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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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. darryldj Johnson
    Dec 04, 2013 @ 18:02:43

    It was like “pulling teeth” (I am not sure if you are familiar with this old expression?),
    for Mr Chapman to get Ethelyn to talk, give info.
    -if he did not have this info, nothing would be found…
    WOW
    Great reading !
    -we all have “those”….

    GJohns
    😊😊

    Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2013 21:41:50 +0000
    To: darryldj@hotmail.com

    Reply

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