The Susan B. Anthony Legacy Event marks the 144th anniversary of the famed suffragist's historic trial

CANANDAIGUA — Hundreds of men, women and children hoisted protest signs, donned period costumes, and shouted their support for the history-making woman who dared to vote.

Members of the Ontario County Historical Society and 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse teamed up Saturday night to host the Susan B. Anthony Legacy Event on the 144th anniversary of the start of Anthony’s historic trial in 1873.

The night started at the Ontario County Historical Society where a mob of costumed suffragists and families viewed the exhibit “Votes for Women: The Suffrage Movement in Ontario County.”

Attorney Aaron Sperano and his 10-year-old daughter, Natalie, made their way through the exhibit.

Fresh off a trip to Boston where she walked the Freedom Trail, and a trip to the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester with her Girl Scout troop, Natalie moved from display to display, her eyes as wide as saucers.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said of her experiences.

Retired music teacher Bill Mehls was dressed to the nines in tails.

“I’m happy to be here and support a woman’s right to vote,” said Mehls.

A boisterous march down Main Street ended at the Ontario County Courthouse, where Anthony’s historic trial took place.

At the same time, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, portrayed by Barbara Blaisdell and David Anderson, arrived by carriage to greet the crowd sprawled across the courthouse lawn. Each recounted those tumultuous days with warmth, depth and humor — easily holding the attention of young children, students and adults.

The Canandaigua Academy Women’s Chorale shared its rendition of “Women’s Battle Song,” followed by a formal proclamation by the city and a presentation by Susan B. Anthony House Executive Director Deborah Hughes. Museum Educator Preston Pierce and Farmington Town Historian Donna Hill-Herendeen also talked about the connection between Farmington Quakers and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. A candle-lighting ceremony and Quaker reflection on the courthouse steps topped off the evening.

“We’re very thankful to Susan B. Anthony and all the other suffragists who got us the right to vote,” said Daughters of the American Revolution member Jackie Lowe, one of dozens who dressed in period attire for the event.