Rose Garden PhotographsHelen “Ellen” Forrest Maders Stephens, was born in Scotland in 1827. Her parent’s names are not known. She was married in Scotland and had a son named George Forrest (1848 – 1916). When her first husband died (his first name is not known), the young George was sent to live with his father’s family. One day in 1849, as George was playing in a park under the supervision of his nurse, Helen kidnapped him, took him to a ship and sailed off to America.

Helen settled in Au Sable, New York in the Adirondack Mountains, which is close to the Canadian border. She married William Maders (b.1803), a widower, and they had five children: Isabel “Cora Belle” (1850-1927), Christina ‘Christy” (1851-1870), John (1854) Ellen “Etta” (1856) and James Henry (1869 – 1934). Young George took the Maders’s name. George remained in New York where he married and raised a family. William Maders died in Clinton County, New York but the date is unknown.

After some years, Helen and her children left New York, and came by wagon train to Colorado, where they stayed a few months. Then, they moved to the Arizona Territory. They first went to Springerville and later to Cherry Creek, where they bought a cattle ranch. There the family settled for the rest of their lives. Their range was from the Dugas area over Mingus Mountain. Rustlers were a problem, but Helen and family survived. She married Edward J. Stephens on 9 November 1876 in Yavapai County; Arizona.

Helen was a small woman who was adventuresome and courageous, a true pioneer woman. She became crippled at the age of 78 when she broke her leg in two places above the knee while working a calf. The calf had a rope around its neck and she got tangled in the rope as was dragged along the ground. The break did not heal properly. She died in May of 1913 and was buried in Prescott’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Her daughter-in-law Nora Ann McWhorter Maders, wife of James Henry Maders is honored in the Arizona Women’s Territorial Rose Garden.

Donor: Norma Orr and Isabel Johns, great granddaughters, April 2009
Photo Located: RGF MS-39, Box
Updated: 12/10/2015, Gretchen Hough Eastman and D. Sue Kissel