Vineland was started as a "planned"
community by Charles K. Landis in August 1861. The new community had
attracted many idealistic and Progressive settlers, as well as hard
working farmers and industrialists. The combination would later cause some
serious problems, but that is a story for another day.
In July of 1864 a group of these progressive
people formed "Friends of Progress". It
was composed of Friends, Spiritualists, Agnostics, a few Atheists and
skeptics. The idea was to have a united organization that could be used to
support, discuss and promote progressive thinking (Again a story for
another day). The Friends of Progress erected Plum Street Hall, so that
they could have meetings, lectures and generally benefit the town.
In October 1864, John Gage, his wife, Portia Kellogg Gage and sons moved from Illinois
to Vineland. John had been an active and outspoken member
of the Chicago Board of Freeholders. Portia had been a supportive wife and
mother, but she was about to grow into a force in the community.
At the annual Strawberry Festival in June of
1866, one of the speakers was Frances Dana Gage
(abolitionist & woman's rights advocate) John & Portia's
sister-in-law. The next night she addressed a meeting at the Methodist Church.
In November of 1866 there was a Golden Wedding
Anniversary celebration for George & Margaret Pryor. (George
and Margaret had both been signers of the Declaration of Sentiments at the
Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention in 1848.)
On December 4, 1866, Lucy Stone and her husband
(Henry Blackwell) spoke on Equal Rights at Plum Street Hall. At the
conclusion of the addresses an Equal Rights Association was formed.
On January 11, 1867, The Equal Rights and Universal
Peace Association held a convention at Plum St. Hall and elected new
On July 23, 1867, John Gage as the Cumberland
County member of the Committee of Resolutions for the State Suffrage
Convention held in Trenton, presented a petition signed by several
hundred people from the Vineland area.
In late August 1867, a mass
meeting on Impartial Suffrage was held in Vineland, to consider the
best means of bringing the question of impartial suffrage irrespective of
sex ore color, more fully before the people of New Jersey.
September 14, 1867 - The
colored people have purchased a lot and erected a small building for a
chapel. Rev. Mr. Williams, pastor.
November 29-30, 1867 -
Woman's Rights Convention held in Plum St. Hall; addresses by Lucretia and
James Mott, Lucy Stone Blackwell, H. B. Blackwell, Robert Dale Owen and
K. Landis annual New Years Party some of the future difference of ideas
was evident. Mr. Lands included the following in his address:
"To the ladies the present entertainment was
due, and the ladies generally, many acknowledgements were due to the
active and efficient part they always took on behalf of Vineland
interests-exerting a power always, superior even to the ballot."
January 1, 1868, brought the 1st Annual Tax
Protest from Susan P. Fowler. She would continue to protest for
over 30 years. Taxation without Representation is Tyranny...
January 12, 1868, Jared Gage,
son of John & Portia Gage dies of diseases contracted while in
March 10, 1868 - There are
1095 names on voter's list. Mrs. Portia Gage offers her
ballot at the polls, as she is not
registered it is returned.
April 10, 1868 - Frederick Douglas lectures on
"Self-Made Men" in the Unitarian Church, he also speaks on the
evening of the 11 and afternoon of the 12 at Plum St. Hall.
August 28, 1868 - letter from Susan B. Anthony THE
REVOLUTION to C.B. Campbell and P.T.M. "Stating
that she and Mrs. Stanton could go & speak on Saturday the 5th at the
September 5, 1868 - Susan B. Anthony speaks at
Plum St. Hall.
October 14, 1868 Charles K. Landis, founder of Vineland,
and Clara Forsyth Meade, daughter of Capt. R. W. Meade, U.S.N. are married
at the home of her uncle Charles A. Meigs, Staten Island, NY. (another
October 15, 1868 - A large and enthusiastic
meeting of the women of Vineland held in Union Hall.... It was resolved
almost unanimously to go to the polls on election day and offer their
October 26-30, 1868 - The Teachers
of Cumberland County organize in the capacity of a Teacher's Institute in
Mechanic's Hall and are addressed by several educators.
November 3, 1868 - Election: Grant receives
950 votes, Seymour 182. Among the incidents of the election was the
appearance of several ladies, soon after the polls were opened in Union
Hall, who offered their ballots which were refused. The ladies then
provided a table and ballot box, appointed the necessary officers and
received their votes. 168 for Grant and Seymour 4. A photograph of the
assembly in Union Hall was taken.
November 9, 1868 - Mr. & Mrs.
Charles K. Landis had a Public Reception in Plum St. Hall from 7:30-9 at
which a large number of citizens offered congratulations. Dancing closed
November 14, 1868 - Brilliant meteoric shower
November 17, 1868 - Letter form Susan B.
Anthony to Friend Campbell
RE: State call and THE REVOLUTION folks left out. (another story)
"Vineland women did splendidly on election day
and will no doubt continue to do the dame. So send us all the good
December 2, 1868
Woman's Suffrage State Convention held in
Plum St. Hall:
Lucy Stone Blackwell, President
Susan P. Fowler, Secretary
Addresses made by Lucy Stone, Rev. Antoinette
Brown Blackwell, Rev. Oscar Clute, Henry Blackwell, Joseph
Treat, Mary F. Davis, Andrew Jackson Davis and others. Reporters from New
York papers present.
The women of Vineland
continued to cast their ballots for several years.
Some, like Susan P. Fowler,
continued to protest, Taxation without Representation...
The National Dress Reform
Association was founded in Vineland. (yes, another story here)
Vineland men and women
continued to be at the forefront of many reform movements. John &
Portia Gage became very active primary supporters of the American Suffrage
Association. They, also, traveled with Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell and
supported their newspaper, The Woman's Journal.