In Gold-Leafed Heels

Born in 1881, Leoria Carolyn Wilbur, is a common find in newspaper clippings from 1887 to her last day in 1903.

Ms. Wilbur was also my great grandmother, and through tracking down these articles, I wish to explore my own family’s place during the Gilded Age. Research in chronological order is difficult with my sources. I will publish my findings in the same order as I find original articles.  I will sort them by date later.

I’ve found that in my family there were three fairly prominent women in Binghamton, New York: my great-great grandmother Lovina Tripp Wilbur, born in 1853, Leoria Carolyn Wilbur, my great grandmother, born in 1881, and Leoria Carolyn Meeker, my grandmother, born in 1903. These three women were very active in the community and often show up in the local news.

The October 19, 1899 article to the side describes a visit from Teddy Roosevelt, the then governor of New York State, to a Women’s Christian Temperance Union meeting in Binghamton, New York. In this same meeting my grandmother, at the  age of 18, was given the task of running the post office that was set up in a small room of the local church for this assembly.It seems likely that both Leoria Wilbur and Lovina also met Governor Roosevelt.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union(WTCU)was organized in 1874 to fight against the horrible effects of alcohol on families. At the time, many women depended, almost completely, on their husbands for support. In too many families, men spent their wages on alcohol, which often led to abuse of these women who had no recourse.
Many of the articles I have found describe the activities of my female ancestors in the WCTU.