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West Virginia Women's Suffrage Trail

Zone 4 of 10: Fairmont

You are vieweing item 18 of 40 in this tour.

403 Gaston Ave was the home of suffragist Beulah Boyd Ritchie (1864-1939) and her husband, Charles M. Ritchie. Beulah Boyd Ritchie was a charter officer for the Fairmont Political Equality Club and later served as the organization’s president for many years. Between 1900 and 1904, Ritchie also served as president of the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. She was a state leader for women’s suffrage through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.


The Fairmont West Virginian, November 10, 1904

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Location of 403 Gaston Ave

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Carthage City Directory, 1888, listing Beulah Boyd as a teacher at Carthage College

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1891 catalog for the Fairmont Normal School

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Wheeling Register, November 29, 1895

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Wheeling Sunday register, November 22, 1896

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From the National Suffrage Bulletin, November 1899

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Ritchie's state report for the 1900 NAWSA

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West Virginia Argus, December 6, 1900

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Ritchie's report for the 1901 NASWA convention

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Ritchie's report for the 1902 NAWSA convention

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Ritchie's report for the 1903 NAWSA convention

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Ritchie's report for the 1904 NAWSA convention

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The Fairmont West Virginian, August 11, 1904

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The Daily Telegram, October 10, 1907

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The Fairmont West Virginian, October 27, 1911

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The Clarksburg Telegram, November 2, 1911

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The Daily Telegram, December 3, 1913

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The Fairmont West Virginian, March 4, 1914

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The Fairmont West Virginian, July 31, 1914

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The Fairmont West Virginian, October 22, 1914

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The West Virginian, April 6, 1915

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The West Virginian, April 9, 1915

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The West Virginian, March 12, 1919

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Death certificate for Beulah Boyd Ritchie

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Beulah Boyd Ritchie headstone in Woodlawn Cemetery, Fairmont, WV

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

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Fairmont City Directory, 1904

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“The end of the age long struggle is an object lesion in faith that right will prevail” ~Beulah Boyd Ritchie after Tennessee became the 34th state to ratify the 19th Amendment

Anna Beulah Boyd was born March 24, 1864 in Wheeling, WV, the eldest child of George E. and Annie B. Caldwell Boyd. She received her education, both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, from Wooster University in Ohio and then went into teaching. Beulah Boyd taught for two years at Carthage College in Missouri, moved back to Wheeling to teach in the public schools for two years, and then moved to Fairmont to teach at Fairmont State Normal School. Boyd married Charles M. Ritchie on June 3, 1893 and had their one child, daughter Jean Boyd Ritchie, in 1894.

Beulah Boyd Ritchie attended the first state suffrage convention at Grafton in 1895, where she presented an address entitled “Does the Working Woman Need It?” The West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association organized at that convention. That same month Ritchie attended an address by Anna Dregs of Kansas at Fairmont Normal, after which the Fairmont women organized the Fairmont Political Equality Club. Beulah Boyd Ritchie was elected as the club’s first corresponding secretary and her husband, Charles M. Ritchie, served as one of the club’s auditors.

In January 1897, the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association (WVESA) met for its second convention in Fairmont, WV. Ritchie was elected as recording secretary for the WVESA and two years later, at the fourth state convention in 1899, she was elected as president. At a time when the West Virginia state movement was waning, Ritchie’s leadership in the Fairmont Political Equality Club kept the Fairmont movement going strong. This was part of the reason she was chosen as president of the WVESA to the approval of national suffrage leaders. She served as president until 1904 and stepped down, but was then elected Vice President at large. She also served as president of the Fairmont Political Equality Club and often held meetings at her Gaston Ave home.

In 1911, the WVESA chose Ritchie to serve as a delegate to the national convention, and in 1913 Ritchie helped organize efforts to support the woman suffrage bill in Congress as the WV member of the NAWSA Executive Council. She marched in the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. Her leadership in the Fairmont and WV suffrage movement continued and in 1919 she was a member of the WVESA’s State Ratification Committee to push for the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In addition to her suffrage leadership, she was involved in the local and state Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and was a member of the Woman’s Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church. She was also the librarian of the Fairmont City Library between 1918 and 1920. In 1935 Beulah Boyd Ritchie became ill with breast cancer for which she underwent an operation that year. Boyd died from her cancer on October 4, 1939 at Warren State Hospital in Conewango, PA at the age of 75. She is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Fairmont, WV.

"Anna Beulah Boyd Ritchie." Find A Grave. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44085604/anna-beulah-ritchie.

Hollingsworth, Randolph. “Biography of Beulah Boyd Ritchie.” Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://documents.alexanderstreet.com/d/1011002243.

