Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
ALICE JANE DONOVAN CURNOW

Alice Jane, the second daughter of Edward and Sarah McNally Donovan, was born in Whitefield, Maine, on February 13, 1861. Edward, an engineer, went to California to work shortly after Aliceís birth, leaving his family in Maine, where he apparently believed his children would receive a better education.

The Donovan family was reunited in Gold Hill (part of Virginia City), Nevada, in January 1877. Alice was 16 years old and recalls that Mark Twain was writing a column for the "Virginia City Enterprise" when they arrived in Nevada.

On December 18, 1879, Alice married Thomas W. Curnow at Carson City, Nevada. Thomas, a miner, rancher and blacksmith, had been carrying silver bullion from the Comstock Mines in Virginia City to the United States Mint in Carson City. With the decline of the silver boom in Nevada, the couple moved to Globe, Arizona Territory, arriving on January 6, 1881.

Tomís first employment was as a butcher. He also worked as a blacksmith and tool dresser in the Richmond Basin silver district southeast of Globe. Later he went to work for the Old Dominion Mining Company, where he was head blacksmith for nine years, then master mechanic for seven years.

Alice and Thomas had five children: Alice Holmes, born February 14, 1882; Murray, born November 4, 1884; Charles, born in 1886; Helen Curnow, born December 23, 1891; and Frances Griffin, born July 17, 1897. Thomas ventured into many undertakings during the coupleís marriage, and Alice followed him faithfully, often traveling in a wagon over the Pinal Mountains with a baby in her lap.

Around 1896, the Curnow family moved to Mesa, Arizona, with the intention of farming. But with Tomís blacksmithing and mechanical abilities, it wasnít long before he opened a general repair shop in Mesa and later in Tempe. In 1907, the family again relocated to San Diego, California, where Tom worked for the city sanitation department. Returning to Arizona in 1916, Tom became part owner of the Lower Miami Stage Company and served on the Miami Town Council. Alice was active in the Miami Womenís Club and was installed as corresponding secretary in 1925.

Alice recorded her experiences in a retrospective narrative written between 1925 and 1940. A member of the Arizona Pioneersí Society in Tucson, she presented the Society with a copy of her 223-page manuscript titled ďThe Journey With Tom."

Alice and Tom returned to California in their later years. Alice died in Los Angeles on October 27, 1940, and was buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.

Donor: Mona McCroskey
September, 2003



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