Black Sheep?

Aunt Fran & Grandma

Frances and Helen Bowers

img144 (2)

Ralph Bowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Ancestors in 2 Weeks  topic this week is Black Sheep in the family.

I can’t think of any ancestors that were black sheep in the traditional sense.  I have not run across any criminals or ones that have done outrages things and been banished by family.  

The closest I can come to black sheep are my grandmother, her brother, and sister.  My grandmother’s parents were divorced when she was a young child.  She grew up never knowing her father or his family.  They lived in the same small town, and she would see them from a distance.  She said the reason she never knew them was because the Bowers family thought they were better than the Reinhardt’s.  My Grandmother claimed the Bowers denied that their son, Robert, married and had children.  My grandmother told stories of how she saw her grandmother, Alexena, in the cemetery; but Alexena did not acknowledge her.  One time she saw her father walking down the street and she ran up to him and said, “I’m your daughter.”  He said, “Get away from me kid, I don’t have any children.” The Bowers were of English and Scottish descent, and the Reinhardt’s were from Germany.  Also the Bowers appear to be financially better off than the Reinhardt’s.  It also appears that the Bowers were upper class and the Reinhardt’s lower class.  Maybe the Bowers had something against Germans or maybe it was a class thing.

The story is that Robert Bowers and Eva Reinhardt ran off to Chicago to be married, however I have not been able to find a marriage record for them in Cook County Illinois.  For awhile, I wondered if they never married and that is why the Bowers denied the children were Roberts.  However after Charles Bowers died in February 1897,[1]  Robert and Eva sign a quit-claim deed over to Alexena Bowers on 26 June 1897.[2]  It lists Eva Bowers as Robert Bowers wife.[3]  Eight days earlier on 18 June 1897 Eva and Robert’s first child is born.[4]   Charles bought the two lots listed on the quit-claim deed in 1882. [5] At some point he turned the lots over to Robert and Eva.  I am wondering if he gave them as a wedding present to Robert and Eva.   After his death and after their first child is born, the property is signed over to Alexena for $1.00.  I am speculating here, but did she insist on getting the property back because of her dislike for Eva and now their newborn child?  I never found a divorce record for Robert and Eva either.  Robert died in Chicago 4 March 1913.[6]  Eva went by Eva Bowers until she died 23 December 1941.[7]  Her death certificate lists her as Eva Bowers, widow.  I believe they were married because of the quit-claim deed and her life long use of the Bower name.  I beginning to believe that they were never officially divorced.  See Quit-Claim Deed below:

img145 (2)

The story my grandmother told came to life for me when I read Alexena’s will.  This is proof that they did not want to acknowledge Robert’s children.  The following is a transcribed 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 claimed 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. [8]

In 1935 Ethelyn passed away[9] and in 1947 Elizabeth passed away.[10]  The only one left was Richard Bowers.  It was after the others were all gone that my grandmother got to know her Uncle Richard Lambly Bowers.  He must have been the one who gave her the pictures of the Bowers family that are now in my possession.  I have done extensive researched Charles and Alexena Bowers, and I think it would be of interest to my Grandmother to know about her father’s roots.  They seem to interest me for some reason.  What kind of people deny their own grandchildren?   By the way, my grandmother, her brother and sister did not receive any inheritance from her Grandmother.

Today with DNA tests it can be proved that my grandmother, her brother, and sister were indeed Robert’s children.  I had my DNA test done and it is a match with fourth cousins that descend from one of Charles Bowers brothers.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


  1.  Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Records: Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. Record number 8539, Cemetery Card CCY-TS, Burial location OT18-7
  2. 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
  3. Ibid.
  4. [1] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County:  Cook; Roll 1613573; Draft board: 53. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com  Operation  Inc, 2005.  Original Data:  United States, Selective Service System World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cares, 1917-1918.  Washington,  D. C. :  National Archives and Record  Administration.  M1509, 4,582 rolls.  Imaged from Family  History  Library Microfilm.
  5. Tract Index Book, Recorder of Deeds Office, Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, Book238, Page 137,  Microfilm at the LaSalle County Genealogical Guild 115 W. Glover St., Ottawa, Illinois 61350
  6. Certificate and Record of Death for Robert F. Bowers, March 4, 1913, Registration 1311, Department of Heath, City of Chicago, Cook, Illinois
  7. Certificate of Death for Eva Bowers;  State of Illinois, Department of Public health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois, Registration Number 34633. Date of death: December 23, 1941; Place of death: County of Cook, City of Chicago.
  8. “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.
  9. Cemetery Record for Ethelyn Bowers, Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, 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.
  10. 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.

