After Dorothy Wilkins’ shared the pix of George Veditz’s tombstone some of us got curious about his wife – Mary E. (see Dorothy explain her visit to the gravesite of the Veditzs) and Dr. Karen Christie (KC) got busy digging up facts about Bessie (Mary Elizabeth Bigler Veditz preferred name) so here they are a la KC – if u have any more (most especially a pix as we havent located any yet but suspect she is in a few unlabeled group photos) pls email or leave a comment.
Notes from Dr. Karen Christie (a Deaf Cultural Studies professor at NTID/RIT and an all around champion.)
George’s wife was Mary E. on the gravestone, but also known as (Mary) Elizabeth or more commonly “Bessie.” Her maiden name was Bigler. Her father was from PA. and her mother from Ireland. Bessie had four Hearing siblings. Different records have Bessie’s birthplace as Ohio while others say PA. Her family moved to Co. when she was about 11 years old around the time she became Deaf. Her gravestone says 1876, but various census also say 1873 or 1874…
It seems George went to Colorado between 1888 and 1890 and likely met Bessie there while she was a student at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.
There was a literary society called “En Avant Literary” formed in Jan 1 1893, which lists the President of that society as G.W. Veditz and the Vice President as Bessie Bigler!
Two years later they were married (1895) when George was 33 and she was 20 (or so depending on what birth year you follow). There is no record of any children.
One online article said that there was a rumor he ‘won his wife in a chess match’ but that is kind of unsubstantiated—or likely, joking (NOTE from Patti – Veditz was a chess champion and very witty with his words so i can picture him saying that)
The 1900 Census lists them both as teachers at the Colorado school
Bessie was still teaching at the school for the Deaf up until 1930.
At the NAD conference in St Louis (1910)…Mc Cloud writes “The address of welcome to Colorado by Mrs. Bessie Veditz was a masterpiece in its way and deserves to be immortalized on the Regensburg moving picture films.” (Oscar H. Regensburg is the last name a Deaf man who was from Hollywood, CA and was Chairman of the NAD motion picture fund…smile)….inside jokes…
From the silent worker there is an article from 1913 (Vol.25, no 9)
“How Some Wives of Prominent Deaf Men Stand on the Suffrage Question”
and the part I like from “Mrs Geo. W. Veditz” (the bold part is my bolded, smile)
Mrs. Veditz lives in a state where women are allowed to vote, and she has cast her vote regularly since she was of age. She believes in equal suffrage not only for the United States, but for other countries as well, asserting that true civilzation is impossible “unless the sexes recognize, one the other, as fully equal in all the priviliges which civilization is supposed to confer…
“This right to vote will be followed by a repeal of the mediaeval, often barbarous laws defining the rights, or rather lack of rights, of women now in force in many of the states….Thus in only seven states has the mother equal rights with the father in the guardianship of the children. In Tennessee a woman loses control of her property when she marries. In Texas and Louisana a married woman cannot make disposition of her estate without her husband’s consent. She may bake a cake and not have the right to give it away, legally, unless her husband graciously nods his head. In cultured Massachusetts and semi-barbarous New Mexico a man may be punished for a misdemeanor committed by his wife. In Kentucky a married woman may not endorse a check, which in Georgia a note given by a married woman is legally worthless.
“All these are but a few of the legal injustices that equal suffrage will help to make right.”