Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Jessie, daughter of William W. and Ida Sarah Densmore Durbin, was born on November 15, 1881, in Prescott, Arizona. She was the first girl in the family to be born in Prescott. And as the oldest girl, she helped her father raise her sisters when her mother died while some of the girls were still very young.

Jessie attended Prescott public schools and graduated from Prescott High School on June 9, 1899. On December 25, 1901, she married Benjamin Powers at her father's home at 136 North McCormick Street in Prescott.

Before the birth of their oldest child, she and Benjamin moved into the small house at Murphy’s Park with her in-laws. The two families lived there for several years. Jessie and Benjamin had two children: Aileen Agnes Powers Tracy, born May 22, 1905; and Ruth Frances Powers Lessard, born May 16, 1919.

Jessie helped her father design the home he built for her at 120 N. Summit Street.

Benjamin worked as a miner then for the railroad. He also held several jobs at the courthouse. Judge Sweeney appointed him as the first juvenile officer in 1919, a position he held until his death in 1950.

During that time, Jessie supported her husband in his position by driving him throughout the county and by providing temporary housing and love for some of the children in need. Several of these children remained in contact with Jessie and Ben until their deaths.

Jessie was a teacher at Thompson Valley; a homemaker with excellent skills in cooking, sewing, crochet and knitting; and a poet and artist. She was a member of the Methodist Church, the Monday Club, Elks Ladies, the Red Cross and various bridge groups. After Ben’s death, she left Prescott and lived with her older daughter in Phoenix.

Jessie died on October 7, 1951, in Phoenix and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott.

Donor: Patricia T. Atchison, granddaughter
April 2003

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