New Historic Marker in Homer Recognizes Women's Rights Leader
Nearly 50 people turned out for the unveiling of a historic roadside marker on Main Street in Homer yesterday, the marker recognizes one of America’s foremost social reformers who was born in the Village.
With musical fanfare and an extensive history Homer Town Historian Martin Sweeney and Cortland resident Pamela Poulin unveiled the latest historical marker in Homer, this one dedicated to the early beginnings of women’s rights and temperance advocate Amelia Jenks Bloomer.
Through her research Poulin was able to determine that Jenks Bloomer was born in Homer in 1818 and lived at 43 Main Street. The young Jenks Bloomer was educated at the Homer academy on the Village Green. At age 22 she married the owner of the Seneca County Courier Newspaper and became a writer.
In 1848, Seneca Falls had become the focal point for the Women’s rights movement, Bloomer was there and used her husbands newspaper to publish her views on equality for women. Prior to that time married women were considered property and could not vote, own land, or work outside the home.
Jenks Bloomer is also credited with promoting changes in women’s fashion, up to that point women wore long heavy dresses, Bloomer and some of her contemporaries opted to turn the dresses into a more practical pair of pants, which were dubbed bloomers by the press.
Jenks Bloomer also spoke out against the abuse of alcohol and the negative impacts it had on families and communities.
Jenks Bloomer died in Iowa in 1894.
Sweeney says Homer has recognized many of its native sons; this recognition of one of Homer's women pioneers was long overdue.
Sweeney has been pushing to increase Homer’s historic profile, recently he advocated to have the Village included in Governor Cuomo’s Path Through History program which will include new road markers on the highways encouraging prospective visitors to stop and learn more. Homer was not added, but Sweeney feels eventually it will be.
The William Pomeroy Foundation paid for the blue and gold marker with a thousand dollar grant.