Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Annie Mettie Simmons was a true native daughter, an Arizona Pioneer woman. Mettie, as she preferred to be called, was born in Prescott, Arizona, May 28, 1879, the daughter of two colorful pioneer families. Her father was John Franklin Simmons, the son of John Wilson Simmons, who served in the 3rd and 4th Arizona Territorial Legislature) and the brother of Thomas Simmons. The Simmons family came to Arizona Territory in 1864 form Kansas and settled along Willow Creek in the Williamson Valley.

Mettie’s mother, Sarah Margaret Akard, was the daughter of Andrew P. Akard and Parthena Akard, of Peeples' Valley, Arizona, where they owned a large ranch. The Muleshoe Ranch was later sold to Roy Hayes and became the Bar Muleshoe Bar Ranch, and the site of the famous Hayes Cattle Company Annual Calf Sale.

John Franklin Simmons homesteaded 160 acres of land in Pleasant Valley, Arizona, later known as the Sandretto Property, and built two houses in 1864 and 1865. In 1877, he married Sarah Akard, and Mettie was born in 1879.

In December 1882, Sarah Akard Simmons died in childbirth, and her infant twin daughters, Phoebe and Maggie, died a few weeks later in January 1883.

After her mother's and sisters' deaths, four-year old Mettie was sent to Peeples' Valley, where she was raised by her mother’s family, the Akards.

John Franklin was a miner and lived “rough.” He didn’t feel able to take care of a small child. He never remarried and died in March 1906 of frostbite and gangrene of his right foot. He was buried in the Simmons Cemetery next to his wife Sarah.

John Franklin donated the land for the Simmons Cemetery that is on the hill by Pioneer Cemetery. Both sets of Mettie's grandparents along with other Simmons relatives are buried in the Simmons Cemetery. Sharlot Hall and other Prescott pioneers were also buried there.

On December 20, 1899, Mettie married Charles N. Evans, and they moved to a small cattle ranch in Kirkland. The marriage was witnessed by their friends and former sheriff, George Ruffner. Charles also ran the local bar and grocery store. He had a freight hauling company and transported supplies and miners to the local mines and ranches.

When the capitol was built in Phoenix, Charles hauled the tufa stone used to build it to the Kirkland railhead for shipment to Phoenix.

During the course of their marriage, Mettie and Charles had four children. Their daughter Helen was born in 1900 but died of spinal meningitis in 1913. Charles Walter was born in 1909 and died in 1909. Norman was born in 1912 and died in 1914. Mettie lost three children in four years. Life as a pioneer woman was difficult. In 1917, at the age of 37, she had our father Vernon, who amazingly survived to the ripe old age of 90.

Later in life, my father and grandfather built a tufa stone house on Miller Valley Road where Mettie lived until her death at the age of 69. She died on August 19, 1948, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Mettie spent her entire life in and around Prescott, Arizona, and was truly a native pioneer Arizona woman. All sides of her family, the Akards, the Simmons and Evans, contributed to the growth and history of the area.

Donors: Cheryl Shaner and Charlene Sellers, granddaughters

Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.