Rose Garden PhotographsGrace Laura (Genung) Chapman, born May 17, 1883, in Peeples Valley, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, was the daughter of Charles and Ida (Smith) Genung. Her father was among the first settlers in the Peeples Valley area.

Grace grew up on the family ranch and established friendships with the Yavapai Indians who lived nearby. A little Yavapai girl named Maggie became her constant playmate.  Grace finished her primary schooling in Peeples Valley and attended one semester at Tempe Normal School.

She married Harry Saunders Chapman in December 1905.  A newspaper article appeared in the Prescott Morning Courier dated January 9, 1906 reporting, “Mrs. Grace Genung Chapman, formerly Miss Grace Genung, is now living at Mojave, Cal.  Her marriage some weeks ago was such a quiet affair that a great many of her friends may not yet be aware…”  When the 1910 census was enumerated the couple was living in Rawhide, Esmeralda County Nevada and they had a son, Emory "Bill" Chapman, born September 23, 1906 in California, and a daughter, Helen (Chapman) Wilburn, born February 17, 1908 in California.   Grace and children returned to Prescott in May 1911 and the couple divorced before 1920.

In 1916, Grace began a long career working at the Yavapai County Courthouse as deputy recorder.  She became Yavapai County recorder in 1923 and remained in that position until 1954.  Grace was required to campaign for the position of recorder, running every two years. 

When she began working at the courthouse, all of the records were handwritten. In 1918 typewriters were introduced into the offices, and by 1952, copy machines were being used.

Grace Chapman's early friendships with Yavapai Indians led to her determination to try to help them attain county pensions and other benefits. While she was unsuccessful in helping the Indians gain pensions, she and others did secure land for the establishment of the Yavapai-Prescott Reservation in 1935. In this effort, she worked with Yavapai Prescott Indian leaders, Viola and Sam Jimulla, Grace Sparkes and others.

Grace Chapman also worked with Sparkes to keep the Sharlot Hall Museum open after Sharlot Hall's death in 1943. The two women reopened the museum on May 28, 1943, less than two months after their friend's death. They worked with a loose affiliation of museum supporters to organize the Prescott Historical Society activities through 1946.

Grace not only worked for Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Historical Society in her spare time; she also found time for involvement in other organizations.  She was a member of the Eastern Star, Rebekah Lodge; a member of Yavapai Democratic Women's Club; and a participant in the Smoki ceremonies. She was very active in many local charities.

Grace died on May 30, 1959, and was buried at Mountain View Cemetery.   Grace’s mother, Ida (Smith) Genung, sisters Louise (Genung) Walcott and Mabel Genung are also represented in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.  Additional information regarding the Genung family may be found in the “Charles Genung collection” at the Sharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives.

Donor: Sharlot Hall Museum Territorial Women’s Rose Garden Committee & Democratic Women's Club
Photo: RGC MS-19, Box C, F-Chapman, Grace (Genung)
Updated:  4/6/2016; D. Sue Kissel