In 1912, Eva Rider became the first woman bailiff in the United States when she was appointed by an El Dorado judge.
Under a judge’s direction, she installed Kansas’ first all-woman jury. It made national news at the time because women had yet to receive the right to vote in national elections. Kansas approved equal suffrage in the 1912 election, thus making the Kansas women qualified to serve on a jury.
El Dorado Judge Granville Aikman said of the first woman jury, “I desire the honor of presiding over the first trial in which their new rights are exercised.”
The court case was H.H. Boeck v. Carrie M. Schreiber et al. The case had been heard before by an all-man jury, which could not come to a decision. The case determined that Boeck had bought a quarter section of land in Gove County from Carrie Schreiber but that she misrepresented the actual value of the land. She died before the case could be settled, which made her husband, Henry, the defendant in the case.
When Rider installed the first all-woman jury, only one woman declined to serve – Edna Smith, who said she did not believe in women’s suffrage and did not believe women should vote or serve on juries.
She was excused by the judge.
Editorials about the women appeared in newspapers throughout the nation.
The jurors were: Hattie Riley Ritcherdson, Maggie Clark, Geneva Selig, Agnes Foulks, Frances Boston, Genevieve Munson, Rachel Stewart, Anna Ruddick, Esther Kirkpatrick, Blanche Cron, Nannie Elson and Clara Willis.
The contest ends Dec. 31.