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Kansas City's Irish Festivals, Music, Pubs & Events

Monday, March 13, 2006

Museum Portrayal of Mary Elizabeth Lease

As part of Women's History Month, on March 23 the Powers Museum in Carthage Missouri is presenting Glenna Wallace of Seneca in a costumed portrayal of famous Irish-American Mary Elizabeth Lease, who first gained recognition for a series of lectures (1885–87) on Ireland and the Irish.

Mary Elizabeth Lease, 1853–1933, was born in Ridgeway, Pa. the daughter of Irish parents who emigrated from County Monaghan during the Famine. At the age of twenty she came to Kansas to teach school in Osage Mission, and married a local pharmacist.
She and her husband spent 10 years trying to make a living farming, but lost everything in the financial panic of 1873. She later became the voice of the Farmers' Alliance, making more than 160 speeches in the Populist Party's 1890 campaign in which she claimed credit for the defeat of Kansas senator John Ingalls.

Achieving world-wide fame and attracting national attention, Lease has been described by her enemies as using "radical utterances." The most famous quotation attributed to her by a newspaper staff member, which she denies having ever said, supposedly encouraged farmers of Kansas to raise less corn and more hell. Lease didn't make a big issue of the misquoted comment because she believed it to be a right good piece of advice.
You can hear this Populist Reformer known as Mary Yellin as she "revisits" Carthage at 7 p.m., March 23, 2006, at Grace Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall, 820 S Howard, in Carthage. Admission is free, and if you're on your way to the Ozarks anyway?


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