By Mona Reno, Nevada Women’s History Project
Role in Women’s Suffrage: President of the Suffrage Society in Elko County, Nevada, 1912. Vice-President of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society, 1913-1914. Delegate from Nevada to the 45th National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in Washington, DC, 1913.
Mae E. Griffin was born on March 15, 1872 in Wells, Elko County, Nevada, to James J. Griffin and Maria Hanafin Griffin. At age 25 Mae married Edwin E. Caine in Ogden, Utah, on August 30, 1898. They had three children, but sadly only Paul lived to adulthood. Early in their marriage Edwin was a school Principal, but by 1910 he was a lawyer and later unsuccessfully ran
for the US Congress. The couple’s involvement in politics would remain a driving force in Mae’s life.
Mae began her work for equal suffrage on May 17, 1912 when she was elected thePresident of the Suffrage Society in Elko County. She soon had a statewide office as the vice- president of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society in both 1913 and 1914 representing Elko County. A big honor for Mae was being selected a delegate from Nevada to attend the National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in Washington, DC from November 29 to December 5 of 1913. Mae resigned as the President of the Elko suffrage group in July of 1914.
At the last meeting of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society in February 1915 the newly created Nevada Women’s Civic League was formed. Mae was elected the vice-president of this organization representing Elko. Mae was also involved in the Nevada Federation of Women’s Clubs and attended their 1917 annual session representing the Elko Twentieth Century Club. In
1949 Mae was given a life membership to that group for her over thirty-years membership.
Her husband Edwin died in 1922. In 1927 Mae E. Cain began her long career as Elko County Clerk. Mae served as the County Clerk from 1927 to 1950.
Mae E. Caine died at age 83, on August 24, 1955. She is buried in the Burns Memorial Garden Catholic Cemetery in Elko, Nevada.
- Daily Independent (Elko, NV). “Equal Suffrage Meeting,” May 17, 1922, p. 3. Nevada State Journal. “Equal Suffrage News,” November 24, 1913, p. 3.
- Phillip E. Earl. “Bustles, Broadsides and Ballots: The Story of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Northeaster Nevada, 1869-1914,” Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Spring, Summers, Fall, 1976.
- Reno Evening Gazette. “Miss Martin League Head,” February 25, 1913, p. 7.
- Reno Evening Gazette. “Women’s Club Elects Its Officers,” February 19, 1915, p. 1-2.
- Reno Evening Gazette. “League Officers are Ex-Officio Delegates,” April 20, 1916, p. 2.
- Reno Evening Gazette. “Life Memberships in Century Club Conferred in Elko.” November 28, 1949, p. 8.
- U.S. Census, 1900-1930.
- Utah, Select Marriages, 1887-1966. Ancestry.com
- Yerington Times. “Equal Franchise Progress: Successful and Harmonious Suffrage Convention,” March 14, 1914, p. 2.