Ida Elizabeth Hester (Smith) Genung was born on October 7, 1848 in Council Bluffs, Iowa and is the  daughter of Emily Laverne (Wright) and Dr. William Isaac Smith. She accompanied her father over the old Mormon Trail to California in a wagon train.

Ida went to school in California in the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco and had private tutoring at the Smith Ranch. She lived on the old stage route in Banning, California, where notables crossed back and forth between the territories. She was a friend of Pauline Weaver, one of the first trappers in the Southwest, and who taught her to speak Spanish, smoke cigarettes and swear.

Ida met Charles Baldwin Genung on the Smith Ranch and married him on February 16, 1869, in San Francisco. The Genungs came to Walnut Grove, outside of Prescott, in 1870 to a large tract of land owned by Pauline Weaver. Their home became a stopping place for travelers who had cherished memories of the fresh vegetables and wonderful cooking of the “golden-haired lady” who could rope a wild horse better than her husband could.

Ida's life was one of lonely vigil in Peeples Valley. Twice her home burned to the ground with the loss of all her family possessions. According to the Arizona Republic dated September 10, 1928 in an article “40 years Ago: …There were several guns and pistols in the house and when the fire reached them there was a lively fusillade.  Finally the fire reached a six-pound canister of powder which exploded blowing off a section of the roof and sending a burning scantling 100 yards to the corral which it set on fire.” In one three-week period in 1891, Ida shipped 247 pounds of butter by stage to the Congress Mine. She had to milk the cows by hand, separate the cream and then churn the butter by hand.

Ida and Charles had three daughters: Louise Walcott born November 28, 1873, Dr. Mabel Amanda Genung born June 16, 1875 and Grace Chapman born May 7, 1884 and six sons: Frank born January 13, 1871, Dan born May 2, 1872, Fred born February 12, 1878, George born August 2, 1878, Edward June 3, 1881 and Earl born 1892 and died December 1892. Her husband died on August 18, 1916, and is buried in Citizens Cemetery.

Ida was considered by Sharlot Hall to be "the very oldest pioneer woman that belonged to us" and was honored by a portrait by Kate Cory, entitled "Pioneer Woman." Ida died in November 11, 1933 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Her daughters, Louise Walcott, Dr. Mabel Genung and Grace Chapman are also represented in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.  Sharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives has a Charles Genung Collection.

Donor: Grace Chapman
Photo Located: MS-5, Box 3, I-1 - Genung Family Collection
Updated: 1/19/2016, D. Sue Kissel