Bower’s Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 9

Ethelyn Bowers

Ethelyn Bowers

Around 1876 or 1878 Ethelyn was born in Ottawa, Illinois to Charles and Alexena Bowers. The 1880 Census has Ethel 4 years old.[1]   Cemetery records have her born 1878.[2]  In 1902 Ethelyn worked for W.C. Vittum as a manager of the insurance department, [3]  and around 1925 Ethelyn married W. C. Vittum.[4]

“W.C. Vittum engaged in the real estate and insurance business in Moloney building.  He came to Ottawa from Galesburg in 1888 and opened “China hall” at 722 LaSalle Street, which he conducted for 10 years, disposing of it in 1898 to enter his present line of work.  Mr. Vittum was one of the original directors in the Ottawa Development Association and has always taken an active part in efforts to build up Ottawa.  His latest and greatest achievement was the battle which he successfully waged single handed to steer the new LaSalle County Electric Railway out of financial difficulties in which it had become involved and place on a solid foundation.  It seems certain that before the close of 1913 this line between Ottawa and Mendota will be in operation. Mr. Vittum’s parents were D.W and Harriet (Childs) Vittum and he was born in Canton, Illinois, May 13, 1859.  In 1883 he married to Miss Nannie G. Hollister, of Champaign, Illinois, and they have one daughter Nina who is the wife of  Dr. Alva Sowers, of Chicago.”[5] W. C. Vittum’s wife Nannie died in 1923.[6]

Ethelyn died March 14, 1935 in Ottawa, Illinois.[7]  She is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[8]  W.C. Vittum died in 1939 and is buried next Ethelyn.[9]

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst

______________________________

[1] Year: 1880; Census Place:  Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 79_223; Family History Film: 1254223; Page: 516.2000; Enumeration District: 81 Image: 0554.  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005

[2] Cemetery Record for Ethelyn Bowers, OttawaAvenueCemetery, Ottawa LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth, June 20, 1878, Date of Death March 14, 1935, Burial March 16, 1935; Burial location: OT, 18-7, Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record: #8542.

[3] OttawaCity Directories 1901-1902.  LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois

[4] Year; 1930; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 532; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 68; Image: 77.0.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc. 2002.

[5]Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of OttawaIllinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 142

[6] Cemetery Record for Nannie D. Vittum, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth 1860, Date of Death 1923; Burial location: BU, 5K (N ½), Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record:  # 2565.

[7] Cemetery Record for Ethelyn Bowers, OttawaAvenueCemetery, Ottawa LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth, June 20, 1878, Date of Death March 14, 1935, Burial March 16, 1935; Burial location: OT, 18-7, Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record: #8542.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Cemetery Record for William C. Vittum, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois, Date of Birth 1860, Date of Death 1939, Burial February 13,1939; Burial Location:  OT, 18-7, Cemetery Card: CCY-TS, Record # 8537.

 

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 8

Genevieve Bowers

Genevieve Bowers

Genevieve Bowers was born in 1877 to Charles Bowers and Alexena Frazier in Ottawa, Illinois.[1] Genevieve grew up in Ottawa Illinois and graduated from Ottawa High School in 1896.[2]  After graduation she worked as a stenographer for the Marseilles Manufacturing Company.[3] The Marseilles Manufacturing Company of Marseilles, Illinois manufactured power corn shellers and windmills.

In 1898 Genevieve was hospitalized for appendicitis and was operated on at RyburnHospital in Ottawa.[4]  She was unable to recover from the surgery and died at just 21 years of age on July 2, 1898[5] and is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois.

I found it sad that she only lived to age 21 and had not had a chance to experience all that life has to offer.

Genevieve's Obit

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst


                [1] Cemetery Record for Genevieve L. Bowers; Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois; Date of Birth; July 31, 1877; Date of Death July 2, 1898; Cemetery Card: CCY-TS; Burial Location: OT, 18-7; Record # 8541.

                [2] Obituary for Genevieve Bowers; Republican Times, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois; July 4, 1898. Obituary File at the LaSalleCounty Genealogy Society, 115 W. Glover Street, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois61350.

                [3] Ibid.

                [4] Obituary for Genevieve Bowers; Republican Times, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois; July 4, 1898. Obituary File at the LaSalle County Genealogy Society 115 W. Glover Street, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois 61350.

                [5] Ibid.

