Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
FLORENCE MAY WILSON HERNDON

Florence was born on May 10, 1852, in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, the daughter of Charles Francis and Louisa Elizabeth Wilson. She was a graduate of Central College in Fayette. In Pierce City, Missouri, on December 29, 1875, this "lady of gracious presence and high domestic virtues" was married to John Clark Herndon, an attorney and partner of J. J. Hawkins and T. J. Norris.

In 1883, the Herndons arrived in Prescott from Seligman by stagecoach having come from Missouri by train with their black housekeeper, Tillie. Guards protected them en route in case of any Indian scares.

Of their four children, Florence, Clare, Andrew (d. 1887), and Charles, only one survived her: her daughter Florence (Mrs. David Wentworth Russell). Her son, attorney Charles Wilson Herndon, predeceased her by five years.

Florence was a member of the First Congregational Church from its first meeting. The communion table in the Chancel is a joint memorial to her and to Mrs. Hesla.

Florence belonged to the Rebecah Horn Auxillary #2 of United Spanish War Veterans, the Monday Club and the Eastern Star. With her mother and Mrs. Tritle, Mrs. Burmister and Mrs. Hugo Richards, the ladies formed a History and Poetry Study Club in 1900. She was active in the Arizona Federation of Women's Clubs.

Florence held musicals and recitals in her home at 246 South Cortez Street. The home, built c. 1890, burned and was rebuilt in 1893 as one of the finest homes in the community.

In 1900, the Herndons celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with their home "decorated with smilax and white carnations. A wedding bell depended (sic) from the ceiling in the bay window." Judge Swan repeated their wedding vows, and his complete speech was printed in the Miner, where the affair was described as "one of the most brilliant social events given in Prescott for a long time."

Her husband died in 1906 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery. She retained to the last her keen intellect and gracious charm, which endeared her to her countless friends. She was particularly interested in history and poetry, but perhaps her greatest gift was a capacity for friendship. Her mother, Louisa Wilson, and her daughter, Florence Russell, are also represented in the Rose Garden.

Florence died on July 31, 1932, of heart trouble and was entombed in the mausoleum at Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: Florence Russell



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