Part 1: Introduction to This Edition

Catherine H. Ellis and David F. Boone, "Part 1: Introduction to This Edition," in Pioneer Women of Arizona, ed. Roberta Flake Clayton, Catherine H. Ellis, and David F. Boone (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017), 1-28.

Roberta Flake Ramsay Jordan (Acklin) Clayton

Catherine H. Ellis and D. L. Turner

Maiden Name: Roberta Flake

Birth: August 19, 1877, Beaver, Beaver Co., Utah

Parents: William Jordan Flake and Lucy Hannah White

Marriage 1: Joseph C. Ramsay, September 9, 1896 (div)

Children: Reginald Milton (Ramsay) Flake (1898)

Marriage 2: William Henry Acklin, aka Henry Jordan, about 1909 (div)

Marriage 3: James William Clayton, September 25, 1910 (Colonia Juárez, Mexico), remarried November 25, 1910 (El Paso, Texas)

Children: James William Clayton Jr. (1919), Natelle Clayton (1920), Robert Dennis Clayton (1930), Richard Flake Clayton (1930). All children adopted.

Death: January 12, 1981; Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Burial: Mesa, Maricopa Co., Arizona

Roberta Flake Clayton made an important contribution to the history of Arizona by collecting approximately 300 biographical sketches from early settlers. Most of these sketches have been published in two books: Pioneer Women of Arizona (1969) and Pioneer Men of Arizona (1974). Using these sketches, Clayton has been quoted by authors at every level of Arizona and LDS history: private individuals, undergraduate students, professional academics, and Latter-day Saint historians.

Clayton’s life was intricately woven with the history of Arizona and mirrored the development of the territory into a state. When Osmer D. Flake wrote about his father, William J. Flake, and the settlement of northeastern Arizona by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said, “Strong men were needed to settle the Saints in Arizona and extend the settlements to the South. Some had been called, others volunteered . . . , some stayed, and many returned.”[1] In the Flake caravan that left Utah for Arizona on November 19, 1877, was three-month-old Roberta, daughter of William J. and Lucy Hannah White Flake. Osmer described the caravan as consisting of “six wagons, (loaded with provisions and household goods, farm tools, etc.) pulled by nine yoke of oxen and seven span of horses. There were also two hundred head of cattle and forty loose horses.”[2]

Thus, Roberta Flake came to Arizona and grew to adulthood in the newly colonized town of Snowflake located on Silver Creek, which was part of the Little Colorado River drainage. She attended the Snowflake Stake Academy and enjoyed acting in plays produced by the school and her brother for his home drama club.[3] In 1896 she married Joseph Ramsay, also from Snowflake.

Roberta Flake, about 1895.Roberta Flake, about 1895. Photo courtesy of Jannie Lisonbee.

Despite what may be considered a mainstream LDS beginning, Clayton’s life was not typical of most Mormon women today. About 1904, she divorced her husband and described her experience in 1973: “I had had eight years of H-E-L-L, H E double L, with a man that was untrue to his principles and untrue to everything, and I had endured that kind of a life until I could stand him no longer. . . . I was in New Mexico [in a] sanitarium [when] I left him.”[4] Previous to this divorce, they had adopted a baby boy. Born to an itinerate couple in Snowflake on January 24, 1898, they named him Reginald Milton Ramsay, although later in life he was known as Reginald Milton Flake.[5]

After her divorce, RFC worked for about a year in California and then traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, to work as an English and Spanish tutor for a private family. She was briefly married to Henry Jordan, a man with a hidden past whose real name was William Henry Acklin.[6] Then in Ciudad Chihuahua, she met James William Clayton, a man whom she called J. W. or Billy. She described her husband as “an old bachelor fifty-eight years old and a very attractive Southern aristocrat who never did a lick of work in his life”; presumably she was referring to physical labor. She further recalled that J. W. made his first money by taking American cattle across the Texas/Mexican border in about 1884, making “a few thousand dollars” with this sale. “Then,” she added, “he made several big deals, mining deals. He would know of a mine that was for sale and he would know somebody that would buy it, and he would get them together.”[7]

The couple was first married by RFC’s brother-in-law Peter C. Wood in Colonia Juárez, and then two months later they traveled to El Paso, Texas. Here they were married again on November 25, 1910, because RFC wanted to make sure the marriage was legal in the U.S. The couple immediately returned to Clayton’s mine in Chihuahua. They lived through many of the tumultuous events of the Mexican Revolution, sometimes fleeing to El Paso for safety. They finally sold the mine in 1915.[8]

The Claytons lived for a short time in northeastern Arizona after leaving Mexico and then moved to Ellijay, Georgia, where J. W. Clayton again had mining property.[9] They adopted two children while in Georgia: a son, James William Clayton Jr. (usually called Bill to distinguish him from his father, Billy), born August 5, 1919, and a daughter, Natelle, born December 23, 1920.[10] In 1922, the family moved back to Arizona and built a home in Phoenix at 2310 East Willetta Street.[11]

Roberta Flake Clayton while living in Georgia.Roberta Flake Clayton, probably while living in Georgia, about 1920. Photo courtesy of Jannie Lisonbee.

RFC was always intimately concerned with the activities of other women, beginning with her mother, Lucy Hannah White Flake. Because both of Lucy’s older daughters married young, RFC became her mother’s confidant, and the two worked together to complete all the women’s work in a pioneer household. But Lucy died January 27, 1900, at age fifty-seven, only four years after RFC’s marriage to Joe Ramsay. RFC wrote, “Before the passing of my angel Mother she gave me her journals and the sad duty of completing the last chapters. No words of mine can do her justice. I feel about her as she expressed in her journal when her Mother passed away.” Eventually, RFC produced To the Last Frontier, which she called an autobiography but which today would be called a biography.[12] She wrote, “In the summer of 1923 [1926?] I decided to make copies for each of Mother’s children. I knew the other sisters and brothers would prize them as I did, besides the yellowing leaves and fading ink, along with much handling which the books had gone through, made me note they would have to be copied if preserved.”[13] She began this task noting on July 11, 1926, that she had “just finished the first page of Mother’s journal.” Of this process, she wrote, “I went thru the sacred pages and selected the vital things and the ones of most importance to all and condensed them.”[14]

Also in 1924, RFC was part of a group of women who met at the Rex Hotel in Mesa to organize a camp (or chapter) of the DUP. She was elected historian and encouraged the members to write about the lives of their pioneer ancestors. On October 23, 1929, she wrote in her journal, “After I came home [from a DUP meeting] I got the inspiration to compile a book of the lives of Pioneer women of Arizona, and that I am going to try to do.” She wrote about corresponding with Kate Carter, president of the DUP who “suggested, after she read my mother’s story, that these others should also be published since they contain a great deal of hitherto unpublished Church history, tracing the ancestry of the women who accepted the Gospel in foreign lands and colonized in many places.”[15]

J. W. and Roberta Clayton lived in luxury in Phoenix, although financial worries plagued them well before the Great Depression. By 1930, they had four boarders and sometimes William J. Flake living with them.[16] Nevertheless, they adopted two more children in 1930: Robert Dennis Clayton, born June 21, 1930, and Richard Flake Clayton, born November 5, 1930.[17] In 1932, the Claytons lost their home in Phoenix, and RFC moved back to Snowflake with her children. She lived in a portion of the original adobe Stinson home of her childhood, and, as with many others during the Depression, she was able to subsist with a milk cow, a garden, a few chickens, and the occasional beef that William J. Flake and his son James M. provided to the widows and the poor.

About this same time, Billy Clayton and his stepson, Reginald Flake, went to Mexico to look after mining interests that had reverted to the Claytons. For two years, J. W. sent “cheery letters” to her. She said he would write “at last we are about to see daylight” or “we are almost over the top now,” but no money came to help support the family. Then RFC received a telegram stating that her eighty-four-year-old husband was very ill and in the hospital. She took the next train to Chihuahua but, upon arrival, found him dead and buried. “The laws of Mexico,” she wrote, “require[d] interment within twelve hours after death.”[18] J. W. Clayton died August 25, 1935, in Ciudad Chihuahua; RFC said, “We had lost everything.”[19]

As a widow needing to support her children, Clayton turned to writing. Earlier, she had enjoyed creative writing as a young woman. In the 1973 oral history interview, RFC said that the first item she ever published was in the St. Johns newspaper after attending a dance (about 1895) and then she wrote a “Mr. and Mrs. column,” apparently news from Snowflake, for the same newspaper. She wrote pageants, short stories, poetry, and a journal. Some of her poetry was published in the Arizona Republican.[20] One poem, “Playing Dominos,” was later included in Mary Boyer’s Arizona in Literature.[21] She was always pleased with the recognition but would have preferred money.

About 1922, RFC had enrolled in a Palmer Photoplay Corporation correspondence course for screen writing. Palmer Photoplay was one of the first companies trying to make a profit from struggling writers desperate to publish. She never sold a screenplay, but some of her writing was influenced by the criticism she received from the instructors at Palmer. In June 1923, John Branch Timms, commenting on the difference between narrative and dramatic writing, said, “NARRATIVE is applied to stories that are . . . a series of incidents or lengthy descriptions. DRAMA is conflict or soul struggle.”[22] Sometimes, at least for RFC, using a short story/drama form almost turned into fiction. One example is To the Last Frontier, subtitled Autobiography of Lucy Hannah White Flake. Although the book is purportedly written in her mother’s voice, when the book is compared to the original diary, the language seems to come from RFC. Also, the term “autobiography” in the subtitle is misleading; RFC’s assessment that the diary is unreadable as written was correct, but today one would never extensively rewrite like she did and still attribute the work to the original author.[23]

With a writing background, and needing money to support her children, RFC began about 1936 to participate in the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal program designed to give out-of-work authors some income during the Great Depression.[24] As part of this group, she was under the supervision of Ross Santee, a noted regional cowboy illustrator and author.[25] She submitted seventy-nine biographies for Arizona women and seven for Arizona men recalling, “I had no other means of support and I got thirty-five dollars every so often for an article.”[26] Many of her subjects were Utah colonizers who settled in Navajo County, and therefore people that she had known from childhood. However, she also submitted DUP sketches from Maricopa County, and she interviewed and wrote sketches for seven non-LDS women.[27]

But Clayton contributed more than just short biographies to the FWP. In fact, the biographies were perhaps not her first contributions.[28] In 1936, under the rubric “Navajo County Guide,” she wrote a description for every town in Navajo County (including those on the Navajo Reservation). Accounts varied, but many included name, location, altitude, history, when the post office was established, teachers and schools, government, commerce, accommodations, transportation, theaters, parks, public buildings, hospitals, community life, and points of interest. For some of these accounts, she included a list of “authorities” she had consulted (both people and books) that provide references for her information. Unfortunately, very little of this information was included in the book, Arizona: A Guide to the Sunset State, which was published in 1940. This may be due to the fact that the format for the book emphasized the larger cities in the state, and the topics RFC wrote about were mostly not covered.[29]

Clayton also contributed other interesting essays to Arizona’s FWP. Under the topic “America Eats,” she described pioneer methods of cooking meat; how pioneers made cheese, cottage cheese (also called Dutch cheese), and butter; the ways they preserved vegetables (including making sauerkraut); and the types of meats they ate. She described reloading cartridges; making candles, mattresses, rugs, hats, and soaps; curing meats; and using herbs and simple home remedies. She described “A Typical Day in a Pioneer Woman’s Life” (based on her mother’s life) and wrote about the Madonna of the Trail statue in Springerville. Under the topic of “Folklore and Folkways,” she mentioned rodeos, a wishing well at the Hotel Posada in Winslow, a lover’s lane in Snow Flake, the Future Farmers of America-sponsored autumn fair in Navajo County, dedicatory prayers at dams and chapels, and quilting bees. Because RFC was an expert horsewoman and grew up on the ranges of northeastern Arizona, she also contributed several essays about cowboys including “Cowboy Sayings and Amusements” and “Cowboy’s Work, Wages and Outfit.”

