Mary Routh McEnery was born on February 19, 1852 in Marksville, Louisiana. Sometime before 1860 her family moved to New Orleans and attended school there. In her late twenties she married Alfred Oden Stuart and moved to his farm Washington, Arkansas. Her husband died in 1883 and she returned to her family home in New Orleans and began to support herself as a writer. Many of her stories take place in Arkansas in a town modeled after "Washington". She died in 1917.