Nannie Flood Votes for President

Nannie Flood Escola in her classroom at the Ellison School on the Little River-Airport Road, 1909. (Gift of Linda Mechling, The Nannie Escola Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

November 5, 1912 – Miss Nannie Flood was the first woman in Mendocino to cast a vote for President of the United States. She marked her ballot a few minutes after 6 am, stopping at the polls on her way to teach at the Little River school. Although the 19th Amendment – which guaranteed voting rights for women nationally – wasn’t ratified until 1920, California became the sixth state where women could vote when Proposition 4 passed by just 3,587 votes (125,037 to 121,450) on October 10, 1911.

Nannie Flood was born in Cuffey’s Cove in 1885, daughter of pioneers, William Henry Flood and Rosa Mary Watkins Flood. In 1892, the family moved to Mendocino, and Nannie graduated from Mendocino High School in 1906. After attending San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University) to obtain her teaching degree, she returned to Mendocino County to teach in the local schools. While teaching in Little River, she boarded with the Escola family, where she met her future husband. She married John Escola in 1914 and later returned to teaching, mostly in rural schools, for over 20 years.

Not only did Nannie make history, she also documented it. In 1949, after her husband died, she began collecting historic photographs, expanding the collection begun by her son, Emery. She freely shared her memories, knowledge, and historical photographs of Mendocino with everyone. The Kelley House collection includes more than 30 of Nannie’s notebooks and many of her historic Mendocino photographs. The Kelley House Museum established the Escola Room to honor her many contributions to preserving the history of Mendocino.

Early Mendocino Coast by Katy Tahja – From the Sonoma County line to the Humboldt County line a century ago. A tribute to the creativity and perseverance of the common working man. Images of America series. $22.