Clarina H. Nichols defended the propriety of her colleagues, Lucy Stone (professional antislavery lecturer), who were forging a place for women in the lecture hall. Nichols asked Stone for help in her campaign for school suffrage. In 1853 Stone gave two lectures at the Baptist Church in Brattleboro, VT. After Nichols successfully refuted one minister in the Democrat her newspaper circulation soared. Traveling by rail and stagecoach, Nichols spoke frequently at churches and lyceums in the towns of VT and MA. The road had been paved by the Grimke sisters in the 1830s.
In 1853 Clarina sent her eldest daughter and youngest son to attend school at the Theodore and Angelina Grimke Weld boarding school in Belleville, NJ for two winters. When the temperance advocates excluded Susan B. Anthony because of women’s rights, she established the Whole World’s Temperance Convention in NYC that 2 to 3,000 attended including Horace Greeley as business manager. Nichols was appointed a vice president representing VT and she displayed her outspokenness by exhorting Christians to political action. Greeley recommended her to speak in Wisconsin for Sherman M. Booth who wanted to combine temperance with the abolition of slavery. Dr. Lydia Fowler joined her. They took a steamer across the Great lakes. In this six week, 900-mile excursion mostly by carriage she spoke to crowds in over forty towns. While there was some male clergy opposition by extending the time of a business session hoping she would disappear, she still spoke and after hearing her she received apologies and endorsement. As a result of her work, and that of numerous others, a law was enacted in 1855 giving Wisconsin women legal control over family affairs in cases of intemperance. Clarina also spoke in Boston and Rhode Island. Stone and Amelia Bloomer were also on the lecture circuit in the Midwest. They saw potential in the aura of freedom in western settlements where they believed women ought to take their rightful place in society unencumbered by patriarchal legal and political structures and social conventions. They often overlooked the loneliness and privations that normally beset pioneering women.
Clarina interrupted her travel to nurse her father before he died in 1854 missing the national women’s convention. Frustrated with conservative Vermont, she decided to move to Kansas where the newly passed Kansas-Nebraska Act opened up an opportunity to pursue freedom for the slave since the settlers would vote on it.
Clarina Nichols’ contribution to reform in Kansas focused mostly on woman’s rights, but like most activist women of her day, she also was opposed to slavery. Her husband died in 1855, and Nichols spent much of 1856 on the campaign trail seeking support for Kansas and John C. Fremont, Republican presidential nominee. On October 4, 1856, she wrote Thaddeus Hyatt regarding the objectives of her recent speaking tour in Pennsylvania: “In the first place I am laboring . . . to subsist my two sons in the Free State army of Kansas by the pay I get from the lectures.” During this time Clarina wrote articles for the newspaper Herald of Freedom of Lawrence, KS. In May 1856 proslavery forces’ violence escalated as they ransacked the office and threw the press into the river. Abolitionist John Brown and his sons, who had emigrated to this territory, led a party who murdered five proslaverymen near Pottawatomie Creek which catapulted Kansas into the civil war, known as Bleeding Kansas.
Subsequently, Nichols moved the family to Wyandotte County, where in the spring of 1857 she became associate editor of the Quindaro Chindowan, an antislavery newspaper.
Excerpt from a Clarina Nichols letter to the editor of the Wyandotte Gazette tells a tale of Nichols and the western branch of the Underground Railroad:
My cistern - every brick of it rebuilt in the chimney of my late Wyandotte home - played its part in the drama of freedom. One beautiful evening late in October '61, as twilight was fading from the bluff, a hurrid message came to me from our neighbor - Fielding Johnson - "You must hide Caroline. Fourteen slave hunters are camped on the Park - her master among them."
My cistern had been cleaned and nicely dried preparatory to a wash of cement for some undiscernable leakage. Its dimensions were 7 by 12 (square) and a rock bottom; eight feet in depth and reached from a trap in the floor of the wing; an open space between the floor and mouth - when left uncovered - affording ventilation from the outside.
Into this cistern Caroline was lowered with comforters, pillow and chair. A washtub over the trap with the usual appliances of a washroom standing around, completed the hiding. But poor Caroline trembling and almost paralyzed with fear of discovery her nerves weakened by grieving for her little girl transported to Texas, and the cruel blows which had broken her arm and scarred her body - could not be left alone through the night.
