Originally posted at Alexander Street as part of Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920.
By Joanna Tebbs Young, MA/MFA, independent historian
Biography of Frances Rastall (Mrs. E.L.) Wyman, 1869-1931: Vermont Woman Suffrage Association: President, Manchester, Vermont
Frances Rastall Wyman, eldest child and only daughter of Frances (Fanny) Hawley Rastall and John E. Rastall, was born in Burlingame, Kansas on February 23, 1869. With her parents both active proponents of prohibition and her mother a well-known suffragist, Frances unsurprisingly followed in her mother’s footsteps in the pursuit of the “woman vote.”
Frances attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1890 to 1894 and studied science for at least her first year. (Oberlin’s 75th anniversary publication states Frances was only enrolled 1893 to 1894 in The Academy; however, she is listed in the 1890 catalog under “Middle Class” next to the abbreviation Sc, indicating Scientific.)
In 1901, Frances married widower Edmond Lewis Wyman, a physician and surgeon 25 years her senior. Having met while he was studying a post-graduate course at Illinois College of Electro Therapeutics, they were married in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rastall in Chicago. In approximately 1906, the couple moved to Dr. Wyman’s hometown of Manchester, Vermont, where he opened a medical practice and was appointed President of Factory Point Bank. In 1907, Frances joined the First Congregational Church of Manchester.
The first record of Frances’ activism is at the Twenty-fourth Annual Convention of the Bennington County Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in April 1909, where, listed as Mrs. E.L. Wyman, she led the devotional service and spoke on the subject of Rescue Work. Three years later, her mother Fanny moved to Vermont to live with Frances after she, Fanny, was invited to be the principal speaker at the convention. Frances also gave an address that year titled, “A White Life for Two.”
Elected president of the Vermont Woman Suffrage Association in 1913, she spoke at the 1914 annual conference. That same year, the Manchester Journal noted that at the WCTU Convention in Burlington, “among the addresses given that which [sic] attracted the most attent was that delivered… by Mrs. Frances Rastall Wyman… on The Moral Education of the Young.”
Also a singer, Frances traveled in January 1915 to Rutland, Vermont with the music students of Mme. Ravi-Brooks to give a recital at the Congregational Church where she sang a solo and trio. It was this same year that Frances, as an attendee of the Manchester Monday Club’s annual banquet, read a “very appropriate reading.” In 1918, as well as offering a Bible reading on Friendship, Frances sang two pieces for the music portion of the program at the Bennington WCTU Convention.
During the last two years of WWI, Frances was appointed secretary of the Manchester Red Cross, but after the 19th Amendment ratification in 1920, also the year her mother died, Frances disappears from the record. Surely still believing until the end that she was—as she signed herself in a letter to the editor on April 5, 1917—“Yours for the larger democracy,” she died 11 years later aged 62. Predeceasing her husband by three years, Frances is buried in Dellwood Cemetery in Manchester.
Chronicling America, Library of Congress, chroniclingamerica.loc.gov
The Barre Daily Times. (Barre, Vt.), October 31, 1914
The Bennington Evening Banner. (Bennington, Vt.), April 29, 1909
The Bennington Evening Banner. (Bennington, Vt.), May 28, 1912
The Bennington Evening Banner. (Bennington, Vt.), November 03, 1914
The Manchester Journal. (Manchester, Vt.), April 05, 1917
The Manchester Journal. (Manchester, Vt.), February 18, 1915
The Manchester Journal. (Manchester, Vt.), January 21, 1915
The Manchester Journal. (Manchester, Vt.), May 09, 1918
The Manchester Journal. (Manchester, Vt.), November 12, 1914
The Manchester Journal. (Manchester, Vt.), October 16, 1913
The Churchman. 1901, books.google.com/books/about/The_Churchman.html
Dodge, Prentiss C. Encyclopedia Vermont Biography: A Series of Authentic Biographical Sketches of the Representative Men of Vermont and Sons of Vermont in Other States, 1912.
Stanton, Elizabeth C, et al. The History of Woman Suffrage: Vol. 6. National American Woman Suffrage Assn., 1922. [LINK]