Rose Garden PhotographsCarrie M. (Welch) Bianconi was born in Mobile, Alabama, on September 16, 1900. Her parents, John O. and Mary E. Welch, came to Gilbert, Maricopa County, Arizona Territory, in 1907. They had four children: Carrie, Bert, Myrtle and Owen. 

In June 1920, the Welches moved to Chino Valley, Arizona, and established Welch & Son Dairy on forty acres on the north side of the Old Outer Loop road west of Highway 89. The Welches sold milk, cream and butter door-to-door from their delivery truck and also to markets in Prescott.

Mrs. Welch died in Chino Valley in 1946, and the family moved to Tempe in 1948. Mr. Welch died in Tempe in 1954.

Carrie graduated from Tempe Normal School in 1922 and began teaching school in Skull Valley. In spring 1924, Harold Sullivan bet Carrie a box of candy that she could not walk from Skull Valley to Prescott in less than six hours.  Carrie made the walk in five hours flat and won the five-pound box of candy from Sullivan.

On June 6, 1925, Carrie married William T. “Bill” Bianconi at the Congregational Church in Prescott. Bill coincidentally had exactly the same birth date as Carrie. Carrie and Bill had two children: Betty M., born April 26, 1926, and William J. “Billy,” born March 4, 1927. 

The Bianconis bought the Clough Ranch (now Kieckhefers) at the “Y” of Highways 89 and 89A in Granite Dells. They raised peaches for commercial sale along with a few pears, apricots and plums. With approximately 3,000 trees, it was the largest peach orchard in the state at that time.

During picking season, Carrie would drive to Prescott to hire day workers, who were paid a dollar a day and dinner, which Carrie cooked. The Bianconi family ran a fruit stand, had a small flock of sheep to keep the ditches clear of weeds, and a cow that Carrie milked. The entire family worked in the orchard picking the fruit, packing it in lugs and getting it ready to be delivered to markets in Prescott.  Bill delivered loads of fruit to Safeway in Phoenix for shipping out of state. Carrie canned hundreds of jars of fruit each year. The Bianconis also had a twenty-acre orchard at Fair Oaks where they raised apples.

In 1939, Peach Mosaic disease resulted in the peach orchard being destroyed by the US Department of Agriculture. The Bianconis sold the ranch to Harvey Cory in 1941 and moved to 209 N. Mount Vernon Street in Prescott, where they rented rooms and provided meals to paying customers.

Subsequently, the Bianconis moved to Yava in Yavapai County for a couple years and then returned to Prescott to live at 744 Miller Valley Road (currently the location of Chase Bank). Carrie was a member of the Prescott Garden Club. On Sunday afternoons, local Prescottonians would often drive by Carrie’s house on Miller Valley Road to admire her beautiful flower gardens.

William died on March 16, 1974, and in November 1975, Carrie moved into the Pioneers' Home. She died in Prescott on July 4, 1980, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: Betty Billingsley, daughter 2012
Photo Location: RGC-MS-39, Box B, F-Bianconi, Carrie M. Welch
Updated: 4/5/15, D. Sue Kissel