Leonard, John William, ed. Woman’s who’s who of America; a biographical dictionary of contemporary women of the United States and Canada. New York: The American Commonwealth Company, 1914. Internet Archive. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://archive.org/details/womanswhoswhoofa00leon_0/page/690/mode/1up.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, PA; Pennsylvania (State). Death Certificates, 1906-1968; Certificate Number Range: 092001-095000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Accessed January 31, 2022.

Stone, Elizabeth. “Fairmont Women Among the First to Come Out Openly for the Equal Suffrage Cause.” The West Virginian, August 19, 1920. Accessed January 31, 2022. http://129.71.204.160/history////exhibitsonline/suffrage/suffragefairmontgroup.html.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

The Fairmont West Virginian., November 10, 1904, Image 1. Chronicling American. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1904-11-10/ed-1/seq-1/.

Google Maps. Accessed March 7, 2022.

Carthage, Missouri city directory. Carthage, MO, C. Emery, 1888. Internet Archive. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://archive.org/details/carthagemissouri00cart/page/42/mode/2up.

Fairmont State Normal School -- West Virginia -- Catalogs, Fairmont State Normal School -- West Virginia -- History, Universities and colleges catalogs. 1891. Internet Archive. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://archive.org/details/catalogs18911892fair/page/n279/mode/2up?q=boyd.

Wheeling register. [volume], November 29, 1895, Page 2, Image 2. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092518/1895-11-29/ed-1/seq-2/.

Wheeling Sunday register. [volume], November 22, 1896, Page 3, Image 3. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092523/1896-11-22/ed-1/seq-3/.

National Suffrage Bulletin, Vol. V. No. 3., November 1899. Edited and Published Monthly by Carrie Chapman Catt, for the National-American Woman Suffrage Association. HathiTrust. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015021929115&view=1up&seq=41&skin=2021.

Proceedings of the Thirty-second Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Washington, D.C. February eighth to fourteenth 1900. HathiTrust. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.rslfdp&view=1up&seq=5&skin=2021.

West Virginia argus. [volume], December 06, 1900, Image 3. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092245/1900-12-06/ed-1/seq-3/.

Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association held at Minneapolis, Minn., May 30 and 31, June 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, 1901. HathiTrust. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.rslfdq&view=1up&seq=4&skin=2021.

Proceedings of the Thirty-Fourth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association held at Washington, D. C., February 14th,. 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 1902. HathiTrust. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.rslfdr&view=1up&seq=5&skin=2021.

Proceedings of the Thirty-Fifth Annual Convention of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association held at New Orleans, LA., March 19th to 25th, inclusive, 1903. HathiTrust. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015039253557&view=1up&seq=541&skin=2021&q1=ritchie.

Minutes of the Thirty-Sixth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. HathiTrust. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015039253557&view=1up&seq=676&skin=2021.

The Fairmont West Virginian., August 11, 1904, Page 8, Image 8. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1904-08-11/ed-1/seq-8/.

The daily telegram. [volume], October 10, 1907, Page PAGE 3, Image 3. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85059715/1907-10-10/ed-1/seq-3/.

The Fairmont West Virginian., October 27, 1911, Page PAGE FOUR, Image 4. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1911-10-27/ed-1/seq-4/.

The Clarksburg telegram. [volume], November 02, 1911, Page PAGE EIGHT, Image 10. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84037844/1911-11-02/ed-1/seq-10/.

The daily telegram. [volume], December 03, 1913, Page PAGE FOUR, Image 28. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85059715/1913-12-03/ed-1/seq-28/.

The Fairmont West Virginian., March 04, 1914, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1914-03-04/ed-1/seq-1/.

The Fairmont West Virginian., July 31, 1914, Page PAGE FIVE, Image 5. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1914-07-31/ed-1/seq-5/.

The Fairmont West Virginian., October 22, 1914, Page PAGE EIGHT, Image 24. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1914-10-22/ed-1/seq-24/.

The West Virginian. [volume], April 06, 1915, Page PAGE 3, Image 3. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1915-04-06/ed-1/seq-3/.

The West Virginian. [volume], April 09, 1915, Image 1. Chronicling America. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86072054/1915-04-09/ed-1/seq-1/.

The West Virginian. [volume], March 12, 1919, Image 1.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, PA; Pennsylvania (State). Death Certificates, 1906-1968; Certificate Number Range: 092001-095000. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Accessed January 31, 2022.

"Anna Beulah Boyd Ritchie." Find A Grave. Accessed January 31, 2022. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44085604/anna-beulah-ritchie.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia. Sanborn Map Company, May, 1902. Map. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn09403_004/. Accessed January 31, 2022.

Fairmont, West Virginia, City Directory, 1904. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed January 31, 2022.