 

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 7

Robert Bowers

Robert Bowers

Robert F. Bowers was born April 5, 1873 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[1] Robert was the third child born to Charles and Alexena Bowers.[2]  Little is known about Robert Bowers life because my grandmother, Helen Kaiser, never knew her father.  It is assumed that he went to school at least through grade school. He probably attended Washington School on York Street between Pearl and Congress Streets,[3] a couple of blocks from his home at 543 Chapel Street.[4]  Church records list a Robert Bowers as an Organ Blower in 1887.[5] Helen Kaiser always said her father was a musician.[6]  Although an organ blower is hardly a musician.  An organ blower supplies air to the bellow by working a handle up and down, with a “tell tale” to regulate their efforts.[7] Later that year in September church records list a Robert Frazer Bowers as living in the County 12 miles.[8]  Robert would be 14 years old by this time and most likely out of school and working.  Maybe he was working 12 miles outside of Ottawa.  His middle name listed as Frazer (his mother’s maiden name) in the church records.[9]  This is interesting because according to Helen Kaiser his middle name was Frances and her sister Frances was named after him.[10] 

Some time around 1896 Robert married Eva Reinhardt also of Ottawa.[11]  The story is that they ran away to Chicago to be married.[12]   I have been unable to find a marriage record for Robert and Eva, but I did find a Quit-Claim Deed recorded as Robert F. Bowers and Eva F. Bowers, his wife, selling three lots in Ottawa to Alexena Bowers for one dollar. This proves that they were married.[13] If they were not married, there would be no need for Eva to sign the deed.  In June of 1897 their first child Ralph was born,[14] followed by daughter, Helen, in December 1898 [15]and another daughter, LaVon Frances, in February 1900.[16]  Shortly after Frances was born they separated and eventually divorced.[17] [18]  I have been unable to find a divorce record too.

The 1900 census lists a Robert Bowers living in Peoria, Illinois as a boarder about 25 years old and his occupation is listed as a painter.[19]  One of the people he is living with is listed as a carriage painter.[20]  Robert worked as carriage painter in Chicago.[21]  The 1900 census lists him as single.[22]  By 1913 at the time of his death he had lived in Chicago for 12 years.[23] According to his death certificate Robert died on March 4, 1913 in Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois of Pulmonary Tuberculosis.[24]  His body was shipped to Ottawa, Illinois for funeral services at his mother’s house and burial in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[25]

 

Copyright © 2014 Gail Grunst

___________________________________________

[1] Headstone inscription for Robert Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois (OT, 18-7 grave #) Footstone: Robert

[2] Year: 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois Roll T9_223; Family History Film: 1254223; Page 516. 1000; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 0553.  Ancestry.com and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

[3] Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 174

[4]Ottawa City Directories 1884, 1888, 1894.  LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois

[5] First Methodist Church of Ottawa, Illinois Official Records 1876 -1889. LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.

[6] Told to author by Helen Kaiser many times between 1978 – 1981.

[7] From website:  http://www.nzorgan.com/vandr/blowers.htm

[8] First Methodist Church of Ottawa, Illinois Official Records 1876 -1889. LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois

[9] Told to author by Helen Kaiser many times between 1978 – 1981

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Tract Index Book, Recorder of Deeds Office, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, Book488, Page 167,  Microfilm at the LaSalle County Genealogical Guild 115 W. Glover St., Ottawa, Illinois 61350.

[14] Ralph Bowers listed in Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Social Security Administration.  Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[15] Delayed Record of Birth for Helen Bowers 3 December, 1898 (filed 7 August 1957) file number 204857, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics and Records, Springfield, Illinois.

[16] Frances Beck listed in Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Social Security Administration.  Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[17] Told to author by Helen Kaiser many times between 1978 – 1981

[18]  Year 1900; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 4, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll T623 317; Page: 64; Enumeration District: 76.  Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004

[19] Year 1900; Census Place: Peoria Ward 4, Peoria Illinois; Roll T623 334; Page 9B Enumeration District: 98. Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[22] Year 1900; Census Place: Peoria Ward 4, Peoria Illinois; Roll T623 334; Page 9B Enumeration District: 98. Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.

[23] Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[24] Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

[25] Obituary for Robert Bowers, Daily Republican times, Ottawa, IL VOL XXXV No. 208, Wednesday Evening, March 5, 1913, p1 (Front Page).

January 26, 1967 the Big Snow Storm

I originally posted this a couple of years ago.  I decided this year with all the snow and cold weather we have in the Chicago area, this would be a good time to remember the big snow storm on January 26, 1967.  Enjoy!

