One hundred years ago today, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in America.
The next day, Aug. 27, 1920, a woman in Sneads made history by becoming the first to exercise that right in Florida, and one of the first in the country to do so, as well.
Her name was Fay Gibson Moulton at the time and she was a widow with seven children. She would go on to marry a widower who had six children of his own, and from that point was better known as Fay Bridges.
She and her second husband lived primarily in Miami, where they owned and ran a general store and coffee shop. She would lose that husband, too, in 1946, and from then on she ran the store alone, living in their apartment above the shop until advanced age and the dangers of a declining neighborhood propelled her to move far away, next door to her youngest son, the only child she and her second husband had together.
It was back in Sneads that she’d learned about business. She worked at Liddon’s general store in what is now often referred to as “old Sneads,” the part of town that had once been the hub of commerce, before U.S. Highway 90 was relocated a bit north of its old pathway. That section of U.S. 90 is now Old Spanish Trail.
She was in her 20s and had come to work early on Aug. 27. She was sweeping floors when her boss came in and gave her leave to walk over and cast her ballot in a local election.
Her granddaughter, Melanie Barton, says her grandmother was proud of having made that milestone. She was interviewed by newspapers several times over time about having done so. Barton said her grandmother retained an abiding respect for Mr. Liddon because of his making accommodations that morning to let her leave duty to go vote.
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