Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Ellen Elsie (Nellie), daughter of Mary Ellen Owens and Edward Elsy Bradshaw, was born on October 2, 1882, in Virgin, Utah. About 1898, her family moved to Woodruff, Arizona. Nellie met John William McLaws, and the couple was married in Woodruff on March 7, 1900.

The McLaws had nine children: William Burr, born August 15, 1901; George Theo, born November 1, 1902; Lawrence Edward, born January 31, 1904; Wallace, born August 15, 1905; Franklin John, born October 13, 1906; Ellen Sophia Cooley, born November 9, 1908; Lester Owens, born December 30, 1910; Emma Hunsaker, born November 15, 1912; and Sibby Peterson, born July 4, 1914.

The McLaws family moved to Juarez, Mexico, in 1906 and then to a ranch east of Joseph City, Arizona, in 1911. In 1920, they moved to a ranch outside of nearby Holbrook and in 1927 moved again to Mesa, Arizona. In 1938, they made their last move back to Holbrook.

Nellie was an excellent cook and fed not only her large family but the ranch hands as well. When she made bread, she made 12 loaves at a time! The family smoked their meats and ran a dairy. Each day before the children went to school, the boys would milk the cows and the girls would bottle the milk for their father to deliver. Perishable foods were kept in boxes covered with dampened gunnysacks. Nellie and John turned one of the ranch house's bedrooms into a classroom for their own children and the children of the families who lived on the ranch.

Nellie played the organ and loved to dance. John played the violin, and the two of them played for community dances. She was also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nellie was a busy house and ranch wife and a wonderful mother.

She died on September 24, 1965, in Holbrook and was buried in the cemetery at Joseph City.

Donor: Sibby Mclaws Peterson, daughter
November 2005

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