Clarissa Shortridge was born in Milton, Indiana back in 1849 to Elias and Talitha. The family moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa just prior to the Civil War. She attended a co-educational school (rare at the time). When she was 15 she eloped with a farmer and Civil War veteran Jeremiah. They settled in San Jose, California in 1872.
In 1876, her husband deserted her and their 5 children, never to be seen again. To support her family, she began studying law in the office of a local judge. She also started giving lectures starting in 1877 on suffrage. She became a leader in the woman’s voting rights movement. She died in 1934, she was 85.
What you may not know about Clara Shortridge Foltz is that she was the first female lawyer on the West Coast, the first female clerk for the State Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, the first female appointed to the State Board of Correction, the first female licensed Notary Public the first female named director of a major band and the first woman to run for Governor of California when she was 81.
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