Vote is clear from relatives of Susan B. Anthony on Trump pardon

In 2005, an original letter about male oppression of women's rights during the Spanish-American War, handwritten by Susan B. Anthony in 1898, was part of an exhibit "Man's Inhumanity Toward Man" at The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Buffalo, N.Y. More than two dozen people who say they share ancestry with the activist and social reformer, an Adams native, have called for President Donald Trump to undo his pardon of their forebear.

ADAMS — Susan B., your kinfolk have your back.

In a statement late this week, 26 people who say they share ancestry with activist and social reformer Susan B. Anthony, an Adams native, called for President Donald Trump to undo his pardon of their forebear.

"We cousins of Susan B. Anthony demand that President Trump rescind the pardon and honor her rich legacy on behalf of Americans who faced voter suppression," the group says in its statement.

Members of the group say they are related to Anthony through the lineage of two English brothers who emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1635.

"As the descendants of Gregory and Simon Stone, we cousins of Susan B. Anthony are outraged that President Trump dishonored our ancestor's legacy on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment."

Melina Fox, of Greensburg, Ind., orchestrated the cousins' uprising by connecting with them through the Facebook page they share. She shared posts by others who questioned Tuesday's pardon — it was announced on the anniversary of the year the amendment was ratified, allowing women to vote nationally — and a rebellion began to roll.

Fox took her complaint straight to the White House on Friday, emailing a copy of the statement and the names of all her relatives opposed to the pardon.

"When this happened this week, I was cussing so loud I scared my dog," she said in a telephone interview Friday from Southern Indiana.

The pardon widely was criticized by feminists and voting rights activists. Members of the board of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams joined the critique this week, as they celebrated the centennial of the amendment and the 200th anniversary of Anthony's birth.

"I feel certain that she would not have wanted to be pardoned," Carol Crossed, president of the museum's board, told The Eagle this week. "She wasn't asking for the right to vote. She felt, as a citizen, she had an inalienable right. She would not admit guilt. She was a citizen with full rights."

Anthony had been arrested in Rochester, N.Y., in 1872 for voting in the presidential election. She had hoped to use her arrest as a springboard to put the suffrage question before the U.S. Supreme Court, but lost that chance when her attorney paid a $100 fine on her behalf.

Another woman's arrest, in Missouri, became a test case, one quickly dismissed by the high court.

But, the mission continued. With Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony organized the initial Woman Suffrage Convention, held in Washington, D.C., and formed the National Woman Suffrage Association.

Standing by her

As the statement took shape, one of the cousins objected, suggesting that Fox was trying to politicize Trump's action.

"I said, `Excuse me? I'm not the one who made the pardon,'" Fox said.

"He needs to know that those connected to her don't feel this is appropriate," she said of the president.

That's all the more important, Fox said, because Anthony did not marry and had no children.

"She had no direct descendants who could defend her honor," she said of Anthony, who died in 1906 at age 86, 14 years before seeing a lifelong quest realized. "This is taking away from her legacy. We need to stand up for her," Fox said.

Along with Fox, the statement is signed by these Anthony relatives: Keri Lee-Clancy, Heather Meyers Turner, Patricia Stone, Suellen Stone Long, Tyler Stone, Bill Stone, Terri Buchman, David A. Stone, Marcia Coleman Williams, Nancy Richardson, Nancy Simon and Melissa Rinaldi.

Also, Sandy Denz Wade, Denise A. Agnew, David G Stone, Linda Stone Koos, Gregg Stone, Denise A. Agnew, Beth Stone Godfrey, Jeff Stone, Lee Greiner, Nancy Simon, Ginny Stone Mackin, Kathryn Susbauer and Kat Stone.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-588-8341.