Gravestone of Kate Thomson Cory in Simmons Cemetery
detailsMuseum Staff Unknown c0112pf.jpg C-112 B&W 1020.0112.0006 c0112pf Print 3x5 Historic Photographs 1978 Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives
Kate Thomson Cory (b. 1891 - d. 1958) was a pioneer in more than the usual sense of the word. As a single woman at the age of forty-four, she journeyed alone to the Hopi mesas of Arizona hoping to become a member of a developing artist colony. When no one else joined her, she remained, little realizing that she would become a valuable ethnographer of the Hopi. In the seven years she lived in the pueblo of Old Oraibi, she became friend and confidant of the Hopi, and as an artist of great talent was able to capture their culture in photographs and on canvas. Kate considered Prescott, Arizona her home and bought some property in 1911. She continued her work as an artist and sculptor, becoming one of the West's most famous artists. She left a memorable impression on all who knew or met her. Her values revolved around artistic expression and sharing with others. Stories of both her generosity and eccentricity still continue to surface. Kate died on June 12, 1958, at the Arizona Pioneer Home and was buried in the Hall family plot in the Arizona Pioneers' Home Cemetery, as she was a good friend of Sharlot's.
The Simmons Cemetery was established when the Simmons family, pioneers in Miller Valley area, donated a portion of their land for a cemetery. Other pioneer families that lived in and around this area were also buried at this cemetery such as the Ritters and Millers. Hence, this cemetery has also been known as the Ritter Cemetery and the Miller Valley Cemetery. Simmons is located on a hilltop off of Iron Springs Road in Prescott, Arizona. According to the Prescott Journal-Miner dated May 16, 1911, Dr. Warren Day donated one-half of an acre of land in the Simmons Cemetery to the Arizona Pioneers’ Home for interment of its members. In addition, the State of Arizona purchased more land for this State run facility.
Today (2018), the entire cemetery is owned and maintained by the Arizona Pioneers’ Home with the oldest section named Simmons Division. In 1978, Sharlot Hall Museum conducted a photo shoot to record the headstones and gravesites in the Simmons and Arizona Pioneer's Home cemeteries, which are located next to one another off of Iron Springs Road.
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