Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Josie was born on March 18, 1891, in Menzingen, Canton Zug, Switzerland, the daughter of Josef and Josefa Roth Hegglin. Her family was prominent in the Swiss Canton Zug, but Josie, lured by tales of the American West that were widely read in Europe, longed for adventure away from the staid traditions of her Swiss homeland. She received a letter from a friend Paula Schrade, who, with her German husband Louis, had just purchased the White House Hotel in Mayer, Arizona. Paula offered Josie a job at the hotel.

Twenty-one-year-old Josie set out for America on March 18, 1912, alone and unable to speak English. Josephine became the first of a number of young Swiss women who would emigrate to the Mayer area to work in or near the mining camps.

Josie was touched by the poverty of an encampment of the Yavapai tribe nearby and did all she could to help them over the years until they were moved to a reservation.

On October 9, 1914, in Prescott, Josie married John Ellen Surrett, a rancher who had been in Arizona Territory since 1895. The Surretts homesteaded what was to become the H-A-Y Ranch near Mayer.

Josie and John had seven children: Ellen S. Tolle (7-15-15); John H. (7-21-17); Josie Edgel Bennett (10-2-19); Della M. Schlecht (11-12-21); Walter W. (1-19-24); Mary L. Davis (12-20-27); and Herbert F. (5-7-30).

After the Surretts sold their ranch, they retired to Glendale, Arizona. Following her husband's death, Josie returned to live in Mayer.

She died in Prescott on January 1, 1991, just 77 days short of her 100th birthday and was buried at Mountain View Cemetery.

Donors: The Surrett Family

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