     

Advertisements

Close-up in Ottawa, Illinois

Lincoln Douglas Debate

 Lincoln – Douglas Debate Statue in Washington Square Park Ottawa, Illinois

1957 — 1965

Did you ever visit a place and feel that you belong there?  I had that feeling when I was a young.  We would visit a great-grandaunt who lived in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois with some friends.  The friends had a daughter my age and we became friends.  I would stay with them for a couple of weeks each summer from about the time I was 10 until I graduated high school.  My friend and I would walk all over Ottawa, and I came to know Ottawa as well as my own town.  We went to the parks, the movies, played on the school play-ground, etc. I loved Ottawa and I felt I belonged there.  I wished my family could live in Ottawa.  I had a vague knowledge that we had some ancestors or relatives that had lived in Ottawa at one time, and I knew my grandmother was born there.  Beyond that I didn’t know who they were or even their names and I really didn’t care at that time. 

Fast Forward to 1990 -2018

Now many years later, I am into genealogy and want to know all about my ancestors especially the ones that were from Ottawa.  So my search began and I spent many years researching my two sets of 2nd great-grandparents that settled in Ottawa. My 2nd great grandfather, Charles Bowers, settled in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois in the 1850’s and stayed in Ottawa until his death in 1897. After his death, his wife and children stayed in Ottawa except for Robert who moved to Chicago.  The other set of 2nd great-grandparents, Conrad and Anna Reinhardt, came to Ottawa in the early 1880’s. They lived there until their deaths. Anna died in 1910 and Conrad in 1920.  All their children moved away from Ottawa. Today there is no family or friends living in Ottawa.

I still love visiting Ottawa and seeing all the places that I visited as a kid.  In addition to researching in the courthouse, genealogical society, historical museum, and the cemetery, I visited all the places I went when I was there in the 50’s and 60’s.  Some things have changed but there are still some things there that remain the same, and I enjoy reminiscing.  I have seen the house where the Bower’s and the Reinhardt’s lived.  One of the things that I learned is that one of great-grandaunt Elizabeth Bowers was a school teacher at Lincoln School.  That is the school play-ground we played on as kids.  One summer day a few years ago I parked my car in front of the school and walked around it. While walking, I thought about how I was walking on the same ground as my ancestor’s walk on.  I still feel connected to that town.  A town I never lived in.  I think somehow I instinctively knew this is where I came from and I belonged here. Between visiting Ottawa and researching both families, I feel I have come to know both the town and the families close-up.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst

Thinking of Uncle Ralph

ralph-bowers

 

Ralph C. Bowers was born 18 June 1897 to Eva Reinhardt and Robert Bowers in Chicago, Illinois[1].  He was my grandmother’s brother and my great uncle.  I remember Uncle Ralph as kind and reserved with a great sense of humor.  I can still hear his laugh even after all these years without him.

I was told by grandma that when he was young he contacted TB and was in a sanitarium for a while.  He had a hard time keeping jobs until he got a job at R. R. Donnelly in Chicago working the night shift.  The night shift was what he needed.  Apparently, he was not a morning person and the night shift worked for him.  For as long as I knew Uncle Ralph he worked at Donnelly.

Uncle Ralph married for the first time to Helen Treppa when he was forty six years old.[2]  He and his wife (Aunt Helen) would come to my Grandmother’s house for holidays and some Sundays in between the holidays.  Sometimes they would come to my parent’s house too.  I always liked going to their house in Chicago.  Sometimes we would just decide at the last moment to go visit Uncle Ralph and Aunt Helen.  We would go there unexpected and always got a warm welcome.  Aunt Helen would put out a spread of lunch meats and breads.  It always amazed me that she had all this food on hand.  It never failed they had plenty of food for unexpected company.

We would sit around the kitchen table and there was always great conversation.  Even though I was young, I loved to listen to the adults talk.  I always found it interesting.  Of course I always enjoyed the food too.  Their house was very warm and welcoming.  Aunt Helen’s sister, Martha (Marty) lived with them.  I loved Aunt Helen and Marty as well as Uncle Ralph.  Because Ralph and Helen married so late in life, they never had any children.

My mother loved her Uncle Ralph very much and after he passed away, she would say that he was her guardian angel looking after her.

Uncle Ralph passed away on 5 January 1964 from a stroke[3] and was buried on 7 January 1964 in the Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove, Cook County, Illinois[4]

If he knew I was writing about him, I can hear him say, “Oh, for the love of Mike.”

