Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Etta Wiley Wright Norton was born October 14, 1869, in a wagon train encampment in the California desert near Yuma. Her parents, John Clark Wright and Mary Elizabeth Coughran Wright, were farmers from Arkansas.

After the Civil War, the southern farmers were pretty much devastated, and the agricultural economy of the South was in ruins. Wanting to get out of the South and find a better life, the family joined the Western migration of the late 1860s, '70s and '80s.

The Wrights were going to go to California, and they forded the Colorado River at Yuma and camped on the California side. Etta was born at that camp in 1869. She always regretted, she said, that she wasn’t born on the Arizona side. The Wright family stayed in California for a year or two, came back to Arizona and settled permanently in Skull Valley west of Prescott ranching there for many, many years.

Etta Wright met and married John Ruddle Norton in Phoenix on January 14, 1891; he was 18 years older than she. John was a cattle dealer and farmer. John and Etta lived at 40 North Ninth Avenue in Phoenix, and he commuted to work on his farm at Liberty, west of Phoenix. He was frequently gone for two or three days at a time. By 1910, the family had moved to 338 North Ninth Avenue.

The Nortons lost two children; the three surviving children were Fred, Edith and John Jr. Like so many Salt River Valley families, the Nortons went to Prescott to escape the summer heat in Phoenix.

Etta passed away on August 18, 1955, in Prescott. Her daughter, Edith Mercy Norton Corpstein, is also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

Donor: John R. Norton, III, grandson
June 2005

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