Jessie Daniel Ames
(1883 - 1972)
suffragist and social reformer -
she had important ties to
Georgetown and Williamson County
of Jessie Daniel Ames
Jessie Daniel Ames who was a leader in the
women's suffragist movement had important ties to Williamson
County. Jessie Harriet Daniel was born on November 2, 1883, in
Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, a child of employee James
Malcolm Daniel and his wife, Laura Maria (Leonard). In 1893, the
Daniel family relocated to Georgetown, where Jessie completed
her high school education and entered Southwestern University in
1897. In 1904, two years after her graduation, her father
accepted a railroad company position in Laredo and she joined
her family there.
Jessie met a young army surgeon, Dr. Roger Post Ames, of
Laredo, whom she married in 1905. He was a veteran of the
Spanish American War. Dr. Ames helped in important medical
experiments to isolate the causes of yellow fever and malaria.
Following his death in 1914, Jessie, returned to Williamson
County and joined her mother in operating the Georgetown
Telephone Company. Jessie, and her mother built the operation
into a successful company serving a growing city and county.
Jessie was active member of several civic groups, including
the Georgetown Woman's Club, Mrs. Ames became a champion for
women's rights. She organized the George-town Equal Suffrage
League and directed an eleventh-hour Williamson County voter
drive that registered over 3,000 first time women voters, in
just seventeen days, for the 1918 election. She was a leader in
several statewide organizations, including the Texas League of
Women Voters, the Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Reform,
and the state affiliate of the American Association of
University Women. She also served as a delegate-at-large to the
Democratic National Conventions of 1920 and 1924.
Jessie Daniel Ames learned of important programs in a Dallas
meeting of women social reformers in 1922, conducted by the
Commission on Interracial Cooperation. In 1930 as an employee of
the commission led her to form the affiliated Association of
Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL). Her
organization used both education and direct action in programs
to eradicate racially motivated killings . It specifically
targeted individuals who claimed to promote lynching as
legitimate means for defending chivalry and womanhood.
Despite fierce opposition and threats of personal violence,
Mrs. Ames persevered. She continued to work with the ASWPL and
its successor, the Southern Regional Council, until the time of
World War II.
Jessie Daniel Ames retired from the Commission on Inter-racial
Cooperation in 1944 and moved to a Tryon, North Carolina cottage
she called Wren's Nest. From there she participated in Methodist
Church activities, black voter registration drives, and a
women's study group on world politics. Later, in frail health,
she returned to Texas, to live with a daughter, Lulu Daniel
Ames. She died in Austin on February 17, 1972, and is buried in
the IOOF Cemetery in Georgetown, the city where she began her
life as an active leader of progressive social reform.
A special thanks to the
Special Collections at Southwestern University, Georgetown,
Texas for their help - please feel free to visit the
Southwestern University to see the wonderful
donation of of 1,200 books that she donated
to the University.
click on thumbnail image for
an enlarged view
Jessie Daniel Ames Historical Marker
OF PALESTINE, TEXAS, JESSIE DANIEL CAME TO GEORGETOWN IN 1893.
GRADUATED FROM SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY IN 1902. I N 1904 SHE MOVED
LAREDO, WHERE SHE MARRIED ROGER POST AMES (d.1914), AN ARMY SURGEON.
THEY WERE THE PARENTS OF THREE CHILDREN.
FOLLOWING HER HUSBAND'S
DEATH, JESSIE OPERATED THE GEORGETOWN
TELEPHONE COMPANY WITH HER MOTHER
AND BECAME ACTIVE IN CIVIC PROJECTS,
INCLUDING THE -WOMAN'S CLUB. SHE
JOINED THE TEXAS EQUAL SUFFRAGE
ASSOCIATION AND WORKED TO ACQUIRE VOTING
RIGHTS FOR WOMEN. SHE LED A
LARGE GROUP OF WOMEN TO THE WILLIAMSON
COUNTY COURTHOUSE TO REGISTER
TO VOTE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1918. THE
TEXAS EQUAL SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION
REORGANIZED AS THE TEXAS LEAGUE OF
WOMEN VOTERS IN 1919, AND SHE SERVED
AS ITS FIRST PRESIDENT UNTIL 1924.
A CHAMPION OF CIVIL
RIGHTS CAUSES, AMES WAS ACTIVE IN THE COMMISSION ON
COOPERATION, OPPOSED TO THE USE OF CHIVALRY AS A JUSTIFICATION
LYNCHING, SHE MOVED TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, AND FORMED THE ASSOCIATION OF
SOUTHERN WOMEN FOR THE PREVENTION OF LYNCHING IN 1930, SHE RETIRED IN
AND MOVED TO TRYON, NORTH CAROLINA. AMES LATER RETURNED TO CENTRAL
AND DIED IN AN AUSTIN NURSING HOME IN 1972, SHE IS BURIED IN THE I.O.O.F.
CEMETERY IN GEORGETOWN.
click on photo for an enlarged view
links for more interesting information on
Jessie Daniel Ames life and times
Jessie Daniel Ames by Ellen Davis
The Life and Legacy of Jessie Daniel Ames
view Grave Stone at the IOOF Cemetery in Georgetown Texas
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