Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Lucy A. Clark – One of Davis’ own Suffragists

Mar 21, 2024 01:02PM ● By Braden Nelsen
A group of Utah Suffragists and Senator Reed Smoot at the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City. Public Domain photo

A group of Utah Suffragists and Senator Reed Smoot at the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City. Public Domain photo

FARMINGTON—Farmington is known for its beautiful historic homes. Strolling along down the treelined lanes, people can see plaques denoting the Utah Historic Register dotting many beautiful old buildings, but there’s one in particular that might stand out. In addition to the black and gold register sign, this home bears a bright white and pink sign with the name, “Lucy Rice Clark.”

Lucy Augusta Rice Clark was born and lived in Farmington for much of her impressive life, and was very active in politics both locally, and nationally. Born in 1850, Clark would have been in her 20s when the Utah Territory extended women the right to vote and would have been understandably outraged when, in 1887, the federal government revoked that right with the Edmunds-Tucker Anti-Polygamy Act. 

Perhaps contrary to the designs of the act, this galvanized women across the state, seeing many of them joining in the suffragist movement. Lucy Clark was one such woman, serving as president of the Davis County Woman Suffrage Association and vice president of the Utah Woman Suffrage Association for a time. Clark would also go on to serve as postmaster for the city of Farmington, and would also run for senate. 

While she did not win the senate seat, Lucy A. Clark would rise to national prominence almost by happenstance. Clark had gone to Chicago as an “alternative delegate” to the National Republican Convention in 1908. When the time came for the convention itself, the original delegate, C.E. Loose, could not attend, and so, Lucy A. Clark became the first woman to vote at the convention.

Being the first, and only woman there, Clark drew national attention, and was the focus of many newspapers, both locally, in Chicago, and nationally. Clark was wise, she was savvy, and she didn’t squander the opportunity this afforded her. In every opportunity she was given to speak, Clark pressed the issue of women’s suffrage. The now-defunct newspaper, the Inter-mountain Republican quoted her, saying:

“Women’s suffrage is getting past the stage of being a joke. The jocular attitude with which everything connected with the movement used to be treated is now giving way to a more respectful attitude…The wise men of our nation are beginning to wake up to the question of suffrage. The signs of the times are distinctly propitious to the movement. We have maintained every inch of ground we have thus far obtained.”

Lucy was more fortunate than many in the suffrage movement. In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, extending, once more in Utah, the right to vote for women. Lucy would live to see that amendment ratified, and the result of her decades of hard work and devotion to the cause. She would not, unfortunately, live long beyond that, passing away in 1928. Lucy Augusta Rice Clark would then be interred in her hometown at the Farmington City Cemetery.