Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Myrtle Mae Wallace Atkins Joesler was born April 21, 1888, daughter of Bartow and Lilly Wallace. Myrtle was born in Silver City, New Mexico, close to the family home in Duncan, Arizona. She was the eldest of ten children. Today, only her two younger sisters, Alice McEuen and Lilly Fuller, survive her.

After spending time in Oklahoma where Myrtle's grandmother lived, the family relocated to Prescott, Arizona. Myrtle, at the age of 17, met and married Thomas William Atkins in 1905. Myrtle and Tom were charter members of the Prescott Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Church activities were a large part of their lives. Tom even fashioned the offering plates by hand from wood as his gift of love. In this setting, their children were born: Tom Jr. in 1906, Naomi Boyce in 1911, and Ira (Scotty) V. in 1916. Tom Jr. passed away at the age of 25.

During the middle years of Myrtle's life, she lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and the church was still important to her. A minimum of one day each week was spent at the Dorcas meeting. Her granddaughter, Margot, remembers spending hours threading one needle after another for the ladies who were quilting. Some of Myrtle's fondest memories and funniest stories derived from this activity.

One memory was of the time when Myrtle, Jenny Andross and Grandma Arkebauer went to Monument Valley, as they did each fall, to deliver a carload of quilts to the Indian School. They planned to spend long hours each day for at least a week sewing clothes for the needy Indian children. They slept at night in a very primitive, hogan-like structure. One night Grandma Arkebauer woke up and let out a stifled scream. Myrtle and Jenny, quick to the rescue, helped her liberate the mouse caught in her hairnet.

One year the cook at Arizona Boarding Academy left mid-year, and Myrtle volunteered her services to run the school cafeteria. Almost every summer found her back in Prescott cooking for Junior Camps.

Seldom have children such as Shawndra and Melissa Hogle, Eric and Devon Speyer, and Tiffany Miller had the privilege of hearing stories of the olden days from a great-great grandmother. Their parents and parents' siblings, Derice Speyer Hogle and her husband Roy, Scott Speyer and his wife Cindy, Denita and Lauren Speyer, Cherie Atkins Miller, and Katie and Brian Atkins, her seven great grandchildren and their parents, her three grandchildren, Margot Speyer and her husband Floyd, Thomas Atkins and Richard Atkins and his wife Rainee have all enjoyed "Nana's" stories such as the times her father raced the "new black iron horse" in the family buckboard on the way to town.

Whether she was Myrtle, Sis, Mums, Grandmother or Nana, she will be remembered by her family with love.

Myrtle died on May 29, 1987, and was buried in Wickenburg.

Donor: Ira V. Atkins

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