Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
MARY CATHERINE SMITH LEIB BROOKS
Born near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, of an old and prominent Moravian family in 1836, Mary Catherine came to Prescott in 1863 with her husband, Dr. Charles Leib, whom she had married January 6, 1852. She was the only woman in the military party that established Fort Whipple in advance of the Governor's party arrival in the Arizona Territory.

Before there was a school, Mary Catherine started classes for children in her cabin on Granite Creek. Her husband died on January 11, 1865. She was later married to Hezekiah Brooks by the Chaplain of Ft. Whipple on February 28, 1867. She helped organize the first Sunday school in Prescott and was a member and devoted worker in the Methodist South Church. Her musical talents were used to organize their choir.

Well-versed in horticulture, Mary Catherine's home had a beautiful garden and many fruit trees. She and Judge Brooks, according to a October 28, 1881, issue of the Miner, are "clever, happy people, and if you don't believe it, call and see if they don't treat you to homemade apple treats."

Like so many women who had pioneered in the West and lived in log houses, Mary Catherine longed for a home with furnishings like those she had known in her girlhood. She sold some mining stock for a goodly sum. With this and a small bequest from her brother's estate, she bought the adjoining Lount Ranch and began to build a frame house with big rooms and a fireplace. She ordered carpets and furniture from San Francisco.

But, before the house was quite finished, she died unexpectedly. The new house did not long survive her. It was burned to ashes within a few months, with all the new furnishings and a set of real china, her brother's last gift, still unpacked.

At the time of the 1870 U. S. Census, Mary Catherine reported she was 30 years old and had a three-year-old Apache child named Bessie living in the Brooks' home.

Mary Catherine belonged to the Daughters of the American Revolution. She died on November 18, 1891, at the age of 55, and was buried beside her first husband in the Masonic Cemetery.

Donor: Gen. George Crook Chapter, D. A. R


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