Edna Scotten Ferris

Edna Elaine Scotten was born on March 30, 1884 in El Paso, in a house on 1019 N. Campbell. She was the first child of Frank “Union” Scotten and Mary Collins. Her grandfather, Gerome Collins, founded a float transfer hack and drayage firm in El Paso. Frank  was involved in railroad and mining contraction and worked for the U.S. Post Office. He was also in the real estate business.

Edna’s mother, Mary E. , served as president of the El Paso Pioneer Women Association, Woodman Circle, Women’s Benefits Association, and American Legion Auxiliary. One of her brothers, Frank Jr., served as El Paso County Tax Assessor defeating the incumbent, John Cain in 1922 and retired in 1930, so his wife, Mary Frances Quisenberry could run to succeed him.

Edna was a graduate of El Paso High School. She married H.C. Ferris and had two children. Edna was editor of the Cactus, her grade school newspaper and won two blue ribbons for a watercolor painting sent by her teacher to the state school contest in Austin. In High school, she was president of the El Paso High Freshman Class, Treasurer of the Sophomore Class, Class Secretary for the Junior Class and was chair of the ways and means committee for the Senior Class. Edna even served briefly as the editor of the El Paso High School’s Newspaper, “The Tatler.”

She was first place winner, of the El Paso’s Women Trap Shooting Club contest, she served as captain of El Paso High School Girl’s Basketball Team. After school, Edna worked as a cub reporter and as a society reporter for the El Paso Herald-Post.

Ferris did her part during the first world war, she organized a Red Cross canteen at the Union Depot. In 1918, she moved to Deming to organize a canteen unit for the Red Cross at Fort Bayard Hospital. She also lived in Phoneix, where she was president of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, state chapter. Edna attended teacher’s college in Silver City, New Mexico.

In college, she majored in English and Journalism. Edna was a saxophone soloist in the college band, and was a delegate to San Francisco for the College Convention of the outstanding college students in 1932. Edna was editorial and special feature writer for the El Paso Herald-Post, Deming Headlight, The New York Sun and the Denver Post.

Edna returned to El Paso as a widow, she took courses in real estate, insurance, and  personnel management. She was active in the  Supreme Forrest Woodman life insurance for women and children where she was District Manager, State Auditor, and National Representative. Edna served as  Lt.  of the El Paso Platoon and Red Cross medical corps. She worked at William Beaumont in accounting and bookkeeping. She went to Santa Fe and help organized the booking keeping operations at the Burns General Army Hospital.

Edna worked as branch manager at the Ft Bliss Post Exchange accounts payable department. Ferris was district committee woman for the El Paso Democratic Party. She also served as  vice chair for the El Paso Democratic Steering Committee and acted as chair. She was active in the Business and Professional Women’s organization.Ferris unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Texas State House in 1946. She  also helped organized a  local chapter of the American Cancer Society here and worked for the organization.

Joseph Longo

EPHS Curator

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.