Sarah “Sallie” L. Henderson Trumbull, suffragist, journalist, teacher, temperance reformer, and women’s missionary leader, was born Sarah Lucinda Henderson to Reverend John Thomas Alexander Henderson and Malinda (Rubey) Henderson in Missouri (possibly in the town of Louisiana) in 1840. On October 6, 1864, she married Lafayette M. (L. M.) Trumbull in Macon County, Missouri, and the couple had a son (Rubey in 1866) and a daughter (Leila in 1868). By 1884 Sarah Trumbull served as state recording secretary for the Missouri Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and represented the state in St. Louis at the national convention that year.
By 1889 the family moved to Sherman, Texas, and Trumbull continued her temperance work. That year, she filled in for state president Sarah Acheson and presided over the state convention of the Texas WCTU held in Denison. Around the same time, she served as the vice president from Texas to the national Woman’s Board of Foreign Missions for the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Woman’s Missionary Society of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Dallas organized the year before, and Sarah was likely one of the founding members. The society listed her as their local president in 1897.
In the early 1890s Sarah Trumbull participated in a number of statewide progressive organizations. In addition to temperance and church associations, she represented the town of Sherman as a delegate to the Texas State Teacher’s Association in 1890. In the following years, she, her husband, and daughter moved to Dallas, where L. M. Trumbull served as general counsel for the Texas Pacific Railway Company. In 1893 Sarah Trumbull became a charter member of the Texas Woman’s Press Association and founding vice president of the Texas Equal Rights Association at their founding meetings on May 27, 1893, in the same hotel on the same day. By 1895 she was elected president of the Dallas Equal Rights Association.
From Dallas, Trumbull spread her message for equality and often introduced other state reform leaders, including Women’s Christian Temperance Union organizer Clara Hoffman and Texas Equal Rights Association president (1893) Rebecca Henry Hayes during large conferences and business meetings.
Trumbull suffered a tragic loss in 1891 when her son Rubey died when a train hit him in San Antonio, Texas. About 1900, the family returned to Missouri and lived in Webster Groves, because her husband suffered from partial paralysis. In 1901 he was killed by a Missouri Pacific passenger train; he did not see the train and stepped out in front of it. In 1910 Sarah was living with her daughter Leila Trumbull in Madison, Illinois. While living in Illinois, Trumbull served as the president of the Presbyterian Foreign Missionary Society. Sarah Henderson Trumbull died on February 14, 1913, in Halleyville, Oklahoma, and was buried at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Sedalia, Missouri.
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Elizabeth York Enstam, Women and the Creation of Urban Life: Dallas, Texas, 1843–1920 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998). Marshall Republican (Missouri), February 28, 1913. Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Volumes 60-63 (University of Chicago, 1890). New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 7, 1894. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 12, 1901. “Sarah L. Trumbull,” Find A Grave Memorial (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118936459/sarah-l.-trumbull), accessed November 16, 2018.
Activism and Social Reform
Suffragists and Antisuffragists
Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Sarah Hunter and Jackson Dailey,
“Trumbull, Sarah Lucinda Henderson,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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