Rose Garden PhotographsElizabeth “Bessie” Blandy was born April 13, 1859, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Sarah (Lloyd) and John Fredrick Blandy. Bessie and her sister Frances left Philadelphia and headed to Arizona Territory to set up a home for their recently widowed father, a mining engineer, who had been appointed geologist for Yavapai County, Arizona Territory in April 1889 by Governor Wolfley . They traveled first by train and then by stagecoach, arriving in Prescott in 1890. The Blandy home still stands at 127 S. Mount Vernon Street.

Bessie was an artist and teacher of watercolors and miniature porcelain painting. She was a member of the "Old Maids Club." (A photograph of the ladies' group can be found in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives.)

The Blandy family was active in the establishment of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Bessie was a member of the General George Crook Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Colonial Dames and Daughters of the American Colonies. 

Bessie’s father died September 22, 1903, and she and her sister were at his bedside.  Bessie never married, but she was once engaged to a man who died during the engagement period. An article in the Weekly Arizona Journal Miner dated August 31, 1904, stated, “Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Claypool and their son William left last Saturday for California.  Mr. Claypool expects to locate his wife and son there and will return in about ten day after which Miss Blandy, and the other two children, will go there to reside.  They will all be missed by Prescott society.”  They moved to help manage the family feed mill. Bessie lived with her sister and brother-in-law her entire adult life. She is remembered by her grand-niece as "a spirit-like form that drifted in and out of rooms throughout the house. I also remember what great desserts she made."

Because she had no immediate family of her own, Bessie was able to travel easily. She visited the East to see the sister who was left behind when the father and daughters came to Arizona Territory.

Bessie died on November 15, 1932, in San Bernardino, and a short newspaper obituary appeared in The San Bernardino County Sun on November 16, 1933.  She was buried at St. James the Less Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her sister, Frances Dallam Blandy Claypool, is also represented in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Donor: Jane Frances Claypool Johnston 1997
Photo Location: RGC-MS-39, Box B, F-Blandy, Elizabeth
Updated: 4/30/15, D. Sue Kissel