Rose Garden PhotographsMary Ellen “Minnie” (White) Webster was born on May 12, 1884, in Minnehaha, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, the daughter of Fergus John and Mary Ellen (Dwyer) White. In 1883, Fergus had established his family on a one-hundred-sixty-acre homestead in Minnehaha, where the family survived by selling meat to various Bradshaw mines, such as Crown King. Fergus did not give much support to the family due to his mental illness. When Fergus died in 1895, Mary Ellen and her children remained to run the ranch themselves.

Minnie attended St. Joseph’s Academy in Prescott. In 1910, the family moved to Phoenix. She married Arthur Richmond Webster (1889-1964) in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Phoenix, on October 2, 1916. The couple had five children: Mary Ellen, born in 1918; Honora Blanche, born in 1918 and died in 1934; Kathryn Abbie, born in 1920, (she was known as Sister Mary Arnoldine); Barbara Monica, born in 1923 and Frances Margaret, born in 1925 (she is known as Sister Mary Leo). They also had a foster son, James Stalter.

Minnie and Arthur lived on Buckeye Road in the Tolleson area, where they owned and operated a dairy.  As the wife of a Justice of the Peace of Tolleson, Minnie orchestrated banquets designed to gather support for political candidates and to publicize the needs of her Tolleson community. In addition to being a busy housewife and mother, she was an active member of St. Mary’s and St. Matthew’s Catholic churches and belonged to the Women’s Club in Tolleson.

Minnie, the grandmother of twenty-five grandchildren, played a large role in helping to raise them. She died on December 11, 1965, at the home that she and Arthur shared for many years.  She was buried in St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix next to Arthur.

Minnie’s mother,  Mary Ellen (Dwyer) White, and her sister, Blanche Julia White, are also commemorated in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Donor: Barbara Downing, granddaughter 2011
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box U-Z, F-Webster, Minnie Ellen (White)
Updated: 6/15/2015, Gretchen Eastman Hough