Mt. Vernon was distinguished for a very flourishing Methodist college, open to boys and girls alike. The president and his wife were liberal and progressive people. I dined with them in their home near the college, and met some young ladies from Massachusetts, who were teachers in the institution. All who gathered round the social board on that occasion were of one mind on the woman question. Even the venerable mother of the president seemed to light up with the discussion of the theme. I gave “Our Girls” in the Methodist church, and took the opportunity to compliment them for taking the word “obey” out of their marriage ceremony. I heard the most encouraging reports of the experiment of educating the sexes together. It was the rule in all the Methodist institutions in Iowa, and I found that the young gentlemen fully approved of it.
At Mt. Vernon I also met Mr. Wright, former Secretary of State, who gave me several interesting facts in regard to the women of Iowa. The State could boast one woman who was an able lawyer, Mrs. Mansfield. Mrs. Berry and Mrs. Stebbins were notaries public. Miss Addington was superintendent of schools in Mitchell County. She was nominated by a convention in opposition to a Mr. Brown. When the vote was taken, lo! there was a tie. Mr. Brown offered to yield through courtesy, but she declined; so they drew lots and Miss Addington was the victor. She once made an abstract of titles of all the lands in the county where she lived, and had received an appointment to office from the Governor of the State, who requested the paper to be made out “L.” instead of Laura Addington. He said it was enough for Iowa to appoint women to such offices, without having it known the world over. I was sorry to tell the Governor’s secrets,—which I did everywhere,—but the cause of womanhood made it necessary.
In the month of June, 1871, Miss Anthony and I went to California, holding suffrage meetings in many of the chief cities from New York to San Francisco, where we arrived about the middle of July, in time to experience the dry, dusty season.