Charlotte exhibit celebrating women’s suffrage

Messenger Post Media
"Winning the Vote in Greece" is sold in the gift shop at the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society.

The Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society, 70 Lighthouse St., is celebrating women from the town of Greece who participated in the suffrage movement with a new exhibit and book.

Aug. 18 will be the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

New York state passed universal suffrage on Nov. 6, 1917, almost three years before the 19th Amendment, but the citizens of Rochester voted against giving women the right to vote.

The exhibit tells the story of 14 women known to participate in the suffrage movement, most of whom lived in the village of Charlotte. Many more participated, but their names are lost to history. Most came from middle-class families, and were active in their churches and in other causes.

The Charlotte Political Equality Club formed on Nov. 15, 1892, at the farm of Jean Brooks Greenleaf, who worked with Susan B. Anthony. She was elected vice president of the Charlotte Equality Club, and president of the Rochester club for three years before becoming president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association in 1890.

In 2018, the Greece Historical Society installed a historic marker with a grant from the Pomeroy Foundation at her farm on Greenleaf Road, now part of Lakeshore Country Club.

Three Monroe County annual conventions were held in the village of Charlotte: two at the Methodist Church on Lake Avenue in 1893 and 1897, and one at the Presbyterian Church on Stutson Street in 1909.

Among the women featured are Mary Greer Pollard, wife of the village blacksmith; Emma Pollard Greer, teacher and Charlotte historian; teacher Mary Holden Greer, who found the body of Sam Patch in the Genesee River; Josephine Jones Richmond, the daughter of Charlotte’s doctor; and church organist Lydia Loomis East.

“Winning the Vote in Greece” by Marie Poinan and Maureen Whalen is available in the gift shop. The book features detailed information on each of the 14 suffragists from Greece and Charlotte.

The keeper’s house and tower are open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Fridays-Sundays and group tours by appointment. Visit for information.

Ellen Ruggles is featured in the women's suffrage exhibit at the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society.