Rose Garden PhotographsMildred “Millie” (Back) Fain was born on September 17, 1879, at Beaver Creek, near Cornville, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, to William and Margie Ann (Dickinson) Back. The oldest of seven children, she grew up on Montezuma Well Ranch and first went to school on Oak Creek. She next attended school at Beaver Creek, walking two-and-a-half miles to get to school.

Millie graduated from high school in Flagstaff, Coconino County, and then attended Tempe Normal School in Tempe, Maricopa County. Her daughter-in-law, Johnie Lee Fain, wrote of Millie's life in the book, Echoes of the Past, Tales of Old Yavapai Vol. II.

As a youngster, she would ride twelve or thirteen miles to Oak Creek when her uncle Frank Dickinson became ill.  She went to pay the ranchers for their cattle.  Riding on "Tony," her little grey pony, she "felt free as a breeze." This trip meant that for the next few days, at least, she would have no younger brothers or sisters to care for, no peaches to peel, no washing or ironing to do.

The purse of $5,000 was pinned into the pocket of her skirt. She reached Beaver Creek, where it was necessary to take the trail to the west out of the creek. She and Tony had a tough climb. However, there was a group of men camped there--strangers to her. Tony shied as one of the group started walking toward them. Instinctively, Millie realized she must not stop and spurred Tony to climb quickly onto the mesa above the camp.

“The coarse laughter and remarks of the men rang in her ears as she reached safety on top of the rim. However, little did our cowgirl realize the wisdom of her decision to avoid their camp, as these same strangers proved to be horse thieves. Even at that moment, a deputy sheriff was following them. Great would have been their day's haul had they been able to stop the little rider on the grey pony…. So without any worse casualties than aching muscles and a big appetite, Millie reached her destination that evening and delivered the $5,000 to her parents' friends" (Echoes of the Past, 235).

Millie married Granville "Dan" Fain on April 13, 1902, and they had a son, Norman William (1907). She lived many years in Prescott, Yavapai County. Millie was a 50-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star and belonged to the Christian Science Church. She was also a member of the Yavapai County Cowbelles and of the Monday Club. "With her pioneer courage, she has steered this family over many of the heartaches and rough spots of life," wrote Johnie Lee Fain. In 1954, she owned the Diamond S Ranch.

Her mother, Margaret (Dickinson) Back is also represented in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden. Millie died January 13, 1967, and is buried in the Cottonwood Cemetery.

Donor: Yavapai Cowbelles
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box F, F-Fain, Mildred
Updated: 6/24/20125; D. Sue Kissel