Belva Ann <I>Bennett</I> Lockwood

Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood

Royalton Center, Niagara County, New York, USA
Death 19 May 1917 (aged 86)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Plot Range 78, Site 296
Memorial ID 1559 · View Source
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Suffragist. She received much acclaim for being the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court. She was born in Royalton, New York. After her husband, Uriah McNall, died in 1853, she decided she needed an education to help support herself and her daughter. She attended Genesee College, which was later Syracuse University, and graduated in 1857. She was a teacher and school administrator for several years before deciding to relocate to Washington D.C. in 1866 to pursue a law degree. She was admitted to National University Law School, which later became the George Washington University School of Law. In 1868 she married Ezekiel Lockwood, a former minister and dentist.She finished her courses in 1873, but the school refused to give a diploma to a woman; she had to write a letter to President Ulysses Grant before she could receive it. In 1876 she started lobbying United States Congress to pass a bill that would allow women to be admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. After its passage two years later, she became the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court with Kaiser vs Stickney in 1880. Although she lost the Kaiser case, the United States vs Cherokee Nation is her most famous case. In a 1835 treaty, the tribe had ceded land for one million dollars in the State of Georgia to the United States government, which the government had failed to pay in full. Over two days, she argued that there was still a debt with interest that needed to be paid. The Cherokee Nation was awarded a $5,000,000 payment, which is one of the largest made to a Native American tribe. She was the presidential candidate for the National Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888. In 1884, she received an estimated 5,000 votes from male voters as women did not have the right to vote until 1920. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1983.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1559
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood (24 Oct 1830–19 May 1917), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1559, citing Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .