Susan B. Anthony and Chautauqua County Courthouse

Mayville, New York is a village of about 1,700 people. It’s a quaint small town just a hop, skip and a jump from Lake Erie. I was actually on my way to Barcelona Lighthouse when the wide streets, old buildings and overall tidy appearance of the town turned my head.

I did my usual grid search of the town before circling back to the main drag to study the Chautauqua County Courthouse.

This building is stately and interesting all by itself. Built of stone around 1908, it’s the third courthouse here. I admired its large lawn and how it’s set back from the street. I often complain about my local courthouse and how you’re greeted by a lot of concrete and a weapon of war next to the front door. It’s a cool building but not especially friendly and I’m always jealous of courthouses that are so welcoming as the one in Mayville.

But I digress.

It’s notable to me that this wee town is the county seat when nearby Jamestown is significantly larger.

It was made county seat in 1812 and I’m guessing the choice was made because of the town’s proximity to Lake Erie. It just seems odd to see the cradle of government in a small town when it’s usually located in a county’s larger community.

What makes this site especially interesting though is that Susan B. Anthony spoke here. There was a different building here at the time but on December 26, 1854, she spoke at this site to organize the first county women’s suffrage convention for the New York State Women’s Rights. Committee.

History was made here.

This was actually the legendary suffragette’s first stop on this campaign to rally support for a committee in each county.

The community had this marker placed back in 2019 in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in 2020.

Born a Quaker, Anthony had quite the career as an activist and as an advocate for women’s rights. She died in 1906, missing the ratification of the 19th amendment by about fourteen years. Yet, she lives on in generations of women and girls who enjoy rights these rights she worked so hard to earn.

It is gratifying to know the community takes such pride in this slice of their history.

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

My Denver adventure last year included a stop at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. It’s on Lookout Mountain near Golden and just a few miles off I-70 west of Denver.

It’s not a large museum but they have packed in a lot of stuff and I learned some things. There was even a nice little exhibit about Annie Oakley who was from Ohio.

Buffalo Bill Cody was a character. A Pony Express rider by fifteen, he went on to do many, many things. He served the Union during the Civil War and was a civilian Army Scout during the Indian Wars. He was even awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His work as a skilled Buffalo hunter gained him the nickname Buffalo Bill.

He quickly became a legendary figure of the American west.

So it should come as no surprise that he founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1883, touring the country with his large company of performers and animals.

The man toured with hundreds of horses, men, women and actual live buffalos. Transporting the set, props and this crew was no small accomplishment. A 52 car train was used to haul it all.

The above image shows the 1883 cast of his show. You can buy this picture in the museum gift shop.

There are so many interesting things about this guy that I don’t even know where to begin.

The thing I like best about him is that he was a champion of women. Given that his life spanned from 1846 to 1917, this is remarkable. His ideas toward equal pay and women’s suffrage were quite shocking to many.

He was quoted saying “If a woman can do the same work that a man can do and do it just as well, she should have the same pay.”

Given that in 2020, women made .81 for every dollar earned by a man, Buffalo Bill was a man ahead of his time.

He also believed in the fair treatment of the American Indian and other ethnic and racial groups – another idea that was unpopular with our government and civilians alike. He had participated in more than a dozen fights against the Indians but believed they deserved fair treatment.

His Wild West show cross crossed the country for years and even went to Europe. The museum has a book that lists all the cities and dates the show performed. I learned they were in my own area many times, including small towns like Chillicothe, Circleville, Jackson, Hillsboro, Ironton and Marietta as well as Ohio’s larger cities.

Buffalo Bill died in 1917 while visiting his sister in Denver. His family said that he always wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain. He died in January so he wasn’t actually buried until June when thousands of mourners came for an open casket viewing. Yes, rather gruesome, I know.

There was a contingency that believed he should be buried in Cody, Wyoming, the town that he founded. At one point the Cody chapter of the American Legion allegedly offered a reward for the return of his body to their town.

The museum is well done. There’s a gift shop on site as well. It smells of tourist trap but they do have some good stuff packed in there including a cafe where you can grab a meal or snack. From here you can follow a paved path up a hill to visit his grave.

They encourage photography, have clean restrooms, picnic tables and an observation deck to enjoy the view from Lookout Mountain which is 7,375 feet tall.

It’s well worth the $5 price of admission. Want to learn more about Buffalo Bill or plan a visit? Visit them online.

Suffragettes And Election Day

This picture is a statue in Nashville’s Centennial Park. It celebrates the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave white women the right to vote. These suffragettes serve as a reminder that our right to take part in the electoral process is as a hard fought win and should not be taken for granted.

We live in a world that likes labels. We have been trained to put people in boxes or, more accurately, to choose sides.

Republican or Democrat.

Caucasian or Hispanic.

Cats or dogs.

Coke or Pepsi.

Every survey wants us to check the box that best describes ourselves. Every politician wants to villainize the other side.

You’re with me or you’re against me is the message I receive loud and clear from many of my Facebook friends.

Civility is a lost art. Tolerance for people who are different than us is no longer important.

People have become so preoccupied with criticizing anyone who looks or believes differently that we have forgotten something important.

Despite what divides us, we all are human and we all are Americans.

So whatever happens on this Election Day, I hope that we all can remember that.

Whether your candidate wins or loses, I hope that we can stop searching for the things that divide, stop giving platforms to liars and begin looking for the truth, for the things that unite us as humans and as citizens of this country.

Be kind to your neighbors. Be kind to people who are different than you. Give us a chance to heal.

To my American friends, if you haven’t done so, please exercise your right to vote. And to my international friends, if you are praying people and see fit, please pray for the soul of this nation.