How have I never before heard of George Francis Train? He's much too flamboyant to have missed.

Assignment in Time: A history term paper turns into a wild travel adventure through the American women's suffrage movement ! - Kristina Simms

 Election Day, November 5, 1867 Leavenworth, Kansas


Marilee turned to see who had made the cowboy’s eyes widen and saw a handsome, well- built six foot tall man with wavy brown hair approaching her with long strides and a big smile on his face. He was carrying what appeared to be a couple of reams of newsprint flyers tied with brown twine.


He was wearing a royal blue jacket with shiny brass buttons and a white vest underneath. His trousers were black, as were his highly polished black boots. The outfit was completed by a lavender top hat and lavender gloves. The general impression was one of money gone slightly mad at an expensive menswear shop.


People were staring.


“Are you George Francis Train?” A bystander who looked like a prosperous merchant approached with hand extended and a big grin on his face. Was this tall extravagantly dressed man some sort of celebrity?


“The very same! None but myself. Alive and in person!” came the jolly answer. George Francis Train shook the other man’s hand vigorously.


“Still planning to run for President, Mr. Train?”


“It’s on my mind, sir, definitely on my mind! And I’ll welcome your vote if I do!



"Mrs. Stanton is the philosopher, the writer, the thinker! Miss Anthony the fund-raiser, the politician, the stiletto-keen strategist! And what a team they make together. When all of their Eastern abolitionist friends abandoned them in favor of giving the vote to the freedmen first, I heard of their distress. I came to their aid! And now they have me, George Francis Train, self- made millionaire, industrialist, railroad man, and dramatic speaker par excellence as a dedicated partner in their noble struggle for suffrage…”


His voice rose and he assumed a rhetorical cadence. A crowd was beginning to gather. George Francis Train gestured expansively. “And now I want to talk to you about the women. They say women haven’t brains and sense enough to rule. How does it happen they can rule monarchies and empires?


Remember Catherine of Russia and Maria Theresa. Women have not brains enough for politics? Our country is full of Catherines and Maria Theresas and Elizabeths! And have you forgotten Queen Victoria ?”


There was a patter of applause, a few “hear hears” and several grunts of disagreement.


“But don’t stand here, my friends. Go! Go! Go to your polling station and vote YES! Kansas women deserve the vote!”



[From University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives]:


"On election day, the effort failed. Even so Anthony was exultant, for nearly a third of the voters, of course male and white only, supported woman suffrage. Two days after the election, she wrote to her friend Olympia Brown, the Universalist minister, who had worked on the Kansas campaign earlier that summer.


Leavenworth Nov. 7th 1867

Dear Olympia,

Never was so grand a success -- never was defeat so glorious a victory -- woman though probably lost -- . . .  Leavenworth City & County alone for us thus far -- the one & only point Geo. Francis Train's work had time to organize & act -- But don't despair -- we shall win the day breaks -- the eastern sky is red Mr. Train consents to lecture for our treasury's benefit -- all the way down to Boston & back to Philadelphia -- commencing the 20th in't-- . . . If only Geo. F. Train could have lighted the fires you had prepared all over the state -- we should have carried it overwhelmingly -- But depend upon it -- there is a wise destiny in our delay -- it is not defeat -- So let us hope & work to the brighter day -- [9]"


 Here's a link if you want to know more about the flamboyant Mr. Train.  (I did.)