|Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden|
CORA MAY MERRELL HATCH
Cora May was born in Brigham City, Arizona, at a settlement of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on February 8, 1881, at two o’clock in the morning.
She was the second child of Mary Francis Adams and Charles William Merrell. When she was ten months old, Cora was given to another of Charles's wives and was raised by that wife until she was about six years old. She requested to be able to live with her real mother, which was granted.
In the fall of 1884, May went with her father to Willard, Utah, to visit. They spent Christmas there. While they were in Utah, Brigham City was abandoned. May recorded that she went by train to meet her father who went in a wagon train. The family continued traveling to Mexico with a group from Brigham City.
May grew to womanhood in Colonia Diaz. She acquired a 12th grade education and spent several years teaching school in Diaz. May met a young man, John Alma Hatch, who was from Colonia Juarez. He was doing carpentery work and boarding with her aunt.
John and May were married on January 2, 1901 in Colonia Juarez. Their family began on February 27, 1902 with the birth of Thelma followed by John Merrell, born December 22, 1903; Charles Jenner, born November 29, 1905; Virginia May, born March 20, 1908; Ernest Kay, born August 15, 1910; Mary, born April 8, 1914; Ivan Eugene, born April 19, 1916; Ione Louise born November 5, 1919; Frances Irene, born February 7, 1922; and Amy Jean, born June 26, 1924.
It wasn’t long before Pancho Villa was making trouble throughout the countryside. During that time, his men were carrying out raids in the colonias. By 1916, the Hatch family had had enough of Mexican problems, so they packed up and left the country in a wagon train. The family finally arrived in Gilbert, Arizona, on March 7. 1917. They lived in a tent that John had boarded up to make habitable.
In 1928, the family moved to Chino Valley and bought a small farm. May was very involved in their truck garden that supplied produce for the Prescott markets. May preserved fruits and vegetables by canning and freezing. The family planted an orchard and berry patch and raised chickens and rabbits for meat and eggs.
She helped establish a community cannery that was housed in the school house. During that time, she was a cook at the elementary school. Cora May was very active in the Chino Valley Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was the leader in the Relief Society, a church organization for women, as well as teaching youth and children for many years.
May and John celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on January 2, 1951, along with their 10 children, 31 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. At the time of the celebration, May looked tired and was later diagnosed with cancer.
She passed away on October 26, 1951, and was buried in the Chino Valley Cemetery.
May's daughter-in-law, Irene Rogers Hatch, is also commemorated in the Rose Garden.
Donor: The John Alma and Cora May Hatch family
|Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.|