As I must have an excuse if found up at an unusual hour, I improvised a sick room. My son sleeping on the sitting-room lounge for a patient; my rocking chair; a stand with cups, vials and night lamp beside him were above suspicion. All night I crept to and fro in slippered feet. Peering from the skylight in the roof, from which in the bright moonlight all the approaches could be plainly seen anon; whispering words of cheer to Caroline in her cell, and back again to watch and wait and whisper.
At 12 o'clock - mid the cheerful crowing of cocks on both sides of the river - having taken a careful survey from the skylight, I passed a cup of fresh hot coffee to Caroline and sitting by the open floor drank my own with apparent cheerfulness, but really in a tremor of indignation and fear; fear of a prolonged incarceration of the poor victim of oppression and indignation at the government that protected and the manhood that stayed its hand from "breaking the bonds and telling the oppressed go free."
Seven o'clock in the morning the slave-hunters rode out of town into the interior. When evening fell again Caroline and another girl of whom the hunters were in pursuit found a safe conveyance to Leavenworth friends.
Nichols traveled throughout the territory lecturing about equality, gathering signatures on petitions, and by 1859 building support for her participation at the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention. These petitions persuaded the delegates to give Nichols a voice and a platform. She sat in on the convention’s daily proceedings, occupying a seat of prominence next to the chaplain. While there, she lobbied the delegates to grant women equal educational opportunities and the right to vote in school district elections, as well as equal standing on child custody matters and equality in holding real and personal property. Largely due to Nichols’ lobbying efforts, the Wyandotte Constitution guaranteed these rights to Kansas women, and once the convention finished its work, Nichols campaigned for the constitution’s adoption by the electorate. This successful campaign, which ended with the referendum of October 4, 1859, however, did not end the struggle for equality.
Kansas was a vital battleground for woman’s rights, and events there remained important to the national movement. Thus, when the Kansas campaign for equal suffrage was launched in 1867, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Olympia Brown, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton joined Clarina I. H. Nichols in a valiant but futile effort. Stanton went on an exhaustive 1500-mile tour in an open carriage on dusty roads, slept in a log hut and spoke in unfinished schools and churches. Kansas voters rejected amendments for both female and African American suffrage. The cause of woman’s rights advanced slowly, thereafter, but it did advance, thanks to Nichols and many other selfless and dedicated women. Nichols left Kansas in 1871 to be with two of her children in California, where she died on January 11, 1885. But, of course, the cause lived on. Two years after Nichols’ death, Kansas women could vote in municipal elections, and in 1912 they succeeded in their long effort to amend the state constitution and gain equality at the polls.1
Chapter VII – History of Woman Suffrage, S.B. Anthony, E. C. Stanton & Matilda Joslyn Gage; Reminiscences by Clarina I. Howard Nichols
This October 7-8, 2016, the Binghamton community will host a conference on sustainability and resilience in our flood prone areas. Workshops on flood frequency, mitigation, preparedness, and the status of local efforts. On Saturday, there will be a tour of rain gardens and other measures at the newly build MacArthur School and in the evening a reading of an original play at KNOW Theatre about local flood stories. Some mural panels (including the one pictured by Megan Smey) from the Dept of Public Art Mural Fest will be on display, and some water themed art will be on display at First Friday at the Cooperative Gallery as well as other venues.
For registration and a complete agenda of the Living With Water conference go here. (https://goo.gl/forms/QBWz0ezVDuxZha383)
Limited to 100 registrants! (No registration fee)
Clarina Howard Nichols 1810 - 1885 Could a woman support herself and children by writing an article like this for the local newspaper today? NO. In fact, it is very difficult to get one’s viewpoint printed at all. Only if you are a celebrity or other notable do you get paid for writing.
Fortunately, Clarina’s parents encouraged her to get educated. From an early age she wrote prose and poetry. Her father Chapin Howard was a successful entrepreneur in Townsend, VT. As a child she witnessed interviews he had with local poor people as supervisor of the poor. This was the beginning of her awareness of women’s lack of property rights. Although her first husband had literary aspirations, her marriage crumbled when he was unable to support the family. Her father provided her with a dowry of $1500 of which her husband became “owner” as well as of her earnings from writing. She had three children, taught school, and worked for a newspaper.1 She started writing in Brockport, NY. She and her husband Justin Carpenter became involved in the Young Gentlemen and Ladies Temperance Society. He had difficulty supporting his family and they tried to regroup in New York City but that also failed. She ran a boarding house, took in sewing and millinery work.
