By Kaylah Bresee and Geneva Williams, students, Aragon High School, San Mateo, California and Serene Williams, faculty, Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, Atherton, California
Hanna Linehan was born in Grass Valley, California in February 1872. Her parents were both born in Ireland. Her brother was named Robert Linehan and her sister was Miss Vonnie Linehan. She taught at a school in Nevada until she married Patrick Flanigan in 1900. Interestingly, Patrick’s mother and wife had the same maiden names. He was a real estate developer and a senator in Nevada. He owned extensive property in Northern Nevada and at one point was one of the wealthiest men in that state. He belonged to both the Republican and Progressive Parties. Hanna and Patrick had a daughter and two sons. Her daughter’s name was Helen and her sons were named Paul and John. The family was closely affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1891 she was the First Vice President of the Young Ladies’ Institute of California, which was a Catholic women’s organization. It appears she was most active in the fight for women’s suffrage from 1913-1916. In 1915 she was affiliated with the Civic League of Nevada which advocated for women’s suffrage and was led by Anne Martin, the well-known Nevada suffragist. In 1916 Anne Martin served on the executive committee for the National Woman’s Party and recruited many women from that state to join the NWP. Hanna Flanigan was one of the women who joined the NWP because of her close affiliation with Martin. Anne Martin had trained in militancy in Britain and worked with Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. In 1916 the Nevada Civic League announced they were cutting ties to NAWSA and would give their support to the National Woman’s Party. In 1916, the Nevada Civic League welcomed militant suffragists from Washington D.C. The women of the Civic League were excited to see the national leaders that inspired western suffragists.
The Congressional Union of NAWSA arrived in Nevada on April 26, 1916. Despite the late arrival at the train station, the women of the Nevada Civic League were eager to learn about the Congressional Union’s radical methods. The reception was ran by Anne Martin, who was the chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Congressional Union and president of the Nevada Women’s Civic League. Hanna’s niece, Miss. Minnie Flanigan, served as President of the Reno Women’s Civic League.. These women successfully lobbied the governor to support women’s suffrage. Despite his support for suffrage, he was vocally opposed to the creation of an independent women’s party.
In addition to her suffrage work, Hanna was a charter member and first president of the St. Agnes Society. She also volunteered with the Twentieth Century Club. After her husband’s death she worked as an assistant librarian for 15 years. Her husband Patrick died in 1920. On November 9, 1940 Hanna fell and broke her hip at home which resulted in complications including pneumonia. She died after spending a week in the hospital. She is buried in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery in Reno, Nevada.
1) “Civic League Is Formed By Women.” Reno-Gazette Journal, 18 Feb. 1915.
2) Death Certificate for Hanna Linehan Flanigan, Nevada State Department of Health, November 9, 1940
3) “Enthusiastic Greeting of Envoys in Nevada” Suffragist May 13, 1916
4) “Hanna Linehan Flanigan.” Find A Grave, 14 Mar. 2014, www.findagrave.com/memorial/126362973/hanna-flanigan
5) Nevada State Journal, May 3, 1891
6) “Nevada Suffrage” Women in Nevada History https://www.womennvhistory.com/nevada-suffrage/
7) “Notes of the Week” The Suffragist August 26, 1916
8) “Patrick L. Flanigan.” Find A Grave, 14 Mar. 2014, www.findagrave.com/memorial/126360840-1_-flanigan
9) Reno Gazzette-Journal. 6 July 1920, www.basic.newspapers.com/image/147496200
10) “Women to Hold Big Demonstrations Tonight.” Reno Gazette-Journal, 5 Oct. 1981, www.basic.newspapers.com/image/147622071
11) Year: 1910; Census Place: Reno Ward 1, Washoe, Nevada; Roll: T624_859; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0068; FHL microfilm: 1374872
12) Year: 1930; Census Place: Reno, Washoe, Nevada; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 2341032