As an older adult (senior citizen), I despise the snow and cold weather.  As a child I loved the snow.  I’m not sure exactly when my opinion of it changed.  Maybe it the big snow storm of 1967.  If your old enough and lived in the Chicago area in January of 1967 you may have your own memories of the big snow storm.  I was working in Northlake, Illinois at GTE Automatic Electric at that time.  I remember it was around 2 or 3  pm., when someone said that there was a big semi stuck in the dock because of the snow.  I was wondering how I was going to get home.  If a big semi was stuck, how was my little car going to get out.  A little later the company announced it was closing.  This was an unusual move for AE.  They had all kinds of rules and you better follow them and they rarely closed if ever.  I went to my car and took one look and knew I wasn’t going anywhere.  I had no snow shovel and the snow was already to my bumper.   A lady I worked with lived nearby, and before I left she told me if I couldn’t get home to come to her house.  I started walking down Railroad Avenue and I had a choice to walk all the way down to North Avenue and back up Westward Ho Drive to her house or go down a hill in two feet of snow to her backyard.  I chose the latter.  I had a dress on (women were not allowed to wear slacks to work back then) and my boots were knee-high.  The snow was over the top of my boots.  I got to her house and was very thankful that she had invited me.  Several other people showed up too and that night was like a big slumber party.  I had only been working there since August, and I really got to know my coworkers.

My Mother was stuck at her job in Elmhurst, Illinois for a while.  I can’t remember how she got home because I usually picked her up on my way home from work.   School let out early that day because of the snow. When my brother got home, no one was home so he went to the next door neighbors.  My Father drove a truck for Burney Brothers Bakery that was located in Northlake also.  He was in Chicago stuck in traffic.  His truck then broke down.  He called the plant but they could not get to him.  He sat in the truck until the wee hours of the morning and then decided to walk or freeze to death in the truck.  He started walking and walked to Northlake (around 20 miles) .  He would stop at various places for food, coffee and to warm up.  The snow storm was on Thursday January 26th, my father made it to Northlake around noon on Saturday January 28th.  There were no cell phones back then so the only way he had of communicating with my mother was a pay phone.  I was still at my coworkers house on Saturday.  When my dad called home, my mom told him I was still in Northlake.  He called me and told me to meet him on North Avenue.  He was not going to attempt to drive down a side street.  I walked to North Avenue and met my dad.  We drove to our home in Villa Park about 6 miles.   It was slow going but we finally got home.  My mother and brother made some attempt at shoveling out but there was still a lot to do.  Then my dad, mother, brother and I shoveled our driveway and side-walk.  On Sunday January 29th we went back to get my car.  We still had to shovel out my car.  My aunt and uncle went with us and all of us shoveled.  I could not get to work on Monday and on Tuesday North Avenue was still only one lane going each direction.  I was late for work and my boss told me about it.  When I told him it was because of the snow he said I should have planned better and left earlier, and the young people where I work think they have it bad now.  I didn’t walk twenty miles in two feet of snow, but my father did.

My Car in the parking lot of Automatic Electric on January 29, 1967 (three days after storm)

Below are links to information about the snow storm.  One has a video of a news report from 1967.

Lasting Effects of Snowstorm 1967

Winter of the Deep Snow

The Infamous Chicago Blizzard of 1967

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 6

Elizabeth Bowers

Elizabeth Bowers

 

 

Elizabeth Bowers was the first daughter born to Charles and Alexena Bowers in 1871 in Ottawa, Illinois.[1]  Elizabeth grew up in Ottawa, Illinois.  Elizabeth graduated from Ottawa High School.[2]   Elizabeth became a school teacher and taught school at Lincoln School in Ottawa, Illinois.[3]  She was educated at the University of Chicago.  Later she became a primary supervisor in the Ottawa grade school system.  Elizabeth spoke at teacher institutes and professional meetings throughout the state. Elizabeth lived in Ottawa until the time of her death in 1947.[4]  She attended the First Church of Christ, Scientist of Ottawa.[5]  She is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois.[6]

A personal Note:  When I was a child we would visit family friends in Ottawa.  They had a daughter, Barb, who was about my age, and I would spend anywhere from a week to three weeks during summer staying with the family.  Barb and I would play on the Lincoln School playground.  Of course I wasn’t interested in genealogy at the time.  I had some vague knowledge that my grandmother came from Ottawa, Illinois and we had ancestors who lived there, but that was all.  While playing on school playground, I didn’t know that I had an ancestor who had been a school teacher at this school.  Now I think about how I walked on the same ground that Elizabeth walked on many years before me.  It makes me feel connected to her in some small way. She looks like my grandmother or should I say my grandmother looks like her so I feel as though I knew her.

