Early suffragist Josephine Henry to be honored
The centennial of suffrage for many women in the United States is approaching in 2020. With this landmark anniversary embodied in the passage of the nineteenth amendment, the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation has partnered to launch a new historic marker program, which is part of the National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT). The fourth of five markers in Kentucky will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 25, at Josephine Henry’s former home, 210 Montgomery Avenue, in Versailles, to commemorate the legacy of Josephine Henry. Henry co-founded the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1888. She was the first woman to run for statewide office in Kentucky and is credited with the passage of the 1894 Kentucky Married Woman’s Property Act. In 1895, she served on Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s, “The Woman’s Bible” revising committee. Coline Jenkins, a descendant of Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Dr. Kathi Kern, author of “Ms. Stanton’s Bible;” and Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and historian Aloma Dew will briefly address guests. The ceremony will take place outside in the front yard of the above address. The house is a private residence and will not be open to the public. As the upper portion of Montgomery Avenue will be blocked off to traffic for a period for this ceremony, attendees may walk the three blocks from the city parking lot in front of the entrance used for the Woodford County Historical Society‘s facility. The Society will provide shuttle service from there to the ceremony for those preferring not to walk. If attendees wish to pay tribute to Henry, her grave is in the nearby cemetery. There will be markers starting at the South Main Street cemetery entrance leading to her grave site. The Woodford County Historical Society will host a reception immediately following the marker dedication ceremony at their research library/museum located at 121 Rose Hill Avenue in downtown Versailles. More background on Mrs. Henry Born Josephine Kirby Williamson in Newport, Kentucky, in 1843, this pioneer for many rights for women came to Versailles at age 15 to teach at a girls’ school. Ten years later she married Captain William Henry, a Confederate veteran, who had opened the Henry Academy for Boys in 1865, on Montgomery Avenue at present day 246 on this street. Soon thereafter they operated a co-ed academy and Mrs. Henry was the “Principal Musical Department” for a while. They had one son who was killed at age 23 near Chicago in a tragic accident while researching an article for his newspaper in Versailles, the Clarion. Captain Henry continued to operate his Academy until his death in 1906. At one time, Mrs. Henry was the organist for St. John’s Episcopal Church. She continued her efforts for women until a stroke befell her in 1927. She died at her home on Jan. 8, 1928, at age 84 - a full life well spent. For more information on the Henrys, visit the Society 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday to peruse two voluminous files on the Henrys.