Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Fannie was born in Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1849.

In 1872, at Cincinnati, Ohio, she married Brigadier General August V. Kautz, who was a Civil War hero. August was transferred to Fort Whipple, Arizona Territory, and Fannie and their baby son Austin, who was born that same year, moved to Prescott with August.

General Crook welcomed the couple and permitted them to live in his spacious home at Ft. Whipple. A few months pregnant upon her arrival, Fannie gave birth to a daughter, Frankie, in April 1875. Fannie eagerly participated in all the social whirl held for officers and their wives at the Fort. She attended night hops, suppers, card parties and musical soirees and flirted harmlessly with the young men in attendance, expecting to be the center of attraction.

With natural gifts of acting, singing and painting, Fannie founded the Fort Whipple Dramatic Association, composed primarily of officers and their wives. She was determined to make Fort Whipple the social and theatrical center of Prescott. Building a makeshift stage in General Crook’s Club room, Fannie and her fellow actors staged a one-act comedy open to the public. The Weekly Arizona Journal Miner gave the play front page rave reviews and encouraged her to tackle stronger comedies.

The Whipple thespians became so popular that they converted the old headquarters building in to a splendid little theater. Here they staged many more plays.

When General Custer and his troops perished at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Fannie organized a musical benefit for the widows and orphans of the fallen heroes. She also held benefit performances for the Sisters of Charity for their establishment of Prescott’s first civilian hospital and also for the newly formed Prescott Library Association.

Prescott grieved when General Sherman transferred the Kautzes to Angel Island in March 1878. Fannie had made a powerful cultural impact upon Prescott. The Miner idolized her endearing character: “Mrs. Kautz, by her genial and kind disposition, ladylike deportment, magificent hospitality and open heartedness in assisting in every good work of charity as well as amusement, has won for herself the hearty good will and esteem of this community."

Fannie died on August 11, 1913, at the home of her youngest daughter, Navarra Kautz (Mrs. Harry L. Simpson), in Wenonah, New Jersey. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Kautz story is on exhibit in the Fort Whipple Museum located at the Bob Stump Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona, on the original site of Fort Whipple.

Donor: Sylvia Neely
March 2011

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