Rose Garden PhotographsStella Byrd (Cartwright) Carter was born on September 13, 1899, in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona Territory, the daughter of Charles Elzy and Ella Byrd Cartwright. She grew up on her parents’ ranch, which later became known as the Cartwright District in Maricopa County. Active in the community, Stella appeared in recital programs and school sports, receiving a letter in basketball. She graduated from Tempe Normal School in June 1918 and taught in various Arizona schools, such as Kirkland, Walnut Grove and Wagoner.

On July 17, 1918, Stella married Cortland Arden Carter in Deming, New Mexico, where he was stationed at Camp Cody. Cortland and his father, Jim, established approximately eighty sections known as the Necktie and Dollard Ranches south of Walnut Grove, Yavapai County, Arizona. The ranch would remain in the Carter family for 116 years. The Necktie and Dollard brands ran from 1885 through 2001.

Cortland and Stella had three children: Cortland Arden, Jr., born July 9, 1919; Gwendolyn (Carter) Sheppard, born January 28, 1921; and April Lorraine, born February 17, 1922. The family made their home on the Pauline Weaver grant called the L-Seven in Walnut Grove.  All the children were rodeo participants; competing in the rodeo became a family tradition. Lorraine was the 1942 Prescott Frontier Days rodeo queen, and twenty years later, her daughter, April Fletcher, was queen. They were the only mother/daughter queens on record. Gwen’s daughters, Stella and Linda, were also queens.

Stella and her husband donated the land and labor to build the Walnut Grove Chapel, which Stella helped establish. Stella was a member of the Yavapai Cattle Growers Association, and Cortland was the first president of this organization in 1932. Stella was also a member of the Mothers’ Club of Prescott and a charter member of the Yavapai Cowbelles.

Stella died on March 17, 1985, in Phoenix where she had been convalescing from an accident that had occurred at her home several weeks earlier.  She is buried at Walnut Grove Cemetery, Yavapai County.

Donor: Mothers’ Club
Photo Located: Matt Culley Photographs Collection, PC-3
Updated: 10//7/2015; D. Sue Kissel