Annotated Text: Zerelda G. Wallace
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See 49.2004.4 Zerelda G. Wallace historical marker page.
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Born August 6, 1817 in Kentucky(2) and came to Indianapolis with her family in the early 1830s.(3) Was a charter member of the Church of Christ (later Central Christian) 1833.(4) Married David Wallace (later governor) 1836.(5) Was first president of Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Indiana 1874(6) and member of the Equal Suffrage Society of Indianapolis.(7)
She spoke nationally on temperance and suffrage.(8) On January 21, 1875, she testified before Indiana General Assembly, presenting 21,050 signatures on temperance petitions from 47 counties.(9) On January 23, 1880, she testified before U.S. Senate, Judiciary Committee on woman's right to vote.(10) Died March 19, 1901; buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.(11)
Footnote 1 - Her full name was Zerelda Gray Sanders Wallace according to her March 19, 1901 Death Certificate. Her preferred name apparently was Zerelda G. Wallace, based on a photograph with her signature pictured in Susan Vogelgesang, "Zerelda Wallace," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, 4:3 (1992), 35.
Footnote 2- Gravestone; Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore, eds., A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-Seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life (Buffalo N.Y., 1893), 742-43.
Footnote 3 - Minutes and Membership of the Central Christian Church of Indianapolis, 1833-1845, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library, 31. The name adopted on June 12, 1833 was The Church of Christ at Indianapolis, ibid., 32. The current name of the church is Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Footnote 4 - Ibid, 32. The church was organized June 12, 1833, and her father John Sanders was appointed Bishop. Although only fifteen, her name is listed separately.
Footnote 5 - Zerelda Sanders and David Wallace were married December 25, 1836. They had three children; she was also stepmother to Wallace's three sons from his first marriage. David Wallace became the sixth governor of Indiana, serving from December 6, 1837 to December 9, 1840. Dorothy Riker, ed., Messages and Papers of David Wallace (Indianapolis, 1963), 18, 19, 3. Her stepson, Lew Wallace, wrote a tribute upon her death, praising her as a mother. Indianapolis State Sentinel, March 20, 1901.
Footnote 6 - Proceedings of the First State Convention of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of the State of Indiana, held at Indianapolis, September 2nd & 3rd, 1874, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library; Indianapolis News, January 13, 1897; Indianapolis News, March 19, 1901. In 1883, Wallace brought her convictions about temperance to bear on her religion. After declining communion with fermented wine, she spoke out to the congregation. She voted with other members of the church board to use only unfermented wine. This practice spread to other Churches of Christ. Indianapolis News, March 19, 1901; Vogelgesang, 37.
Footnote 7 - Equal Suffrage Society of Indianapolis to unknown, December 6, 1882, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library; Indianapolis News, March 19, 1901.
Footnote 8 - National Woman Suffrage Association: Eighteenth Annual Washington Convention, February 17, 18, and 19, 1886, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library; National Woman Suffrage Association: Nineteenth Annual Washington Convention, January 25, 26, and 27, 1887, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library; Indianapolis News, January 13, 1897.
Footnote 9 - Indianapolis Journal, January 22, 1875.
Footnote 10 - Senate Committee on the Judiciary, "Arguments of the Woman-Suffrage Delegates Before the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, January 23, 1880," 47th Cong., 1st sess., 1880, Senate Miscellaneous Document 74, pp.1-2.
Footnote 11 - Death certificate; Burial Record, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, n.d.; Indianapolis News, March 19, 1901. Her funeral service was held at Central Christian Church, where this historical marker has been installed.