Monday, March 12, 2007

Erie County’s First Female Deputy

Fanny Facer Everett was a humane agent, probation officer and leading charity worker in Sandusky where she was beloved by the entire community. She was born in Sandusky and lived here most of her life.

For more than 20 years, she was connected with almost every form of benevolent and philanthropic work conducted by the general public in the city of Sandusky. For approximately 25 years, she was the leading figure in the Humane Society of the city and county. When the Erie County Humane Society was first organized in 1900, there were few members and very little financial means to help carry on the work.. For many years she acted as its first female humane agent without compensation and devoted her time, energy and strength to the work just as cheerfully, earnestly and enthusiastically as though it was her only pursuit in life. The activities of the society continued to expand and the society was finally able to render her financial assistance.

When the Federated Associated Charities was organized, Fanny Everett became its superintendent and had personal charge and direction of its expenditures.
When the juvenile court work was taken up by the probate court, Fanny was made probation officer—she was the first woman to be deputized by the sheriff of Erie County to carry a gun and make arrests.

For many years she was in charge of the distribution and adjustment of the mothers’ pensions for the county and also of the blind relief work.

It was said of her that there has perhaps never been a person in the city who was so thoroughly acquainted with the history of the people of the city who needed help, either in a financial, social or moral way. There was no one in the city to whom the weak and the erring would go so gladly, willingly and trustingly as to Mrs. Everett. Mrs. Everett’s home and her time and attention has been open both day and night to the many calls of the people of the city of Sandusky who have had trials and troubles and burdens.

Her son told a story about a memorable episode in her career: Late one night in 1902, she heard screams and cries for help coming from a house in the 200 block of Decatur Street, near where she lived. A man in a drunken rage was beating his wife and attacking his son and daughter. Fanny Everett marched straight to the house, knocked, and when the drunken man answered, she pointed her pistol at him and announced that he was under arrest. At the sight of the gun, the man raised his hands and begged “Don’t shoot, lady, don’t shoot.” Fanny replied, “You ought to be shot, but put on your shoes and you are going straight to jail.” The man obeyed and up Decatur Street they went, the man with his hands in the air. They reached the corner of Adams Street, where there was a saloon, one of the patrons, and finally a dozen or so, poured out of the bar. “Hey Joe!” they taunted, “The lady is taking you to jail, isn’t she?” When the man tried to answer, Fanny said “Keep your mouth shut and keep going.” In a few minutes they were at the door of the Erie County Jail where the man was quickly shown to a cell. At the trial the man was sentenced to ten days in jail. Fanny then took the wife and children to an attorney who advised the woman of her right to seek legal action for a separation and compulsory support payments. He urged her to seek a restraining order to protect her and the children. Many women at this time did not realize they had any legal rights against an abusive husband. Thus did Fanny Everett serve as a pioneer for social reform.

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