because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Marilla Ricker

Marilla Ricker was left a wealthy farmer's widow at the age of twenty-eight in the late 1800's. So she did what any self-respecting in-your-face woman with a bunch of money might do. She became a lawyer. But not the type of lawyer that just sets up a pretend office with a big desk in a stone building in downtown Washington, D.C. Ricker chose, instead, to specialize in criminal defense and prisoners' rights.

Since it didn't matter whether they could pay her or not, Ricker soon became known as the "prisoner's friend." She visited prisons and jails, applied for releases and pardons, and even supplied prisoners with reading materials and other basic necessities she could so easily afford and they couldn't.

It isn't that Ricker couldn't have practiced at a higher status. In fact, she outranked all eighteen of the men who took the bar exam with her in 1882. And she was ultimately appointed the Examiner in Chancery by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, as well as being named a U.S. Commissioner, in which capacity she heard many cases.

Eventually, it became a no-brainer that Ricker would seek political office and she ran for Governor of New Hampshire in her seventies. Unfortunately, at the time, women had not yet won the right to vote as full U. S. citizens, though Ricker had done her best to change that, registering to vote repeatedly for fifty years before it was finally legal for women to cast a ballot. In-your-face women are remarkable anyway. In-your-face women with money are downright stunning to behold.

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