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General Rosalie JonesRosalie Jones (who became known as General Jones) made her mark on the suffrage movement by leading hundreds of women on long marches to deliver petitions and raise awareness of the suffrage cause.  One particularly grueling march took them 13 days, through atrocious weather and right through the Christmas season of 1912.

The ninth day of the hike began late as the troops needed tougher, warmer footwear.  Over 200 women began the tour, which stopped in towns along the way to hold meetings, answer questions about their cause, and distribute pamphlets.  The 140-mile hike took its toll on troops as well as shoes, but the ones who made it through eventually delivered a weighty petition to New York’s Governor-Elect in Albany.

On Christmas Eve, they were greeted with a luncheon in Blue Store, NY.  Some thought was given to staying there for the night because of the snowy, cold weather,  but they rejected it, and they continued 12 more miles to Hudson, NY, that night, where they arrived after dark.  No crowds greeted them that miserable night, but a poem by Elizabeth Aldrich, a takeoff of The Night Before Christmas, greeted them.  In part, it read:

For there, to my wondering eyes did appear,

         The miniature army of four tiny dears.

         With an odd draggled General, weary of bones,

         I knew in a moment ‘twas Rosalie Jones.

         More slow than a snail,

         She was dragging her feet.

         And urging her blisters,

         And cobbles to meet.

‘        On Percy, on Merry, come left and right,’

         Ne’er footsore crusaders in sorrier plight.”  (It was said that General Jones used an old soldier’s trick of naming her feet when walking became too painful.)

All the marching and blisters paid off with positive publicity—even in the New York Times, which had been firmly anti-suffrage.

It is reported they rested on Christmas day, then began the final 32 miles of their hike; for the women who marched, it was a Christmas season to remember.  They met face-to-face with people all along the way and explained the importance and fairness of their cause.  They brought more attention to the injustice that had lasted for generations.  Although it would be eight more years before women’s right to vote would be secured in the federal Constitution, General Rosalie and her troops did their part to make that happen.