Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
IDA ELIZABETH HESTER SMITH GENUNG

Ida was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on October 7, 1848, the daughter of Dr. William Isaac and Emily Laverne Wright Smith. She accompanied her father over the old Mormon Trail to California in a wagon train.

Ida went to school in Los Angeles and San Francisco and had private tutoring at the Smith Ranch. She lived on the old stage route in Banning, California, where notables crossed back and forth between the territories. She was a friend of Pauline Weaver, one of the first trappers in the Southwest, and was taught by him to speak Spanish, smoke cigarettes and swear.

She met Charles Baldwin Genung on the Smith Ranch and married him on February 16, 1869, in San Francisco. The Genungs came to Walnut Grove in 1870 to a large tract of land owned by Pauline Weaver. Their home became a stopping place for travelers who long cherished memories of the fresh vegetables and wonderful cooking of the golden-haired lady who could rope a wild horse better than her husband.

Ida's life was one of lonely vigil in Peeples Valley. Twice her home burned to the ground with the loss of all her family possessions. In one three-week period in 1891, Ida shipped 247 pounds of butter by stage to the Congress Mine. She had to milk the cows by hand, separate the cream and then churn the butter by hand.

Ida and Charles had three daughters: Louise Walcott, Dr. (Mabel) May Genung and Grace Chapman, who is also represented in the Rose Garden; and six sons: Frank, Dan, Fred, George, Edward and Earl. Her husband died on August 18, 1916, and was buried in Citizens Cemetery.

Ida was considered by Sharlot Hall to be "the very oldest pioneer woman that belonged to us" and was honored by a portrait by Kate Cory, entitled "Pioneer Woman." Ida died in November 1933 and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: Grace Chapman



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