Delta throwback: Wife not living up to her 'station'

Let’s take a step back and check out a news item in the Feb. 28, 1903 edition of The Delta News.

The article had the headline The “New Woman” and stated that a well-to-do farmer named John Haskins in Secaucus, a town in Hudson County, New Jersey, was seeking separation from his wife Martha.

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He was claiming that she was a “new woman” by “spending nearly all her time attending club meetings and reading trashy literature on the enfranchisement of her sex.” 

The article also stated, “He married her 18 months ago as a helpmate, he says, but she has proved an encumbrance too expensive for a farmer, refusing to milk cows, feed chickens make butter or perform ‘any of the duties naturally expected from one of her station.’ Haskins says his wife characterizes work about a farm as ‘unwomanly’ and that he has steadily lost money since their marriage.”

At that time it would take a few years for women to be allowed to vote in a provincial election in Canada, followed by full suffrage from the federal government.

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