Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
MILDRED BACK FAIN

Millie was born on September 17, 1879, at Beaver Creek, Arizona Territory, near Cornville to Margie Ann Dickinson and William Back. The oldest of seven children, she grew up on Montezuma Well Ranch and first went to school on Oak Creek. She next attended school at Beaver Creek, where she had to walk two-and-a-half miles to school.

Millie graduated from high school in Flagstaff and then attended Tempe Normal. Her daughter-in-law, Johnie Lee Fain, wrote of Millie's life in the book PIONEER STORIES OF THE VERDE VALLEY.

When her uncle Frank Dickinson became ill and could not ride the remaining 12 or 13 miles to Oak Creek to pay the ranchers for their cattle, it was decided that Millie could be spared to make the ride. She rode on "Tony," her little grey pony, and she "felt free as a breeze." This trip meant that for the next few days, at least, she would have no younger brothers or sisters to care for, no peaches to peel, no washing or ironing to do."

The purse of $5,000 was pinned into the pocket of her skirt. She reached Beaver Creek, where it was necessary to take the trail to the west out of the creek. She and Tony had a tough climb. However, there was a group of men camped there-÷strangers to her. Tony shied as one of the group started walking toward them. Instinctively, Millie realized she must not stop and spurred Tony to climb quickly onto the mesa above the camp.

The coarse laughter and remarks of the men rang in her ears as she reached safety on top of the rim. But little did our cowgirl realize how wise had been her decision to avoid their camp, for these same strangers proved to be horse thieves. Even at that moment, they were being followed by a deputy sheriff from the North. Great would have been their day's haul had they been able to stop the little rider on the grey pony. So without any worse casualties than aching muscles and a big appetite, Millie reached her destination that evening and delivered the $5,000 to her parents' friends."

Millie married Granville "Dan" Fain on April 13, 1902, and they had a son, Norman William (1907). She lived many years in Prescott. Millie was a 50-year member of the Eastern Star and belonged to the Christian Science Church.

She was also a member of the Yavapai County Cowbelles and of the Monday Club. "With her pioneer courage, she has steered this family over many of the heartaches and rough spots of life," wrote Johnie Lee Fain. In 1954, she owned the Diamond S Ranch. Her mother is also represented in the Rose Garden. Millie died in 1969 and was buried in the Cottonwood Cemetery.

Donor: Yavapai Cowbelles


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