Category Archives: Farming

In Honor Of My Dad’s 101st Birthday!

me & dad

Me & Dad 

My Dad was the person who influenced my life the most while growing up. He showed me unconditional love, even through all the craziness of my teen years. I never really appreciated him until after he was gone. In honor of this remarkable man, this blog is to celebrate his life on what would be his 101st Birthday.

 

Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born in Pettis County, Missouri, August 18, 1915. He

Douglas&Lenoard - Restored - Use

Douglas & Leonard 1918

was born the same day that his Uncle who, was blind, died. He was name after this uncle. He was the 8th of 11children born to Charley Hughes. They lived on a farm in rural Missouri, raising all their food, cows and award winning horses. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s they were fortunate enough to not suffer as others did because they were basically self-sustaining. They shared what they had with others in the community and I believe this is where my Dad developed his giving spirit!

Dad at 18At the age of 15 two events influenced his life. The first was he paid 25 cents and got his first drivers license. He said “In those days there was no driving or written test, as long as you had the quarter you got the license!”  He was always proud of the fact that in all his years of driving he had only received 1 ticket. The second event was when his family was living near Lexington Missouri. He along with his brother Leonard and two brother-in-laws Mitchell and Virgil where riding in a wagon going to town. A neighbor came out and an argument broke out between Virgil and the man. This man drew his gun and shot Virgil between the eyes, killing him instantly! This haunted my Dad his whole life.

In 1934-35 my Dad participated in the Civilian Conservation Corp implemented by CCC Camps DadPresident Roosevelt. He served in Lake Tahoe, California. Here he learned to work with wood and stone masonry. These skills helped him the rest of his life. During his lifetime he worked as a horse trainer, as a farmer, as a coal miner, he worked on the railroads, as a butcher and for the last 19 years of his life he worked in the construction field.

 

dad, mildred, lolaHe was married 3 times; the first time was when he was 22 years old in 1937. He married Mildred Shockley and they had a son Benjamin. Unfortunately Benjamin died at 2 months old from Typhoid and his mom died 3 weeks later from the same thing. My Dad was devastated. He married a second time in 1944 to Mildred McQuillen. She had a daughter name Loretta whom my Dad accepted as his own.Mom, Dad, Bro & Sis They never had children and I don’t know what happened but they divorced sometime before 1948. The third was my Mother, Emmajane Smith in 1948. My Mother had a son, Gordon and once again my Dad took him as his own. My sister Mary Leella was born in 1951 and I was born in 1955.

We left Missouri when I was 11 months old and moved to Southern Arizona. When I was 12 years old my Mother had a mental breakdown and the next 7 years were pure hell! My Dad refused to have her committed and he took care of her even through our moves back to Missouri for 2 years then out to California for 5 years. He showed me that you don’t give up on people because the situation is not ideal. He showed strength of character and resolve that I have always admired.

Dad and my oldest son.

In the Fall of 1973 my Dad went to the doctor for a cough that wouldn’t go away. After many tests and x-rays we were told he had lung cancer. He had surgery to remove his right lung then endured several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy. He lived for 9 months and he passed away at home on June 24, 1974. He was 58 years old. This was 42 years ago and I still think about him every day. I still strive to be the kind of woman, wife, mother and Grandmother that would make him proud. I know that I am proud to be his daughter!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Charley Hughes, Death, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Hughes, Memories, Missouri, Story telling, Uncategorized

#52 Ancestors – Week #5 – John Henry McGowan: He “Plowed Through” Tradition

farmer_with_plough_horsesWith this challenge I thought it would be easy to find someone to write about. After all the majority of my Ancestors were indeed farmers. So thinking of the term “Plowing Through” I thought about something to do with farming, viola! A match made in heaven. Then I started thinking of the other uses of this term and decided to go in a little different direction.

John Henry McGowan, my maternal Great Grandfather, was born May 10 1863 in the State of Missouri. His Great Grandfather, Francis McGowan had immigrated to this country from Dublin, Ireland when he was 13 years old and became a Naturalized Citizen in 1811 at the age of 17. Francis was a farmer and he owned a considerable amount of land in Tennessee. His son James D. McGowan was born in Tennessee but he moved his family to Missouri after the Civil War. He settled near the Missouri River where he too was a farmer. John was raised on that farm in Camden Missouri. He and his seven siblings worked the farm as was the custom of families in those days. He worked there until he was 24 years old.

Miners photo

In 1887 John married Asenath “Dolly” Walt in Wellington Missouri. He immediately went to work at Harris Coal Mine near Camden. His family had hoped he would be a farmer, but it just didn’t “suit” him. John and Dolly had eight children, one son and seven daughters. They never bought property; instead they lived in rented houses their entire married lives. His wife died in 1931 and he never John McGowan HSremarried. John worked in the Coal Mines for over 45 years. When he retired he bought a small home in Lexington Missouri and he lived there until his death in 1957 at the age of 93.

John “Plowed Through” the family tradition of farming. All of his siblings either continued farming or married a farmer.  He opened up new opportunities for his own family allowing them to decide for themselves what occupation they pursued.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available onAmazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under #52ancestors, Ancestry, Family History, Farming, Genealogy, McGowan, Missouri