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Ursuline Sisters celebrate 101 years of women’s suffrage

On the anniversary of the 101st signing of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, some Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph joined others in a parade and event on the Daviess County Courthouse lawn.

The parade began about 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2021, at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History and ended at the north side of the Courthouse lawn closest to the Ohio River. The event consisted of several speakers, with the keynote given by Marci Milby Ridings of London, Ky., who was the first female president of the Kentucky Bar Association. Other speakers were Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly, who thanked many “women of note” in his speech, including Ursuline Sister Ruth Gehres.

The festivities were supposed to happen on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment, but the parade was postponed for a year due to the pandemic. The first statue of a female on the Courthouse lawn, lawyer Louise Gasser Kirtley (1903-1972), was unveiled in August 2020, and a prayer was read on that occasion by Ursuline Sister Sharon Sullivan. It was rededicated this year, with her son, Bill, making remarks and other family members in attendance. Kirtley was the first woman attorney and judge in Daviess County, Ky. She was also the first female president of the Daviess County Bar Association.

Water, extra face masks, and scrolls of the 19th Amendment were available to attendees. The event was sponsored by the Owensboro branch of the American Association of University Women, the Daviess County Bar Association, Daviess County Fiscal Court, the City of Owensboro, and the Science Museum.

Here are photos from the day.