Mary Josephine (Smith) Lawler was born on November 9, 1873, in Iron Mountain, St. Francois County, Missouri. Her mother, Mary, and father, Martin, were Irish immigrants.  As a young woman, Mary became one of the early Harvey Girls who worked in Harvey House restaurants associated with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in the Southwest. She came to Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory in 1894.

Mary was an early employee of the Burke Hotel (later named St. Michael Hotel), where she was a housekeeper.  It was during her employment there that she met her future husband, William Martin Lawler.  They were married on June 9, 1903 by Father White at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. After the ceremony, the couple and guests enjoyed a wedding breakfast on “Nob Hill” at 225 E. Union Street, hosted by the groom’s brother and wife. William and Mary traveled by train the next morning to California for their honeymoon.

Upon their return, the couple lived at the Lawlers’ Hillside Mine, four miles east of the small town of Bagdad, Arizona. Mary performed work that was nontraditional for women at the time, driving horses that pulled the ore wagons. She often had to shovel rocks from the road to allow the wagons to pass. Mary performed various duties of a miner’s wife, with all the dust and difficulties that went with it.

Hillside Mine was the family home for the next eleven years.  Mary gave birth to her only child, a son, John William, in 1908 in Prescott. The family moved into Prescott in 1914, so John could attend school. At that time, they lived in a double house on Union Street that had been built by William's brother, John “Jack.”  Jack owned all of the land on the south side of the street, and he sold lots to other successful merchants. These homes all had vistas of Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte, and the National Forest.

Mary became known as an excellent quilter. She obtained samples of silk from an eastern company to create beautiful quilts. She belonged to the Altar Society of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and donated a quilt each year for the church raffle.

The Lawler family left their legacy in many areas of Yavapai County, including the main Exhibit Center building built in the seventies on the grounds of the Sharlot Hall Museum, which was named in honor of this pioneer family.

Mary died on February 1, 1958, and was buried alongside her husband, in the family mausoleum in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California.

Donor:  John Lawler
Photo Located:  Lawler Collection
Updated:   March 2018, Nita Freer