Cumberland County ...NJ

Why in Vineland?


To help understand the why, here is a list of some events.

     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 officers.

    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 Others.

    At Charles 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 Andersonville.

   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 nice hall."

  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 juicy story!)

   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 votes.

   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 the evening.

   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 words."

   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.

This file was created by Susan Ditmire on 01/25/00.  
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