Rose Garden PhotographsSophia (Banay, alternate spellings of Banyay and Banjay) Bisjak was born April 9, 1878, in Hungary.  She came to America alone at the age of eighteen, and her parents are unknown. 

She married Anton Bisjak on February 5, 1910, at the St. Michael Hotel in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory.  The Arizona Journal Miner of February 6, 1910, stated: “The groom is a miner and popular with his associates, while the bride has that personal charm that has won for her the admiration of many at the Emporia mine, where she has been residing for some time….Mr. and Mrs. Bisjak will make their future home in the county, and are followed on their journey through life by the well wishes of all.”

When the 1910 census was taken, they were living in Groom Creek, Yavapai County. Anton was still a miner, and the census stated Sophia had immigrated to the United States in 1900.  Her occupation was listed as a cook.

Sophia and Anton homesteaded 160 acres in Chino Valley, Yavapai County, in 1914 doing dry farming.  They were one of the earliest families in the south end of Chino Valley.  When the Hassayampa Alfalfa Farms Company came to the area, the Bisjaks were allotted water shares for part of their land.

Sophia gave birth to a son, Antone Henry, January 17, 1917, in Prescott, but the family had a Jerome Junction address.  Son Gilford was born in September 14, 1918, at Jerome Junction.

An article in the Weekly Journal Miner dated March 29, 1922, stated: “A jury in superior court yesterday awarded Mrs. Anton Bisjak $62 as the damages she deserves by reason of her arrest on a complaint charging assault with a deadly weapon.” This occurred prior to Anton’s death on December 20, 1923, at the Fort Whipple Hospital.  He was a buried at the Veterans cemetery.  Sophia was left with two young children to care for. 

Sophia spoke six languages and often acted as an interpreter for the Russian families who lived in Jerome Junction, now Chino Valley.  She was a member of the Spanish War Veterans Auxiliary.

Sophia died June 24, 1950, at a hospital in Phoenix, with her funeral being held at Sacred Heart Church and burial in Mountain View Cemetery in Prescott.  Sharlot Hall Library and Archives has oral histories given by A. H. “Hank” Bisjak and Anton Henry Bisjak Jr.

Donor: Crysty Holmes 2014
Photo Located: Yavapai County People & Family Collection, Folder - Bisjak, Hank
Updated: 5/5/2015; D. Sue Kissel