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Family of trailblazer Belva Lockwood takes a walk in her footsteps

OWEGO (WBNG) — Family of trailblazer Belva Lockwood visited the property where she once taught this week in what was an emotional experience.

“It brings reality, she’s not just a name anymore,” says family member Bettie Chaplin.

In the heart of Owego, sits the Belva Lockwood Inn, named after 1800’s pioneer Belva Lockwood.

Lockwood, among other accomplishments, was the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court.

“She was an overcomer and she pushed for greatness and she just never gave up,” said first cousin, five times removed Mary Gardner.

Lockwood’s family says she had an inner fire not accepted during her time, but that never stopped her from pursuing her goals.

She continued to break barriers becoming the first woman to run for president not once, but twice.

Not only is the inn named after Lockwood, however, she also taught on the same property where it stands and later visited the current building.

Thursday, her family visited the inn for the first time.

Holding back tears, Bettie Chaplin says, “she’s a woman who set the pace for other women and these pictures, bring it home.”

“I think it’s a generational, internal feeling and we’re really proud, proud of our family,” said Gardner.

While her family members are big fans, they say not many others know about all she accomplished, but now is her time.

“Belva is hopefully getting her due today,” said first cousin four times removed, Glenn Chaplin.

The family hopes Belva’s strength inspires people of all ages decades after her time.

“Just don’t give up, just keep going because if you believe you can, you will,” said Gardner.

While women couldn’t vote for Lockwood when she ran for president, her family said it was only a few years after she died that the 19th amendment was passed.

Julia Gorman

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