She consoled herself with writing. As a Baptist she was plagued by moral failure and social disgrace. He absconded with the children and then she mobilized for their return and she moved back home to her parents in 1839. Her father’s stature as a selectman, former town representative and experienced justice of the peace gave him influence with legislators. In 1840 they initiated a bill to the Vermont legislature to allow for divorce even if a couple’s problems occurred outside of the state. This reform opened the way for Clarina to receive a divorce (with a three-year residency requirement). This was a lesson on how laws could be changed through political action. She lived with her parents during this time.
In 1840 she started submitting her poetry to a newspaper in Brattleboro using a byline of anonymity. Coupling romantic phraseology with reverence for God and earth she used her memory to write about domestic and historical topics. Her professional relationship with the paper’s owner and widower George Nichols blossomed into a marriage after her divorce in 1843. As his health declined Clarina became the editor. Although 25 years older he was the support she needed as she pursued political action. Local newspapers were partisan in those days, but there were more than one choice, not as today. Women were not allowed to speak publicly. She supported Horace Mann’s education reforms and temperance. In 1846-7 she evolved into supporting antislavery policy and the Free Soil Party. She then started occasional columns written by a pseudo-name, Deborah Van Winkle who would sit in a legislative gallery knitting and then write about the proceedings.
This was a time when petitions were effective. Women began attending political party rallies. In 1852 Clarina attended the Women’s Rights Convention in Syracuse, NY. She was a favorite for her heartfelt and earnest oratory. Here she met Susan B. Anthony and they became lifelong friends. 1852 was Clarina’s initial foray when she initiated a petition pleading for the right to vote in school meetings that was submitted to the Vermont legislature. She went door to door getting 200 signatures. The following year she submitted a petition for equal custody for mothers. She was even invited to speak for her cause; with great trepidation she spoke for an hour and a half. The Broome County legislature restricts to three minutes. “Even though she had ‘earned’ the dress she wore, she noted indignantly, her husband owned it, not because he wanted to, but because of a law passed by “bachelors and other women’s husbands.” “She challenged lawmakers’ manly sense of honor for tolerating committee chair Barrett’s taunts while having “legislated our skirts into their possession.” She claimed the respect due to a woman of refinement.2 Although the effort failed, she gained recognition of the New York Tribune. She went on to support the temperance movement.
Locally, in Broome County a grassroots-organized public hearing on public transportation was attended by 100 people but the BC administrator of transit was not allowed to attend. Six hundred people signed a petition to restore bus services that the legislature ignored. Take note of the Broome County Legislature - Rule 17 PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR Except as otherwise provided herein, no person shall be entitled to the privilege of the floor during a meeting of the Legislature unless, either a member of the Legislature requests said privilege on behalf of a person and the Legislature grants said privilege by a majority vote of the whole number of the members of the Legislature, or a special or standing committee grants said privilege by majority vote of the whole number of the members of the Committee on behalf of a person who has appeared before the Committee. The Chair of the Legislature may recognize and grant privilege of the floor to any County, State, Federal or municipal official. The granting of the privilege of the floor may be conditioned upon such terms of time and content as the Chair may impose. 1 – www.kshs.org/kansapedia 2- Frontier Feminist, Clarina Howard Nichols. p.115
VINES is now accepting pieces for the 5th Annual Coffee Bag Silent Auction. This event is a chance for your art, craft, trade or business to be featured and up for bid at your favorite Court St businesses Laveggio Roasteria, Chroma Cafe & Bakery, Gennarelli's Flower Shop, and The Loft at 99. Your talents will raise funds for VINES gardens and youth employees.
The challenge is to create an item that features burlap in some way. Burlap is a fantastic medium for creating art or crafts. You can sew it, paint it, upholster with it, put things in it, and more.
Here's how it works for participating artists:
Step 1: Sign up on our form by clicking HERE or visit Laveggio Roasteria, 101 Court St to sign up. Don’t know what you’re making – no problem! We just like to get an idea of who is participating each year.
Step 2: Purchase a $6 burlap coffee bag from Laveggio Roasteria or call VINES at 607-205-8108 to schedule a time to get one.
Step 3: Get those creative juices flowing! (pssst.. check out google or pinterest for ideas)
Step 4: Submit your piece by November 5th @ 1pm. They may be delivered to the VINES office, 42 Chenango St, Monday–Friday 9am-5:30pm (call us at 607-205-8108 to confirm) or to Laveggio on Saturday November 5th between 9am-1pm.
