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First Woman to vote in Claiborne Parish

By Wesley Harris (Claiborne Parish Library Historian)

When Callie Hearn of Haynesville was given special permission to vote on a stock law in 1896, she became the first woman to vote in Claiborne Parish.

The widow of Flavius Josephus Hearn, who died in 1895, Mrs. Hearn and her two-year old son lived on and managed a farm two miles west of Haynesville. At that time there was no law to prohibit livestock from running loose in the parish, necessitating that farmers fence in their crops. A proposed stock law would keep the stock fenced up and leave the fields open.

Due to the heavy cost imposed on Mrs. Hearn to keep up long lanes of split rail fences she asked for and received permission from the Claiborne Parish Police Jury to vote in the place of her late husband for the stock law. This she did and the law was passed in 1896.

Later remarried as Mrs. L. K. Akin, she had five children who cherished their mother’s stance on her right to vote. She died in 1952 and is buried with most of her children and first husband in Whitehall Cemetery.

Nationally, women did not receive the right to vote until the 16 th Amendment was ratified in 1920.

–adapted from “Historic Claiborne, 1962” by the Claiborne Parish Historical Association