Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
ARENETTA RAND KENNEDY

Arenetta, daughter of Juanita Herrora and Charles Jefferson Rand, was born April 8, 1892, in Cripple Creek, Colorado. She came with her parents to Light, Arizona, in 1902 and attended school through the eighth grade.

At the age of 15 she went to work for the Riggs Cattle Company as a cook for 25 ranch hands. She worked there until she met Francis Flanders Kennedy, a cowboy, and married him on January 31, 1914, in Tombstone, Arizona.

The first 18 years of her married life were spent raising their nine children: Frances Edwardson, Herbert, Edna Kennedy, Katherine DeSpain, Mamie Moss, Cody Frank, Adeline Elizabeth McMullin, Phyllis Loraine Gunter, and Hazel Dolores Maynard. All the children except three were delivered by Nettie's mother, who was a mid-wife. The sixth child came quickly and was delivered by Frank while Nettie read from a medical book giving him directions. The last two children were delivered by doctors.

Nettie's second daughter contracted spinal meningitis at the age of 13 and was left blind and deaf. In that same year, 1929, Nettie and Frank homesteaded land at Tonopah, Arizona. Times were hard because of the depression, and Frank left home looking for work leaving Nettie and the children at the homestead.

In order to support the children while Frank was gone, Nettie got a job at the sewing factory in Phoenix. Frank had to work away from home a lot, mostly in the mines, so over the years Nettie did whatever she had to do to keep the family together, including driving a school bus, raising turkeys and chickens, renting a ranch she ran with two work horses and two milk cows. All the children still lived at home, and Nettie raised pinto beans, watermelon, tomatoes, green chiles, etc. She sold most of the produce and milk to pay the rent and help support the family.

Nettie also took care of both her mother and mother-in-law for many months prior to their deaths.

The family moved to Bisbee, where Frank got a job in the mines. Frank died at the age of 54 from peritonitis that was caused from a ruptured appendix. After Frank's death, Nettie continued to support her family however she could. She sold Watkins products, made and sold tamales, sold Coventry Jewelry, worked as a cook for a Superior cafe and ran a hotel that furnished room and board for Superior miners.

In 1949, a friend who was postmaster at Tonopah offered to trade Nettie her house and ten acres for the land Nettie and Frank had homesteaded and helped Nettie get the job as Tonopah postmistress, a position Nettie held until she retired in 1959 at the age of 67. Even into her 70s, Nettie helped take care of her 11 grandchildren. She enjoyed taking them rock hunting.

Nettie died on November 1, 1984, at Tonopah and was buried in the Louis B. Hazelton Memorial Park in Buckeye, Arizona.

DONOR: Hazel Dolores Maynard



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