Step 5: On the day of the event – November 12th 3-5:30pm – people will come and bid on your creation and raise money to support VINES’ gardens!!
Thank You for 11 fabulous years.
With heavy hearts, Bill and Johanne Pesce will be retiring from The Windsor Whip Works Art Center
After 11 years of successful operation, it is with great sadness and reluctance that we’ll be ceasing operations after our final exhibit closing on October 29, 2016. The Art Center’s final exhibit opened on Saturday, September 10th and will remain open until the closing date. It is an inspiring exhibit with five artists in mixed media, oil, and bronze with compelling commentary on exploring being human.
This has been the most difficult year physically to keep up with the many strenuous activities and programs that the Art Center offers. Johanne and I have come to the realization that running the Art Center has become increasingly more difficult, leaving us little spare time to enjoy our four children and eight grandchildren. Our plan is to finally create art ourselves and travel before our health makes it too difficult. It is with a heavy heart that we have come to the decision that it’s time for a change and to move on to a new and less stressful phase of our lives.
The Windsor Whip Works Art Center has been a gratifying experience for my wife, Johanne, and me. We have met so many wonderful people who have become dear friends to us. We have been fortunate to have a dynamic, art-loving board of directors, including people like Bryna Silbert, our curator, who knows who’s who in the fine art business and has been responsible for choosing most of the 200+ artists who have shown at the gallery over its eleven years of operation and the many others who serve on our board including Jean Matthiessen, Nikole Cappello, Brad Vickers, Joe Trapper, David Yetter, Kit and Dr. Mike Ashman, Sima Auerbach. Mina Smallacombe, Richard Nolan, Richard Lynch, Joy McMicken, Kedron Hay, Sharon Warnock, Marc and Janis Schimsky, Fred Xlander, Lauren Floden, and Joanne Arnold. To these and many others who have served over the years, we will always be grateful.
It is certainly sad and difficult to let go, but I’d like to share some of the happier, exciting times and talk a bit about what the Whip Works Art Center has accomplished, closing on a more positive note.
In 1999, anticipating retiring, serious thought was given to moving to our vacation home in Windsor. The fact that taxes were cheaper; the air and water cleaner and we would no longer endure bumper to bumper traffic was, indeed, appealing. While driving down Main Street in Windsor, one day, we noticed a “for sale” sign on a dilapidated building. Being a novice concerning what’s involved in renovating old buildings, I said to Johanne, “We can buy the building at a real bargain, fix it up and open an art gallery. It will be a great hobby; we could meet creative people and finally do the great painting I was waiting all my life to accomplish.”
Over the years, the building had deteriorated into an eyesore from years of neglect. That summer the structure was purchased; and after five years and more money than we had ever expected to invest, it was restored to its original architecture, turning it into an upscale art gallery and vibrant community art center.
I was firmly committed, and would not listen to all the good advice everyone was telling me.
“Renovating that building and opening an art gallery in WINDSOR is a crazy idea.”
But, as it turned out, they were wrong. What we soon discovered was that an art gallery’s mission was not only selling and promoting the arts; in fact, it could be a driving force influencing community revitalization.
The Art Center is located in an 1872 Italianate building that faces the Village Green in Windsor, NY. The building was the home of the Windsor Whip Works factory from 1901 to 1951. Until the advent of the automobile, Windsor had been one of the leading manufacturers of buggy whips in America.
In 2008 the Windsor Whip Works Art Gallery became the Windsor Whip Works Art Center— a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, acting as a visual arts resource for all ages and levels of ability; serving Broome and Delaware Counties and northeastern Pennsylvania.
In addition to the many opening receptions each year, which included a Windsor student art exhibit for grades K to 12, we also offered poetry recitals, Art Alliance seminars with guest speakers, various classes such as life drawing, printmaking and dozens of painting workshops, bus trips to museums and galleries and so much more. The Art Center had become a place for artists and those who love the arts, to come together to learn, socialize, and grow. It has always been the vision of the Art Center to increase the quality of life within our community, while drawing attention to the new vibrancy of Windsor and the surrounding area.
The biggest discovery was learning that our organization could play a leading role influencing community revitalization.
Statistics show that every time a village, town or city supports the growth of the arts, it sparks an economic revitalization. The Windsor Whip Works Art Center has dedicated itself to helping create a robust cultural environment that has contributed to the economic development and quality of life in the community in which we live.
