Annie Laura Aiken was born in Marfa, Texas, November 11, 1897. Her parents, Marion and Josie Peter (Cagle) Aiken, moved their family to Jerome Junction, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, when she was a young girl. Her mother died when Annie was a child, leaving Marion to raise her and her six siblings. Annie spent time with her aunt, Laura Johnston, in Jerome Junction. Her father went to work on the Perkins Ranch, three miles away.
The Aiken children walked to school, Annie remembered. She said, “We children could have driven a horse and buggy to school, but we preferred walking, so we wouldn’t have to take care of the horse at noon."
The Aiken family was not affected by the Great Depression. “We were always poor but well fed and clothed and loved," Annie stated in a letter to a friend. Annie’s father always had a beautiful garden with a variety of vegetables. He stored potatoes, cabbage, turnips, carrots and pumpkins in a ground cellar for consumption during the winter. They had beef, chickens and eggs, and milk and butter from their milk cows. Mr. Perkins always gave her father a quarter of beef when he butchered. Sometimes they would raise a pig. All in all, it was a very well-balanced diet.
Annie graduated from elementary school in Jerome Junction, and she boarded with families in Prescott to attend high school. She attended Tempe Normal School and became a teacher.
She taught in Globe, Miami, Inspiration, Midland City and Jerome Junction. In Prescott, she taught in Washington School; in Phoenix she taught in Roosevelt School. She was also in the Women’s Army Corps for a while during World War II.
After forty-five years of teaching, Annie retired in Phoenix, where she was active with the Phoenix Boys’ Choir. She then moved to Douglas to live with her sister Amy and to be close to her sister Josie. She cheerfully said, “Phelps Dodge’s smoke did not bother us. We realized that the company provided jobs for many people. Also, the company did a lot of charity work and helped many students who were going to college or university."
Annie passed away on May 22, 1992, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Donor: Betty Wells, niece, July 2004
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box A, F-Aiken, Annie
Updated: 4/2/15, D. Sue Kissel