Woman of the Century/Lucy Robbins Messer Switzer
SWITZER, Mrs. Lucy Robbins Messer, temperance worker, born in Lowell. Mass., 28th March. 1844. Her maiden name was Lucy Ann Robbins. Both her parents are natives of Massachusetts and both of English and Scotch descent. The families of both Mr. and Mrs. Robbins were of the orthodox Congregational faith of New England. In 1855 the family moved to Wisconsin, and the next spring found them on a prairie farm in Minnesota, Greenwood Prairie, near Plainview. At thirteen years of age she took note of such remarks as petticoat government of Great Britain" and "a woman's school," and, turning these matters over in her mind and believing that God gave women brains to use, she reasoned out the question of the entire equality of woman socially, politically and religiously, and has ever since held to those principles. She soon became a believer in and an advocate of total abstinence, after seeing something of the effects of the use of intoxicants by a young man who worked for her father on the farm, and on hearing the sneering and abusive language used in referring to him by a neighbor, who was a moderate drinker. LUCY ROBBINS MESSER SWITZER. In September. 1864, she became the wife of Frederick Messer, formerly of New Hampshire. His health had been injured by the exposure of army life, and after many changes of residence for his benefit he died in North Platte, Neb., in 1880. Mrs. Messer united with the Methodist Episcopal Church with her husband in Plainview, Minn., in 1869 In 1877 she took up the work of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Lynnville, Iowa. After the death of Mr. Messer she removed to Cheney, Wash., stopping for a few weeks in Colfax, where she organized a union in October. 1880. She became the wife, 15th June, 1881, of W. D. Switzer, a druggist of Cheney. Immediately on the organization of the Cheney Methodist Church Mrs. Switzer was made its class-leader, and held the position three years. The work of the Woman's Christian Union was not forgotten. A union was formed in Cheney in 1881, and Bands of Hope were formed in Cheney and Spokane In 1882 she was appointed vice-president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union for Washington Territory, and before Miss Willard's visit in June and July, 1883, she had organized in Spokane Falls, Waitsburg, Dayton, Tumwater, OIympia. Port Townsend, Tacoma and Steilacoom. She arranged for eastern Washington a convention in Cheney, 20th to 23rd July, 1883. Many articles were written by her for the "Pacific Christian Advocate" and the "Christian Herald" on all phases of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union thereby helping to institute the work over all the north Pacific coast. She has been president of the Eastern Washington State Union since 1884. The campaigns of 1885 and 1886 for scientific instruction and local option, and the constitutional campaigns for prohibition and woman suffrage are matters of record as representing arduous work and wise generalship, although in the constitutional campaign the right did not prevail. She has traveled thousands of miles in the work, having attended the national conventions in Detroit, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York, Chicago and Boston, and also the Centennial Temperance Conference in Philadelphia in 1885, and the National Prohibition Convention in Indianapolis in 1888, as one of the two delegates from the Prohibition party of Washington. She served as juror on the petit jury in the district court in Cheney for twenty days in November, 1884, and February, 1885, and was made foreman and secretary of several cases. She was active during the years from 1883 to 1888, when women had the ballot in Washington, voting twice in Territorial elections and several times in municipal and special elections.