First Lady Margaret McCormick
Arizona's first First Lady in residence lived and died in this wing of the Mansion. On May 2, Chaplain Blake of Ft. Whipple conducted Margaret's funeral in the Governor's Mansion; the next day would have been her twenty-fourth birthday. Margaret and her baby were buried near the mansion. The next year, the bodies were sent east for interment in her family plot. The First Lady was popular, adventurous, and a good horsewoman. Margaret accompanied Richard on several tours of the Territory and a trip to San Francisco. Upon returning from the California trip, Margaret, who was pregnant, became violently ill. On April 30, 1867, she died after delivering a still-born baby.
Letters written by Margaret McCormick From Prescott to her brother John in New Jersey "...we had a 'surprise party.' There were about eighty here.... We danced in the house and had two sets just in front. The supper consisted of cold roast beef & veal, pies & cakes in variety, almonds, raisins, jellies, coffee, lemonade, and wine." Margaret's Letter to John Hunt, Aug. 20, 1866. "It would cost you at least five or six hundred dollars to get here & I do not think you could find a way to earn anything.... There is mining to be sure, but that work is too rough, & you do not understand it." Margaret's Letter to John Hunt, Aug. 20, 1866, responding to his desire to come to Prescott. "...we can but think this a hard country for people to live in. The Indians seem to be getting worse - indeed it would make your hair stand on end almost to hear of some of the murders they have committed recently.... For my part, I wish we were going East to live."
Margaret's Letter to John Hunt, Dec. 2, 1866.Prescott Fri. Eve. Dec. 22.65.
Here I am in my own dear home. At first it seemed very strange to have the charge of a house, but now I am becoming quite accustomed to it, and enjoy it vastly. Your first letter reached me a week ago last Monday. I wish Emma you would keep an account of the letters you send me, and number each that I may know if any are lost. The "old Scratch" is to pay with the Prescott mail. A great part of it is sent by way of Santa Fe, instead of San Francisco, and remains there sometimes six or eight months, which is of course quite encouraging. The mail carriers, bringing the mail by way of San Francisco got on a sort of drunken "spree" last week and threw away one bag of the mail, which we are in hopes will be brought through next Sunday. The mail is due here on Sunday afternoon. You mentioned having sent me a paper which has not yet arrived. My home I dearly love already, and my husband, what can I say of him? This letter is of course private. Well Emma, Richard is just the very best husband, that ever lived. He acts much more the "lover" now, than he did before we were married. Everything he can do for my pleasure, he does, and I feel "blue" the moment he is out of my sight. You ask if I humor him as much as he does me. Well, I try to do my best, but anything that suits me suits him. Capt. Lord and Will Cory have great fun laughing at us & if we go to another room for a private talk, they declare I am giving him a "curtain lecture." I truly think I never was so happy in my life. I only hope you may find as good a husband as I have done. Last week Richard delivered his address to the Legislature, of which I sent you a copy. I want you to tell me just what you think of it. I sent you a paper a week or two ago, which I hope may reach you. To morrow we expect to give a dinner to the Legislature. We have had four carpenters at work at our dinning-room and kitchen for three days, and they look now very nice. Any improvement I suggest, Richard helps me carry out. I was very much surprised, to hear of Mr. Gilberts' death. I have not heard anything about Johnnie Woodruff and his bride. What has become of them? It is strange, but I have not heard either from home or from Johnnie since I have been here. They must have written, and I conclude the letters are at Santa Fe. I think I wrote you that we had lost our three horses. They were found by a gentleman who came out on the Steamer with us & who brought them through. Next week we are to give a second dinner to the Legislature. We have company to dinner about every other day. I have been quite busy this week, having hemmed three table-cloths, & a dozen napkins. One morning I did not feel very well, and Richard insisted upon my lying a bed, so I did, & he brought me a nice little breakfast, and was ever so good to me. To-day I have amused myself arranging my new closets etc. Richard did not know Mr Mills personally, but knew him by reputation. Write often Emma, and tell me all the news. My Dick sends love again & I join him.
Your Friend Maggie
One of your welcome epistles was received last evening and I hasten to reply. It was numbered "6" but is only the fourth received. Well Emma you remember I said perhaps Richard would be made Governor of Arizona. What was our surprise then to learn by a telegram from Washington to a San Francisco paper received yesterday that he is Governor of Idaho. We think it unaccountable & do not know yet but there is some mistake. The present Governor of Idaho Caleb Lyon is a friend of Mr McCormick's and seems to have been removed very suddenly. I think it very strange. If true it is certainly a great compliment as Idaho is a large & much more populous Territory than Arizona, & will probably soon become a state. I think however Richard will not accept the appointment as his interests here are very great and would not know how to leave. I really think we should have been more pleased it he had the lesser honor of Gov. of Arizona. We are so nicely settled here and I have been having such a nice lot of furniture made that I should dislike to leave. Besides we have such a beautiful place. The news causes intense excitement in town. Richard's friends declare he must remain here and run for Congress this Fall. We do not know what we shall do until we hear some particulars. As Richard never was a candidate for any office in Idaho we cannot think what it all means unless there may be some mistake. Well Emma you must excuse this short letter for the mail will soon close & I am in haste.
Yours with love Maggie
Richard sends regards.
Prescott. April 1
Another of your welcome letters reached me a short time since and enclosed I found such a pretty ribbon. It was real good in you to think of it, and very pleasant to me to know I was remembered. I wore it the next day while on a horseback ride with my husband and several other gentlemen, and explained to them that it had come all the way from New Jersey in a letter etc. etc. Emma I must tell you of something that happened the other evening. A gentleman came in the sitting room & I took Dickens' "Mutual Friend" in my bed room to read. I seated myself on the bed & leaned back against a pillow. After the gentleman left we concluded to retire, when what should we discover but a centipede upon the very pillow upon which I had been leaning. I insisted upon its being a snake and you may imagine I was pretty well frightened. Well I give you a very rough plan of our house on a little slip of paper. The upper story has but two finished rooms, one of which my cousin has & the other is occupied by Mr Fleury. We had quite a fine ball here a few nights ago, and although not very select I quite enjoyed it. It was given by the Prescott Brass Band. The first piano I hear is on the road & report says a second will soon follow, so you see we are becoming quite civilized. Well my cousin is going to the Office so I must send this or none. I will enclose a feather from an Arizona bird.
..... Friend Maggie .....