Women in History – 24 October
1901 – On her 63rd birthday, Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to survive going over Niagra Falls in a barrel.
Annie Edson Taylor was born on October 24, 1838 in Auburn, New York.
She was a Dancing teacher. Desiring to secure her later years financially, and avoid the poorhouse, she decided she would be the first person to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor used a custom-made barrel for her trip, constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress.
On October 24, 1901, her 63rd birthday, the barrel was put over the side of a rowboat, and Taylor climbed in.
The Niagara River currents carried the barrel over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, which has since been the site for all daredevil stunting at Niagara Falls. Rescuers reached her barrel shortly after the plunge. Taylor was discovered to be alive and relatively uninjured, except for a small gash on her head. The trip itself took less than twenty minutes, but it was some time before the barrel was actually opened. After the journey, Annie Taylor told the press:
“If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat… I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.”
1830 – Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood was born in October 24, 1830. She was an American attorney, politician, educator, and author. She was active in working for women’s rights. The press of her day referred to her as a “suffragist,” someone who believed in women’s suffrage or voting rights. Lockwood overcame many social and personal obstacles related to gender restrictions. After college, she became a teacher and principal, working to equalize pay for women in education. She supported the movement for world peace, and was a proponent of temperance.
Lockwood graduated from law school in Washington, D.C. and became one of the first female lawyers in the United States.
Lockwood was a well-respected writer, who frequently wrote essays about women’s suffrage and the need for legal equality for women.
Belva Lockwood had a 43-year career as a lawyer. She died on May 19, 1917 and was buried in Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C