Elizabeth's Retirement Party one

Elizabeth's Retirement Party threeElizabeth's Retirement Party two

Elizabeth’s Retirement Party

 

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] Year: 1880; Census Place:  Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 79_223; Family History Film: 1254223; Page: 516.2000; Enumeration District: 81 Image: 0554.  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

[2] Obituary for Elizabeth Bowers; Obituary given to author by Helen Kaiser.  No notations as to what paper obituary is from.

[3] Ottawa Old and New: A Complete History of Ottawa Illinois 1823 – 1914 (Ottawa, Illinois: Republican – Times Ottawa, 1912 – 1914), p. 175

[4] Obituary for Elizabeth Bowers; Obituary given to author by Helen Kaiser.  No notations as to what paper obituary is from.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Cemetery Record for Elizabeth Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Death January 31, 1947; Burial location OT, 18-7; Funeral Home Gladfelter; Cemetery card CCNF-noTS; Record number 10315.

 

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 5

Richard Bowers

Richard Bowers was the oldest son born to Charles and Alexena Bowers in 1869.[1]  It is not known how far Richard went school.  Richard worked as a clerk, motorman, and janitor.[2]  He spent many years working as janitor at Washington School, probably the same one he attended as a boy.[3]  He also worked for the Illinois Power and Light Company.[4]  He married Emma Barnhardt in 1892 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois[5]   This is just speculation, but I am wondering if Richard’s parents Charles and Alexena didn’t accept his marriage to Emma.  The reason I say this is that Richard’s parents are not mentioned in the marriage announcement in the Free Trader newspaper dated 30 July 1892.[6] Emma and Richard made their home in Ottawa, Illinois.[7] [8] [9] There is no evidence that Richard and Emma had any children.

Richard is the only one of my grandmother, Helen Bowers, father’s family that she knew.  She came to know Richard after everyone else in her father’s family had passed away.  She referred to him as Uncle Lamb.   She never mentioned how she came to know him.  But it was her only connection to her father and his family.  The pictures of the family probably come from him.  I found a letter from Richard’s wife, Emma, to my grandmother.  I have transcribed it below as well as posted copies of the original letter.  It was very hard to read the writing and did my best to transcribe it.

 

Ottawa, Ill Aug 17th 1954

Dear Helen and all,

Glad to hear from you.  I am same but Uncle Lamb’s memory is so bad, he doesn’t remember things or people and now he has been in bed quite a while.  We have the Dr. and had him every day and now he comes twice a week and gives him liver shots.  Uncle Lamb is awfully weak and so makes it still harder for me.  I don’t get to rest and sleep I need.  He is restless at night and worries me should I go to sleep I wouldn’t hear him.  I don’t hear so good in one ear especially.  Some time ago, I had an abscess in that ear and suppose that is the reason now that I don’t hear so good.  I don’t know what I would do without Helen she sure is awfully good to us.  Nice you can go to your daughter’s when you want to.  It is to bad Russ had to be away, no doubt you are awfully lonely without him.  I’ve been having awful head aches and never feel good but have to keep going and hope I can.  I don’t want him taken to the hospital if it is possible he can stay home.  Sorry about Francis, I haven’t heard from her since she wrote at Christmas time.   Was glad to see your card and was sorry we were not here.  Decorating time when she called although true Uncle Lamb could ride out but of course not go out of the car so me now to decorate our graves and we have a lot to decorate.

Helen does ever thing she can for us.  I just don’t know what I would do without her.  My Sister was here for a little while last Tuesday she, her son, her daughter, and husband was so glad see them.  You see out of a large family only my sister and I are still here.  My sister’s son has been out of work for some time is of course trying to get work he had to quit the last place he worked was to hard for him he hasn’t been very well so I worry about them along with my own worrys but I so want him to get work.  Well dear Helen give our love to Francis and Pat.  I have written a couple of times so when she cans she will write.  I am sorry she is not well. 

Have to stop now but we send love to all and hope you keep well and think of us some time.  Do you hear from Ralph’s folks.  I can tell you just love Uncle Lamb, he sure is not good. I am so tired all the time as I say I don’t get the rest and sleep I need.  Thank you dear Helen for wishing us well, we sure do need it he is quiet now the reason I am writing have to hurry so I hope you can read it.  Pray your son get home safe and Francis gets better give them our love.

