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Notable Women in Warren County History

Susan B. Anthony
On December 3, 1872, nationally acclaimed suffragist Susan B. Anthony spoke in Warren at Roscoe Hall.  According to the Warren Mail newspaper which reported on the lecture entitled "The Bread and Butter Question," Anthony "made a strong argument and sharp points, but is not a very agreeable speaker.  She says many good things and some foolish things.  Just now she and several other women are under bonds for voting at the Presidential election."

Dr. Elizabeth Beaty  ?-1954
Elizabeth Beaty was born in Warren and lived practically all of her life here.  She was a graduate of the Women's Medical College of Philadelphia.  Upon graduation she returned to Warren and practiced medicine from 1912-1950.  During the 1920's, she supervised the laboratory at Warren General Hospital.  She was involved in many organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames, the Woman's Club of Warren, the Warren County Medical Society, and the Zonta Club.  Upon her death, Elizabeth Beaty donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the creation of scholarships for local young people and to aid relief missions abroad.

Barbara DeFrees 1908-1992
Barbara DeFrees was a longtime philanthropist in Warren.  She was involved in numerous organizations including serving as president of the Warren General Hospital Auxiliary, vice president of the Warren Library Association, president of the Warren Relief Association, and was a member of the League of Women Voters.  Mrs. DeFrees was a lover of music and created numerous scholarships enabling young people to study the arts.  Her generosity and that of her husband, Joseph, through the creation of the DeFrees Foundation enabled them to continue giving to the community to this day.

Dr. Anna Flatt 1853-1941
Born to Quaker parents in St. Albans, Maine, raised in Iowa, educated at the University of Michigan and the Medical College at Pittsburgh, Anna Flatt was a pioneer in the practice of medicine.  Dr. Anna Flatt setup her medical practice in Corydon in 1889.  During the next 23 years she delivered most of the children in the Kinzua-Corydon area.  Dr. Flatt would visit homes in all kinds of weather, day and night.  Being a physician in such a rural area in the 1890's required the intense zeal and determination that Dr. Flatt brought to Warren County.

Mary Abbott Hazeltine
At the age of 50, Mary Abbott Hazeltine left her comfortable surrounding in Sugar Grove to travel to an Army hospital at Annapolis Junction to care for her son, Clark, who had been wounded in battle.  A younger son, Herbert, had already been lost fighting in the Civil War a year before.  Unsatisfied with the medical care Clark and his comrades were receiving, she stayed and worked at the hospital for eight weeks nursing Clark as well as other soldiers back to health.  At one point she took it upon herself to travel to Washington and file a complaint about the poor conditions the soldiers had to endure while recovering.  While at Annapolis, Mary and other women distributed pillow slips, drawers, stockings, pants and towel that were sent from Philadelphia.  Upon returning to Sugar Grove, Mary organized an Aid Society at Busti, NY under the direction of the Sanitary Commission, now the Red Cross, and acted as the organization's President.  She drove herself three miles in a buggy to meet with other women who rolled bandages, scraped lint, knitted socks, and made hospital shirts.  Mary organized dime socials as a means of raising funds for supplies.  The women were dependent on Mary for advice regarding what was most desperately needed at Army hospitals.

Mrs. J.P. Jefferson   ?-1914
Alice Jefferson was one of the organizers of the Door of Hope and of the Emergency Hospital.  She was extremely interested in the welfare of children and the prevention of cruelty to animals.  She personally carried on work on their behalf, paying the expenses of agents and court costs to prosecute a number of offenders.  She lessened to a considerable extent the inhumane treatment of helpless children and suffering animals in our county.

Alice G. McGee  1869-1895
Alice G. McGee held the distinction as the county's first and only female lawyer for more than half a century.  Admitted to the bar on May 13, 1890, Ms. McGee became Warren's first woman to practice law and only the second in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Finding the practice of law in a small country town slow and unprofitable, Ms. McGee took up an acting career.  She appeared in "The Queen of Sheba" in Buffalo, NY during the 1893-94 season.  She was well received by the audience and proclaimed "the star" of the show.

Cynthia Catlin Miller
One of the earliest residents of Sugar Grove, Cynthia Catlin Miller was active in the abolitionist movements.  She worked tirelessly wit the Ladies Fugitive Aid Society to sew and make clothes for runaway slave through the community.  At her home in Sugar Grove, she entertained famed anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass on June 18, 1854.  The Miller Mansion became an important stop on the area's Underground Railroad for escaping slaves making their way to Canada and freedom.

Phebe Mitten
In an age of polite society where many thought a woman's place was to remain safely at the home, Phebe Mitten was out policing the streets of Warren as the county's first female police officers from 1917-1921.  She was known to wrestle and standup against some of the toughest drunks in the county.  She approached her job with determination and with an intent of upholding the law.  At a time when the Island was referred to as "The Jungle," Phebe waded fearlessly into the midst of a crap game, gathered up the dice and money and put an end to the gambling.  The gamblers were so impressed with her that they presented Phebe with a pair of silk stockings.

