Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Louise Atchison Ronnow
By Kay Moore, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento
Lincoln County Equal Franchise League (Panaca, NV)
Louise Juliette Atchison was born January 25, 1874, the second of the nine children born to William Stanton and Mary Eliza (Lee) Atchison. She married Joseph Ronnow on June 29, 1893, in Panaca. His parents, Christian Peter Ronnow, Sr. and second wife Amelia Laurine Hansen, were Danish immigrants, both arriving in the U.S. in 1862. His father was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of the Scandinavian mission begun in 1849. Louise’s grandparents on her mother’s side, Francis and Jane Vail (Johnson) Lee, were early converts, having joined in 1832. They helped settle Panaca in 1864, with the Ronnows arriving in 1866, just as Congress made it a part of Nevada, not Utah. Joseph was born June 21, 1869, at his family’s brick and adobe home on Main and Fifth Streets.
The Mormon organization, the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association which founded a branch in Panaca in the 1880s provided a pattern for future activism by women. The girls met weekly, enjoying literature, music and sewing. To raise funds, they sold their handiwork and in 1900, held a New Year’s Ball, inviting their counterparts in Pioche to participate. So collaboration groundwork for the women of the Pioche branch of the Lincoln County Equal Franchise League and those in Panaca was in place and they started working together in 1912 as documented in The Pioche Record. The effective work of the Lincoln County Equal Franchise League to achieve the right to vote for Nevada’s women in 1914 was noted in that year’s publication, The Clash in Nevada. Mrs. Joseph Ronnow and other local women were named as being significant in forming branches of the group in that county and having “the largest membership in proportion to the population.” Card parties raised money and lecture presentations spread information about the goals of the organization. Their efforts were successful. In the November 3, 1914, vote on suffrage, Lincoln County voters supported the measure 383-81 according to published voting results.
Between 1894-1915, Louise and Joseph had seven children: Joseph Jr. (1894), Lela (1895), Etta (1898), Charles (1900), Garland (1903), Francis (1909) and Lee (1915). Louise died November 12, 1915, from complications after Lee’s birth and is buried in Panaca Memorial Park. Consequently, Louise was eligible to vote in Nevada in city elections before her passing, but she did not live to see the national suffrage effort passed.
Joseph died September 22, 1928 in Las Vegas, but is buried next to Louise in Panaca Memorial Park. He is identified as a farmer on his death certificate. The family continues to be remembered through “Ronnow Road” and Joseph’s childhood home which still stands in Panaca.
No public photo of Louise Juliette Atchison Ronnow can be located.
Addams, Jane. The clash in Nevada: A history of woman’s fight for enfranchisement, 1914, pgs. 58, 60.
Carol’s Quest Bag. Life magazine, Vol. 54, No. 18, May 3, 1963, pgs.106-108.
Franchise Society Meets. The Pioche Record, February 22, 1913, p. 4.
Gates, Susa Young. History of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: From November 1869 to June 1910, 1911, p. 422.
Mrs. Joseph Ronnow Called Over the Divide. The Pioche Record, November 13, 1915, p. 1.
Lincoln County: Driving Tours and Walking Tours of Alamo, Caliente, Panaca and Pioche, p. 11. As found at http://www.littlealeinn.com/resources/LincolnCountyTours.pdf.
Local and Otherwise, The Pioche Record, January 4, 1900, p.4.
Nevada, Marriage Index, 1860-1987. Lincoln County Courthouse, Volume B, p. 115.
Official Canvass of Votes Cast in County. The Pioche Record, November 14, 1914, p.1.
Reeve, W. Paul. Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes. University of Illinois Press, 2010, p. 100.
Scandinavian Jubilee Album. Salt Lake City, June 14, 1900, pgs. 1, 208. As found at
Suffragettes Held Meeting Last Week, The Pioche Record, June 29, 1912, p. 1.
U.S. Census: 1870; 1900; 1910
Young, S. Dilworth. Having Been Born of Goodly Parents, March, 1973. As found at https://www.lds.org/new-era/1973/03/having-been-born-of-goodly-parents?lang=eng.