The Windsor Whip Works influenced several exciting local projects. While serving as Vice President of the Windsor Partnership, a progressive organization responsible for innovative programs leading to Windsor’s revitalization, I had an integral part in developing and serving seven years as a board member helping to organize the highly successful Window on the Arts annual festival, chaired over the years by Dick Rehberg, Dave Yetter, Sue Rambo and Sharon Warnock. We proudly celebrated First Knight at the gallery, painting portraits of the cutest youngsters you’ve ever seen, providing a cultural art exhibit, music and merriment for the community. As president of the Eagle River Valley Cultural & Economic Corridor, an on-going initiative, we strategically linked the towns and villages of Hancock, Deposit and Windsor into a powerful marketing tool to attract tourists, homebuyers and investors. My vision to turn a blighted Main Street building into an anchor to promote revitalization of our village Main Street sparked the formation of the non-profit organization, the Windsor Community Revitalization Organization. I plan to continue as a board member to facilitate the highly motivated and skilled restoration project of the old Windsor Inn into an inn offering several period specific suites, a fine dining restaurant, tavern and gift shop. The interior of the Inn will be designed to make visitors feel as though they stepped back in time to the inn’s glory days of 1832.
While we had all our art exhibits planned into 2017 as well as an 11th year Anniversary Dinner/Dance scheduled for this November’s First Friday at Atomic Tom’s, it saddens us to face the monumental task of dismantling the up-coming plans that took so long to develop. That said, we are pleased about the legacy we leave behind, the many friends we made over the years, and for the beautiful Art Gallery building that will continue to influence the growth and revitalization up and down Main Street in the Windsor community for years to come.
The big question is what’s going to happen to the Art Center? We are hoping that a local will be interested in taking over Art Center, a non-profit, tax exempt organization. If you or anyone you know might be interested, please contact us.
What will we be doing from now on? Well, maybe at last, we will finally get to dedicating time into creating art, enjoying our family, traveling, and continuing to be involved in the community Johanne and I have come to love so much.
Join us in celebrating our eleventh-year anniversary/farewell fundraiser on Saturday, October 8, from 7 to 10 pm. Suggested tax deductible donation $25. There will be raffles for a chance to win artwork donated by many local artists. We encourage all our friends to come enjoy wine, food, music, and a great time of being together sharing memories, hugs, and maybe even a few tears.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!
Co-directors, Bill & Johanne Pesce
Photo: Outlining the Mural Design on the Pool House
The Dept. of Public Art and reBOLD Binghamton are sponsoring the third annual Mural Fest at Cheri Lindsey Park September 17th from 11 am- 4 pm and will paint three buildings and many smaller panels to be placed in the community. “MuralFest 2016 will bring local creativity to improve the Park and to bring attention to the Northside,” said Mark Bowers a spokesperson for the event. Bruce Greig, a master muralist, will also paint a mural design by Amy Panella on the rear wall of the Binghamton Plaza. Panella, an art teacher, won a design contest with her mural that shows the rooftops of local landmarks with a sky that includes hot air balloons and the word “Binghamton” that will be visible from across the river.
The pool house at Cheri Lindsey Park will be getting a new mural designed by local artist Zach Wilson, and local artists may volunteer to help paint that large mural. Another building at the park will get new murals on three sides of the park by artists who actively use the park and have painted murals there previously.
At least 15 local artists will also paint original designs on wooden and fabric panels to be posted in the community. This is a continuation of the Blight mitigation project in which the Dept. of Public Art placed mural panels on 11 boarded up buildings. Other activities for children and adults will include upcycling projects, such as making kaleidoscopes out of cardboard containers, creating animal figures out of corrugated cardboard, a Box City, and other interactive activities. Tabling opportunities are available for artists and organizations.
Support for MuralFest and the permanent murals it will leave behind has received support from many sources: Chenango Co Arts Council - NYS Decentralization grant with support from Governor Cuomo and the NUS Legislature and the Hoyt Foundation; the Community Foundation of South Central NY; the Tourism Fund of Broome County; the Mayor’s Office, City of Binghamton; Visions Credit Union; Lowe’s and Sherwin Williams Paint; Wegman’s; Daniels Paint and other businesses. The public is being encouraged to support local artists at the event by donating to Mural Fest through the DPA via PayPal at binghamtonbridge.org. For more information or to volunteer, contact the email@example.com.