PA State Representative Kathy Rapp
The first women to represent the 65th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Kathy Rapp began her first term in the Legislature in 2005, having been elected in 2004. Rapp, born February 23, 1951, in Sligo, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the late Williams and Elva Wilson, graduated from Slippery Rock University with a Paralegal Certification.  She also is a graduate of Bryant and Stratton Business College. The lawmaker is the youngest of six siblings.  She has three children, Marnie, who is a captain in the United States Army, Amanda, and Daniel, who both reside in Warren County.  Her family supported and encouraged her decision to run for public office.
Rapp has long worked as an advocate for people with disabilities.  She has worked with non-profit disability organizations in three counties:  Erie, Warren and Crawford.  She was also an employee of the Parent Education Network, a statewide training organization for parents of special needs children and professionals who work with children with special needs.  She was a statewide transition coordinator for children with special needs.  In that position, she worked closely with parents, the Departments of Education, Public Welfare, Health and Labor and Industry.  She received a commissioner from Governors Ridge and Schweicker on the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council where she served on the legislative committee.
Rapp was vice chairman of the Warren Valley Republican Committee and served on many councils in the local, regional, and state levels.
Rapp has received several awards, including “Advocate of the Year,” which was awarded by the Community Resources for Independent Living.  She has also received the “Parent of the Year,” which she received the Local Task Force on the Right to Education.
The lawmaker prides herself on running a very positive campaign and focused on the issues that are of greatest concerns to her district.
When asked what was the most difficult challenge facing women who want to run for public office, Rapp replied, “being able to run for a public office when the time is right.”  Rapp added that running for office was not something she would have done with younger children.  She needed to find the right time.  Family is very important to her and she felt the need to balance her family with her career.
The advice that Rapp would give to women who are interested in running for public office is to “make sure it is what you really want to do.  It is hard work, it takes many people supporting you and believing in you, and you must believe in yourself.  The biggest motivator is wanting to serve the people of your district.”
Rapp enjoyed meeting and getting to know people in the district most during her campaign.  She appreciates learning about the history of her counties and familiarizing herself with the current needs of Warren, Forest and McKean counties.
She would like to be remembered as a “person who has tried to make a difference in the lives of other people for the better.”  She hopes to leave the district in a better place than where it was when she took office.
Schmedlen, Jeanne H.  History of Women in the Pennsylvania House of Representative 1934-2005.  Harrisburg:  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives 2005.  Pgs. 86-88

Laura M. Scofield  1823-1909
A native of Warren, Laura Scofield did much to further the cause of Women's Rights.  She helped form the Political Equality Society of Warren, an organization dedicated to winning voting rights for women.  She was interested in anthropology and while in Washington DC wrote articles for the Women's Anthropological Society, including a scholarly article on "Cornplanter, Chief of Six Nations."  For the Centennial celebrations of Warren in 1895, all the preparations were carried out by women.  A letter from Susan B. Anthony to Laura Scofield congratulated Warren "on having attained the ripe old age of one hundred," also that the celebration is to be "managed entirely by women."

Hon. Maureen Skerda
The Honorable Maureen A. Skerda
Maureen A. Skerda was elected as the first female Judge of the District and began her term in January, 2006. She has practiced in Warren and Forest Counties since 1988 as a staff attorney, Assistant District Attorney and has served as Court Hearing Officer from 1992 through 2005.  Judge Skerda is a graduate of Rosary High School, Aurora, Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan University and the Antioch School of Law. She is married to Philip J. Skerda and her family includes her stepson, Andy; daughter-in-law, Stephanie; and grandson, Ryan.  ©http://www.warrenforestcourt.org/Chambers/Skerda

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
On November 17, 1871, leader of the national fight to bring about equal rights for women including suffrage Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke in Warren at Roscoe Hall.   According to the Warren Mail newspaper which reported on the lecture, Stanton's lecture was entitled "The Coming Girl."  Press coverage also noted "Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was well-received.  She is 55 years-old, short, stout and has white, curly hair.  She was a white cap and has a motherly and pleasant face.  She does not rant for women's suffrage, but reasons logically.  She says girls should be healthy and get exercise, learn a trade, be self-sustaining.  She said the vine would be in bad shape if the oak died, so women should not depend too heavily upon men.  She urges the vote be given to women.

Ella M. Tybout ?-1952
Born in Delaware, Ella Tybout moved to Warren after the death of her father to be closer to her cousins Mrs. and Mrs. JP Jefferson.  Ella Tybout was one of the county's first female authors writing her first story at the age of sixteen.  She became a regular contributor to Lippincott's Magazine, Leslie's New England Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post.  Her most famous novel was The Wife of the Secretary of State, which was based on diplomatic life in Washington DC.  Other works include The Smuggler and a novelette titled The Man at Stony Lonesome.

Helen Walker 1905-1986
During the early years of flying, Helen Walker was the region's most notable female aviator.  She performed as a stunt pilot in various air meets, took passengers on sight-seeing trips, flew mail for the US Postal Service, flew air cargo commercially and was a flight instructor.  In this latter  capacity, she trained more than two hundred pilots in the Civil Pilots Training Program during World War II, many of which became bomber and pursuit pilots.

Historic Women's Organizations

Blue Stocking Club
Political Equality Society of Warren
Ladies Fugitive Aid Society of Sugar Grove
Female Assisting Society of Sugar Grove
Women's Christian Temperance Union of WC
The League of Women Voters of Warren County
Women's Club of Warren

Look into these other resources for education in Warren County history...

We offer resources for educators and classrooms on a variety of topics in Warren County's history to help you reach your goals in Warren County School District's Planned Instruction.  We preserve the past to help you prepare your students for the future!

Notable Men In Warren County

Places in Warren County

African Americans in Warren County History

Judges:  the history of the 37th Judicial District

The Oil Industry in Warren County

The Lumber Industry in Warren County

Women in Warren County History

Early Transportation in Warren County

Immigration in Warren County


Partial Listing of Warren County School District Planned Instruction Social Studies Grade 3



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