Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
GEORGIA ILLINOIS YOUNG SHEPPARD CURLEE
Georgia, daughter of John Henry Harrison and Georgean Arwood Young, was born on June 11, 1895, in Wing, Covington, Alabama. She came to Arizona in July 1900 with her family who eventually settled in the Globe area. In 1907, they moved to a homestead at Dripping Springs.

Georgia attended school in Globe and also at the Academy in Thatcher, staying with friends and relatives during the school year. After completing her education, she worked in a laundry in Globe and lived with Anna Sheppard. In 1914, she married Anna's brother, Horace Shults Sheppard, and the couple went to live in Miami. Georgia and Horace had two children: Carlotta Sheppard Everest, born on February 28, 1915, and Charles E,. born on April 15, 1916.

Life was harsh for the Sheppard family. Carlotta recalls the time the family was living in a tepee-shaped army tent, and when the wind blew, the center pole would rock back and forth over their beds. Georgia made a kitchen outdoors by nailing dynamite boxes on a group of trees, cooked on a wood stove, and the family ate at a plank table. Horace and the Bar-F cowboys helped each other at round-up time, and often a bucking horse would stampede through Georgia's kitchen.

To help make ends meet, Georgia worked for her sister Sara, who had the company boarding house in Hayden, A.T. They made pies and individual salads for 125 men. For extra pay, Georgia would start the fires in the huge cook stove at 4:30 in the morning and work till 5:00 PM. The heat was awful, and she would cry at night when she got home.

Georgia divorced Horace and with a loan from Sara, went to Los Angeles, California, to attend the Marinello Beauty School. Three days after she arrived in Los Angeles she fell from the steps of a streetcar and shattered the bones in one leg. She was in a hip-to-foot cast for seven months. When the cast was removed, Georgia could not straighten her leg. Her children, friends and relatives who came to visit would take turns massaging her leg until she could finally walk on crutches. Resuming her school studies, she finished her beauty courses with straight A grades and graduated.

Returning to Arizona Georgia worked for a while in a boarding house, where she became famous for her pie crusts and biscuits. On March 4, 1929, she married James William Curlee, who became the mill foreman at Christmas Mine. The family moved into a company house, and Georgia was able to afford nice furniture, rugs and a new car.

But Georgia wanted to make her own money, so she took in boarders and fed them in shifts as room at the table became available.

During the depression when jobs were hard to come by, the family moved to Hayfork, California, where Jim was offered a job as mill foreman and later got a job with the California State Highway Department.

Jim and Georgia bought a place in Weaverville, Arizona, with an apple orchard on the grounds and a view of Weaver Baldy Mountain from the kitchen window. Georgia had a heart attack when she was 58 years old and became an invalid for the last six years of her life. Jim took care of her faithfully until she died on April 26, 1960. Jim, who was a caring stepfather as well as a devoted husband, passed away two years later.

Georgia and Jim are buried in Weaverville, California, on a green mountainside in sight of Weaver Baldy Mountain.

Donor: Chuck Sheppard
June 2001


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