Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
MAMIE CANNON HYDE AZBILL
Mamie, daughter of Robert B. and Anna Cannon, was born on June 3, 1890, in Middle Verde, Arizona. Her mother died during childbirth, and the baby only weighed three pounds. Everyone thought the baby was too small and weak to survive, so Robert didn’t name her for some time. There were black people working at the Cannon goat ranch who took over caring for the baby and her older sister and two brothers. In the beginning, the caretakers referred to the baby girl as “Cridally” until she was later named Mamie.

In 1906, in Prescott, Arizona, Mamie married Willis Hyde, a miner who received his education at Tempe Normal School. Willis originally worked as a miner, but later he and Mamie earned a living by milking cows in Tempe. Together they had one son, George Braxton (nicknamed Brackie), born August 2, 1910, in Tempe. Although their marriage ended in divorce, Mamie and Willis were able to remain friendly for the welfare of their son.

As a single parent, Mamie earned her living as a cook in the mining camps. Her grandson remembers hearing a story about Mamie’s cookstove loaded on the back of a pack mule to haul it to the next mining campsite and how sorry everyone felt for the poor animal.

When Roosevelt Dam was under construction, Mamie was employed as a camp cook. There she met and fell in love with John David Azbill, who hauled supplies and freight for the dam contractors. After the dam was completed, Mamie and John traveled by train to Lordsburg, New Mexico, and were married on December 26, 1917.

Together they adopted a daughter, Lena Joyce Azbill King, born January 4, 1921. Later they adopted a son, George David, born December 29, 1929. Since John was a well driller, the family moved often to follow the jobs, and it was common for Mamie and John to pitch a tent for the family to live in at a jobsite.

Life was not easy for Mamie, but she made the best of everything she had. She lived in Arizona her entire life, except for one year when she stayed in Oklahoma with her daughter. She lived in the Arizona communities of Bumble Bee, Congers Mill, Cornville, Jerome, Middle Verde, Humboldt, Dewey, Prescott, and the Mogollon Rim, Tucson and Phoenix areas.

John was a kind and loving man, but if he wanted to really irritate Mamie all he had to do was stand next to her and hold his arm straight out from his side over her head. You see, she was so short she didn’t even come to his shoulder. Those are some of the family’s favorite photographs. John died of a heart attack on March 26, 1957.

On December 5, 1963, Mamie fell ill and phoned her daughter Lena to come take her to the doctor, but Mamie didn’t make it to the appointment. In front of her home at 1134 East Pierce Street in Phoenix, Mamie had a heart attack and died in her daughter’s arms. She was buried beside her husband in Double Butte Cemetery, Tempe, Arizona.


Donor: Linda Morriston, granddaughter
September, 2001






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