Copyright©2016 Gail Grunst

_____________________________________________________

[1] Registration State: Illinois; Registration County:  Cook; Roll 1613573; Draft board: 53

Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com  Operation  Inc, 2005.  Original Data:  United States, Selective Service System World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cares, 1917-1918.  Washington,  D. C. :  National Archives and Record  Administration.  M1509, 4,582 rolls.  Imaged from Family  History  Library Microfilm.

[2] Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 [database on-line].  Provo, Ut, USA: Ancestry.ocm  Operations Inc, 2008.  Original data:  Cook County Clerk, comp. Cook County Clerk Genealogy Records.  Cook County Clerk’s office, Chicago, IL: Cook County Clerk, 2008.

[3] From  his sister Helen Bowers Kaiser’s datebook.

[4] Ancestry.com U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600’s – Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012.  Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave.  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi.

Memories of Aunt Fran

frances-bowers-beckLaVon Frances Bowers was born on 19 February 1900[1] to Eva Fredricka Reinhardt and Robert Bowers in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[2]  Frances married William Beck on 27 June 1925.[3]  They had one child LaVon Patricia born 20 November 1932.[4]  LaVon used hermiddle name and was better known as Frances.  I knew her as Aunt Fran.  She was my grandmother, Helen Bowers Kaiser‘s sister.   She also had a brother, Ralph Bowers. I never knew Aunt Fran’s husband as she divorced before I was born.

Although she was born in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois she lived most of her life in Chicago.  Aunt Fran loved the city.  She was a city girl, but also a tom boy.  She would go fishing and camping.  My grandmother said that she (my grandmother) would stay at the campsite and do the cooking and washing the dishes.  Fran would be with the guys fishing.  When I was a little girl around 5 or 6 we took a trip with Aunt Fran and her daughter Pat to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  Somewhere I have a picture of Aunt Fran cleaning fish.  I remember that she got jigger bites from sitting in the weeds.

Aunt Fran loved to shop and she would find the most unusual things.  She would bring us frog legs, rattlesnake meat, and all kinds of weird things.  I would never eat any of it.  She also gave great parties.  She would come to our house and decorate for my birthday parties and she would find all kinds of neat things for party favors and prizes.  When I was a little older around 12 – 14 years old, I started having Halloween Parties.  Aunt Fran and her daughter would come out to our house and decorate, run the games, and they would be in costume too.  Aunt Fran loved to play the witch.  One little boy told her that she made the best witch.  She loved the compliment.

Aunt Fran loved to sew and she did it for living.  She made all my clothes until I went to school.  I got my first store bought dress when I went to Kindergarten.  At first she worked in the sweat shops sewing, but later she worked in bridal shops and made wedding dresses and formals.  She would bring me formals but I had never had any place to wear them.  My girl friends and I would dress up in them and pretend we were going somewhere fancy.   She would take me shopping at the beginning of every school year and buy me two or three dresses.

I would stay with her and her daughter for a week every summer and they would take me all over Chicago.  I had a lot of fun and looked forward to it.  They would come out to my grandmother’s house almost every weekend.  They would arrive by train early Saturday morning and leave late Sunday afternoon or early evening.  They always brought me something so I looked forward to their visits.  Aunt Fran’s daughter Pat is14 years older than me and my Godmother.

Aunt Fran died 17 July 1971 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois of a massive cerebral vascular accident.  She had her body donated to science.[5]

Copyright©2016

_______________________________________________________

[1] Death Certificate, State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago, Registration No. 620423

[2] Told to Author Abigail Grunst by Francis Bowers Beck

[3] From Helen Bowers Kaiser’s (Frances Bowers Beck’s sister) date book.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Death Certificate, State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago, Registration No. 620423

