Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor

SLAUGHTER, LINDA (1843-1911)

Linda Slaughter, ca. 1880.

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Linda Warfel Slaughter was a journalist, historian, and women's rights advocate in North Dakota. Born February 1, 1843, in Cadiz, Ohio, and educated at Oberlin College, she settled in Bismarck in 1872. She was appointed superintendent of schools for Burleigh County in 1873. Though women could not vote at that time, she was elected to the position several more times until 1882. In 1876 Slaughter was appointed deputy superintendent of public instruction for Dakota Territory.

Slaughter wrote regularly for the Bismarck Tribune and other papers. Her fiction was thinly disguised commentary on social life in the military and the politics of the Indian campaigns. Her essays at first criticized women's public suffrage and temperance activities and advocated "true womanhood" as women's proper role.

By the late 1880s Slaughter was a Washington correspondent for Dakota Territory newspapers. By then embracing the women's rights movement, she served as vice president of the Woman's National Press Association, attended the 1888 meeting of the International Council of Women, served on the national executive committee of the National Woman Suffrage Association, supported Belva Lockwood's presidential campaigns, and became an organizer for the Knights of Labor. In 1892 Slaughter attended the Populist Party convention, becoming the first woman to vote in a national convention for a presidential candidate.

In 1889 Slaughter organized the Ladies' Historical Society of Bismarck and North Dakota. As president, she collected and preserved records of North Dakota's early history. In 1895 she negotiated a merger with the fledgling State Historical Society, assuring women the right to vote and hold office in the new organization.

Slaughter continued to write history until very late in her life. Her last articles, four on Sitting Bull for Sports Afield (1903–4) and a lengthy piece for the State Historical Society (1906), are on early settlement, military activity, and Indian resistance. She died in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on July 3, 1911.

See also MEDIA: Bismarck Tribune .

Barbara Handy-Marchello University of North Dakota

Burgum, Jessamine Slaughter. Zezula, or Pioneer Days of the Smokey Water Country. Valley City ND: Getchell and Nielsen, 1937.

Slaughter, Linda Warfel. Fortress to Farm or Twenty-three Years on the Frontier, edited by Hazel Eastman. New York: Exposition Press, 1972.

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