RFC lived an additional forty years after the FWP ended and continued to collect information about Arizona pioneers. She limited her scope to Arizona saying, “It’s only Arizona that I’m interested in.”[30] In the mid-1960s, she used seventy-one of the FWP sketches and added 127 more for a book she titled, Pioneer Women of Arizona.[31] Floyd and LeOla Rogers Leavitt of Scottsdale recalled that Clayton went door to door in Mesa selling the book to relatives of her subjects. Her second book, Pioneer Men of Arizona, was edited by nephew Chad J. Flake and published in 1974. A niece, Fern Flake Fairborn, remembered a sign on RFC’s front lawn advertising the books for sale. Undoubtedly, she hoped to supplement her meager pension with these sales.

William J. Flake with all of his living children.William J. Flake, about 1908, with all of his living children from both marriages except Jane Wood (817), who was probably in Mexico. Both of William J.'s wives, Lucy (189) and Prudence (194), were deceased. Front row (left to right): Mary Turley (727), Pearl McLaws (Ellsworth), Annabelle (Rogers), Roberta Ramsay (Clayton), Emma Freeman, and Wilmirth Willis; back row: John T., Osmer D., William J. (father), James M., and Joel Flake. Photo courtesy of Cleone Solomon, James M. Flake Home.

In the early 1940s, RFC and her three youngest children lived in Provo, Utah, where daughter Natelle attended college. During World War II, son Bill enlisted in the navy and served as a fireman. His death date is listed as February 27, 1942.[32] Although Bill enlisted in Phoenix, he had attended high school in Snowflake, so Principal Silas L. Fish honored Bill along with other area casualties, although the story is slightly incorrect in the poem: “Bill Clayton was among / The naval force to dare. / His ship [the USS Langley] they sank, and when / Survivors got on board / A second ship, ’twas sunk, / So thick the Nippon hordes. / A third ship picked up some / Who did escape the two; / But it in turn was doomed, / The Japs sank that ship too.”[33]

Post WWII, RFC bought an acre of land in Mesa, Arizona, (on Alma School Road) with the compensation from Bill’s military service. Here she lived for a time in a tent with an outhouse constructed from a wooden refrigerator or freezer shipping box. Friend and builder Fred Johnson eventually found an old house, and he moved it onto the property for her. She said, “Then we built a room on, and . . . I had a two-story adobe house.”[34] When developers wanted this property to build a medical center, she traded it for a house at 221 South Hobson in Mesa, where she lived until after she fell and broke her hip (sometime before 1973). She then spent time recuperating in the home of her daughter Natelle Murdock, but at age 100, RFC was using a wheelchair and living independently in her own home “with the help of Reg, her son, who lives next door to her[,] and numerous nieces.”[35]

RFC died January 12, 1981, at her home in Mesa. She lived to be 103 years old.[36] Throughout her life, she was recognized as one of the original Mormon pioneers in northeastern Arizona and was honored as the last remaining pioneer at Snowflake’s centennial celebration in 1978.[37] She is also memorialized as the babe in her mother’s arms in the statue on Main Street in Snowflake today.

Two assessments of Roberta Flake Clayton’s contributions to the history of Arizona come from newspaper columnists Walter and Mitzi Zipf. Dorothy “Mitzi” Zipf worked her entire life as a reporter for the newspapers of Arizona and moved to Mesa in 1951.[38] After retirement, she and her husband, Walter, worked for Mesa’s Sun Valley Spur-Shopper. In 1969, Mitzi Zipf was writing the column, “Meandering with Mitzi,” which often included pieces about people in Mesa (particularly early pioneers), Mesa social life, and local archaeology. For a July 10 column, she featured RFC and her new book, Pioneer Women of Arizona. Zipf said, “Reading the names of those included in the book—more than 200 of them—is like reading a roster of names well known in the Valley today—Allen, Baird, Ballard, Berry, Biggs, Bourn, Brewer, Brown, Bryce, Cluff, Curtis, Decker, DeWitt, Driggs, Eagar, Ellsworth, Fish, Flake, Fuller, Gibbons . . . and on and on, clear through the alphabet.” After reading all 716 pages of the book, which RFC was selling for $10, Zipf concluded that “Mrs. Clayton has done a monumental service to this history of the state in compiling these stories just as the women themselves did in pioneering the land which has become Arizona.”[39]

Then, as Roberta Clayton neared her centennial birthday, Walter Zipf also wrote a column extolling her virtues. He called her “an exceptional Arizona pioneer of unusual literary attainments and frontier experiences” and wrote of her “countless plays, pageants, and poems and five . . . books.” In a list of her literary accomplishments, he noted that she had written the words to an opera, “America’s First Easter,” which, in the late 1920s, was produced twenty-one times in the Phoenix Union High School stadium. His final assessment of her literary contributions is also our assessment: “Her literary accomplishments are the more striking because of the limitations on formal education placed by frontier conditions.”[40]

Anthologies and Pioneer Sketches: Editorial Methods

It is the nature of anthologies, unless heavily edited, to have unequal entries, and Pioneer Women of Arizona is a classic anthology. Although RFC wrote some sketches from personal knowledge or interviews, she simply collected others. Authorship of some of the collected sketches is unknown, others are in part or wholly autobiographical, and some were written by children or grandchildren. Some of the sketches are brief, and others are very detailed. Some of them have significant information about early Arizona settlements, while other sketches emphasize family dynamics. Additionally, some of the biographies have two or three earlier versions: there are FWP sketches at ASLAPR in Phoenix, some early PWA sketches are found in Pioneer Women of Navajo County at the Mesa FHL, and a few are at the CHL filed under the subject’s name.[41] With this in mind, it is easy to understand Mary-Jo Kline and Susan Perdue’s description of editing a multiple-text document as “a special form of purgatory,” and it was concluded that this publication must be a new edition and not a documentary editing project.[42]

Chart showing the origin of sketches found in Pioneer Women of Arizona.Origin of sketches as found in Pioneer Women of Arizona.

Transcription and Source Documents

Individual accounts in PWA have been typed multiple times, and there may not be a holographic copy of any sketch. Typographical (and other) errors have been introduced at every stage: the 1920s DUP sketches, the 1930s FWP sketches, the 1960s typing of PWA, and the 2011 typing for this edition. Spelling, punctuation, and formatting are generally better in the FWP sketches (which Clayton typed) than in PWA (which she did not type). In 1973, Clayton stated that she was “paying for the work that I’m getting done by Mrs. Leslie.[43] She does as much erasing as she does typing. I don’t know what I could get a real stenographer for. I guess it would be beyond me.” Mrs. Leslie had been part of the family for fifteen years, so it is likely that she was the typist for PWA.[44]

As Kline and Perdue noted, “Most editors compromise to one degree or another between a detailed diplomatic text and a clear reading text.”[45] Documentary editing ranges from typographic facsimiles to diplomatic transcriptions to expanded transcriptions. In recent decades, documentary editing has moved from liberal to conservative and from silent emendation to overt.[46] As much as the trend is to use a very conservative format, PWA falls into Kline and Perdue’s category of “historical documents that have little claim to literary merit.”[47] PWA is also a multi-text document, particularly those sketches that were originally submitted to the Federal Writers’ Project. Kline and Perdue state that usually “the most nearly final version of a document is the preferred source text,” but PWA is rife with errors in punctuation and spelling.[48] In addition, RFC’s form of abridgment when moving a long FWP sketch into PWA was to simply leave out sentences or paragraphs (thereby leaving the reader confused). These deletions have been reinserted.[49]

The decision concerning silent emendations ultimately revolves around the “barbed wire” nature of heavily edited texts. Also, the amateur-writer status of all who contributed to PWA and the problems with the typing make this text fit into Kline and Perdue’s discussion of slave narratives. They suggest that John W. Blassingame’s introduction to Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Interviews, and Autobiographies is still a useful format. He wrote that his text did not depart from the text of the original documents, “but, since nineteenth-century printers are notorious for mutilating words, all obvious typographical errors in published sources have been corrected silently. The alternative of using sic when the letters in a word such as the were transposed seemed unnecessarily pedantic.”[50] These statements are also true for PWA when “PWA typist” is substituted for “nineteenth-century printers.”

For this edition, spelling and punctuation have been standardized, with the exception that some English spelling has not been changed to American spelling (e.g., moulding was retained). “Mother” and “father” have been capitalized when they are used as proper names; they are lower case when used as “my mother.” Names have been changed to the spelling normally used by the family, because there is no way to know if the spelling in PWA is from the family, from RFC, or from the typist; multiple ways of spelling are noted. Today, the accepted abbreviation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church, but in the past, lay members and historians alike have used the LDS Church, the L.D.S. Church, and the Mormon Church. We capitalized church when it was an abbreviation for the official name; we made it lower case when the reference was to the general organization; we did not update the older abbreviations in the sketches, but we did update the capitalization. We did not update the term Arizona Temple, because the temple at Mesa was the only Latter-day Saint temple in Arizona during the period this book covers, 1880–1969.

Other silent emendations involve one-sentence paragraphs and run-on sentences. One-sentence paragraphs were often included with the previous or following paragraph, but sentence order was not changed; run-on sentences were sometimes divided into two or more sentences, but word order was retained. Words that today would be seen as derogatory, however, were changed. Usually these were racial words, particularly for Blacks and Native Americans. These were commonly used terms in the early twentieth century, sometimes used with prejudice and sometimes not, but they are simply unacceptable today. These changes are always shown in brackets.[51] Finally, although today the name of the town of Snowflake is spelled as one word, it was often spelled as two words (Snow Flake) as late as the 1930s. The spelling for Show Low was just the opposite; in the beginning it was often spelled as one word—Showlow. Both have been left as in the original text.

Typographical errors were sometimes difficult to identify. The modus operandi was to ask, “Does this sentence make sense?” If the answer was no, the sentence was looked at more closely. Sometimes there was a misspelled word; other times an entire line had been left out (i.e., in the FWP to 1960s typing or in the 1960s to 2011 typing). FWP sketches were helpful in answering some questions; most of the FWP sketches have been microfilmed, and those not filmed can be searched.[52] Occasionally, the meaning had to simply be thought out. For example, one couple was described as being stranded in central Utah with a “hockey” team. After some deliberation, it was decided that it should have been “hackneyed” team.[53] Another example was the use of the word “pockets” in a discussion about the Civil War; after reading the entire paragraph, it was apparent that this should have read “pickets.” For the first example (Malinda Lisonbee), there was no prior manuscript to consult; for the second example (Susan Youngblood), an FWP sketch existed with the correct word. A bracketed word with a question mark was used where there was more than one possibility for the correction. Another example of errors corrected and noted occurs in the sketch for Ann Horton Matthews Holladay. The author stated that the land at San Bernardino, California, was “bought from a Mexican Dan Antonino Mario Lupo for $775.” This should have read “bought from a Mexican, Don Antonio Maria Lugo, for $77,500.”[54] Unfortunately, some errors like this may have been missed.

Formatting for this Edition

The title of each sketch is the woman’s name with the spelling as normally interpreted by the family today. For example, in Arizona, Mormon families with the surnames of Eagar, Holladay, Blain, and Ramsay use these spellings, but there are both Crandalls and Crandells; Merrills and Merrells; Woolleys and Wooleys; and Robinsons, Robisons, and Robsons. In the title, we list all given names, the maiden name, and all married names. The exception to this rule is Johanna Erickson Westover, who did not use her second married name, Despain, in her lifetime nor did her children.

The author of the sketch is listed below the title. When RFC published PMA, she wrote, “I requested that the stories sent in be signed by the ones who contributed them. The stories that are not signed are the ones I wrote and edited myself.”[55] Unfortunately, this was not followed when PWA was published. Authorship was sometimes recorded; for other sketches, the author can be identified internally (e.g., “my mother”), from Pioneer Women of Navajo County, or from other sources. The rest of the sketches are listed as Author Unknown; it cannot be assumed that RFC wrote these sketches, although she was undoubtedly author for many.

