In Our Own Words: The Lives of Arizona Pioneer Women

In Our Own Words: The Lives of Arizona Pioneer Women

Barbara Marriott


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I have lived for months where my only neighbors were Indians and my one music the howl of the coyote.
- Charlotte Tanner Nelson

It was a land the devil wouldn’t have, made of sand and mountains filled with wild beasts and wild men. Yet in the eighteen hundreds the women came. Some came to join an adventuresome husband or son, some because of their religion.

They traveled the hard trail, suffering from lack of water, horrendous weather, disease and death. And once they arrived in the desolate wilderness they lived in tents, dugouts and log cabins. Everything for their life, from soap to food, from clothes to medicine they made, or grew, or did without. Husbands left to work far away leaving them to fight Indians, take care of the home and farm, and sometimes bury their children.

From 1935 until 1939 Federal Writers’ Project workers interviewed Arizona pioneer women, who were then in their seventies or older. Their interviews, here in their own words, tell of heartbreak and joy, success and disappointment, and the building of a state.


Barbara Marriott:

Barbara Marriott’s insatiable curiosity has sent her tumbling into some rather interesting adventures. Among these is flying with the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, writing a series of travel books for American sailors, and being elected to Who’s Who in American Women.

When she moved to a west she knew nothing about, she set about researching her new home. She became so intrigued that she wound up capturing its history and its essence in several non-fiction books. It was a fertile field for her and she couldn’t get enough of it. Six books later she is still researching the old stories of the Wild West and turning its tales, facts, and sometimes mystery, into books.

From University Professor, to Management Consultant and Trainer, to Creative Advertising Director, her professional fields have allowed her to observe life. However, it is her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology that gives her the tools to get to the core of her subject—to satisfy her unquenchable need to know, and the reader’s need to know more.