Rose Garden PhotographsFlorence May (Wilson) Herndon was born on May 10, 1852, to Charles Francis and Louisa Elizabeth Wilson in Mount Vernon, Missouri. She graduated from Central College in Fayette, Missouri. In Pierce City, Missouri, on December 29, 1875, this "lady of gracious presence and high domestic virtues" was married to John Clark Herndon (1849 -1906), an attorney and partner of J. J. Hawkins and T. J. Norris.

In 1883, Florence and John traveled to the Arizona Territory by rail as far as Seligman and by stagecoach to Prescott, Yavapai County. Guards protected them en route in case of any conflicts with Indians.  They had four children:  Charles Wilson (1877-1927), Emile Clare (1880 -1890), Andrew Clark (1882-1887), and Florence (1889 –1981). Only one survived Florence, her daughter Florence, who married David Wentworth Russell.

Florence was a member of the First Congregational Church from its first meeting. The communion table in the chancel is a joint memorial to her and to Mrs. Minnie Belle (Waters) Hesla, who is also honored in Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Florence belonged to the Rebeccah Horn Auxiliary #2 of United Spanish War Veterans, the Monday Club and the Eastern Star. With her mother, Louisa Wilson, Jane (Hereford) Trittle, Margaret (Bashford) Burmister and Emma (Town) Richards, she formed a History and Poetry Study Club in 1900. She was also active in the Arizona Federation of Women's Clubs.

Florence held musicals and recitals in her home at 246 S. Cortez Street. The home, built circa 1890, burned and was rebuilt in 1893 as one of the finest homes in the community.

In 1900, the Herndons celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with their home "decorated with smilax and white carnations. A wedding bell depended (sic) from the ceiling in the bay window." Judge Swan led them as they repeated their wedding vows, and his complete speech was printed in the Miner, where the affair was described as "one of the most brilliant social events given in Prescott for a long time."

Her husband died in 1906 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Prescott. She retained her keen intellect and gracious charm to the last, which endeared her to countless friends. She was particularly interested in history and poetry, but perhaps her greatest gift was a capacity for friendship. Her mother, Louisa Wilson, and her daughter, Florence Russell, are also represented in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Florence died on July 31, 1932, of heart trouble and was entombed in the Mountain View Cemetery mausoleum.

Donor: Florence (Herndon) Russell
Photo Located: Historic Photo Collection – PO-995p
Updated: 9/16/2015, Gretchen Hough Eastman