Antoinette Brown Blackwell
Antoinette Brown was born in New York in 1825 and grew up active in the Congregational Church. As an eight year old she decided to become a minister after hearing a visiting preacher. Church leaders made it clear that this career was not open to women. Brown graduated from Oberlin College in 1847 and studied at the Oberlin Seminary, but was refused a degree or ordination because of her gender. She served as an itinerant pastor before she was appointed pastor of a Congregational church, the first woman to serve as an appointed church pastor in the United States. A Methodist minister ordained her. After ten months serving the church Brown resigned, citing poor health.
Antoinette continued to lecture and write extensively, working for women's rights, abolition of slavery, and temperance. She married Samuel Blackwell in 1856; they had seven children. Antoinette continued to write and attended the 1860 National Women's Rights Convention. She became a Unitarian in 1878; her ordination was recognized, and she was later elected minister emeritus.
In 1920, ninety-five year old Brown Blackwell, the last surviving delegate of the first national women's rights convention, voted in the presidential election open to women. She died November 5, 1921.