Monday, March 19, 2012

Emma Ingalls

The newspaper Emma Ingalls and her husband founded, the Kalispell Inter Lake, allowed her to editorialize for civic reform. A rival editor said she was a “clever and interesting writer who occasionally wielded a caustic pen.” Ingalls was also a pioneer homesteader, the first to irrigate in the Flathead Valley, and managed by herself when her husband’s health failed. One of the first two women elected to the Montana Legislature in 1917, Ingalls introduced the national suffrage amendment when it came before the Montana House for ratification.
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives
Returning for a second term, Ingalls sponsored the bill establishing Mountain View Vocational School for Girls. Until that time, courts remanded both boys and girls to the state reform school at Miles City. Separation of boys and girls was an important step in the care of delinquent juveniles. Ingalls was the first woman to work with the Bureau of Child and Animal Protection, chairing the northwest district under Governor Joseph Dixon. Despite her accomplishments, Ingalls believed her life was unremarkable. “God put me on his anvil and hammered me into shape,” she once said. “The things that seemed so hard to bear at the time have proven to be the stepping stones to a larger, richer life.”

From Montana Moments: History on the Go

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