This article is the final installment of the story of the Elgin Community Club (ECC) begun in the April PRT issue. When the stone fireplace at the ECC clubhouse was completed in 1938, a commemorative bronze plaque was installed bearing the names of five recently deceased members: Mrs. Ferris, Klene, Nally, Bartlett and Johnson. Short biographies of Mrs. Klene, Nally and Johnson were featured in the April & May 2022 PRT issues. Read on for Mrs. Ferris’ and Bartlett’s stories and to learn about the decision to allow men to become club members in 1950.
Edith Hawley Ferris was born in Idaho in 1879. Her father was a rancher. After his death in 1914 she and her mother moved to southern California. In 1917, age 37, she married Robert Ferris, whose family was ranching in the Imperial Valley of California. Robert and Edith, who had no children, moved to Elgin after 1920 to operate the Rain Valley Ranch along with Robert’s brother “Buzz.”
A charter member of the ECC, Edith served as first Vice President (1932-33) and President (1933-34). She was also clerk of the Elgin School Board for six years. [Arizona Daily Star, 9/14/1935]. In 1935 she returned to her mother’s home in California to receive treatment for an unspecified illness. She died on September 14, 1935 and is buried in Idaho.
Nellie Lewis Bartlett was born in Ohio in 1855. In 1891, age 31, she married Marcus Bartlett, a Civil War veteran. They had two daughters, Chopeta and Alice Fern.
The couple lived in Ohio until 1912 when they moved to Elgin in search of a better climate for Marcus’ health. Sadly, he died later that year at the Sawtelle Veteran’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
Nellie decided to stay in Elgin with her daughters who were soon to be married to brothers Bill and Stone Collie. Nellie dry farmed on the original homestead she and Marcus claimed and eventually proved-up over 800 acres in her own name.
She was a founding member of the ECC and served as president (1934-1935). Just a few months prior to her death in 1938 the ECC members held a “handkerchief shower” in honor of her 82nd birthday. [Arizona Daily Star, 6/19/1938]. Nellie and Marcus are buried in Brecksville, Ohio.
In the 1940s, ECC operations were greatly affected by World War II. Many of the women took on additional responsibilities at home, and rationing and shortages limited activities. In 1940, motion pictures were shown at the clubhouse, a well was dug, and door locks were added. The key to the clubhouse could be obtained at the Elgin Post Office. From 1941 to 1944 the only organized activities were sewing for the Red Cross and occasional potluck dinners.
Dances were resumed in the summer of 1945 and the Men’s Club that met in the clubhouse began to contribute to building expenses and improvements.
In 1946 ECC agreed to rent the clubhouse to Monterey Production during filming of Red River for $30. [ECC Minutes, 9/16/1946].
In early 1947 a proposal to change the ECC bylaws to allow men to become members was defeated. [ECC Minutes, 3/19/1947]. In 1949 another vote to expand the membership passed, and by the end of the year the club was incorporated as a non-profit corporation and revised bylaws were adopted. [ECC Minutes, 9/21/1949, 12/28/1949].
Mrs. Esther Schock was president, 1949-1950. Houghton “Bum” Hedgcock succeeded her in July 1950, becoming the first male President of ECC.