Born: September 5, 1869 in Iowa
Died: July 13, 1948
Married: Frank Merriam on January 25, 1936
Maiden Name: Millisack
Jessie Stewart Millisack grew up in Iowa. As an adult she moved to Long Beach, California, where she met Frank Merriam. They married on January 25, 1936 while Frank was Governor. As First Lady, Jessie was active in several benevolent societies. On March 19, 1938 she held a tea in honor of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The first “Woman’s Day” was held on September 8, 1938, in Merriam Hall at the old State Fair grounds in Sacramento. Eleven hundred women in attendance heard Jessie declare “Aren’t women wonderful?” at this ground breaking event. For sixty-two years she committed herself to furthering the issues of women’s education and health care for elderly women through the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Jessie Merriam died on July 13, 1948 in Long Beach. She is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Long Beach.
Father: Edward Smith Millisack
Mother: Mary Elizabeth Cramer
Husband: Frank Merriam (Jessie’s first husband was A.M. Lipsey)
Books and Articles:
Cook and LaDue, The First Ladies of California, Xlibris Corporation, 2007
“Heart Ailment Kills Wife of Ex-Gov. Merriam,” Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1948.
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