Genealogical information at the beginning of each account usually came from Ancestral or Pedigree Resource File entries at Although is not always accurate, the size of this project and the limited number of original records made this the only recourse. In 2015, Arizona death certificates were open through 1964 and available online, so that source was checked for each woman. Discrepancies, including no death certificate filed, were noted.[56] Particularly difficult to find were children born between 1900 and 1910. This is before births and deaths were recorded in Arizona. Sometimes a child was born and also died between the census years, and other times the child was still alive when databases were formed.[57] The Mormon convention of using quotation marks around a single letter in a name was not used. Therefore, a letter and period will occasionally mean that the full name is not known, and at other times, it is simply an initial (e.g., Peter “O” Peterson becomes Peter O. Peterson). Cross referencing information on a particular family, both within this volume and also to PMA, was added.

Bibliographic information within a collection of sketches this size requires some modifications. Full citations to books and articles are only in the bibliography. Citations for newspaper articles only appear in the footnotes. Census information is found only in the footnotes and only lists the year, head of household, town, county, and state because most people now use databases (e.g., Other information from online sources is also found only in the footnotes. Because individual sketches will likely be read independently, there is some duplication in the footnotes, although an individual or concept is defined at first mention.

Additional Information

At the end of each sketch, comments from Ellis and Boone were added which include additional stories, background information, or significant information not reported in the text. Sometimes this information helps put the subject’s life into perspective, sometimes it adds information about the family or community, and sometimes it gives information to help understand the sketch. Generally, information was limited to items directly related to women’s issues. Although it was not surprising to find a larger number of stories available for pioneer men than for women, the extent of this difference was significant. Information about a husband was not added unless it was specifically related to the sketch or to women’s issues.

Migration information in each sketch was checked against two databases. MPOT often yielded good information, but PWA was used as one source for that database. Occasionally, the Mormon Migration database at Brigham Young University proved useful. Information on ocean crossings is from Conway B. Sonne’s two books about Mormon maritime history and some online records.[58] Generally, DUP sources were not used—neither sketches submitted by descendants nor DUP publications.


To correctly interpret many of the accounts in PWA, it is imperative to remember that “widowed” or “lost her husband” often means divorce rather than death of a spouse. It is impossible to know if Clayton was using a shortened version of “grass widow” or if she was simply avoiding the mention of an unpleasant incident.[59] Occasionally, she used euphemisms like those used in the nineteenth century for pregnant. Divorce records were not looked up for this project, but it is important to recognize the high incidence of divorce among polygamous marriages.[60] If the divorce is mentioned in the sketch or at or if it appears that a divorce occurred and there is some documentary evidence (such as divorce reported in a census record), “(div)” was placed after a marriage date. If a husband and wife were living apart for an extended number of years and it appears that they may have divorced, a question mark was included (i.e., “div?”).

A second caution would be to note the differences between Mormon and Native American interactions in Utah and in Arizona. Many of the PWA women lived in Utah during the Black Hawk War (1865−72).[61] Central Utah was sparsely settled, federal troops were not always willing or available, and Black Hawk and his followers had assumed the offensive. This became a citizen militia war with probably more Anglo cattle herders killed than militiamen and more Native Americans killed than settlers. Carlton Culmsee noted that “not only men but women and teenage boys and girls and younger children were drawn into defense as participants.”[62] He also described raids against the settlers’ herds of horses, cattle, and sheep, and said, “The Indians strove to wear down the enemy by exhausting the whites’ physical and psychological resources while replenishing their own.”[63] Brigham Young’s policies toward Native Americans might be summarized by the aphorisms “send missionaries” and “better to feed than fight.”[64] Cedenia Willis remembered seeing the bodies of Joseph, Robert, and Isabell Berry who were killed in early April 1866 east of Cedar City.[65] The most disturbing Native American encounter reported in PWA comes from Utah in the winter of 1848–49.[66]

In northern Arizona, the only Mormon death at the hands of Native Americans was that of Nathan Robinson, husband of Annise Robinson Skousen. Settlers in the Gila Valley, however, suffered much more from Native American aggression than did Mormon pioneers in other areas.[67] Most of the women in these sketches brought their fears of Native Americans to Arizona, even though Mormon settlements were generally not in areas inhabited by Native Americans, and by 1886 Geronimo and other Apaches were in Florida and Oklahoma.[68] The more interesting items about Native Americans in PWA are not the stereotypical fears, but the attitudes that made Mormons unique. Even before Church members moved to the Rocky Mountains, missionaries were sent to Native Americans, and Brigham Young’s approach in the West, as stated by Leonard Arrington, “was to be friendly, promote peace, trade fairly, avoid extreme reactions or retaliation, and maintain distance.”[69] This difference in attitude toward Native Americans is illustrated by James Pearce’s comments at the first Pioneer Reunion in Phoenix in 1921, as reported in the account for his wife, Mary Jane.[70] The two biographies that show the most interaction with Apaches were those of Mary Ann Smith McNeil and Sarah McNeil Mills, wife and daughter, respectively, of John C. McNeil who moved to Forestdale in 1880 but settled permanently in Show Low.[71] A similarly long discussion of Native Americans is in the sketch for Marium Dalton Hancock, who mostly lived in Taylor and Pinedale.[72] At St. David, Sarah Gardner Curtis’s daughter Clara would play the piano while Apaches sat on the floor and listened.[73] Alchesay and some of his men came to Snowflake to attend the 1892 funeral of Charles Love Flake.[74] Finally, Latter-day Saint services were held at the Phoenix Indian School in the 1920s where RFC was a Sunday School teacher, and several of the women in PWA women served missions to Native Americans in both Utah and Arizona.[75] All of these activities show much more diversity in Native American/Mormon interactions than simply the “afraid of Indians” attitudes that are sometimes reported for pioneers.


Most of the biographies included in this book are for Latter-day Saint women who came to Arizona from Utah. Exceptions include Mormon women who came directly from other states, women who were born in Arizona, and women not associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are many other important or deserving women, but only seven sketches were added—all were sketches that RFC had submitted to the FWP.[76] It is possible that some of these sketches were omitted intentionally (e.g., Catherine Dorcas Overton Emmett who only lived at Fredonia), but it is more likely that the exclusions were accidental.

The compilation of 200 sketches representing every area of Mormon settlement in Arizona is a remarkable feat, especially considering the era in which RFC was collecting them, but greater resources are available today. With library collections, demographic databases, and other records made available through the internet, a fuller picture of Arizona pioneers can be painted for this new edition. Hopefully it meets with RFC’s approval.

The Federal Writers' Project

Pioneer Women of Arizona, as published in 1969, consists of two types of sketches—those originally submitted to the Federal Writers’ Project from 1936 to 1938 and those written or collected after the New Deal program was over. Each of these groups contains at least three different types of sketches: sketches collected by RFC (an autobiography, information from a funeral, or material written by a descendant or friend), sketches written by RFC from personal knowledge (such as for her mother or sister), and sketches written by RFC from an interview. The earliest sketch in PWA may be for Cyrena Dustin Merrill, who wrote her autobiography in 1898; one of the later sketches was written about 1957 for Mary Jane McRae McGuire by her two daughters. Knowing the authorship of a sketch, the date it was written, and the audience is vital to understanding the events reported or omitted and the language, including tense.

FDR's Federal Writers' Project in Arizona.Franklin D. Roosevelt's Federal Writers' Project in Arizona. Photo courtesy of Arizona State Libraries, Archives and Public Records.

In Utah, Juanita Brooks was instrumental in arranging Federal Relief Act monies for widows and unemployed women in Utah by providing them with FWP work. At a 1968 Utah State Historical Society annual meeting, she reminisced about the project saying, “Women who could type or who had daughters who could were set at copying diaries.” Although much of Brooks’s time was spent with the preservation of historical documents (making copies of diaries and journals), she also noted that other women “were sent out to take interviews with the older people of the areas.” Brooks said, “They were instructed to get the important dates of birth, travels, marriage, positions held, and so on, and to fill in with details of home management on the frontier, social activities [and] important events. They were to encourage reminiscences, impressions of visiting church leaders, of local leaders, of the polygamy raids, of anything in which the informant was interested. They would take notes, write them up as best they could, return to visit the person and read what they had written, supplement or change the story as needed, and finally bring it to us to be typed in a preliminary form before we made the final copy with carbons.”[77]

Clayton interviewed some women just as Brooks described, but she also submitted collected sketches, some of which were probably written earlier for the DUP. Of the seventy-nine women’s sketches that RFC submitted to the Federal Writers’ Project, thirty-seven (47 percent) were for women deceased before the project started and therefore these sketches could not have been based on interviews. Five of the collected sketches were written by the woman herself, another ten were written by a daughter, and several were a combination of both. Also, Clayton wrote some sketches from personal knowledge (e.g., for her mother). Not understanding the difference between sketches based on interviews and sketches simply collected has resulted in some misinterpretation. One example is Barbara Marriott, who assumed that all accounts had at least the basis of an interview and titled her book, In Our Own Words.[78]

The FWP sketches that are definitely based on interviews are those for non-LDS women, in contrast to the many collected sketches for Mormon women.[79] Without access to a diary that RFC presumably kept during the time she submitted FWP sketches, it is difficult to know how intimately acquainted she was with each of these women, and there is little internal evidence that answers this question. RFC could have been assigned by Ross Santee, supervisor of the Arizona Federal Writers’ Project, to interview these women, or she could have sought them out on her own as she tried to support her children by writing. These women could have been nodding acquaintances, or they could have been close personal friends.[80]

It is difficult to decide in retrospect what criteria, if any, Clayton used to decide who was a pioneer, both for the FWP submissions and also later biographies. In Utah, a pioneer was defined as someone arriving before 1869 (when the transcontinental railroad crossing Utah was completed), but this criterion was never used in Arizona. By the 1920s, Arizona began thinking about honoring early settlers. The Arizona Republican started collecting pioneer stories and defined a pioneer as “one who has lived continuously or nearly continuously in Arizona for 35 years, or from January 1, 1886.”[81] This date was later changed to 1890. The newspaper sponsored the first of many annual pioneer reunions on April 12–13, 1921. Clayton often attended these, sometimes taking her father, and she may have used the 1890 date for her pioneer women. However, because there are several women who fall outside this criterion, it is likely that she did not use any cutoff date at all.[82]

Clayton’s FWP sketches are markedly different from other sketches in PWA. For example, the FWP sketches have more information about the route and journey into Arizona (undoubtedly because they are closer in time to the event and many times the source is the immigrant herself).

The most important difference, however, may be that often the FWP sketches did not mention polygamy.[83] This omission may have been because the Works Progress Administration was a non-Mormon venue, but the Federal Writers’ Project itself had conflicting purposes of both trying to unite the nation and also showing regional differences. Jerrold Hirsch, who devoted thirty years to study of FWP materials, wrote, “Both American writers of the late nineteenth century and Federal Writers in the 1930s searched for local color. For the most part, the earlier group wrote nostalgically and patronizingly about regional and ethnic differences. . . . For them these different peculiar groups with their strange ways were vanishing remnants of the past. National FWP officials, however, encouraged local workers to seek out diversity with the goal of celebrating it as a sign of American vitality.” But Hirsch noted that neither Frank L. McVey, who, as president of the University of Kentucky, commented on the preparation of state guides from the FWP interviews, nor Harry Hopkins, a WPA federal relief administrator, “explained why American unity would emerge from a knowledge of diversity.” Hirsch summarized this problem by saying, “To the extent that national FWP officials used a romantic nationalist and pluralist approach to try to unite Americans while ignoring conflicts that divided them, they created a mythical view of the nation.”[84]

Certainly the practice of polygamy could be considered a dividing issue in US history. Likewise, the use of FWP slave histories languished because historians debated their usefulness. In 1974, C. Vann Woodward wrote, in a review article about slave sources, “It should be clear that these interviews with ex-slaves will have to be used with caution and discrimination. The historian who does use them should be posted not only on the period with which they deal, but also familiar with the period in which they were taken down . . . he should bring to bear all the skepticism his trade has taught him about the use of historical sources. The necessary precautions, however, are no more elaborate or burdensome than those required by many other types of sources he is accustomed to use.”[85] Nearly twenty years later, historian Robyn Preston wrote about the slave narratives in Oklahoma and concluded that “by paying close attention to these details, readers can sift through the various layers of the narratives in order to come to a better understanding of these remarkable stories.”[86]

Arizona State Guide.One product that came out of the Federal Writers' Project was a guide book for each state; Arizona's was not published until 1940. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

These cautions apply equally well to Mormon FWP histories from Utah and Arizona. When Clayton’s FWP sketches that were moved directly into PWA without change are read by themselves, it becomes easy to make unwarranted conclusions. For example, it seems likely that when James Phillips wrote about Emma Hansen’s tears upon leaving Utah, he did not understand that Emma was a second wife and that the trip to Arizona included her husband Joseph, his first wife Sophia, and their daughter Mary.[87] When Jerrold Hirsch analyzed many of the FWP slave histories from the southern states, he discussed biases, untrained interviewers, lack of tape recordings, and even outright fabrication.[88] But he concluded that the “alleged weaknesses of the FWP interview materials are not an insurmountable barrier. Historians finally are working at separating the wheat from the chaff.”[89] This caution must be applied to the FWP sketches found in PWA and was used in assessing and supplementing RFC’s accounts.

