Who Was Mrs. G.E. Keese?

aka: Edith Stilson Keese


Born in Brooksville, Vermont on December 3, 1885, Edith Stilson married George E. Keese and lived on a farm on Town Hill Road (modern day Route 7) in New Haven, Vermont. Living in New Haven most of her life, she was a mother of two daughters, Caroleen and Urana. As a farm wife, most of her days were filled with taking care of her family and farm. Washing/ironing, canning food, baking, and cooking occupied her days and when it was too cold to travel, cleaning the house, wallpapering, and crocheting occupied her time. "Visiting" friends and family as well as the "pictures" provided her with entertainment and a social life. However, it was her family that gave her the most joy and sorrow. Her daughter Urana passed away in 1937 and she took on the duty of raising her granddaughter Phyllis when she was 6 mos. old. Once widowed in 1944, Edith bought a house in the town of New Haven and then eventually in New Haven Mills, closer to her daughter Caroleen. Both her and Caroleen's diary entries are filled with these visits to and from their homes. While her life may have been filled with monotony and hard work, she was well loved by all who knew her. She died of an apparent heart attack on April 19, 1960 at the age of 78.

Why would this farm wife in rural Vermont want the right to vote?

While a busy wife and mother, she was involved in her community and was politically active throughout her life.

Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother

Excerpts from Edith Stilson Keese diaries.

Monday: March 2, 1931 - a nice day

"washed + ironed, made a pie for Town Meeting dinner"

Tuesday: November 8, 1932

"Town Meeting. Caroleen came around this way, Mama came and we did her washing, after dinner we all went up to the street cloudy and cold, Edith can walk now"

Wednesday: November 9, 1932

"a beautiful day, Henry and Phebe came out to dinner and we had a good visit, and we got a Democrat President. Rov (Roosevelt)"

Tuesday: March 7, 1933

"Town meeting day. Cloudy, but warm 20 above am. Mabel Goss husband buried today, Banks closed all over the state."

Monday: March 2, 1936

"did my washing + ironing + made pie for town meeting dinner, some day"."

Tuesday: March 3, 1936

"Geo + Mr. Lowell went to town meeting, done some baking"

Monday: January 21, 1955

" we did the washing at Caroleens then went up and got Mrs. Halpin to watch the Inaugural of President Eisenhower. Mr and Mrs Walsh came down also."