Rose GardenEtta Julia (Vaughn) Oliver was born on August 25, 1876, in Florence, Fremont County, Colorado to Arvilla Mary (Mitchell) and Charles Edward Vaughn. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1896, in the second graduating class. She graduated from the two year Normal Program and was one of four girls in her class.

Etta married William J. Oliver Jr. (1862 – 1941) of the Indian Service on July 3, 1900, in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico. They had six children: Helen Margaret (March 31, 1901), twins Edgar Charles and Agnes Estelle (May 11, 1903), Louise (February 25, 1905), William John Jr. (July 21, 1914), and Robert Vaughn (August 18, 1916).

In 1910, the family lived on the Zuni Reservation in McKinley County, New Mexico. In 1911, the family moved to Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona and lived on the grounds of the Phoenix Indian School, where William served as the Chief Clerk and Purchasing Agent.

By 1921, the family had moved to Fort Whipple Barracks, in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona, where William was a teacher at the Vocational School and later became the principal.  Etta also taught at the school and did some clerical work.

In 1927, the family bought a large home at 109 North Pleasant St. in Prescott.  Both Etta and William lived in this house until their deaths. 

Etta was City and Society Editor of thePrescott Courier for twenty years, retiring in 1953. She began the job in 1932 to supplement the family income during the Great Depression. William served as an occupational therapist at Fort Whipple.

Etta was president of the Monday Club from 1929-1930.  During this time, the Club helped Sharlot Hall restore and financed a new roof for the Governor's Mansion, which is located on the Sharlot Hall Museum campus today. She was State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.), and a member of the Prescott Garden Club. Etta belonged to the First Congregational Church, where she was president of the Women's Fellowship, and active in the Ladies Aid Society and Secretary of the church. In later years, she was named Secretary Emeritus.

Her minister stated, "Hers [Etta’s] was a life devoted only to worthwhile things . . .. She was the most kindly, considerate, tolerant, and forgiving woman that I have ever known. Quiet to a point of almost silence, she was given only to charitable thoughts and deeds."

In 1955, when Echoes of the Past, Tales of Old Yavapai was first published by the Yavapai Cowbelles of Arizona, Etta was the author of the chapter on the historic Whiskey Row fire called “Prescott’s Big Fire.”

On September 24, 1957, Etta died from asphyxiation in an accidental fire that broke out in her home on Pleasant Street. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: D.A.R, General George Crook Chapter
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box O, F-Oliver, Etta
Updated: 2/12/2017, Gretchen Hough Eastman