By Gretchen Hough Eastman

Last Sunday’s article discussed the women who started the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden, located on the Sharlot Hall Museum campus.  This week, four of the pioneer women’s stories are featured, representing the hundreds of women who are honored in the Rose Garden.

Their names tell the story of Arizona and of family triumphs and hardship. Each woman, in her own way, contributed to the creation of modern Arizona.  The ladies in this article represent some of the place names familiar to the people of Prescott.

Cynthia M.  (Miller) Sanders

Cynthia Marie Miller was born in 1858 in Princeville, Illinois. Her father, Jacob Leroy Miller, was a freighter and was gone from home for long periods of time.  Her mother believed Jacob was dead and she married George Cook.  In 1872, Jacob and his brother, Samuel, returned to Illinois to find Jacob’s three children.  All chose to come to Arizona, arriving in 1873 and lived in what is known as “Miller Valley.”  Cynthia was married to Thomas Dudley Sanders by Judge Henry Fleury.  Together, they had eleven children.  Over the years, Cynthia cooked and ran a hotel in Humboldt, Arizona, assisted in the operation of the stage stop at Yeager Canyon and helped with the horses and cattle.


Harriet Ann (York) Perkins

“Annie” was born in 1853 in Mississippi.  She married Marion Alexander Perkins in 1878 and came to Arizona in 1900.  They lived on the Baker-Campbell Ranch, located 25 miles below the head of the Verde River.  The ranches became the town of Perkinsville. The Native American women learned that Annie had a treadle sewing machine.  By using sign language, they made it known that they wanted to use it.  For years the women brought their yard and yards of material to stitch dresses. Annie and Marion had nine children.

Esther Lee (Cherry) Henderson

Esther Lee Cherry was born in 1910 in Camp Verde, Arizona and moved to Cherry, Arizona as a child.  She attended the first school in Cherry.  She graduated from Clarkdale High School.  In 1931, she married Perry Henderson, a rancher, stock contractor and bronc rider from Flagstaff, and moved to Dewey.  Esther helped take care of the cattle and cutting and baling hay. She canned fruit and vegetables, cleaned the camping gear and “in between times” on the weekends joined Perry in his rodeo stock contracting business.  They took their horses to Payson, Pine, Camp Verde and the Grand Canyon.  Esther and Perry gave up their own rodeo that they held at their ranch each June to support Prescott Frontier Days and keep it alive during World War II. They had two daughters, Helen and Martha.

Sedona (Miller) Schnebly

Sedona Miller was born in Gorin, Missouri in 1877.  In 1897, she married Theodore Carlton “Carl” Schnebly.  They moved to Jerome in 1901 via the narrow gauge railroad.  They set up their homestead at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon.  Carl became the first postmaster in the area.  His brother, Ellsworth Schnebly, suggested that the town be named after his sister-in-law, Sedona, “because she was a character that would stand as a symbol for the Community.” Thus, the town of Sedona was established.  Sedona served meals to travelers using the fresh vegetables from their farm, which later became Oak Creek’s tourist mecca.  The Schneblys’ stone home is now one of the 200 suites at Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona.

Please join us at the Sharlot Hall Museum on Saturday, January 23, at 1pm for a FREE panel discussion and exhibit unveiling.  The discussion will highlight the Garden’s history and the varied lives and stories of some of its honorees.  Those attending the panel discussion will be able to try the new Discovery Kiosk after the discussion, which allows access to the women’s biographies and photos, as well as children’s games for the kids to play.


“Days Past” is a collaborative project of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Corral of Westerners International ( This and other Days Past articles are also available at The public is encouraged to submit proposed articles to Please contact SHM Library & Archives reference desk at 928-445-3122 Ext. 14, or via email at for information.