Rose Garden PhotographsClare Josephine (McEachran) Lessard was born January 30, 1887 in Williamsburg, Iowa, to Robert McEachran of Indiana and Bridget Isabell (O’Hehir) McEachran of County Clare, Ireland.

Clare was the sixth of seven children born to the McEachran family of Iowa: Mary F. McEachran (1872); James E McEachran (1873); John F. McEachran (1875); Ellen H. (McEachran) Donohoe (1878); Annie M. McEachran (1880); and Helen A. McEachran (1892).

Clare was raised on the family farm in Pilot Township, Iowa near Williamsburg on land granted in 1867 to her father, Robert McEachran, in payment for his service in the Civil War. Robert served with the 30th Indiana Volunteer Infantry for four and one-half years, under the Union Generals Thomas and Sherman.

Clare and her sisters Mary, Annie, Ellen and Helen left their family and farm in Iowa to come to Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, just prior to 1910 so that Helen, ill with tuberculosis, could receive the benefits of the higher and drier Arizona climates. Clare became educated as a school teacher and was listed as attending the Arizona Normal summer school in The Coconino Sun newspaper of June 23, 1911.  She taught school to the children of the miners and farmers in both Dewey and Humboldt, driving a wagon to the remote schools each day. She was blessed to teach during exciting times of Arizona history, such as Arizona’s transition from territory to statehood as the 48th state of the Union in 1912.

Clare J. McEachran married Grover Clingman Lessard, son of Alphonse W. and Virginia Lee (Lane) Lessard, both ranchers, of Mayer, Arizona, on June 16, 1914, in Prescott with the reception at her sisters’ home on Congress Avenue. The Lessards resided on the Lessard Ranch, initially homesteaded by Grover, just two miles south of Mayer. Clare, raised a farm girl, became actively involved in building the cattle ranch and in raising her family. She became well known for her support of local cattle roundups and cattle drives, as well as local ranch projects.

Clare and Grover had three sons: Albert Walter Lessard (1915), who died at the age of 15; Joseph Grover Lessard (1917); and William Donald Lessard, (1923).  All of their sons were born in Prescott.

Due to Grover’s later failing health, the Lessards had to move from the ranch into the town of Mayer. In 1949, Clare became the fourth postmistress/master in the history of the town.  She followed Sadie Mayer, the wife of the original town founder Joseph Mayer, their daughter, Mamie Mayer, and Mr. E. J. Harris. She served in the original post office building donated by the Mayer family, but oversaw the building of the first new post office in 1958. She served as postmistress until her retirement in 1966.

Clare personally knew nearly all of the families of the Mayer area due to her long tenure in that community as a rancher’s wife and postmistress. She was very active in her support of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Daughters of America and the original St. Joseph’s Catholic Church of Mayer.

Clare J. Lessard died on March 27, 1972 while living at the Arizona Pioneers’ Home, Prescott, Arizona. She was buried in the Prescott Mountain View Cemetery in the family gravesite alongside her husband, Grover, and their eldest son, Albert.

Donor: Dennis Lessard, 2015
Photo Located: I-Drive>Collections>Lessard Family Collection
Updated: 6/14/2015; D. Sue Kissel