One of the steps Juanita Brooks mentioned for the Utah FWP sketches was a return to the woman interviewed so she could review the written material. However, RFC may have returned only when the subject was close at hand. Not returning to interviewees when inconvenient distances were involved (e.g., even if the distance was only from Snowflake to Joseph City, as for Emma Swenson Hansen) may have been the source of some errors. These can be errors of omission (e.g., no mention of polygamy), typographical errors (e.g., Silver Roof versus Silver Reef mine), or simply an incorrect calculation or inference (e.g., the number of children for Emma Hansen).

Regardless of whether or not the lack of information about polygamy was overt, Clayton told Sue Abbey in 1973 that the sketches for pioneer men did not emphasize religion. “I just can’t die and let those wonderful stories go by,” she said. “So that’s what I’m getting [together]. I say it isn’t church wise. I’m not stressing the fact that I’m a Mormon or that any of these people went on missions for the Mormon Church.”[90] Nevertheless, these sketches do contain a wealth of information on Mormons in general and Mormons in Arizona specifically.

Ultimately, however, the following poem that Clayton wrote titled “My Friends” may explain her eclectic selection of histories both for the FWP and PWA:

My friends are a varied group of folk

That I choose in a novel way.

It matters not the shade of skin,

Whether eyes are black or gray

It matters not whether rich or poor;

Whether old, middle aged or young;

It matters not their race or creed,

Or whether they speak my tongue.

It only matters if their lives

Encompass all that is fine,

It only matters if their hearts

Speak the same language as mine.[91]

Migration and Settlement

The history of Mormonism has always been associated with people seeking a church that reflected the primitive church of the New Testament. With Joseph Smith’s first vision at Palmyra, New York, in 1820, the subsequent printing of the Book of Mormon in 1829, and the establishment of a formal church at Fayette, New York, in 1830, many felt they had found what they were seeking. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew one convert at a time, but not without conflict. Mormons, as a group and singly, moved from New York and Pennsylvania, to Kirtland, Ohio, to western Missouri, and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839. The period at Nauvoo (1839–46) began as a time of peace and prosperity, but unfortunately it was all too brief. Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed at Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844, and Latter-day Saints knew that they would be moving yet again.

Under the leadership of Brigham Young, this became the great exodus west. The first wagons left Nauvoo in February 1846, and the last of the poor fled Nauvoo in September of that year. With the departure of the Mormon Battalion (500 volunteer soldiers enlisting in the US army) from Iowa during the summer of 1846, Young decided it would be necessary to spend the first winter on the Missouri River (Council Bluffs, Iowa and Winter Quarters, Nebraska). Mormon pioneers began their journey to Utah the next spring. The classic description of migration along the Platte River is The Great Platte River Road by Merrill J. Mattes. Although his treatment of the Mormon migration is superficial, he discusses the trail from five outfitting locations on the Missouri River to Fort Kearny and calls this route “by all standards the most important ‘way west.’”[92] Significant dates along the Mormon Trail would be 1847 (the Pioneer Company and initial groups of settlers entering the Salt Lake Valley), 1852 (all Mormons living in Iowa being called to Utah), 1856 (the handcart companies), 1860−61 (the down-and-back wagon companies), and 1869 (completion of the transcontinental railroad in Utah).[93]

The events these women report prior to coming to Arizona concentrate mostly on the Mormon Trail experience and settlement in the West. The sketches in PWA have limited information about Nauvoo and Kirtland. In contrast, nearly every convert tells her conversion story and the story of crossing the ocean and/or crossing the Great Plains. A few of the women in this book came to the Salt Lake Valley with the 1847 pioneers, but many were later converts from Canada, England, Scandinavian countries, Italy, and Switzerland. The journey across the plains was made in wagons, by handcart, with the down-and-back wagon companies, and even by train. A few of the families used the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, and others financed the trip themselves. Other women were born in the West—in Utah, Colorado, or California.[94] Many of the women who eventually settled in Arizona had first helped build one, two, or even three different towns in Utah.

Map of families in Utah.Towns of origin for Mormon emigrants coming to Arizona from Utah and southern Idaho as found in PWA. A family is defined as a married woman and any children, or a family may be two or more siblings. Polygamous wives are counted as one family unless wives came to Arizona in different years. Not all sketches reported previous residence, so the data include 140 families and 174 individuals. An unidentified area (e.g., Sevier River) was included with the county seat (e.g., Richfield). Although not apparent on this map, the large number of families from Parowan and Kanab illustrates two different types of groups: those from Parowan were nearly all associated with the Jesse N. Smith family, while the large number form Kanab were all from separate families. Data are found in Appendix 2. Map prepared by Karina Wilhelm, Map and Geospatial Hub, Arizona State University Library.

Immigrants to Arizona came from towns in every part of Utah. However, the most important emigrant town was not located in Utah but was San Bernardino, California. Established in 1851, San Bernardino was attractive to many southern converts; E. Leo Lyman estimated that half of the settlers coming with Charles Rich and Amasa Lyman to settle this area were from the South.[95] Within a few short years, San Bernardino became one of the largest towns in California. By 1857, however, these colonists were called back to Utah by Brigham Young and many settled in towns from Santa Clara, Utah, to Paris, Idaho. Lyman listed the following former San Bernardino families as coming to Arizona: Boyle, Crismon, Crosby, Flake, Hakes, Holladay, Hunt, Kartchner, Matthews, Nelson, Pratt, Reed, Sirrine, Smithson, Tanner, Tenney, and Turley.[96] Other families that could be added to the list are Burk, Daley, Driggs, Grover, Lake, Morse, Parkinson, and Phelps. These families settled along the Little Colorado River, in the Gila Valley, and in the Mesa area.[97]

The obvious physical barrier for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaving Utah to settle in Arizona was the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.[98] Mormon explorer and missionary Jacob Hamblin first crossed the Colorado River in 1858 at the Crossing of the Fathers located near the Utah-Arizona border, now buried beneath the waters of Lake Powell. Then, in 1862, he crossed below the Grand Canyon (at Pierce’s Ferry or maybe Stone’s Ferry), traveled past the San Francisco Peaks to the Little Colorado River, and returned to St. George via the Crossing of the Fathers, completely circling the Grand Canyon. As Arizona historian Frank Lockwood noted, between 1871 and 1873, Hamblin “marked out a hard but practicable route from Utah into the Painted Desert by way of Lee’s Ferry, Tuba City, Grand Falls, and up the Little Colorado to Sunset Crossing (near Winslow).”[99]

Colorado River ferrymen: John Blythe, Harrison Pearce, Daniel Bonelli, and Anson Call.McClintock's 1921 collage of Colorado River ferrymen: (1) John Blythe who in 1873 built a 20-by-40-foot barge that could hold two teams and wagons. (2) Harrison Pearce who established a ferry at Grand Wash 280 miles below Lee's Ferry. (3) Daniel Bonelli who established a ferry at the Virgin River crossing (sometimes called Stone's or Scanlon's Ferry). (4) Anson Call who established a ferry and the twon of Callsville at the mouth of the Las Vegas Wash hoping steamboats could be used for supplies and emigrants to Utah. Photo courtesy of Church History Library.

Eventually, ferries were established both above the Grand Canyon and below; Arizona’s historian James McClintock collected photographs of some of the founders. Lee’s Ferry (often called Johnson’s Ferry by the immigrants) was at the mouth of the Paria River, immediately above the Colorado River’s plunge into Marble Canyon, which is the beginning of the gorge of the Grand Canyon.[100] All of the lower ferries were located at the Big Bend of the Colorado River (i.e., near where it is joined by the Virgin River and where it turns from west to south). Pierce’s Ferry was first, 280 river miles downstream from Lee’s Ferry, followed by Bonelli’s Ferry (sometimes called Stone’s or Scanlon’s Ferry) and Callville or Call’s Landing.[101] These ferries are now under the waters of Lake Mead.[102] Mormon emigrants used both the lower ferries and Lee’s Ferry until the completion of Navajo Bridge over Marble Canyon in 1929.

The setting for Lee's Ferry.The setting for Lee's Ferry at the mouth of the Paria River where it meets the Colorado River. Photo courtesy of Oracle Historical Society.

Ferry and ferrymen at Lee's Ferry.The ferry and ferrymen at Lee's Ferry, c. 1925; Lynn Lyman, photographer. Photo courtesy of Utah State Historical Society.

Bonelli's Ferry.Bonelli's Ferry, looking upstream, 1890, Stanton Survey photograph. Photo courtesy of utah State Historical Society.

Navajo Bridge.A Keystone View Company stereoscope image looking westward, with the Colorado River flowing downstream through Marble Canyon, titled, "New Bridge Across Colorado River near Lee's Ferry, Ariz." Navajo Bridge, located four miles below Lee's Ferry, was completed in 1929; it was 834 feet long and 467 feet above the river. Photo courtesy of the Ellis Collection.

Before the death of Brigham Young in 1877, individuals and families received calls, generally at conferences, to settle new areas.[103] The settlement of southern Nevada (at one time Pahute County, Arizona) began with thirty missionaries called in April 1855 to an Indian mission at a spring and meadow eventually known as Las Vegas. Additional missionaries were called to mine lead nearby, but all were called back to Utah in 1857 as Johnston’s army marched toward Utah.[104] The next calls to this area were in November 1864 when 183 families were called to the Muddy Mission (Moapa Valley). Settlers gradually came and built the towns of Overton, St. Thomas, St. Joseph, and Mill Point. However, with the establishment of valuable mines in this section of Nevada and officials wanting to ensure the mines were not in Utah, Congress moved the Nevada-Utah border one degree east in 1866 and then in 1867 ceded to Nevada all Arizona territory west of the Colorado River.[105] This resulted in border disputes; Nevada officials expected taxes which had previously been paid to Utah and Arizona. Mormon settlers were also concerned about Nevada’s higher taxes which had to be paid in gold or hard currency. Finally, Brigham Young visited the area in March 1870 and by December decided to release all the pioneers to settle other areas. Some of these Nevada pioneers eventually settled in Arizona.[106]

Following Brigham Young’s death in 1877, not all pioneers came to Arizona with specific calls.[107] Ellen Larson Smith noted that “word came through the ward Bishop that President Young was planning to colonize Arizona and he wanted faithful, industrious thrifty men with families to go as soon as they could arrange their affairs. So [Mons] Larson and August Tietjen were the families called from Santaquin.”[108] On the way to Arizona, the Larson family heard about Snowflake and decided to settle there. Seth Tanner, however, was called in 1876 to “go to the place on this river [the Little Colorado] where emigrants first contacted it and there to build a granary where travelers from Arizona, bound for Utah could store their grain and other feed for their horses on the return trip.” The family lived at Moenkopi and Moabi.[109] Elizabeth Curtis reported that Erastus Snow told the people, “Brothers and Sisters, go somewhere but settle among the Saints wherever you do go. I think the Gila Valley is a very good place, but I do not advise any particular place, that is left to you.”[110] They settled in the Gila Valley.

