Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Elizabeth, the daughter of David O. and Sara Elizabeth Johnson Wells, was born in White Oaks, New Mexico, on June 25, 1884. She came to Arizona with her family in 1888, a three-month journey in a covered wagon. In June of that year they arrived at the Willard Ranch, where her older sister, Ila, was nursed back to health from typhoid fever that she contracted on the way.

The family moved to Mescal Canyon about five miles south of Jerome where the 11th Wells child was born, and where Elizabeth's twin sister, Susan, died of an insect bite.

The Wells family moved to Prescott in the fall of 1891 and later to the old American Ranch where Elizabeth attended a one-room school with cracks in the floor that froze the students' feet.

David Wells traded the old American Ranch for Granite Mountain Ranch, which was the most beautiful place imaginable, but the family could not live on scenery. Rains failed to come, cattle starved, and, in despair, the family came back to Prescott.

When Elizabeth was 16, her father arranged her marriage to George Terril Scholey, a cowboy and hard-rock miner, who was twice her age. The wedding took place in Prescott on December 24,1900. "There was never any courting done," Elizabeth remembered in an interview published in the Phoenix Gazette in 1974, "and he never kissed me before we married. My father liked George. Dad gave his consent and that was all there was to it."

George took Elizabeth by wagon to his family's ranch on the Aqua Fria River. There the first three children were born: Ila (1901-1912), Edward Donald (1903-1975), and George Thomas (1906-1981).

The Scholeys moved to Mayer, where four more children arrived: Gladys Louise McNulty (1909-1984), Laura Marie Armstrong (1913), Lena Bark Franks (1913), and John Albert (1916-1936). In 1928, Elizabeth moved the family to Prescott so that the youngest children could complete high school, and they lived in various houses on Pleasant, Mt. Vernon and Grove streets.

As George was a miner, he was seldom at home, and Elizabeth raised her seven children on a very limited income and saw that they all received the education that she never had.

Self-educated herself, Elizabeth wrote poems and short stories. She belonged to the Ladies' Aid Society in Mayer and was active in the Protestant churches wherever she lived. Elizabeth loved Arizona and instilled in her children and grandchildren the same love and respect for Arizona and its heritage.

Elizabeth became a resident of the Arizona Pioneers' Home before moving to the Beatitudes Nursing Home in Phoenix, Arizona.

She died in Phoenix on September 10, 1976, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Donors: Laura Armstrong, Lena Franks and Pamela Franks.

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