Great-Grandmother Eva

Eva Bowers

Eva Bowers

Today I’m honoring my great-grandmother Eva Reinhardt.  Eva was born in Heidelberg, Baden, Germany to Johann Konrad Reinhardt and Anna Maria Schwebler on February 14, 1877. [1] Eva came to the United States when she was almost two years old.[2]  Her brother John was born on the boat.[3]  Her first home in the United States was in Amana, Iowa.[4]  They spent a few years in Amana and then moved to Ottawa, Illinois where Eva grew up with her brothers and sisters.[5]  I’ve already written about her sisters, Emma, Liz, and Agnes.  It seems that all of them lived interesting lives.  Eva grew into a young woman and sometime around 1896 she married Robert Bowers also of Ottawa, Illinois.[6]  The family story is that Robert and Eva ran off to Chicago to be married.  I have never been able to find a marriage record for them in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. According to family stories, Robert’s family never accepted Eva as his wife or acknowledged that any of the children were Roberts.  I started to wonder if they were ever really married and that is why Robert’s family didn’t want anything to do with Eva or their children.  However, when Robert’s father died, Robert and Eva as his wife signed a quit-claim deed to a piece of property to Robert’s mother.[7]  I was told that if they were not married, Eva would not need to sign the quit-claim deed.  Perhaps they were married somewhere other than Chicago.  Robert and Eva had three children, Ralph born in 1897,[8] Helen in 1898[9] and Frances in 1900. [10]  Shortly after Frances was born Robert left Eva.  Again family stories say they were divorced, however I have never found divorce records for them.  In 1900 Eva was on her own and had to make a living for her and her three kids.  According to the 1900 census she and two of her children are boarding with Enoch and Anna Lindstrom and her occupation is Milliner.[11]  One of the children missing is my grandmother, and I haven’t been able to figure out where my grandmother was living.  I checked the logical place with her maternal grandparents and she is not with them.  I remember my Aunt Fran talking about how her mother sent her to live with some people in Wisconsin and when her mother went to get her back, the people didn’t want to give her back.  I don’t remember Aunt Fran’s age when this happened, but Aunt Fran said she loved these people and didn’t remember her mother anymore.  So she didn’t want to leave them, however Eva got her back.  Maybe she sent my grandmother, Helen, to live with someone before she sent Frances to live with someone else.  I’m sure financially things were hard as there was no welfare or food stamps for single mothers in those days.  Sometime later she moved to Chicago where she took in boarders and was a dressmaker.  They moved to Oklahoma for a while and were in Oklahoma when it became a state.[12]  Eventually they came back to Chicago.  According to my grandmother, Eva married a man by the name of Andrew Schmidt.  He was supposed to be a doctor.  I have not found evidence of this marriage either.  Unfortunately, when my grandmother told these stories I was young and not into genealogy so I didn’t ask questions.  Now I wish I had dates of this supposed marriage.  They divorced too, however Eva didn’t use the surname Schmidt.  Eva went by the surname Bowers until the day she died.  She managed to support her children and they all adored her.  She died in 1941 and according to her death certificate she was widowed[13]  I never knew her, but not only did her children adore her so did her grandchildren.  I have some quilts she made and some candle stick holders that belonged to her.   I hope one day to find answers to questions that linger about her mysterious marriages and divorces.

Quilt made by Eva

Quilt made by Eva

Another quilt made by Eva

Another quilt made by Eva

________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Certificate of Death for Eva Bowers;  State of Illinois, Department of Public health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois, Registration Number 34633. Date of death: December 23, 1941; Place of death: County of Cook, City of Chicago.

[2] Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filbry, ed., Germans to America: List of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, Volume 34 October 1878 – December 1879; ( Wilmington, Delaware, Scholarly Resources,1993), Page 106.

[3] Ibid

[4] Conrad Reinhardt household, 1880 U. S. Census, Amana, Iowa; Roll 345; Family History Film 1254345; page 146D; Enumeration District 201; Image 0155.

[5] From family stories told to this author.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Quit-claim deed record from Robert Bowers and Eva Bowers, his wife to Alexena Bowers, City of Ottawa, County of LaSalle, state of Illinois; deed book 448, page 167.  LaSalle County Illinois Genealogical Guild collection.

[8] Eva Bowers household, 1900 U. S. Federal  Census, LaSalle County, Ottawa township, ED 76, line 37, page 6, dwelling 557, fmily124, National Archives film publication T623, roll 317.

[9] Delayed Record of Birth for Helen Bowers, State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statics, LaSalle County, City of Ottawa, State of Illinois, Date of Birth: December 3, 1898, Dated August  7, 1957.

[10] Eva Bowers household, 1900 U. S. Federal  Census, LaSalle County, Ottawa township, ED 76, line 37, page 6, dwelling 557, fmily124, National Archives film publication T623, roll 317.

[11] Eva Bowers household, 1900 U. S. Federal  Census, LaSalle County, Ottawa township, ED 76, line 37, page 6, dwelling 557, fmily124, National Archives film publication T623, roll 317.

[12] Story told to this author by Helen Bowers Kaiser.

[13] Certificate of Death for Eva Bowers;  State of Illinois, Department of Public health, Division of Vital Statistics, Springfield, Illinois, Registration Number 34633. Date of death: December 23, 1941; Place of death: County of Cook, City of Chicago.

Copyright ©2015 Gail Grunst

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).

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.