Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906)

Harriet LaFetra (1823-1906) (HM1RLB)

Location: Shrewsbury, NJ 07702 Monmouth County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 19.471', W 74° 3.635'

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Women's Heritage Trail

— Shrewsbury Friends Meeting and Cemetery —

The settlement of Quakers in the colony of New Jersey is regarded as an important contribution to a progressive tradition in the state. Then as now, Quakers believed in equality and in granting women a unique role in their communities. Quakers believed the presence of God in everyone and therefore a women was a man's equal. At that time, the outside community did not recognize the equality of women and, in particular, a woman's right to speak out in public. Harriet LaFetra actively contributed to the Shrewsbury Monthly Meeting. Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and in 1857 petitioned for women to have legal equality under New Jersey law. She was the first woman known to have petitioned the state legislature on behalf of women's rights and woman's suffrage in New Jersey. Although other petitions had been submitted earlier, Lafetra's was the first recorded effort. Married in 1844 to Joseph Preston Lafetra and a resident of Shrewsbury, Harriet LaFetra died on April 16, 1906 and was buried next to her husband in the cemetery at the Shrewsbury Friends meetinghouse.

The petition was acknowledged and denied by the New Jersey Assembly in their 1857 Report of the NJ Assembly Committee on Women's Rights.

"The majority of the Special Committee, to whom was referred the petition of Harriet M. Lafetra and others, inhabitants of the county of Monmouth, stated that they, said petitioners, believe 'that men and women alike suffer many evils,' and requesting a revision of the statutes of New Jersey, so as to remove 'various and grievous legal disabilities under which the latter are placed, and thereby establish the legal equality of women and men,..." The report concluded by reporting "adversely to the prayer of their petition."

(Inscription in the boxes on the left) Top box-The Shrewsbury Friends Meeting and Cemetery is the burial site of Harriet Lafetra, a Monmouth County Hicksite Quaker who petitioned that state legislature for the legal equality of women with men under New Jersey Law. Because of her integral role in the Women's Reform Movement, Ms. Lafetra is on the New Jersey Women's Heritage Trail.
Bottom box-The New Jersey Women's Heritage Trail highlights a collection of historic sites located around the state that represent the significant contribution women made to the history of our state. The Heritage Trail brings to live the vital role of women in New Jersey's past and present.
Placed ByNew Jersey Historic Trust-Historic Preservation Office
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, April 11th, 2016 at 9:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 579808 N 4464199
Decimal Degrees40.32451667, -74.06058333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 19.471', W 74° 3.635'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 19' 28.26" N, 74° 3' 38.1" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)732, 848
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 355 Sycamore Ave, Shrewsbury NJ 07702, US
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