New Hampshire Secrets, Legends & Lore
Marilla Marks (Nee: Young) Ricker
When Hope & History Rhyme:
Marilla Ricker Suffragist and Republican
Marilla Marks Ricker (1840-1920) was a suffragist, philanthropist, lawyer, and freethinker. She was the first female lawyer from New Hampshire, and she broke open a path for women to be accepted into the bar in New Hampshire. She was also the first woman to run for governor in New Hampshire, and the first woman to apply for a federal foreign ambassadorship post. She made significant and lasting contributions to the issues of women's rights and irreligion through her actions and her writings.
Podcast Episode 11: Marilla Marks Ricker Suffragist
Podcast Episode 12: Marilla Marks Ricker Lawyer and Reformer
Podcast Episode 13: Marilla Marks Ricker Agnostic and Free-Thinker
True Light: The Life of Marilla Ricker, Documentary, Directed by Catherine O'Brien
Marilla Ricker Biography
The National Women’s Rights Historic Park isn’t a single park, but rather a collection of historic sites in Seneca Falls and the surrounding communities. The Visitor’s Center is located right in the middle of town, next to the Wesleyan Chapel. Stop by here to learn more about the various sites associated with the Park, and check out Sculptor Lloyd Lillie's "The First Wave" installation, featuring life-size bronze statues of key figures at the First Women's Rights Convention.
Anyone who met Marilla as a very young child would have recognized that here was a person who would leave her mark. At only three she was cutting headlines from local newspapers and asking her mother and father to explain the meaning of large words. By 4 she was reading herself. At 16, having been turned down in her application to become a nurse for Union troops in the Civil War, she became a teacher and would subsequently teach in both Dover and Lee, NH
She refused to read from the Bible during class, preferring instead the literary works of Emerson. The school committee approached Ricker and informed her that she was required to read from the Bible in class. Ricker refused to hide her freethought beliefs, and left the teaching profession.
In 1863, Marilla Young married John Ricker, a man 33 years her senior. She became a widow, however, five years later. The inheritance left to her by John made her financially independent.
as she later wrote: "Give me then the man who is not a Christian, and who has no religion, for if the man who loves his wife and children, who gives to them the strength of his arm, the thought of his brain, the warmth of his head, has not religion, the world is better off without it, for these are the highest and holiest things which man can do."
1870 She first tried to vote in Dover and each year thereafter for 30 years
1882 - Admitted to the DC Bar
1891 - Admitted to practice Law before the US Supreme Court (51 years old)
1897 Applied to be Ambassador to Colombia (57 Years old)
1910 (60 years old) Applied to run for Governor but was refused a place on the ballot because of her gender., yet she campaigned vigorously throughout the campaign nonetheless, insisting that she was seeking to get people used to the idea of a woman governor.
19th Amendment to the US Constitution
Darryl Thompson - Consulting Historian: shakersleuth(at sign)gmail
Catherine O'Brien: cob916(at sign)Gmail
Hon. Robert "Renny" Cushing (D, Hampton) renny.cushing(at sign)leg.state.nh.us
"When Hope and History Rhyme" is a line from a poem by the Irish poet by Seamus Heaney