Also, some women chose to come to Arizona to be with family members. Cedenia Willis wrote, “I pleaded with my husband to go that I might be with my Mother. What loving daughter does not know my feelings?”[111] Others came seeking better health. Elizabeth Adelaide Allen’s husband suffered with rheumatism and “persuaded his good wife that it would be to their advantage to go to Arizona, the ‘Land of Sunshine’. He had heard of the virtues of that sunny land from his brother, Elijah who had traveled through southern Arizona with the Mormon Battalion.” So, in October 1882, the couple left their home in Cove, Utah, with “two wagons, four horses to each, a light hack with one team and some nice fat horses.” Elizabeth drove the hack to Mesa, and “during these six weeks of traveling, her knitting needles were ever busy as she permitted her horses to follow along behind the other wagons.”[112]

As George Tanner, a son of one of these pioneers, wrote, “The migration of the Mormons into the bleak landscape of northern Arizona cannot be easily explained.”[113] Reports from the early exploratory parties of Lorenzo Roundy and Horton Haight in 1873 ranged from not optimistic to completely gloomy.[114] Jacob Hamblin and Daniel W. Jones were critical and thought these parties lacked faith and stamina.[115] Jacob Hamblin wrote, “In the winter of 1873−74 I was sent to look out a route for a wagon-road from Lee’s Ferry to the San Francisco forest or the head waters of the Little Colorado.” In the spring of 1874, he accompanied “about one hundred wagons” as far as Moenkopi. According to Hamblin, “For a considerable distance beyond Moancoppy the country is barren and uninviting. After they left that place the first company became discouraged and demoralized, and returned. . . . The companies that followed . . . partook of the same demoralizing spirit. They could not be prevailed upon to believe that there was a good country with land, timber and water a little beyond where the first company turned back. . . . When this company was sent into Arizona it was the opportune time for the Saints to occupy the country. Soon after, the best locations in the country were taken up by others and our people have since been compelled to pay out many thousands of dollars to obtain suitable places for their homes.”[116]

Then, in 1875, Brigham Young sent James S. Brown, with fourteen seasoned frontiersmen, to reassess the Little Colorado River area. Tanner thought that Young may not have even waited for their report before he called strong leaders to settle four places: Lot Smith at Sunset, William C. Allen at St. Joseph, Jesse O. Ballenger at Brigham City, and George Lake at Obed.[117] But in defense of Roundy and Haight, Tanner noted that three of these settlements “passed out of existence within a decade.”[118]

Arizona immigrants used two migration corridors in central and southern Utah—the first through Panguitch to Kanab and the second through Beaver and Cedar City to St. George. Many emigrants came from the towns around St. George (Washington, Virgin City, and Toquerville) where some of the men had been working on the St. George Temple. Completed in 1877, its construction had served as a quasi-public works project, and with no railroad to market their crops, many men who were looking for other areas to farm considered Arizona. Also, several groups had previously lived at Kanab, and this became an important stopping place for travelers. Groups from northern Utah often used the eastern route and did not go to St. George unless they wanted to attend the temple before proceeding on to Arizona.

Latter-day Saint migration routes into Arizona.Latter-day Saints migration routes into Arizona as found in PWA. the route through Hackberry became known as the Western Route, and the route through Lee's Ferry was called the Old Mormon Road (later Honeymoon Trail). Map prepared by Chuck Sternberg.

At St. George, emigrant parties had to choose between two routes into Arizona. The first route meant traveling south from St. George, through the Grand Wash Cliffs area and crossing the Colorado at Pierce’s Ferry or down the Virgin River and crossing at Stone’s Ferry, then proceeding to Hackberry, where the parties had to decide if they were traveling east through Williams and Flagstaff to the Little Colorado River area or turning south and traveling through Prescott to Mesa or St. David. This route was sometimes called the western route.[119] The second route meant traveling east from St. George through southern Utah and the Arizona Strip to Kanab, then southeast across Buckskin Mountain (often plural in pioneer manuscripts) on the Kaibab Plateau to cross the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry (also called Johnson’s Ferry), then south to the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River, and then east to Winslow and Holbrook.[120] By 1880, this was labeled on maps as the “Mormon Wagon Road.” Salina Turley, who came with her natal family in 1881, recalled that “the Smithson family started out alone, Arizona bound to find a new home. By this time a fairly good wagon road had been made by the hundreds of emigrants who had gone on before and the trip was a short one,” meaning four weeks.[121] It was not until 1934 that Will C. Barnes in an Arizona Highways article called this route the Honeymoon Trail, but many using this route were not, in fact, betrothed or honeymooners.[122]

Reaching Holbrook, an immigrant party again had to choose whether to travel south to Snowflake, Taylor, Show Low, and Forestdale; southeast to St. Johns and the Springerville/Eagar area; or east into New Mexico. Many people settling in the Gila Valley used the route south from Snowflake through Fort Apache. One of these early settlers, Caroline Teeples, remarked that the commander at Fort Apache “took all of our names a[nd] all about us so the Government would have a record of us if we were all killed” by Apaches.[123] Other families lived for some years in St. Johns or other Apache County communities before continuing on to the Gila Valley, either using the Fort Apache or the Luna and Mule Creek, New Mexico, route. Occasionally, people even used the Lee’s Ferry, Flagstaff, Mesa, and San Carlos route to get to the Gila Valley.[124]

Lee’s Ferry was not initially assumed to be the best route for Mormon immigrants coming into Arizona, even if the immigrant destination was the Little Colorado River. Deciding factors were distance, water, and cattle. The direct route was generally preferred, and the route across Buckskin Mountain was gradually shortened.[125] The amount of water in both the Colorado River and along the route usually made a fall trip preferable. Spring runoff often meant that the river was running so high that a crossing at Lee’s Ferry was unwise. Seeps or springs dotted the route, but probably every immigrant company carried barrels of water that could be used when the company made dry camp. And finally, many immigrant parties trailed a large number of loose cattle and horses.[126] Will C. Barnes, in writing about the Mormon newcomers, wrote, “The great number of these people were farmers who brought with them not only farming tools but live stock as well. Their cattle were unusually well-bred. They were nearly all milk stock.” He noted that the original cattle in the Southwest were “the longhorn type—huge, rawboned, high-hipped animals,” but of the cattle brought by the Mormons, nearly 75 percent “were Devons, famous always for their milking qualities; the rest were Shorthorns, or Durhams.”[127]

Using these three factors, it becomes easier to understand the choice of a route for Mormon travel to Arizona. Immigrants to the Little Colorado and Gila Rivers used Lee’s Ferry almost exclusively. It was direct and afforded sufficient water and feed for animals—if traversed during the fall. Immigrants to Mesa and St. David faced a harder choice—the western route through Hackberry was shorter, but it had fewer dependable water sources. If the pioneers were traveling light, using a hack and unencumbered by loose cattle and horses, the Lower Colorado River ferries made the trip from St. George significantly shorter. However, for emigrant parties trailing cattle, the presence of better water and grass made the Mormon Wagon Road (Lee’s Ferry route) the best choice. The first two groups of Mormon settlers in the Salt River Valley arrived in 1877 and were usually referred to as the Jones (or Lehi) Company and the Mesa Company; both were large parties. The Lehi Company, with no extra cattle, traveled from Utah via the Stone’s Ferry-Hackberry route, while the Mesa Company used the Lee’s Ferry to Sunset (now Winslow) to Camp Verde route.[128]

After suffering through the extreme heat of a summer in the Salt River Valley, the four Merrill families and the families of George Steele, Joseph McRae, and Austin O. Williams, who had all come to Arizona with the Lehi Company, moved farther south to the San Pedro River. Philemon C. Merrill first marched through southern Arizona with the Mormon Battalion in December 1846 and undoubtedly remembered the area along the San Pedro as having better grass for his cattle. This became the town of St. David and was eventually strengthened with the arrival of additional families from Utah—some of whom used Lee’s Ferry while others used Pierce’s Ferry. There was also a great deal of interaction between settlers in the Gila Valley and St. David. Hyrum Weech said, “People would come in here [to the Gila Valley] from Utah, look over the valley and usually locate somewhere. Some, however, went on from here to the San Pedro. Others came from the San Pedro and located here.” Weech also recalled: “I was on the San Pedro in 1881. They had just started getting land under cultivation. Jonathan Hoopes was on the San Pedro then and Sam Curtis, [Heber] Reed, Woorsley and others. All of them went over there from here [the Gila Valley], one reason, because there was a lot of freighting there,” particularly from the railroad to Tombstone, Arizona, and Nacozari, Mexico.[129]

The final nineteenth-century enclave of Latter-day Saints was in the Tonto Basin, particularly the towns of Pine and Strawberry. Early settlers included the families of Ruth and Alfred Randall, Hannah and John Sanders, Elese and William Hunt, and Rosetta and Alma Hunt. The Hunt brothers had spent one winter in Snowflake and then moved on to the Tonto Basin. Settlers here used both Lee’s and Pierce’s Ferries, sometimes depending upon if they wanted to attend the St. George Temple. Elese Hunt illustrated the pros and cons of each route when she said, “In 1883 my husband and our family went back to Utah to visit our folks. We went by Pearce’s Ferry, thinking it would be better but there wasn’t much choice, only each one was worse than the other. Feed and water for the animals was scarce.”[130] Later, additional settlers were called to this area including Lyman Utley Leavitt in 1899.[131]

Not just the Mormon settlements in Arizona, but the entire territory was settled late compared to other western states. With the economies of many of these states based on mining, exploitation of native ores in Arizona lagged far behind other states for at least three reasons. The first reason was Native American depredations. The state of Georgia simply moved Native Americans west, California killed most, and Montana, Alaska, and South Dakota experienced only a few brief skirmishes. To the Apaches, however, raiding was a way of life, and miners often justifiably feared for their lives. The second problem was transportation; railroads came late to Arizona because of the arid desert and harsh topography. Third, ores in Arizona were extremely complex, necessitating industrial expertise and machinery to extract it. As Rossiter Raymond wrote in 1875, “At present only such gold and silver lodes as would elsewhere be considered surprisingly rich can be worked to advantage, and scores of lodes that would pay handsomely in California or Colorado are utterly neglected, while the great copper interests of the Territory (for copper is nowhere more abundant or of greater purity) are for all practical purposes without value.”[132]

Consequently, the settlement of Arizona and the advent of railroads happened about the same time. The Southern Pacific Railroad was completed east to El Paso in 1881, and the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (later Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe) was officially open to transcontinental passenger service on October 21, 1883.[133] These two railroads opened the territory to the outside world. Arizona historian Odie B. Faulk wrote, “Perhaps the greatest event in Arizona in the nineteenth century was the arrival of the railroads,” and then he concluded, “Eventually almost every major town in the territory had rail service, just as did every major mine.”[134] Several Mormon families, or parts of families, traveled by train to Arizona. When Elizabeth Layton’s husband, Christopher, was called in 1883 to preside over the St. Joseph Stake, which at that time included St. David and the Gila Valley settlements, he rented two entire railroad cars in Salt Lake City and “loaded them with horses, mules, furniture, farm implements, seeds, alfalfa, oats, wheat and flour enough to last a year.” He assigned some of his sons to take care of the animals in the freight cars while the rest of the family traveled by a faster train, arriving in St. David two days ahead of their household goods.[135] In 1884, Kate and William Burton traveled to Maricopa Station by train (through Downey, California, so she could visit relatives).[136] And in 1887, Happylona Hunt came to Snowflake presumably through Colorado, because her lost belongings were found in La Junta six months later.[137]

Maricopa Train Station.Maricopa Train Station, Southern Pacific Railway. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

It must be noted that some of the Mormon women whose biographies are included in PWA, and all of the non-LDS women, traveled directly to Arizona from areas other than Utah—including Mexico, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, and Texas. Some of the Mormons included the ill-fated Arkansas Company (composed of converts from Arkansas, Georgia, and Alabama) that came to the Little Colorado River area during the winter of 1877−78. These families were poor when they started and destitute when they arrived. They were distributed throughout the various camps because no settlement had food enough to share with the full company. Most of these people eventually moved to the Gila Valley.[138] Other emigrants who came directly to Arizona include Ellen Greer (who arrived about 1878 from Texas) and Louise Cross (who came in 1885 from Illinois).[139] Both of these women had been part of the original migration to Utah, but they later traveled east and lived in Texas and the Midwest. Also, some women decided to come directly to Arizona when they converted to the Mormon faith. Susan Youngblood and Carrie Lindsey’s parents were converts of Charles L. Flake when he was serving as a missionary in Mississippi.[140]