                                                                                                                                                Lovingly,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aunt Emma Uncle Lamb

Will try to do better next time.

Image (4)Image (5)Image (6)Image (7)Image (8)

Richard died in 1955 and is buried at the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[10]  Emma died a few years later in 1961 and is buried next to Richard in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.[11]

Note:  I changed the title of the blogs to Bower Family History 1757 – 1955.  When I started writing these stories, I was thinking that Richard’s sister Elizabeth was the last of Charles’ children to die in 1947.  When writing Richard’s biography, I realized that I was wrong, so therefore have changed the last part of post title to 1955.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] Cemetery record for Richard Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth March 9, 1869; Date of Death November 18, 1955;  Funeral Home:  Hulse; Burial location: OT-23-7 (NW ¼); Cemetery Card: CCY-TS;  Record Number 8573

[2] Ottawa City Directories 1884, 1888, 1894.  LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Obituary for Richard Bowers, Daily Republican Times, Ottawa, Illinois, Vol 79, no 121, 1955,

p. 12.

[5] Marriage Record for Richard Bowers and Emma Barnhart, Illinois State Board of Health, Return of Marriage to the County Clerk, July 28, 1892, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.

[6] Marriage announcement for Richard Bowers and Emma Barnhardt, Free Trader, July 30, 1892.  File at LaSalle County Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois, Marriages 1888 – 1893.

[7]Ottawa City Directories 1884, 1888, 1894.  LaSalle County, Illinois Genealogy Guild, 115 West Glover, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.

[8]Year: 1920; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 2, La Salle, Illinois; Roll: T625_379; Page: 5A; enumeration District: 138; Image 123.  Ancestry.com 1920 Untied States Federal Census [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.  For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA

[9] Year: 1930; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 532; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 68; Image 88.0.  Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo,  UT, USA:  The Generations Network, Inc., 2002

[10] Cemetery record for Richard Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth March 9, 1869; Date of Death November 18, 1955;  Funeral Home:  Hulse; Burial location: OT-23-7 (NW ¼); Cemetery Card: CCY-TS;  Record Number 8573.

[11] Cemetery record for Emma Barnhardt Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Date of Birth; November 17, 1866; Date of Death; January 18, 1961; Funeral Home Hulse; Burial location: OT-23-7(NS ¼) Cemetery Card CCY-noTS; Record Number 8572

Bowers Family History 1757 – 1955 Part 4

Alexena Frazier Bowers

Alexena Frazier Bowers

Alexena Frazier was born in 1847 in NassagaweyaTownship, Halton, Ontario, Canada[1] to David Frazier and Catherine McBean.[2]  Both David Frazier and Catherine McBean were born in Scotland.[3]  It is likely that David and Catherine Frazier were Highlander’s belonging to the Kirk as large numbers of these people settled in Nassagaweya forming a major Scottish block.[4]

“To the European settlers who came to southern Ontario, the land was a hostile wilderness, waiting to be tamed. For agriculture to proceed the forest had to go and much of it was piled and burned. Until the 1850s, farming was dominated by land clearing and the incessant toil of pioneer life.”[5]  Wheat and Lumber were the main products of Halton County Ontario in the 1840’s and 1850’s.[6]

Alexena came to Ottawa, Illinois in 1865,[7] and married Charles Bowers in 1868.[8]  Charles and Alexena made their home at 543 Chapel Street.[9]  They had five children, Richard, Robert, Elizabeth, Genevieve and Ethelyn. [10]

She attended the First Methodist Episcopal Church and was an active member with a large circle of friends. [11]

Alexena’s granddaughter, Helen Bowers, told stories that her grandparents did not want to acknowledge that their son Robert married and had children.  Helen claimed that they thought they were better than her mother’s family.  Therefore she did not know her father’s family[12].  The probate of Alexena’s will confirms this story to be true.

The following is a transcript from Alexena’s will in Probate Court for proof of heirship:

On the 26th day of June 1926 R Ethel Vittum, a competent witness of lawful age produced sworn and examined on oath in open court, testified as follows, to-wit:

