Rose Garden PhotographsHester Elvira (Shook) Travis was born on April 24, 1857, near Cedar Bluff, Alabama, daughter of William Taylor and Amanda Lavina Golightly Shook. On November 23, 1882, she married Charles Travis, a carpenter, in Gadsden, Alabama. Hester and Charles had one son, William Bliss Travis, born February 29, 1888, in Graysville, Tennessee.

The Travis family came to Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, in May 1899 and lived at 422 S. Marina Street and later at 116 Park Avenue in the home they built in 1904 and in which Hester lived until her death.  Hester was very active in the Prescott Methodist Episcopal Church, where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday School and served with the missionary society. The Weekly Journal Miner of April 12, 1905, reported, “Between twelve and fifteen members of Mrs. Charles Travis’ Sunday school class in the west side Methodist church surprised her yesterday evening by calling at her home in a body.  After games, refreshments were served and the young folks left for their home, well pleased with their reception by Mrs. Travis.”  She was responsible for having the Sunday school classes classified as a "graded” school.

An article of the Weekly Journal Miner dated April 23, 1913, mentioned, “The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union will meet this afternoon at 5 in the home of Mrs. Charles Travis on Park Avenue.”  In addition to her community activities, Hester was a housewife who loved roses and had many rose varieties growing at the family home on Park Avenue. She shared the flowers and let others propagate rose bushes from hers.

In October 1919 Hester was awarded second place for her hand sewing, in the category of women over sixty years by the Home Economics Department at the Northern Arizona State Fair. She was given an honorary life membership in the missionary society in 1933.

Her great-granddaughter gave these reasons for honoring Hester: "She loved roses, and I can think of no better way for the family to honor her than by having her represented in the Memorial Rose Garden. She apparently was just an ordinary wife and mother and wouldn't be considered as well known or a celebrity in the local community, but, from the stories I've been told, she was well respected and highly thought of by those who knew her."

Hester died on January 31, 1934, and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery beside her husband Charles.  In her newspaper obituary published in the Prescott Evening Courier January 31, 1934, Rev. S. Douglas Walters of the church said: “She was certainly held in the highest esteem by all who knew her.  She was a life-long worker in the church…”

Donors: William (Bill) Travis, Jr., grandson, and Janet L. Travis, great-granddaughter, June 1999
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box T, F-Travis, Hester
Updated: 5/31/2015, D. Sue Kissel