Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
Mattie, daughter of John Thomas and Martha Brannen Cooper, was born in Sonora, Texas, on December 11, 1901. She came with her parents by train to Tempe, Arizona Territory, in 1909. John and Martha became a prominent Arizona pioneer family who, for more that 50 years, owned a Williamson Valley ranch where they raised goats.

Mattie attended school in Prescott, Arizona Territory, and received a teaching degree from Tempe Normal Teachers College. Her first teaching job was in Holbrook, A.T., where she met John (Jack) R. Nelson. Mattie and Jack were married on July 19, 1925, in the Congregational Church in Prescott.

Mattie and Jack homesteaded a ranch they named the Circle Bar near Bagdad, Arizona that they operated until Jack’s death in 1948. Mattie was an active ranch wife and a member of the Arizona Cowbelles.

After Jack’s death, Mattie sold the ranch and returned to Tempe, where she received a BA degree from Arizona State University. She remained in the Phoenix area and taught school in Scottsdale until she retired in 1967. She died on March 14, 1997.

Mattie’s sister, Nancy Catherine Bozarth, is also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

Donor: Mona McCroskey
October, 2010

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