C. B. Chapman

Q. Your name is R. Ethelyn Vittum?

A. Yes

Q. You reside in Ottawa, Illinois?

A. Yes

Q. You are a daughter of Alexena Bowers?

A. Yes

Q. When did she die?

A. March 7, 1926

Q. Where did she die?

A. At her residence 543 Chapel Street

Q. At the time of her death was she an actual resident of the city of Ottawa, County of LaSalle, State of Illinois?

A. She was

Q. About what was her age?

A. 79 years in August

Q. She was a citizen of the United States?

A. She was

Q. Did she leave a surviving husband?

A. No

Q. What was her husband’s name?

A. Charles Bowers

Q. And about how long ago did he die?

A. I think it was about thirty years ago

Q. Was she married more than once?

A. No

Q. How many Children were born of the marriage?

A. Five

Q. What were their names?

A. Richard L. Bowers, Elizabeth A. Bowers, Robert F. Bowers, Genevieve L. Bowers, myself.

Q. R. Ethel Bowers is yourself?

A. Yes

Q. And you are residing in Ottawa, Illinois?

A. Yes

Q. Is R. L. Bowers living?

A. He is

Q. And he is living in Ottawa, Illinois?

A. In Ottawa

Q. And Elizabeth Ann Bowers is living in Ottawa?

A. Yes

Q. Is Richard Bowers living?

A. Richard and R. L. are one and the same.  You mean Robert?

Q. Robert, I should say.

A. He is dead

Q. About how long ago did he die?

A. 13 years ago, I think.

Q. And was he married?

A. I don’t know, Mr. Chapman

Q. You haven’t any knowledge so that you could testify as to whether or not he was ever married?

A. No.

Q. Do you know whether or not there are living any persons who claim to be his children?

A. There was a few years ago.

Q. And do you know there names or the names that they go by?

A. I don’t think of the name, Mr. Chapman.

Q. Let me refresh your recollection.  Do you remember whether the persons who claim to be his children are Ralph Bowers?

A. Yes Ralph is one

Q. And Helen Kaiser?

A. I don’t know the Kaiser, but I know a Helen.

Q. Helen claimed to be Helen Bowers and you don’t know whether she is now married and whether her name is Kaiser.

A. No

Q. And Frances Bowers, who also claimed -

A. I think so.

Q. And do know that she is now married and her present name is Beck?

A. I don’t know.

Q.  Were there any other parties than Ralph, Helen and Frances that clamed to be children of Robert?

A. I don’t know of any others.

Q.  Never heard of any others?

A. Never.

Q.  And in matters where the question of the heirship of Robert was raised you knew that there was proof made and these three parties were found to be children of Robert, did you?

A. Yes

Q.  And found to be the only children of Robert?

A. Yes

Q. and the other child of Alexena Bowers was what?

A. Genevieve L.

Q. And she died in infancy?

A. Yes – Oh, no –

Q. Because she was-

A. Why she died about 29 years ago.

Q. Was she ever married?

A. No.

Q. Did your mother at any time ever adopt any children?

A. No.[13]

Alexena died on March 7, 1926 in her home in Ottawa.[14] [15] She was considered one of Ottawa’s oldest citizens having been a resident of more than 60 years when she died.[16]  She died of Carcinoma of the Gall Bladder[17] and is buried in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, in Ottawa, Illinois[18] along side her husband Charles and children.

Copyright©2013 Gail Grunst

_________________________________________

 [1] Obituary for Alexena Frazier Bowers: Republican Times (Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois) July 4, 1898.

 [2] “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

[3] Ibid.

  [4] Campey, Lucille H,. Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855: Glengarry and Beyond (Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., 2005), p. 98.

 [6] Ibid.

[7]  Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

[8] “Marriage License for Charles Bowers and Alexena Frazer”, issued 25 November 1868, married 2 December 1868, filed 4 December 1868, Marriage license no 1862, State of Illinois, LaSalle County, La Salle County Courthouse, Ottawa, Illinois.

[9] Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

[10] Year 1880; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Roll: 79_223; Family History Film 1254223; Page: 516.1000 & 516.2000; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 0553, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. United States Federal Census [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, 2005

                [11]  Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

                [12]   Story told to author many times over the years (1960 – 1981) by Helen Bowers Kaiser.

                [13] “Probate of  will of Alexena Bowers” (Proof of Heirship), 26 June 1926, LaSalle County, Illinois,  Old Estate Books,  File 1,  Box 954., LaSalle County Court House, Ottawa, Illinois. Photocopy of original in possession of this writer.

[14] “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7, 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

                [15] Obituary for Alexena Bowers. Daily Republican Times, (Ottawa, LaSalle, IL) Monday Evening, 8 March, 1926; Vol XLIX, No 208, Page 1 (Front Page).

                [16] Ibid.

                [17]  “Death Certificate for Alexena Bowers”, March 7, 1926 (filed March 9, 1926), registered number 37, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health – Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, IL.

                [18] Ibid.

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