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Over one thousand people witnessed the 1913 clash over the “Spirit of 1776” wagon, a symbol of the suffrage movement.

Categories: Event, History, NYS History, WCNY Vignette, Women's Suffrage

In 1913, the “Spirit of 1776” wagon, which dates to the American Revolution, was donated to women’s suffrage advocates by the I.S. Remson Wagon Company of Long Island, New York as a publicity stunt. The hope was to draw some attention to the company amid the press hubbub surrounding the donation of the historic wagon. The Quaker suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns used the wagon in pageants, parades and events, the American Revolution being and often referenced idea among suffragists. It is somewhat ironic, then, that one of the many infamous clashes surrounding the wagon was the result of an encounter between Kearns and Mary Livingston Jones. Jones claimed the wagon had belonged to her family, who were British loyalists during the revolution, and thus was not a symbol of American liberty. Kearns was shaken by the encounter. The wagon is now in the collection of the New York State Museum.

Video produced by WCNY.