Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
Elise Schrimpf, daughter of John Henry and Johanna Katherine Elizabeth Strophmiann Schrimpf, was born March 8, 1853, in Miten, Westphalia, Germany. She came to New York in 1871 where she met John Henry Cordes, who had also immigrated from Germany. In 1876, John headed west but kept in communication with Elise, who remained in New York.

In 1880, John was working in the mine mill in Gillette, Arizona Territory, and wrote to Elise encouraging her to come west because it was exciting. Many things were developing that made business better and more opportunities available.

Elise boarded a train that took her to Maricopa, AT., and then she took a wagon stage to Phoenix where she met John. Here, John and Elise were married on October 30, 1880.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds boarded the Gillette Stage and headed north to the Gillette Mine. Elise and John had seven children: Charles Henry, born Feb. 11, 1882; Henry George, born Sept. 9, 1884; Lucy Johanna, born Dec. 18, 1886; William Harrison, born March 11, 1889; Fredrick James, born Oct. 8, 1891; Grace Sophia Shrier, born Feb. 23, 1894; and Mynne Anne Jarman, born Nov. 22, 1896.

In 1883, the Cordeses moved from Gillette to Antelope, a tiny stage station. Their living place was just an adobe house and a rock stable, both of which, according to the family, John bought for the small sum of $100.

John and Elise began a little enterprise and a store. In 1886, the opportunity arose to change the name of the town from Antelope to Cordes. When John opened the first post office and became the first postmaster, there was already another post office in Arizona named Antelope, so John named the town after his family.

In addition to being a wife, mother and helpmate in the family enterprises, Elise was a member of the Lutheran Church. She died on August 19, 1929, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: Edna Cordes Warren
May 2000

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