Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Ethel Mary, daughter of Edward W. and Mary Meany, was born September 17, 1872, in Baltimore, Maryland. Edward was an Episcopalian minister, so the family moved around the East. In 1890, they came to Prescott, and Edward is remembered for heading the drive to build St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Ethel helped with the church functions.

On June 27, 1892, Ethel married Frank M. Murphy, the town’s richest and most eligible bachelor and a member of St. Luke’s Church. The Prescott Journal Miner proclaimed the wedding as the “most brilliant society event that has ever occurred in Prescott.” The reception was held in the home of the William Bashfords. The Bashford house now stands on the grounds of the Sharlot Hall Museum.

Ethel played the piano for church and other musical functions. She loved to travel and enjoyed attending musical programs in New York City and was once received by the Pope in Rome. In 1902, the Murphys moved to 105 S. Alarcon Street, where Ethel entertained family, church friends and Frank’s business associates.

Ethel was a leader in gathering donations for the Carnegie Library. Ethel and Frank donated one of their rental properties to the Episcopal Church for a manse and had it moved to make way for the new library.

Ethel allegedly had periods of depression connected with a lost child. When Franks’ nephew died in 1914 leaving a five-year-old son, Frank and Ethel adopted him and named him Frank M. Murphy II. After Frank’s death in 1917, Ethel and Frank II moved to California where she died on June 24, 1950.

Ethel’s sister-in-law Nellie Drake Meany is also represented in the Rose Garden.

Donor: Janet Hilton
March 2002

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