Hutchinson Family Singers and Suffrage: 1896

Hutchinson Family Singers and Suffrage: 1896

The Hutchinson Family singing group had been popular in the mid 1800s.  John W. at age 75 in 1896 was the only surviving sibling, but his reputation and the appropriate lyrics undoubtedly recommended him for the convention where Mabel Potter spoke.   John sang baritone and falsetto.  His brother Jesse had written abolition and temperance lyrics, mostly set to familiar hymn and folk song tunes.  The families of the brothers formed, at various times, various Hutchinson family singing groups.

The Hutchinson brothers, with sister Abby, began their career with conventional melodramatic songs, including “John Brown’s body lies a-mould’ring in the grave,” and “Tenting tonight on the old campground.”  Their association with Frederick Douglas inspired new songs and participation in anti-slavery rallies.

I certainly don’t know what John sang at the Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Convention in 1896, but this might have been one of the lyrics:


Who votes for woman’s suffrage now,
Will add new laurels to his brow;
His children’s children with holy fire,
Will chant in praise their patriot sire.
No warrior wreath of glory shed,
a brighter lustre over the head,
Than he who battles selfish pride,
And votes with woman side by side.

We’ll do nothing wrong, but sing you this song.
The good time for woman is coming right along.
We’ll sing you this song help the chorus on:
The good time coming boys, vote it right along.

This shall unfold, his better part,
Delight the spirit, warm the heart.
No jealous thought shall haunt his brain,
And Eden’s peace he shall regain.
And equal partner be his bride,
No holy joy shall be denied.
As equal rights their motto’ll be,
Together journeying o’er life’s seas.
This song was originally posted on

Their first great vote to close shall be,
Those gilded haunts of infamy,
The poor besotted wretch shall know,
That woman has shut the gate of woe.
The light of truth shall shine again,
And Temp’rance on the earth shall reign.
The night of darkness disappear.
The millenium sunshine bright and clear.
This song was originally posted on

Then let us all unite in love,
To emulate the hosts above.
Be just and kind and brave and true,
Doing to others as they’d to you.
Build high humanity’s sacred cause,
Obeying conscience and its laws.
We reach at last the etherial sphere.
Know God and all His works revere.

Sheet music of 19th Century protest songs sung by the Hutchinson Family and other period music is available from Amaranth Publishing.

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