Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Ethel, the tenth and last child of William and Sarah Catherine Hickman Wootan, was born on June 27, 1901, at Klondyke, Graham County, Arizona Territory. She grew up on a cattle ranch. Ethel was a true native Arizonian.

Her parents migrated to Arizona along with her older siblings from the ďHill CountryĒ of Texas over a period of several months in a wagon, arriving in the small settlement of Solomonville late on Christmas eve of 1888. All their belongings were soaked after fording the San Francisco River that had been in flood stage earlier in the day.

From that very humble beginning, they managed to homestead and raise their 10 children on cattle ranches in eastern Arizona. Ethelís father and her brothers, J. Frank Wootan, William L. (Braz) Wootan and T. Kane Wootan, were all excellent cowboys who owned and operated several cattle ranches in eastern and central Arizona during the 1900-1935 era.

Ethel's brother Kane was a deputy U.S. Marshal and was involved in the legendary shoot-out with the Power Family in 1918 in which Kane, Sheriff Frank McBride and Deputy Mart Kempton were all killed in the Galiuro Mountains of southeastern Arizona.

Ethel attended Safford High School and on June 27, 1919, she married Benjamin Leonard Montierth in Safford. Benís parents were members of a prominent Arizona pioneer family active in the settlement of the Gila Valley and in the establishment of the LDS Church there.

Ethel and Benjamin had three children: Barbara Jane Montierth Hamilton, born December 10, 1922; Eva Mae Montierth Ligon, born March 7, 1924; and William Gene Montierth, born November 22, 1932. The family was raised on a farm in the Gila Valley of Eastern Arizona near Fort Thomas.

Ethel was a great cook; her tamales, fried chicken, cakes and pies were outstanding. Typically, during her time at the family farm, she would put a spread on the lunch table for all the hired hands fit for a king. After her children were married, it became part of Ethelís fame to have Sunday dinners of fried chicken, angel food cake and all the trimmings with all the kids and grandchildren over to enjoy it.

She had an extraordinarily green thumb, and her home was always surrounded by plants and beautiful flowers. Ethel was much loved by her family. In short, Ethel was a self-sufficient homemaker with extraordinary skills who fit the classic mold of a loving Arizona Pioneer wife and mother.

In their later life, Ben and Ethel sold their farm and moved to Safford, where they engaged in the mercantile and motel businesses before retiring and moving to the Phoenix area in 1958. Ben passed away in 1971, and Ethel died on December 27, 1979. They both were buried in Resthaven Park Cemetery in Glendale, Arizona.

Ethelís sister, Sarah Jessie Wootan Walker, and her niece, Cassie Ethel Walker George, are also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

Donor: William Montierth
April 2005

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