From his very first days, Guilford Dudley III knew what it meant to have his grandmother fight for him.
As an infant, he couldn't keep anything down — not even his mother's milk.
Doctors told his parents to gift the organs of their malnourished baby and prepare for his death.
But his grandmother, the esteemed and well-to-do Anne Dallas Dudley, refused to accept it. She berated the doctors until they gave her the name of someone who would offer a second opinion — a man they called "a country quack." She put her grandson in the car and drove straight out to the farm. There, he was diagnosed with allergies and given unpasteurized milk from a goat.
He lived — and he learned the power of his grandmother's will.
A little-known story of the well-known suffragist, Anne Dallas Dudley fought for her grandson just like she fought for thousands of women before him, leading the statewide and national movement that helped achieve the ratification of the 19th Amendment by the Tennessee General Assembly and add it to the U.SEach played a critical role in history — Dudley a significant force among them.
"She had two lovely children, a devoted husband and everything a lady could want," Dudley's granddaughter Trevania Henderson said. "And damned if she didn’t want to vote, too."
On May 1, 1916, "If you read both her writings and accounts of her speeches, her phraseology and her wit and her ability to think on her feet is pretty impressive."
Henderson recalls from family stories and historic accounts a tit-for-tat her grandmother had with those who said only men should vote, because only men bear arms.
Dudley's response: "Women bear armies."
To have a female make a speech outdoors to such a crowd as Dudley did in the park that day was, at the time, hugely scandalous.
But, her granddaughter says, Dudley was "not only eloquent but quite elegant."
As the daughter of a wealthy cotton mill owner, she came from an upper class family. She attended Ward Seminary and Price's College in Nashville. She married Guilford Dudley, one of the founders of the Life and Casualty Insurance Company, and the couple maintained a country estate on the west side of the city.
She walked in a purposeful way. She didn’t amble. She was always going to do something. She was beautiful to look at, with short tight curls framingstaged a parade through the streets of Nashville to demonstrate her support for women's right to vote.
As the story goes, at least five dozen automobiles traveled from the Tennessee Capitol to Centennial Park along with her. Businesses displayed banners proclaiming "Votes for Women." And the mayor, Hilary Howse, declared a holiday. Those women who could not leave work threw flowers from the windows of their offices on to the cars below.
More than 2,000 people greeted the caravan led by Dudley, her husband, and their two children, when it arrived at the Parthenon.
It was known to be Nashville's largest women's suffrag