Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Mary Ellen, daughter of John and Marguerite White Dwyer, was born on October 15, 1846, in Caherdaniel, Kerry, Ireland. In the late 1870s, she immigrated to the United States from Ireland and arrived in Prescott, Arizona Territory, on April 23, 1880.

Mary worked at Fort Whipple in Prescott as a servant. She met Fergus White there, and they were married on September 21, 1881. After her marriage, she and Fergus moved to Minnehaha, Arizona Territory, on a 160-acre land grant. The couple had seven children: Mary Abbie Jackson “Kit,” born May 2, 1882; Minnie Ellen Webster, born May 12, 1884; Grace Francis Cowan, born December 18, 1886; James Fergus, born April 1883; Nicholas Ferguson, born June 17, 1885; Blanche Julia White, born April 23, 1888; and Estella Ester Stewart, born April 8, 1889.

Without the help of Fergus, Mary provided for herself and her children. She and her children ran a cattle ranch that provided meat to the miners. Her two oldest children, Kit and James, ran the cattle on the ranch while she negotiated the sale of the beef. Fergus died in 1895, and James died in 1905. In 1908, Kate married and moved to Phoenix.

In 1910, Mary moved to Prescott with her now-grown children. Mary ran a boarding house there with the help of her daughters. Minnie undertook the cooking responsibilities, Grace, Blanche and Estella took care of the gardening and cleaning. Her remaining son, Nicholas, had Down's syndrome and required much care.

Mary managed to save enough money to purchase 160 acres in the Phoenix/Tolleson area. Later her daughter Minnie and husband Arthur Webster purchased 40 acres from Mary and daughter Blanche White purchased 40 acres as well.. Mary lived on the remaining 80 acres and was doing well until her tragic death on April 7, 1924. She was walking in front of her home and was struck by a car and killed. She is buried in St. Francis Catholic Cemetery in Phoenix.

Mary’s daughters, Minnie White Webster and Blanche Julia White, are also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

Donor: Barbara Downing, reat granddaughter

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