Rose GardenEmilie Sidney “Sydney” (Tomkinson) Fritsche was born on June 22, 1888, in Philadelphia, the daughter of Joseph and Emilie (Surgison) Tomkinson. She attended school in Philadelphia and graduated from Swarthmore College. She came to the Arizona Territory with her parents in 1908.

On May 30, 1909, she married Harrie (Harry) Walter Fritsche in Phoenix, and they homesteaded at the HW Ranch in Big Chino Valley, Yavapai County, in 1911. She had two daughters: Christine (Mrs. Atkins B.) Hensal (1910), and Barbara B. (1916). A post office for Big Chino was in the ranch house, and Sydney went by buggy to get the mail at Simmons Station in Williamson Valley.

The trials and tribulations of a homesteader in the heart of the big cattle country were many. In 1920, Sidney moved to Jerome Junction and took over the post office. When the narrow-gauge railroad was discontinued, she moved the post office to the small settlement of Chino Valley. Serving as postmaster until 1929, Sydney was instrumental in changing the post office name to Chino.

In 1960, she was named National Vice Chairman of the Lineage Research Committee of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, capping a service to this organization as regent of the General George Crook Chapter and as Arizona State Regent. Through her efforts, many historic and patriotic spots in Arizona were marked.

In April 1949, she received membership card #1, indicating that she was the first and charter member of the Sharlot Hall Historical Museum. She helped many people with their genealogy records and made many notes about early residents and their memories, which are part of the Museum's archives.

Sydney died on May 9, 1986, at the Hillside Care Center in Prescott, and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Prescott, Arizona.

Sharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives has the Barbara Fritsche collection, which contains papers of Sydney Fritsche and short historic sketches of the Fritsche family.

Donor: Barbara Fritsche, daughter
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box F, F-Fritsche, Emilie
Updated: 3/22/2016; D. Sue Kissel