Imagine living in Arizona in the 1870s. Martha Summerhayes, the young bride of an Army lieutenant, did just that and shared her adventures in her book “Vanished Arizona: Recollections of the Army Life of a New England Woman.” This classic book was first published in 1908 and reprinted several times. Martha’s book is still being read, discussed, and enjoyed today.
To learn more about Martha Summerhayes, join Wayne Ranney for an Arizona Humanities presentation “In the Footsteps of Martha Summerhayes” on Monday, December 10, at 1:30 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene, 55 Rojo Drive in the Village of Oak Creek. This program, sponsored by Arizona Humanities and Friends of Sedona Public Library, is free and open to the public. Ranney has a personal connection to the Summerhayes family, which he shares during his lecture.
Martha “Mattie” Dunham Summerhayes was born October 21, 1844, to a prosperous family in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Martha was a refined, educated New England woman. From 1871 to 1873, she spent two years studying literature in Germany.
Shortly after she returned from Germany, she married Lt. Jack Summerhayes, a veteran of the American Civil War. In 1874 Martha accompanied her husband to the Arizona Territory, where he was serving in General George Crook’s military expedition against the Apache Indians. Traveling in horrific conditions and dreadful heat, she soon despised the wild and untamed land.
During their time in the Arizona Territory, from 1874 to 1878, the Summerhayes were posted at Fort Apache, Fort Whipple, Fort McDowell, Camp Ehrenberg, and Fort Verde. Martha shared in her memoir, “I had cast my lot with a soldier and where he was, was home to me.”
Gradually, Martha’s attitude toward the desert changed. She soon came to love the starry nights, the clear air, and the simplicity of its inhabitants.
In her memoir, Martha chronicles these and other experiences during the 1870s in the Arizona Territory. If you would like to read “Vanished Arizona” before Ranney’s presentation, the book is available in regular print and large type from the Yavapai Library Network. You may also download the book to your e-reader device from www.gutenberg.org Call the Library if you need assistance placing a hold or downloading the ebook.
Wayne Ranney, the presenter, is a dynamic speaker and an award-winning author of numerous books. A resident of Arizona since 1975, Wayne worked as a backcountry ranger in the Grand Canyon before attaining degrees in geology from Northern Arizona University. In addition to writing and lecturing, he offers educational adventures in the Southwest and around the world.
For more information please call Cheryl Yeatts, Manager of Sedona Public Library in the Village, at 928-284-1603, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for supporting library services in the Village of Oak Creek.
Village News appears monthly in The Villager and is also presented on Sedona Biz.
By Cheryl Yeatts
Cheryl Yeatts is Manager of Sedona Public Library in the Village.