The sketches in PWA detail a considerable amount of movement after 1880, both within Arizona and to points outside the territory. The earliest moves to Mexico were generally associated with imminent prosecution over the practice of polygamy, but other sketches express the desire to be with family members in Mexico or to look for better economic opportunities.[141] The biography for Mary Ann “Lannie” Mitchell Smith describes the route from Snowflake into Mexico: “They left Feb. 10, 1885, Lannie’s birthday, going by way of St. Johns, Nutrioso [Arizona], and Luna Valley [New Mexico]. The company camped near La Ascencíon [Mexico] but many of them pushed on to a site on the Piedras Verdes River above Casas Grandes [Chihuahua].”[142] Joseph Fish was part of the group that traveled through western New Mexico to Chihuahua, but he returned to Snowflake through the Gila Valley and Fort Apache in February 1886.[143] Shortly thereafter, the railroad became an important mode of transportation to Mexico. When Frederick G. Williams II moved his families from Ogden, Utah, to Chihuahua in 1890, they rode the train to Deming, New Mexico, and then traveled to Colonia Díaz by wagon.[144] Although Joseph Fish was a polygamist, his 1893 move into Mexico seems to be more related to economic security. He records this trip as through Fort Apache, the Gila Valley, Willcox, and Bisbee to Colonia Oaxaca, Sonora, a route which was often used into the Sonoran colonies.[145]

Generally, however, it was a search for economic security that prompted Mormon moves. Many Arizona settlements were on marginal farmland, specifically land tied to less reliable water sources compared to land in Utah. Without the obligation associated with being called to settle an area (or eventually released from their obligations under the communal United Order), the pioneers felt free to relocate. Sometimes they found a better life and sometimes not. Discouraged by the limited water supply at Snowflake, Ellen and Mons Larson moved to Pima and then to Glenbar, where Mons died in 1890. Their daughter Ellen Smith moved with them to Pima in 1882, returned to Snowflake in 1886, and then moved on to Salt Lake City; by 1937 when RFC wrote her FWP sketch, Ellen was residing in Monticello, Utah.[146] The biographies for Rowena McFate Whipple and Mary Ann Ramsay report several moves around the state related to employment, and both Caroline Kimball and Emma Merrill first lived at St. David and then moved to the Gila Valley.[147] The search for economic security likewise prompted the moves of the Lyman Hancock family. Marium and Lyman Hancock lived in Pinedale and Taylor when they were first married. Then they relocated to Luna and Williams Valley, New Mexico. According to Marium, “We didn’t gain anything by going to New Mexico but another son whom we named Charles Levi, so we returned to Pinedale.” Then later, they moved to Bryce, in Graham County, stayed one year, and came back to Pinedale.[148]

Several twentieth century settlements also need to be mentioned when writing about the Mormon settlement of Arizona. In discussing late Mormon colonization efforts, geographer D. W. Meinig wrote that by 1890, “the Gathering had lost its momentum and the concept of a geographically expanding kingdom was no longer feasible. The days of seizing virgin land were long since past and large blocks of land suitable for group colonization were becoming scarce and expensive.”[149] Meinig then used the 1893 settlement of Latter-day Saints in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming as an example, stating that this settlement was not Church directed, had no designated leader, and did not secure land and water rights in advance. Others, however, have seen the Big Horn Basin as Church directed, at least by 1900 when Apostle Abraham O. Woodruff organized an immigrant company into this area.[150]

The 1899 settlement of Binghampton, north of Tucson on the Rillito River, may be a better example of a non-Church-directed settlement. This area was principally settled through the efforts of Nephi Bingham and his brothers, Jacob and Daniel. After Binghampton was established, Latter-day Saints from the Gila Valley and St. David felt comfortable moving to Tucson for employment and to attend the university.[151] The Binghampton area also absorbed many refugees from Mexico, beginning with Heber Farr and his relatives in 1909 and continuing with Mormon colonists fleeing revolutionary unrest south of the US-Mexico border in July 1912.[152]

The 1912 Mormon refugees from Mexico were responsible for creating the last of the Mormon settlements in Arizona. Some of these refugees found homes and employment in the existing towns throughout Arizona (i.e., Mesa, Thatcher, St. David, Holbrook, and Eagar), but other refugees purchased land or took advantage of newly opened areas from the Homestead Act. They create the new communities of Pomerene and Miramonte, both in Cochise County, near St. David, and Virden in Hidalgo County, New Mexico.[153] Pomerene became a successful farming community and still has a significant Mormon population.[154] Virden has a small population today, but Miramonte passed out of existence by 1921.[155]

By the early twentieth century, members of the Church were scattered all across Arizona. Many were living in historically Mormon towns (e.g., Snowflake, Thatcher, Eagar, and Mesa) which were almost exclusively Latter-day Saints, but other members were in communities where they were in the minority. With adequate employment opportunities not always available, many of the Gila Valley men worked in the mines—at Morenci, Globe, and Bisbee. As noted by Arvin Palmer, the towns along the Little Colorado River “simply could not absorb all of the initially arriving families nor could they absorb the progeny of the large Mormon families.” He joked that “when someone was born in Taylor, someone had to leave.” In addition, although many times it was the young adults who left the area for employment, he noted that “entire families moved to larger areas such as Winslow (when the railroad was hiring), the San Juan valley area of New Mexico, the Valley of the Sun, the Gila River valley and even California during various boom times.”[156]

In conclusion, settlements in Arizona by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began near the end of Brigham Young’s life. In the thirty years between when Mormons first came to the Salt Lake Valley and when they began coming to Arizona, much had changed. Many of the immigrants to Arizona left comfortable homes, so for some it was easy to return, and others simply pined for homes in Utah. For Arizona, there were fewer calls to a specific location, more calls to a general area, and more people who came of their own volition. There were many settlers who used the train rather than covered wagons, and there were converts who did not go to Utah first but came directly to Arizona. One non-Mormon source noted that late nineteenth-century Arizona was “rough and primitive” and stated that “regardless of the mode of transportation, whether one came by wagon or by train, the journey to Arizona was difficult.”[157] Meinig felt that the critical difference in the settlement of Arizona was that “in none of these localities were the Mormons the first colonists.” With lands often purchased rather than simply occupied, he saw these settlements as “little clusters or strips of Mormon farms and villages hugging a precious and meager stream.”[158] If Meinig was correct, one of the differences between Utah and Arizona settlements was the immediate importance of ranching, not just farming, particularly in Navajo, Apache, Graham, and Gila Counties.[159] Mormon men became freighters, ranchers, teachers, businessmen, and even miners. Although some settlers gave up trying to tame the harsh Arizona desert lands and returned to Utah or moved on to California, Edmond Nelson, an early settler of Springerville, probably echoed the feelings of many Mormon immigrants who made Arizona their home. Interviewed in 1940 for the FWP, Nelson proclaimed with considerable satisfaction: “I am eighty-nine years old, hale and hearty. Arizona has been good to me.”[160]


[1] Flake, William J. Flake, 56.

[2] Ibid., 59.

[3] See Flake, Academy in the Wilderness.

[4] Oral history interview, Sue Abbey with RFC, October 17, 1973 (punctuation standardized); Roberta Flake Clayton Papers, MSS-28, ASU Libraries: Arizona Collection, 3. Prevalence of divorce in early Utah, particularly among polygamous marriages, is discussed in Campbell and Campbell, “Divorce among Mormon Polygamists,” 4−23; Daynes, More Wives Than One, 141–70.

[5] More is known about the first child RFC adopted than is known about her other children. Reginald Flake’s birth father was Masif Tamer, listed as an Arab, and the birth mother, unidentified by name, was listed as Syrian and living in Concho in 1918. The assumption from Lucy Flake’s journal and the Coconino Sun article is that Dr. Joseph Woolford delivered the twelve-pound baby, which the couple did not want to keep because they were not married. Lucy wrote on January 29, 1898, “Roberta had the Justice of the peace draw up papers to adopt the baby[.] The Father sined his name and the Mothers name[.] She [RFC] wants it acorden to law so he never can come and clame it[.]” Flake and Boone, Diary of Lucy Hannah White Flake, 287; “Inherits Fortune of Father who at Birth Wished Him Killed,” Coconino Sun, December 20, 1918; 1900 census, Joseph Ramsay, Snowflake, Navajo Co., Arizona; 1920 census, James W. Clayton, Atlanta, Fulton Co., Georgia; World War I draft registration card, Reginald Milton Flake, Snow Flake, Arizona.

[6] RFC journal, Synopsis.

[7] 1973 oral history interview, RFC, 2.

[8] RFC journal; Ellis, “A Miner’s Wife: Roberta Flake Clayton in Mexico, 1910–1912.” The Hidalgo Mine was near Concheño (see map of Mexico, 865).

[9] 1973 oral history interview, RFC, 4 and 6.

[10] 1920 census, James W. Clayton, Atlanta, Fulton Co., Georgia; 1930 census, James W. Clayton, Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona; archival entry for RFC at


[12] Clayton, To the Last Frontier, 1. Some libraries (e.g., BYU) have assigned a 1964 date to the first printing. When it was reprinted in 2000, the title page stated, “Originally Printed in 1923,” but this is obviously not true (from Clayton’s journal entries) and is a repeat of the mistake in the 1976 introduction. It is possible that she began writing To the Last Frontier in 1923.

[13] RFC journal, July 11, 1926.

[14] RFC Journal, July 11, 1926. The Daughters of the Pioneers (sometimes called Daughters of Arizona Pioneers) was active in northern Arizona as early as 1935. Sometimes they were associated with DUP and sometimes not. May Hunt Larson journal, August 28, 1935; July 7, 1936; August 30, 1938.

[15] Clayton, PWA, [i].

[16] 1930 census, James W. Clayton, Phoenix, Arizona.

[17] Descendants of William Jordan Flake, December 1985; copy in possession of Ellis. All of RFC’s children had problems with birth certificates. Bill Clayton’s enlistment during World War II was delayed until he had proof of birth; Richard straightened out his birth records when, as an adult, he applied for a passport to go to Mexico to visit Reginald.

[18] RFC, “Eternal Verities,” RFC papers, ASU.

[19] 1973 oral history interview, RFC, 3;

[20] Arizona Republican, May 12, May 13, August 10, 1923.

[21] Boyer, Arizona in Literature, 352−53. Other Latter-day Saint writers included in this volume are T. C. Hoyt, Bertha A. Kleinman, Ida R. Alldredge, Ethel Lillywhite Peterson, J. H. Stallings, Margaretha S. Merrill, Estelle Webb Thomas, Joseph H. Claridge, Nettie Hunt Rencher, Annie Woods (Westover), and Evans Coleman.

[22] John Branch Timms to RFC, June 1, 1923, RFC (1877−1981) papers, box 1, folder 6, Luhrs Special Collections, ASU. See also Christopher Lockhart, “‘The Inside Pitch:’ In Memory of Mrs. Mary C. Brockway,”

[23] Clayton, To the Last Frontier. Other examples include opening statements in the sketches for Mary Louisa Whitmore Price Garner Cutler, 122, and Mary Ann Cheshire Ramsay, 569.

[24] Fahlman, New Deal Art in Arizona, 31.

[25] Brackett, “Arizona’s Cowboy Artist-Writer,” 17−18; Santee, “‘The West I Remember,’” 10−23.

[26] 1973 oral history interview, RFC, 9.

[27] RFC submitted sketches for fifteen LDS women from outside Navajo County (most living in Mesa, but some in Apache County). For twelve of these women, it would be easy to erroneously conclude that they were from Navajo County because the sketches were submitted under the heading of Navajo County Guide.

[28] Fifty of the FWP sketches have the date submitted (1936−39), but only ten of these were submitted in 1936.

[29] There is little new information in these accounts, and today better information is generally available for these towns. Note: although this book was originally advertised as Arizona: a Guide to the Sunset State, it apparently was published as Arizona, a State Guide. WPA, Arizona, a State Guide; “Lizards to Skyscrapers,” New York Herald Tribune, August 25, 1940, IX 18; “Arizona Scene Surveyed with Words and Pictures,” Los Angeles Times, May 5, 1940, Part III, 6; “‘Arizona, a Guide to the Sunset State,’ is Released for Sale This Week by Publishers,” Holbrook Tribune-News, April 19, 1940, 6.

