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How Sedona Arizona Got Its Name Sedona Schnebly 1877- 1950

Updated on May 19, 2017
mactavers profile image

I've lived in Arizona for 65 years (Tucson, Glendale, and Sedona). I love writing about Arizona history, antiques, collectibles, and travel.

Bronze Statue of Sedona Schnebly

Bronze Sculpture of Sedona Schnebly  by artist Susan Kliewer in front of Sedona's Library
Bronze Sculpture of Sedona Schnebly by artist Susan Kliewer in front of Sedona's Library | Source

Sedona's Biography

Sedona Arabella Miller was born in February of 1877 in the area that would become Gorin, Missouri. Many people asked Sedona's mother, Amanda Miller, where the unusual name came from, and Amanda always said that she had made the name up. Sedona took the name of "Dona" which most people called her, all her life. After attending finishing school where she had learned social graces and how to play the piano, Sedona married Theodore Carleton (T C) Schnebly when she was 20, over the objection of her parents. The objection? T C was a Presbyterian and the Miller family was Methodist. After the marriage, T C told his in-laws that he intended to move out West with Sedona, which made a break with T C and Sedona'sparents that never quite healed. A son Elsworth always called Tad, named for T C's brother, and a daughter Pearl was born.

T C's brother Elsworth had already gone to the Arizona Territory to an area South of Flagstaff and he urged T C and Sedona and their two children to join he and his wife in the beautiful area he now farmed. The land which the Schnebly's farmed in the area known as Camp Garden, was along Oak Creek where Talaqupaque Village stands today. Carl was hardworking and was able to sell his produce in Flagstaff by driving his wagon up the mountain road known as Schnebly Hill Road today. Eventually, the young Schnebly family built a two story home. Sedona became known for her hospitality and good cooking, so later historical accounts call the Schnebly home a hotel, but that really wasn't the intent. As guests continued to come, the Schneblys added a few tents for guests. As Carl continued to sell his produce to Flagstaff, he was hauling goods from Flagstaff back to their farm and started a small store.

As the area continued to prosper, Carl applied to the Postmaster General to establish a post office. His first choice to name the town was, Oak Creek Crossing and then SchneblyStation, but both names were rejected because they were too long to fit into the postal cancel stamp at that time. Carl's brother suggested naming the town after Sedona, and the town and post office became official in 1902.

The Schneblys had another little girl which they named Genevieve. Sedona became an expert at canning, sewing, and doing all the pioneer chores that she was expected to perform. Picnics, and religious sing-alongs and family outings provided entertainment. Drinking, dances and gamboling were strictly forbidden. On a beautiful June day in 1905, their precious daughter Pearl was killed when she became tangled in the reigns on her pony and was trampled to death. They buried Pearl in their front yard and the once happy and robust Sedona became morbidly depressed. In an effort to improve Sedona's health, the Schneblys returned to Missouri. They stayed until Carl decided to return to farming and this time they headed for Boyero, Colorado.

Three more children were born to the Schneblys, and their farming in Colorado proved successful until the Great Depression combined with a disastrous blizzard , and an outbreak of anthrax, and T C's declining health forced them to a warmer climate. After a short stay in Phoenix, the Schnebly's returned to Sedona the town they had established. All traces of their former farm was gone. They moved into a small house on Jordan Road, (named for Ruth and Walter Jordan) who had established his orchards and farm. Sedona helped Ruth ( who was a teacher) with the cleaning and cooking and care of the Jordan's three children. T C helped in the orchards when his health permitted.

Aunt Dona as many of the Sedona residents called her was well loved for her generous spirit and for her work with children at the American Sunday School and her effort to see a community church built. The result was the building of Wayside Chapel where people of all faiths were welcomed.. The entire town turned out for their 50th wedding celebration in 1947, but in November 1950, Sedona passed away from cancer. A bell at the Wayside Chapel on Hwy 89a in Sedona was dedicated in her memory. One of the events during the Arizona Centennial celebration of Statehood took place in front of the Wayside Chapel on February 14th, 2012 at 2:14, the time that Arizona became a state. The Sedona Schnebly Memorial bell was rung and Sedona residents gathered and brrought their own bells to ring. I'm pretty sure that Sedona Schnebly would have felt honored. Sedona and T C are buried in Cook Cemetery off Airport Road in West Sedona, Pearl's remains were moved to Cook Cemetery.

The sculpture of Sedona, pictured above, was commissioned by the Sedona Red Rocks Arts Council to honor Sedona's memory. Sedona's great granddaughter, Lisa Schnebly Hiedinger served as the model for the sculpture. In recent news, the Red Rock Quilters guild completed an Arizona Centennial quilt featuring a beautiful image of Sedona Schnebly picking apples against a background of some of the town of Sedona's most famous views. The quilt was displayed during the annual quilt show in December at the Sedona Library. In March 2012, the quilt traveled to Phoenix for the Phoenix Quilt Show and was displayed along with Centennial quilts from all over Arizona.

Oak Creek Canyon

Red Sandstone, and White Limestone Cliffs in Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona Arizona
Red Sandstone, and White Limestone Cliffs in Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona Arizona | Source

Travel to Sedona Arizona

Have you ever known anyone named Sedona?

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    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 19 months ago

      I suggest that you contact the Sedona Heritage Museum on Jordon Road in Sedona. They maintain archives on Sedona history. Also, I believe that Sedona's grand daughter is still living in Winslow and they could ask her.

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      Mr Snebly ..... 19 months ago

      Attended High School in Jerome Az (1961-62). My History teacher was either the son of or grandson of Sedona. We just knew him as Mr. Snebly. At that time (1961) he was in his late 50's or early 60's. He would have died around the turn of this century. Anyone who knows more about him and his family tree - please provide any information you can. --- Thanks


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      dude 2 years ago

      sup love it

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      sedona 6 years ago

      that's my name im sedona to but i cant tell you my last name of coures

    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 6 years ago

      Thanks for your comment. It's pretty hard not to love the red rocks and blue sky.

    • viveresperando profile image

      viveresperando 6 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

      great hub! I do love Sedona.