, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: 1764; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0053; FHL microfilm: 1241764. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

Original data:United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls. Accessed June 27, 2022.

1910; Census Place: Fairmont Ward 4, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: T624_1687; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0061; FHL microfilm: 1375700. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

Original data:Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Accessed June 27, 2022.

1920; Census Place: Fairmont Ward 6, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1961; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 23. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Accessed June 27, 2022.

1930; Census Place: Fairmont, Marion, West Virginia; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0009; FHL microfilm: 2342276. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.

Original data:United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Accessed June 27, 2022.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

The Fairmont West Virginian., November 04, 1907, Page PAGE FIVE, Image 5. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1907-11-04/ed-1/seq-5/

The Fairmont West Virginian., January 15, 1913, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1913-01-15/ed-1/seq-1/.

The Fairmont West Virginian., October 27, 1913, Page PAGE TWO, Image 2. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1913-10-27/ed-1/seq-2/

The West Virginian. [volume], August 25, 1915, Page PAGE 3, Image 4. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1915-08-25/ed-1/seq-4.

The West Virginian. [volume], October 20, 1915, Page PAGE 3, Image 3. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1915-10-20/ed-1/seq-3/.

The West Virginian. [volume], October 04, 1916, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1916-10-04/ed-1/seq-1/.

The West Virginian. [volume], November 20, 1917, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1917-11-20/ed-1/seq-1

Belington progressive. [volume], February 26, 1920, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092333/1920-02-26/ed-1/seq-1/.

The West Virginian. [volume], March 01, 1920, Page PAGE 3, Image 3. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022.

The West Virginian. [volume], May 02, 1921, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1921-05-02/ed-1/seq-1/.

1910; Census Place: Fairmont Ward 4, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: T624_1687; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 0061; FHL microfilm: 1375700. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data:Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C..

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia. Sanborn Map Company, May, 1902. Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn09403_004/. Accessed June 27, 2022.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia. Sanborn Map Company, De, 1918. Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn09403_007/. Accessed June 27, 2022.

1920; Census Place: Fairmont Ward 6, Marion, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1961; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 23. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.