[30] 1973 oral history interview, RFC, 2.

[31] Clayton, PWA. Some institutions have assigned a publication date of c. 1964, but this should be 1969. Merrill, One Hundred Yesterdays, 266; Mitzi Zipf, “Meandering with Mitzi,” Sun Valley Spur-Shopper, July 10, 1969, 22−23.

[32] Apparently an error in the 1973 oral history interview transcript (p. 4) listing son Bill as having been killed in WWI instead of WWII (and on p. 5 calling him Neal instead of Bill) is the source for numerous statements that RFC lost a son in World War I (including the Arizona Transcript Collection at ASU, ASLAPR in Phoenix, and AHS in Tucson). Reginald Milton Flake, the only son who could have fought in WWI, registered for the draft in Snowflake and listed his mother’s address as Ellijay, Georgia, but he died January 23, 1991. SSDI.

[33] On February 27, 1942, the USS Langley was attacked by the Japanese near Java in the Indian Ocean. The crew abandoned ship as it was sinking, and most were picked up by the nearby USS Whipple and the USS Edsall; these are apparently the second ship mentioned in the poem. Then the Langley crew members were transferred to the USS Pecos (the third ship), which headed toward Australia. On March 1, the Pecos, with 276 extra men, was also attacked and sunk. A distress signal from the Pecos was picked up by the Whipple, and it returned to rescue some of the men a second time. Before the Whipple arrived, enemy fire and large explosions were heard over the horizon; this was apparently the sinking of the Edsall with all aboard. When the Whipple arrived, it was able to rescue some of the men from the Pecos, but others were abandoned at sea because enemy submarines were thought to be in the area. In addition to simply losing her son, this very complicated scenario was difficult for RFC and her family to process. See Messimer, Pawns of War;; The Retort (yearbook for Snowflake Union High School), 1946.

[34] 1973 oral history interview, RFC, 1.

[35] “Roberta Flake Clayton, a tribute from her daughter Natelle Murdock,” The Flake Roundup, 33 (July 1, 1977); “Roberta Flake Clayton reaches century mark,” Mesa Tribune, August 20, 1977.

[36] “Robert[a] Clayton,” Arizona Republic, January 15, 1981, G-3; “Roberta Flake Clayton,” Holbrook Tribune-News, January 15, 1981, 8.

[37] Levine, From Indian Trails to Jet Trails, 115.

[38] Patricia Myers, “Dorothy ‘Mitzi’ C. Zipf,” in Warneka and others, Skirting Traditions, 62−69.

[39] Mitzi Zipf, “Meandering with Mitzi,” Sun Valley Spur-Shopper, July 10, 1969, 22−23. Zipf’s report of 716 pages may be a typographical error or there may have been some early versions of PWA with fewer than 719 pages.

[40] Walter Zipf, “The Zipf Code: Pioneer Nears Own Centennial,” Sun Valley Spur-Shopper, August 4, 1977.

[41] Some of the sketches in Pioneer Women of Navajo County are for women living outside of Navajo County; this is simply the place that RFC deposited early drafts. Currently, however, these sketches are in storage and unavailable because the Mesa FHL is being remodeled. Clayton, Pioneer Women of Navajo County, 3 vols. (vol. 2 missing), Mesa FHL.

[42] Kline and Perdue, Guide to Documentary Editing, 194.

[43] Presumably this means getting sketches ready for Chad Flake to edit for PMA.

[44] RFC also mentioned sending some information to Arizona Highways. She said, “I called them yesterday and told them that if they weren’t going to use it they could send it back. I didn’t tell them that in those days I could write [type?] and now I can’t. And I would like to have something that I wrote in that period.” 1973 Interview, ASU, 10.

[45] Kline and Perdue, Guide to Documentary Editing, 163.

[46] Jessee, Ashurst-McGee, and Jensen, Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839, lix–lxvi.

[47] Kline and Perdue, Guide to Documentary Editing, 188, 193–98.

[48] Exceptions are those FWP sketches that were added to this edition. Ibid., 90.

[49] This means that some sketches follow Kline and Perdue’s editorial method of “conflation,” meaning combining two or more sources for a single text. See Ibid., 198–203.

[50] Blassingame, Slave Testimony, xii. See also, Kline and Perdue, Guide to Documentary Editing, 211–12, 214.

[51] A precedent was set for eliminating racial stereotypes when FWP administrators in the 1930s helped states use material from interviews to create state guides. Sterling Brown, the Negro affairs editor for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), tried to eliminate minstrel-like exaggerations, dialect, and terms such as “kinky hair” and “inferior race.” He monitored guide books for northern as well as southern states to ensure “that African Americans were not totally ignored or always portrayed in unfavorable terms.” Hirsch, Portrait of America, 122.

[52] Sometimes words were difficult to interpret because of fuzzy letters. Early typewriters used a raised metal letter (the type) to strike an ink-filled cloth ribbon. Gradually some of the ink and fibers from the ribbon would accumulate on the type, and when the type was not regularly cleaned, a “c” could look like an “s” or “o” or “e” in the manuscript. In addition, there were two or three copies for some sketches, and sometimes a typographical error was corrected (or added) or paragraphs were combined in the second version.

[53] Although hackneyed is an adjective describing an overused word, hackney means a horse for ordinary driving or riding. It seems likely that RFC did not consult a dictionary to see the difference between the noun and adjectival form.

[54] For further details about these errors, see n. 133 in Ann Horton Matthews Holladay, 276.

[55] Clayton, PMA, iii.

[56] To find an Arizona death certificate, the exact spelling on the certificate must be known (or the spelling as interpreted by the indexer). No mention is made if the name is indexed with normal spelling, but indexing under a variant spelling is noted.

[57] Due to privacy laws, databases at do not show people who are still alive, and sometimes these databases have not been updated with recent deaths. Privacy is also the reason that censuses are only available through 1940, that AzBCs are only open to 1940, and that AzDC are available only to 1965.

[58] Sonne, Saints on the Seas; Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners.

[59] A grass widow is a woman divorced or otherwise separated from her husband.

[60] Campbell and Campbell, “Divorce Among Mormon Polygamists,” 181−200.

[61] Some consider the 1863 Battle of Bear River in southern Idaho where Colonel Patrick E. Connor’s federal troops from Camp Douglas killed nearly 300 Native Americans, including many women and children, as part of the Black Hawk War, but generally historians use 1865 as a beginning date. In the 1860s, this conflict was sometimes called the “Sanpete War.”

[62] Culmsee, Utah’s Black Hawk War, 15−16. Quotes from Culmsee are used here because he wrote during the same period (and with the same mindset) as RFC’s pioneer women. For a more complete understanding of the war, see Peterson, Utah’s Black Hawk War.

[63] Culmsee, Utah’s Black Hawk War, 17.

[64] See Arrington, Brigham Young, 210–22.

[65] For details, see ibid., 77.

[66] See Martha Layne Stratton, 705.

[67] See comments by Ellis and Boone in Janetta Ann McBride Ferrin, 177.

[68] See comments by Ellis and Boone in Marium Dalton Hancock, 242.

[69] Arrington and Bitton, Mormon Experience, 146; Arrington, Brigham Young, 211. Arrington thought that Young’s policies could be summarized by the aphorisms “send missionaries” and “better to feed than fight.”

[70] See n. 15 in Mary Jane Pearce, 520.

[71] Mary Ann Smith McNeil, FWP sketch and 431 and Sarah McNeil Mills, 465.

[72] Marium Dalton Hancocok, 242. Other interesting encounters are noted in the sketches for May Hunt Larson, 394; Julia Ellsworth West, 767; and Annie Hanson Whipple, 783.

[73] Sarah Diantha Gardner Curtis, 117.

[74] Christabell Hunt Flake, 187.

[75] See Barbara Ann Phelps Allen, 33, and Charlotte Maxwell Webb, 758. See also the comments from Ellis and Boone for Susan Temperance Allen Randall, XXX.

[76] Those added include Catherine Dorcas Overton Emmett, Juanita Gonzales Fellows, Effie Isabell Kimball Merrill, Minnie Alice Wooley Rogers, Mary Luella Higbee Schnebly, Rebecca Reed Hancock Tenney, and Eliza Luella Stewart Udall. One extremely long FWP sketch, for Rebecca Stewart Kartchner, was not included

[77] Brooks, “‘Jest a Copyin’—Word f’r Word,’” 375−95.

[78] Marriott, In Our Own Words, 9–11.

[79] Frieda Zeigler Bourn, Juanita Gonzales Fellows, Christianna Glass Gilchrist, Miriam Greenhaw Bugbee, Elizabeth Amy Barton Greenhaw, Ethelinda Hall Murray Osborn, and Ida Elizabeth McEwen Tompkins. Likewise, Clayton included some non-LDS men in her book Pioneer Men of Arizona; this book includes information about 114 men, of which thirteen were not Mormon.

[80] Only one sketch (Juanita Gonzales Fellows) was added from the FWP interviews for this edition of PWA; RFC had already included the others.

[81] Zarbin, All the Time a Newspaper, 111.

[82] Some of the women who do not meet the 1890 definition of an Arizona pioneer would be Christina Gilchrist, Mary Schnebly, and Effie Ellsworth (who in fact was born in Arizona in 1906).

[83] The percentage of polygamist marriages has, in the past, been reported as very low; recent studies have significantly higher numbers. One demographer carefully detailed his methods and suggested that 38.4 percent of all “eligible” households in St. George in 1880 were polygamous. Logue, Sermon in the Desert, 44–52.

[84] Hirsch, Portrait of America, 57−59, 66−69, 96−97.

[85] Woodward, “History from Slave Sources,” 480.

[86] Preston, “WPA Slave Narratives,” 93.

[87] Phillips, “As Sisters in Zion,” 162. See also comments from Ellis and Boone for Emma Hansen, 250, and Joanna Westover, 782.

[88] Hirsch reported that C. H. Wetmore, a Library of Congress expert on the FWP, even thought “a close reading showed that ‘several Indiana interviews bear evidence of having been faked: That is, the interviewer visited an ex-slave, then used imagination to complete a story.’” Hirsch, Portrait of America, 152–59.

[89] Ibid., 159.

[90] 1973 oral interview, RFC, 8.

[91] Clayton, Rhymes, Rhythms, Rhapsodies, and Reveries of Roberta, 89; Clayton, PMA, 70.

[92] Mattes, Great Platte River Road, 4.

[93] After the Willie and Martin Handcart disaster, Utah leaders decided that wagons could leave Utah early in the spring, pick up immigrants in Florence, Nebraska, and return to Utah in one season—thus the down-and-back companies. Families were given tithing credit for providing teams, wagons, drivers, and provisions. Hartley, “Brigham Young’s Overland Trails Revolution,” 1–30; Hartley, “The Closedown of LDS Iowa Settlements in 1852,” 63–99.

[94] Other women in PWA were born in Arizona, came directly to Arizona from other states, or were not connected to the Church.

[95] Lyman, San Bernardino, 35, 38.

[96] Ibid., 411.

[97] For Latter-day Saint settlements in Arizona and Mexico, see Appendix 1, which has dates of settlement, descriptions of major settlement events for the town, references, and maps.

[98] An earlier version of the essay on migration into Arizona was originally published in the Journal of Arizona History, and portions are used here with permission: Ellis, “‘Arizona Has Been Good to Me,’” 1−32.

[99] Lockwood, Pioneer Days in Arizona, 310.

[100] Warren M. Johnson (1838–1902) was proprietor of Lee’s Ferry from 1879 to 1896, although he began operating the ferry for Emma Batchelor Lee on April 1, 1875. With this long tenure, he is the ferryman that most Mormon immigrants knew. See Appendix 3, “Lee’s Ferry Proprietors, Ferrymen, and Custodians,” in Reilly, Lee’s Ferry, 518–19; Reilly, “Warren Marshall Johnson,” 3–22; A. Gary Anderson, “Events at Lee’s Ferry, or Lonely Dell, 1864−1928,” in Garrett and Johnson, Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Arizona, 17−37.

