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Hall, Sharlot (1870–1942) - Local History

arizona ranch prescott historical

Sharlot Hall, purported to be the only woman to hold a livestock slaughtering license, was born on October 27, 1870, in Prosser Creek in Kansas Territory to James Hall, a rancher, and Adeline Hall. In 1881 the family moved to Arizona; on the journey, Sharlot suffered a fall from a horse and injured her spine, which would plague her the rest of her life. (She called it “the Mexican Revolution in my spine.”) Each time the pain resurfaced, she was forced to lie flat on her stomach on the floor for release. She began writing to keep her mind off the pain and to pass time. In between, she began exploring Arizona when not milking the cows, watering the stock, regulating the windmill, and feeding the pigs on her father’s ranch. In 1886, despite her father’s fear that she would “git high toned” and think she was above the rest of the family, Sharlot Hall went to school in nearby Prescott during the week, returning to the ranch on weekends. This arrangement ended the next year, when she had to quit to help on the ranch.

Hall began writing and publishing essays on Arizona’s history, and in 1901 she was asked to become a temporary editor of Land and Sunshine magazine (later Out West ). She was so successful that she was asked to become a staff member. Hall also began preserving Arizona history by recording the experiences of the Territory’s pioneers.

In 1909 a bill established the office of Territorial Historian. Sharlot Hall was named to the post, becoming the first woman to hold a territorial office. Although it was a controversial appointment, Governor Richard E. Sloan stood behind her, and she remained historian as long as he was in office.

Hall made many trips throughout Arizona, gathering historical background on the Territory. In 1906, for instance, she retraced the route by which pioneers entered Arizona from California in 1863. She joined J. Walter Fewke’s study and exploration of an area of the Little Colorado River in 1910 and covered the Snake Ceremony at Oraibi, the dedication of Tonto (now Roosevelt) Dam by Theodore Roosevelt, and the Mexican Revolution in Douglas, Arizona. In 1912 a trip from Ganada to Chinle with Navajo Indian guide Grover Cleveland was cut short by her mother’s illness and subsequent death.

Despite the fact that her mother’s death meant more responsibilities on the ranch, Hall continued to write essays and publish in the Prescott Courier . In 1921 she also received an honorary master of arts degree from the University of Arizona. In 1925 she traveled to Washington, D.C., as one of the electors for the presidential election and represented Arizona by wearing a copper dress.

In 1927 the city of Prescott, the first capital of Arizona, presented Sharlot Hall with a life lease on the governor’s mansion there. In return, she presented the town with her historical collection, valued at $10,000. She spent the remainder of her life renovating the governor’s mansion (now Sharlot Hall Museum) with her own money. She was also one of eight founders of the Historical Society of Prescott. Sharlot Hall died on April 9, 1942.

Halley, Edmond [next] [back] Hall, J.C. - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: J. C. Hall, Social and Economic Impact

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over 4 years ago

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over 4 years ago

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