Rose GardenOra (Townsend) Coleman French was born April 19, 1870, on Ash Creek, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, near Orme Ranch School, the daughter of John B. and Elizabeth (Vickers) Townsend. Her father, the “Peace Commissioner,” was killed by Apaches at Dripping Springs, east of Mayer, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, when she was three years old. Her mother then married Merideth Aldridge.

Ora married James Coleman on April 19, 1890, and divorced him on January 24, 1893, on the grounds of abandonment.  Ora married Charles Albert French, a stonemason and stage driver, on December 10, 1893, in Maricopa County, Arizona Territory, and he adopted her son Norman (born July 19, 1892). She had another son, Albert Francis French (November 13, 1895), and daughters Eva May Bell (Mrs. Virgil) Cromb (September 1894) and Carrie Elizabeth (Mrs. Frank) Burns (April 1898).

Ora belonged to the Methodist Church and the Pythian Sisters.  In 1905 she served as regent for Lodge No 123, Grand Fraternity, and she was elected vice-president of the Fraternal Brotherhood in 1918. She organized "500" games at home and with friends.

Ora and Charles celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary according to an article written by Sharlot M. Hall published in the Prescott Evening Courier  February 1, 1943:  “On Sunday afternoon Mr. and Mrs. French will be happy to see their friends in the Virginia Street home.  Fifty golden years lie behind them, many happy years, we may hope in the future.”  "Through sickness and health, adversity and good times, she was cheerful and jolly, exhibiting great love for her family and life generally," her eulogy read. Her husband died on January 30, 1946.

Ora entered the Arizona Pioneers' Home in Prescott in February 1951, where she died November 12, 1961, and is buried in the Arizona Pioneers' Cemetery.

Ora's mother, Elizabeth Townsend, and her sister, Clara Vroom, are also honored in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Donor: Eva Cromb
Photo Located: Harland Ludwig Collection - PO-2597p (Oversize)
Updated: 3/22/16; D. Sue Kissel