Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
CHARLOTTE MAXWELL WEBB
Charlotte Maxwell Webb, also called "Aunt Lottie," was born February 15, 1862. Charlotte was the daughter of first wife Lucretia Charlotte Bracken and William Bailey Maxwell.

Her father, one of Brigham Young's selected saints, was tasked during his lifetime to help establish a network of Mormon colonies in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, which ultimately numbered 13 new communities including Alpine and Springerville, Arizona.

William was the first Mormon to settle in the Arizona Territory, and Charlotte spent her first years, from 1862 to 1866, on the Arizona Strip at Short Creek and Pipe Springs working on a family cattle ranch. Growing up, she was surrounded by brothers and sisters from three families. In addition to their own herds, the family raised cattle for the church. At 15, Charlotte helped herd cattle on horseback from Spring Valley, Nevada, to a new home in Orderville, Utah.

Charlotte met her husband while teaching in Orderville as part of the Mormon United Order, an experimental self-sustaining communal colony where all property was pooled. At the age of 16, she married Edward Milo Webb, a church leader and teacher, in St George, Utah. She became his third and youngest wife.

In 1886, as a result of the Edmunds law outlawing polygamy, the entire family left Utah for the newly formed Mormon colonies in Chihuahua, Mexico. Originally asked by Church leaders to establish a school system in Mexico, Charlotte and her family first stopped and wintered in Woodruff, Arizona, on the Little Colorado River. On the advice of the church, Charlotte and Edward were called to establish a school in Snowflake, Arizona. Snowflake Academy was one of the first high schools in Northern Arizona.

Charlotte never taught just the three Rs in school. In addition, she organized clubs and concerts, wrote and directed plays, and put on entertainment that the entire community enjoyed.

Known as a dramatic reader, Charlotte spent her Sunday evenings with all the unmarried, reading aloud from the classics. She had a theory that if children read nothing but the best until they were 15, their reading habits would be set, and they would have no appeal for trash.

Charlotte lived in Woodruff for 12 years. During this time, she raised four children on the family farm while working as a teacher.

In June 1898, the family resumed their journey to Mexico traveling seven weeks in a caravan of five covered wagons through frontier towns and Arizona desert. Charlotte drove the first wagon. She spent 14 years living in Mexico teaching in six communities, previously without educational benefit. Most of the schools were one-room log buildings. One school was constructed of ocotillo limbs planted like stakes with a packed earthen floor and a flat sod roof. In the spring, the walls turned a vivid lacquered green and a wreath of bright red blossoms bordered the flat roof.

In 1912, at the onset of the Mexican Revolution led by Pancho Villa, Charlotte and her family were forced to flee their large farms leaving everything behind. Bringing only what they could carry, they arrived by wagon and horseback over the border at Douglas, Arizona, finding shelter first in a tent. Later, they moved to the Stanton Station outside Tucson, a temporary camp for refugees where they family shared a two-room log cabin supplemented by tents.

Forced to start over, she became a nurse known as “Aunt Lottie” and traveled by foot, horseback and wagon to rural outreaches in Northern Arizona for 40 years. Charlotte treated all ailments but specialized in midwifery.

Eventually, Edward built a stone way-station between Pinedale and Clay Springs, Arizona, on a piece of land Charlotte was homesteading. This was where she set up shop and lived. She had many jobs and even served as Justice of the Peace. In this capacity, she held several trials and married at least one cowboy couple.

At the time of her death, she was living on the Navajo Reservation serving as a nurse at the age of 81. She literally died in the harness as she had always lived. Charlotte was buried May 9, 1943, in Pinedale.

Donor: Tom Guice, great grandson
May 2007



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