Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Ella was born in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, on March 17, 1856, daughter of Lloyd L. and Mary Percail Johnson. On August 25, 1874, she married rancher James Bower Johnston in Austin, Minnesota. Their children were Margaret Barney Johnston, born December 5, 1876; and James Clinton Johnston, born June 28, 1878, and died September 23, 1878.

Ella came to Prescott, Arizona Territory, from Del Norte, Colorado, in September 1895. She earned her living by giving piano lessons and painting portraits of prominent citizens of Prescott. On June 12, 1906, she married Michael G. Burns, a mine owner and member of the Territorial Legislature.

Ella Burns was active in several women's groups and instrumental in forming social clubs for women. As statehood approached, she worked with Frances Munds, Isabella Greenway of Tucson, A.T., and others to include women's suffrage in the Arizona Constitution. Congress refused to accept a constitution that gave women the right to vote.

Following statehood, Ella collected signatures in Yavapai County for an initiative to amend the Arizona Constitution giving women the vote. This amendment passed in the general election in November 1912.

Following the sudden death of Michael Burns, Ella was appointed to several state offices by George W.P. Hunt during his long tenure as Governor of Arizona. Her last years were spent in the Arizona Pioneers' Home, where she died November 27, 1935. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

DONOR: Dewey E. Born

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