“I shall love the years that are ahead, because I haven’t had time to accomplish much yet, and the world Is so full of a number of things that I’d still like to do.”
Hattie Lockett, in an interview with the Phoenix Gazette
When seventeen-year-old Hattie Myrtle Greene moved with her family from Bushnell, Illinois to Scottsdale in 1897, she probably never expected to raise sheep or to study archaeology. And yet it is for skills developed in these areas, along with her talent for writing, that Hattie is best remembered.
Hattie came to Scottsdale with a diploma from the Bushnell Normal College. The principal of Phoenix Union High School, George Blount, wanted Hattie to teach at Scottsdale’s new elementary school, built only the year before. He bent the rules a little so that Hattie could teach before she turned eighteen. She taught in Scottsdale for two years, and then attended the Tempe Normal School, from which she graduated in 1901. She taught for a year in Kyrene and then moved to Washington, northwest of Phoenix, in order to teach there.
While teaching at the one room Washington school, Hattie boarded at the ranch of Henry Claiborne Lockett, a sheep rancher and Republican senator representing Coconino County in the territorial legislature. Henry was a widower who lived with his three children and his mother.
Hattie and Henry married in 1905, and had two children, Claiborne and Robert. In 1912, Hattie founded the Washington Women’s Club, which worked to turn the Washington School into a center of community life. This was the first of many community groups Hattie would help to organize.
When Henry Lockett died in 1921, Hattie was determined to keep the ranch going until her sons were old enough to run it themselves. She surprised local woolgrowers with her knowledge of the sheep business and her interest in meetings of the Wool Growers Association. Hattie won many awards for her prize sheep.
Hattie worked with the U.S. Forest Service in instituting grazing reform and helped foster a spirit of understanding in cooperation between sheep ranchers and the government. Eventually, her son Robert, who majored in business administration and animal husbandry at the University of Arizona, took over the ranch.
Once her stepchildren were married and her sons were attending the University of Arizona, Hattie decided to get a college degree herself. She earned a Phi Beta Kappa key, and received her Master’s degree in archaeology in 1932. Her thesis, which became a popular book, was The Unwritten Literature of the Hopi: First Hand Accounts of Customs, Traditions and Beliefs of the Northern Arizona Indian Tribe. Hattie gathered the material for her thesis in her home near the summer pasturing area of her flocks in Flagstaff.
Between 1941 and her death in 1962, Hattie wrote many poems and short stories. She was president of the Arizona branch of the League of American Pen Women, and served as their poetry chairman. She inaugurated Arizona Poetry Day in honor of Sharlot Hall. She was president of the Phoenix Musicians Club, and was a member of the Altrusa Club and the Phoenix chapter of the American Association of University Women. In 1952, she was placed on the honor roll of the American Artists and Professional League for her skills as an orator and poet, and for her work with the advisory board of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the National Arts Society.
Hattie Greene Lockett died on May 23, 1962, at the age of eighty-two.