Rose Garden PhotographsBessie Ethel (Hatz) Bork was born June 8, 1879, in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, the daughter of Catherine Shanberger and Daniel Hatz. Her father was one of the builders of the Governor’s Mansion, which now is a center piece of the Sharlot Hall Museum. Bessie was a stenographer for Judge J. J. Hawkins for a time. After studying in San Diego, she taught at Ash Fork, Skull Valley and Groom Creek.

On November 5, 1905, in the First Congregational Church in Prescott, she married Albert William Bork, a pharmacist who had a partnership share in the Owl Drug & Candy Company on the corner of N. Montezuma and Gurley streets. The Prescott Evening Courier of November 23, 1905, carried an article titled “Happy Marriage” saying “Miss Hartz is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Hartz, who are among the most highly respected of the earliest settlers of this section; she is a native daughter of Prescott and one of whom the city may well feel proud, for she is a most estimable young lady.”

After the marriage and until sometime in 1907, they lived on Grove Avenue and then moved into the house they built at 326 Park Avenue (now 228). The Borks had six children: Albert William Jr., born August 12, 1906; Catherine Caroline Simpson Freeman, born July 23, 1908; Daniel Hatz, born January 30, 1911, and died June 17, 1957; Elizabeth Violet, born September 2, 1912; Henry Walter, born December 23, 1914; and John Theodore, born April 26, 1919. All of her children finished their high school education in Prescott.

After the loss of his business, Al and his family moved to a small house at 313 N. Mount Vernon Street. After the death of her husband March 14, 1921, Bessie moved to 111 S. Mount Vernon Street.

From her teen years, she was an active member of the First Congregational Church, where she was married.  Bessie was also active in the Monday Club. A true daughter of the American frontier in pioneer days, Bessie was multitalented as an educator, housewife and mother. She was a personal friend of Sharlot Hall from childhood.

Bessie raised her children after being widowed and saw the older ones started on their careers. Her mother, Catherine Hatz, and her grandmother, Elizabeth Shanberger, are also represented in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Bessie died in Prescott on July 4, 1935, and was buried in the Mountain View Cemetery. Her newspaper obituary carried in the Prescott Evening Courier July 5, 1935, stated: “One very close to her has said that no mother ever made any greater sacrifices for her children.  Her mother love and her boundless faith in Almighty God joined with that power of will which carried on against all odds enabled her to overcome all obstacles but death.”

Donor: Albert William Bork, 1997
Photo Located: Bork Family Collection MS-19, Box 3, F-12 - Accession #79.099
Updated: 5/12/2015 D. Sue Kissel