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De Force

Lodi, Calif.

De Force Avenue

This street is named for Laura de Force Gordon (1839-1907), a suffragist with a laudable string of accomplishments to her name, who owned a farmed just outside of Lodi. Originally from northwestern Pennsylvania, she was once married (hence the “Gordon” part of her name), but the union ended in divorce.

A Stockton newspaper owner, one of the first two women admitted to the state bar, a women’s rights litigator, and a stunning orator sometimes called the “Daniel Webster of Suffrage,” she was also a woman-loving woman. When a 100-year-old time capsule was unearthed and opened in San Francisco in 1979, a pamphlet written by Gordon on California geysers was found inside. On the flyleaf, she had written: “If this little book should see the light after its 100 years of entombment, I would like its readers to know that the author was a lover of her own sex and devoted the best years of her life in striving for the political equality and social and moral elevation of women.”


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