[101] Even though the first ferry was originally manned by Harrison Pearce, it is usually (although not always) listed as Pierce’s Ferry.

[102] McClintock, Mormon Settlement in Arizona, 89−100, 109−116; Belknap, Powell Centennial Grand Canyon River Guide.

[103] Callings to perform certain tasks were given to Church members a century ago and are still used to staff congregations today. As Brian Pitcher explained, early calls “initiated the dynamic missionary effort of the Church, the migration and gathering of Saints to form a new society.” Brian L. Pitcher, “Callings,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 248–50.

[104] Arrington, Mormons in Nevada, 22−25.

[105] Congress had already moved the Nevada border one degree east in 1862. See map, ibid., 52.

[106] Ibid., 37−45; Bowler, Zion on the Muddy, 4−75.

[107] The distinction between being called and volunteering was blurred in the case of Benjamin F. (“B. F.”) Johnson. Johnson and four of his brothers were living in southern Utah when, about 1880, Joseph Ellis Johnson tried to convince each of this brothers to move to Arizona with him. B.F. was reluctant at first, but, when his plural wives began insisting on separate homes, B. F. wrote President John Taylor asking that he sanction the move. With Taylor’s permission, B. F. made it “subtly clear that Joseph was to accompany him, not just the reverse.” The company settled at Mesa and also included A. F. Macdonald, who with two of the Johnson brothers, eventually moved to Mexico. Johnson, J.E.J. Trail to Sundown, 453.

[108] Ellen Johanna Larson Smith, 663.

[109] Rex C. Reeve Jr. and Galen L. Fletcher, “Mormons in the Tuba City Area,” in Garrett and Johnson, Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Arizona, 133−58.

[110] James H. McClintock interview with Mrs. Elizabeth Hanks Curtis, folder 220, box 6, Thomas E. Farish Collection, RG 99, ASLAPR.

[111] Nancy Cedenia Bagley Willis, 806.

[112] Elizabeth Adelaide Hoopes Allen, 38.

[113] Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 9.

[114] Folkman, “‘The Most Desert Lukking Plase I Ever Saw, Amen!,’” 115−50.

[115] Jones, 40 Years Among the Indians, 238.

[116] Jacob Hamblin: His Life in His Own Words, 98−99.

[117] Melvin J. Petersen, “The Little Colorado Settlements of 1876,” in Garrett and Johnson, Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Arizona, 113−132.

[118] Tanner and Richards, Colonization on the Little Colorado, 13.

[119] Audrey Godfrey recently published an account of a reverse trip (from the Gila Valley to Utah) along the Fort Apache/Snowflake/Lee’s Ferry route, but she may have failed to understand that the trip to Arizona was down the western route through Hackberry (reported as Kackburry). Godfrey, “Writing in the ‘Waggon,’” 123. Norma Ricketts may also have failed to understand the lower Colorado River ferries route. Although she includes a few accounts, her map does not show this route, and she wrote, “These various roads could be considered extensions of the Honeymoon Trail, as they converged from across Arizona at Sunset Crossing and from there went on a common road.” With the exception of John Hunt’s initial trip into Arizona, probably none of the people using the Lower Colorado River ferries traveled as far east as Sunset, particularly when planning to turn south to Mesa. Ricketts, Arizona’s Honeymoon Trail and Mormon Wagon Roads, 237.

[120] Reilly, “Roads Across Buckskin Mountain,” 379−402; Peterson, Take Up Your Mission, 63−90. Peterson’s map, “Mormon Routes to Arizona,” illustrates these Colorado River crossings and also the occasionally used San Juan route from Bluff, Utah.

[121] Sarah Ann Salina Smithson Turley, 732.

[122] Barnes, “Honeymoon Trail to Utah,” 6−7, 17−18. Often people assume this route was used when, in fact, many pioneers used the western route. Both Norma Ricketts and Dean Garrett list people using the Lee’s Ferry route who in fact used Pierce’s Ferry. For Ricketts, these include the immigrant journeys of John Hunt, Henry Tanner, Joseph McRae, Henry C. Rogers, and Avis Leavitt; Garrett incorrectly lists the journey of Henry Tanner via Lee’s Ferry. Ricketts, Arizona’s Honeymoon Trail and Mormon Wagon Roads, 57−58, 116, 127, 237; H. Dean Garrett, “Traveling the Honeymoon Trail: An Act of Faith and Love,” in Garrett and Johnson, Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Arizona, 97–112. Also, a recent brochure for St. David lists Joseph McRae’s initial journey as through Pierce’s Ferry (which it was), but then it erroneously indicates that this was another name for Lee’s Ferry.

[123] McClintock interview with Mrs. C. A. Teeples, Farish Collection, ASLAPR. The route after Fort Apache was south, then west, and crossing the Black River was sometimes difficult. The Natanes Plateau road was rough, and pioneers generally contacted the Gila River about halfway between San Carlos and Geronimo. Sometimes they did not cross to the south side of the Gila River until nearly at Geronimo. Teeples, “First Pioneers of the Gila Valley,” 74−78; “Map of Arizona, 1912.”

[124] See Janetta Ann McBride Ferrin, 177.

[125] Reilly, “Roads Across Buckskin Mountain,” 381.

[126] William J. Flake brought about 200 head of cattle and 40 loose horses; the Mesa Company was driving about 270 head of cattle, mostly milk cows. Flake, William J. Flake, 59; Johnson, Perkins, and LeBaron, Our Town—Mesa, Arizona, 21.

[127] Barnes, “Mormons and Their Cattle,” 5−6.

[128] Between 1877 and 1883, at least thirteen other immigrant companies traveling to Mesa used the lower Colorado River. Henry C. Rogers, who came with the Lehi Company, told about using the Virgin River route eight years later to make a round-trip escorting a group of Native Americans to Salt Lake City. Johnson, Perkins, and LeBaron, Our Town—Mesa, Arizona, 11, 20−21; Turner, “Forgotten City of the Saints,” 57−82; Henry C. Rogers, FWP sketch, ASLAPR.

[129] See Maria Taylor McRae, 436, Cyrena Dustin Merrill, 441, Emma Orrilla Perry Merrill, 450, and Caroline Marion Williams Kimball, 362; Johnson, Perkins, and LeBaron, Our Town—Mesa, Arizona, 15; McClintock interview with Hyrum Weech, Farish Collection, ASLAPR.

[130] See Elese Schmutz Hunt, 288; Rosetta Schmutz Hunt, 297; Ruth Campkin Randall, 572; and Hannah Elmina Allred Sanders, 623.

[131] See Ann Eliza Hakes Leavitt, 406; Eisenhower, Lyman Leavitt, Pioneer. A history of the Tonto Basin notes that the first Mormon settlers were associated with the Joseph City and Moencopi settlements, but food and supplies came from Phoenix and later Flagstaff. Northern Gila County Historical Society, Rim Country History, 82−83, 147−48.

[132] Watkins, Gold and Silver in the West, 125−32. With the difficulties of producing enough food through subsistence farming in the desert territory of Arizona, many LDS men, particularly from Mesa, St. David, and the Gila Valley, either prospected, worked in the mines, or hauled freight between the railroad and the mines.

[133] The Southern Pacific reached Lordsburg, New Mexico, on October 18, 1880, and El Paso, Texas, on May 26, 1881. Flagstaff became a town built around the railroad. Myrick, Railroads of Arizona, 1:61; Cline, They Came to the Mountain, 138.

[134] Faulk, Arizona, 152−56.

[135] McIntyre and Barton, Christopher Layton, 145.

[136] See Catherine Barlow Burton, 83; “William Austin Burton” in Clayton, PMA, 53. Maricopa Station (not to be confused with the present-day Maricopa or Maricopa Wells) is in Pinal County; Southern Pacific passengers disembarked there and took the stage to Phoenix. Granger, Arizona Place Names, 299.

[137] Rencher, John Hunt—Frontiersman, 103. Some of the other women who traveled by train included Ella Shill Biggs, 57; Margaret Cheney Brewer, 61; Louisa Gulbrandsen Cross, 114; Cassandra Johnson Pomeroy, 540; and Julia Christina Hobson Stewart, 698.

[138] Burgess, Mt. Graham Profiles, 2:87–91.

[139] Catherine Ellen Camp Greer, 223, and Louisa Gulbrandsen Cross, 114.

[140] Susan Saphronia Hamilton Whitworth Youngblood, 830 and Carrie Lindsey Flake, 184. It also seems likely that Emily Lanning, 380, came directly to Arizona from North Carolina or Tennessee.

[141] Hardy, “Trek South,” 1016. For women who moved to Mexico because of polygamy, see Mary Ann Mitchell Smith, 681, Lucy Jane Flake Wood, 817, Annise Bybee Robinson Skousen, 653, and Christianna Berthelsen Farnsworth and Mary Ann Staker Farnsworth, 171. Annie Hansen Whipple, 783, moved to Mexico to be with family members.

[142] Mary Ann Mitchell Smith, 681. Lannie’s father-in-law, Jesse N. Smith, who spent ten months in Mexico in 1885, described the same journey. Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, 302−21.

[143] Krenkel, Life and Times of Joseph Fish, 270–304.

[144] Rogers, “From Colonia Dublán to Binghampton,” 26.

[145] Krenkel, Life and Times of Joseph Fish, 370−85.

[146] Ellen Johanna Larson Smith, 663 and FWP sketch, ASLAPR.

[147] Rowena McFate Whipple, 788; Mary Ann Cheshire Ramsay, 569; Caroline Williams Kimball, 362; and Emma Orrilla Perry Merrill, 450.

[148] Marium Dalton Hancock, 242. Kate Burton’s return to Utah, however, was simply dissatisfaction over her situation in Arizona; after eighteen months her husband and his parents traveled to Salt Lake City and begged her to return, which she did. Catherine Barlow Burton, 83.

[149] Meinig, “Mormon Culture Region,” 206.

[150] Jenson, Encyclopedia History of the Church, 63–64; Andrew Jenson, “Encyclopedic Church History, No. 1155,” Deseret News, February 3, 1939, 6. Arrington wrote, “In 1899 officials became so concerned over the scattering of church members through the movement of unorganized bodies that they appointed a member of the Council of the Twelve, Apostle Abraham O. Woodruff, to supervise all Mormon colonization efforts. The exhaustion of new lands for settlement, however, made the mission short-lived. With the death of Apostle Woodruff in 1904, official supervision of Mormon colonization largely terminated.” Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, 384.

[151] Ellis, Latter-day Saints in Tucson, 7−8, 29−31, 77−80.

[152] Rogers, “From Colonia Dublán to Binghampton,” 19−46; Woods, Finding Refuge in El Paso, 23−33.

[153] When President Joseph F. Smith visited Tucson in 1913, he seemed to imply that the Church no longer saw their mission as directing settlements. President Smith said, “So far as the Mormon refugees from Mexico are concerned, we have told them to settle right where they are in Arizona, to buy their land and go to work, and if they cannot buy land to go to work anyhow. We have impressed it upon them that they will be much better off in doing this than in drifting about from one place to another, then if in a few years things [are] settled down, they can go back, if they wish, to Mexico.” “Warm Welcome is Extended to Mormon Chief,” Arizona Daily Star, December 11, 1913.

[154] Larson, Pomerene, Arizona and the Valley of the San Pedro.

[155] Johnson, Legacy of Virden, 25–34; Roe, “On the Bench”: The History of Miramonte.

[156] Palmer, History of Taylor and Shumway, 33.

[157] Rothschild and Hronek, Doing What the Day Brought, 1 and 15.

[158] Meinig, “Mormon Culture Region,” 206.

[159] The acceptance of ranching as a legitimate occupation for Latter-day Saints can be seen in the visit of Joseph E. Robinson, president of the California Mission, to the Miramonte Branch on January 27, 1919. He said that “he felt rather depressed because of conditions here [meaning drought] but still felt that Miramonte would be a very desirable place for those who liked a ranch life. Said he did not expect much to be done in farming.” Miramonte Branch minutes in Roe, “On the Bench”: The History of Miramonte, 163.

[160] Lucy Shumway interview with Edmund Nelson, FWP sketch, ASLAPR.