Rose Garden PhotographsMary Elizabeth (Lowe) Hanson Smith Merrick, daughter of Mary (Sanderline) and William Lowe, was born in Albany, Wisconsin, on November 19, 1848. At a tender age she moved with her parents to California. She grew up in El Dorado City, California, and was married to Mr. Charles Hanson. Four known children were born: Charles (1866 in California), William C., (November 1867, Virginia City, Nevada), Robert M., (1870 in Nevada) and her daughter Mary C. (Serata) was born in 1872. The Hanson family was living in Virginia City, Nevada, in 1870, where Charles worked as a miner.

By 1880 Mary and her three youngest children were living in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory. Mary obtained a divorce from Charles Hanson in 1880 due to her husband’s cruelty. Mary’s sons, Robert and William, became prominent citizens of Yavapai County, both involved in mining.  Mary later became the grandmother of several grandchildren.

Mary remarried to Mr. Solomon A. Smith, November 7, 1881, in Prescott.  Mr. Smith was a veteran of the Civil War. He served as a Private in the Colorado Infantry and Colorado Calvary. He died on April 11, 1895, leaving his widow Mary and one child, Edna G. Smith.

Mary is remembered as one of the talented women in Arizona for her line of literary work. Her poems attracted wide attention, and she contributed her work to many of the leading magazines, winning high renown.  She had a very generous nature, and she figured conspicuously in charitable works. She was also a strong advocate of woman's suffrage and an ardent believer in temperance.

On September 6, 1909, Mary married Joseph P. Merrick in a ceremony the Prescott Courier hailed as the most novel wedding in Yavapai County history. The Courier, the local newspaper, along with leading merchants and businessmen of the community, sponsored the promotion of a Labor Day wedding, and the identity of the couple was not known until they appeared at the front door of the Courier office on their way to the platform for the ceremony. At that point, they were united by the "Marrying Justice," Charles H. McLane. The bride was tastefully gowned in gray silk, elaborately trimmed in pink and white lace, carrying a handsome bouquet of white roses.  After the ceremony and the presentation of a cash reward from the Courier, as well as many valuable presents, the couple was driven to their comfortable bungalow on S. Mount Vernon Street in a taxicab.

Mr. Merrick died November 23, 1915. He had been a teamster for the City of Prescott.  Mary died on July 23, 1918, at the Arizona Pioneers' Home and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, Prescott, Arizona.

Donor: Grace Hubbs (granddaughter), May 2001
Photo Located: Historic Photo Collection - PO-2577p
Updated: 05/28/2015, N. Freer