Influential women can come from many walks of life and can be found throughout Pickaway County, working various jobs and volunteering at different organizations. We often think about those who are currently with us or those who have recently passed when we think about those who inspire us, but lately, I’ve started becoming aware of those who have left his earth long ago.
There are women throughout history who have paved the way and inspired individuals long before we were even in existence. Those who entered professions over a hundred years ago made it possible for some of the progress we see today. Others have encouraged movements that granted us the chance for a lot of the opportunities today.
As a writer for both the Pickaway Cultivator and our brother publication, the Dimple Times, this particular woman that I am about to write about quickly caught my attention.
When I was doing some research for another article, I discovered a small blurb written about a woman who was born 174 years ago, taking a huge milestone 145 years prior.
The name Elizabeth Catherine Darst piqued my interest, a woman born in 1846 right here in Circleville. Along with being born and raised in our area, she was educated here in Circleville as well, and she was valedictorian of the class of 1865.
After some more digging, I eventually found a lot more out about her life and her influence from the book History of Franklin and Pickaway Counties, Ohio.
Elizabeth (known as “Lillie”) became what was essentially viewed as the first woman newspaper editor in the state of Ohio. She became the editor of Circleville’s very own Circleville Herald in 1875, making a difference through her role there and even serving two years for the Ohio Senate, working as an “engrossing clerk”.
Throughout her life, Lillie took pleasure in writing poetry and submitted them under the pen name “Kenneth” – which she was known greatly for. Her works were printed in various papers, and as a fellow journalist, she aspired to offer a newspaper that was deemed both “intriguing and reliable.”
According to the Springfield Republic: “If anyone questions a woman’s ability to run a newspaper, the answer is Miss Lillie Darst.”
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