Ma Terry’s Boarding House – Selina Martin Terry (1873-1952)

My grandfather, Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988), moved from Springdale, Arkansas to Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1920s. The first picture is dated 1928, and Paul was standing outside of what he called Ma Terry’s Boarding House at 2512 Prospect in Kansas City.

I found this location on the 1930 US Census, and the proprietor was Selina Terry, age 56. She was born in Arkansas, and was widowed. She rented the house. There are 3 boarders listed, but my grandfather isn’t one of them. (The census was taken just around the time my grandfather married my grandmother, so he’d probably just moved out.)

The boarders were Frank Stradal (age 44, divorced, working as a foreman at a candy factory), Dallas Pickett (age 55, widowed, working as a baker), and Bertha Huff (age 44, widowed, assisting with the boardinghouse.)

I have a notebook where my grandfather Paul kept notes of his earnings, his payments to Ma Terry, and even the girls he was dating during this time period. When I find it I will update this story.

Since Paul kept these photos of Ma Terry, I knew she was important to him, so I wanted to learn more about her. I researched her further on Ancestry.com. She is found under many names: Salina, Selina, Selinia, Slenia.

Arkansas Marriage Index shows Selina Martin and James Terry married on June 3, 1892 in Scott County.

On the 1900 US Census, Selina was in Arkansas with husband James, age 26, a Teamster working for the railroad. Selina was 27, had been married 7 years, and had given birth to 5 children, 3 of which were living. Lou was 7, Sadie was 2, and Lancie was 4 months.

On the 1910 US Census, Selina was in Oklahoma with husband James, age 36, a carpenter. Selina was 37. They had been married 18 years and she had given birth to 8 children, 3 of which were living. Sadie was 12, Leone was 7, Ethel was 6. They had one boarder, a 21 year old carpenter named Thomas Josie.

On the 1920 US Census, Selina was widowed and was running a boarding house in Kansas City (a different address from her 1930 boarding house). Two daughters lived with her along with four boarders. Boarders were Felix Mueller (age 24, single, working as a clerk at a tractor company), Harold Mueller (age 28, single, working as a machine helper at a tractor company), Peter Boyle (age 48, married, working as a stonemason) and appearing again, Frank Stradal (age 34, single, and working as a candy maker.)

I’ve already covered the 1930 US Census. On the 1940 US Census, Selina was living alone in Kansas City. A Missouri Death Certificate shows that Selina died November 28, 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri. She is buried at Mt. Washington Cemetery in Independence, Missouri, but I can’t find a memorial on Find A Grave.

John Gillespie Cowan (1827-1915) & Elvira Hubbard Cowan (1829-1919)

John Gillespie Cowan was born August 29, 1827 in Tennessee. His parents are Robert Cowan and Elizabeth Colville. You can see Robert’s Find A Grave memorial here and Elizabeth’s here.

Elvira Hubbard Cowan was born July 21, 1829 in Tennessee. Her parents are Robert Hubbard and Elizabeth Whitlock.

On 1860 US Census, John & Elvira farmed in Osage, Arkansas. Isabel was 8, Emily was 6, Thomas was 4 and Robert was 1.

On the 1870 US Census, John 42 and Elviry was 41, and they were still farming in Osage, Arkansas. Isabel was 18, Emily was 16, Thomas was 14, Robert was 11, Elizabeth was 8, Martha was 4, William was 7 months old. Also in the house is Elvira’s sister Manerva Hubbard, age 24, housekeeper.

On the 1880 US Census, John is 52, Elvira is 50, Elizabeth E is 18, Martha A is 13 and William is 10. A laborer named Quinton Drewery, age 18, is also in the house.

On the 1900 US Census, John is 73 and Elvira is 71. Granddaughter Maude Hicks, age 9, lives with them. They are farming in Washington, Arkansas.

On the 1910 US Census, they are still in Washington, Arkansas. John is 82 and farming. Elvira is 81. Living with them is son Thomas B, age 54, a carpenter.

John died January 6, 1915 in Bent, Arkansas. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Elvira died July 11, 1918. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Their children:

Isabell Cowan – Bell was born April 2, 1852 in Arkansas. She married Alfred Deal Baggett, a farmer, in Benton County, Arkansas on November 28, 1878. She died October 31, 1879 giving birth to twins who also died. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Emma Josephine Cowan – Emma was born 1854 in Benton County, Arkansas. She married Dr. Dodson Christian, M.D. in 1872 and they had 4 children, two of which died in infancy, and one which was adopted. She died in June 1899 in Washington County, Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Thomas B. Cowan – Read more about my great great grandfather here.

Robert Cowan –  Robert was born in May 1859 in Arkansas according to the 1900 US Census. He married Nannie A. Sharp on May 10, 1893 in Benton County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. By the 1910 US Census, Nannie is a widow, and she died in August 1944. I haven’t found a death record for Robert and I can’t find either of them on Find A Grave.

I’m confused about something. There’s a “sister” named Sallie Cowan living with Robert and Nannie in 1900, and living with widowed Nannie in 1910 noted as “sister-in-law.” I have identified the 7 children John and Elvira Cowan say they have on the 1900 census, and there is no Sallie. I found that Sallie married Haislip Alonzo McGaugh on November 3, 1921. (To further confuse the situation, he was previously married to Sallie Sharp, who I think is Nannie A Sharp’s sister. Sallie Sharp died April 27, 1921 and he made fast work of finding himself another Sallie, who had been living with his sister-in-law!) Sallie Lou Cowan McGaugh died December 21, 1943 in Benton County, Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. Haislip Alonzo McGaugh and both of his Sallie’s are buried in Barron Cemetery in Bentonville, Arkansas. But how is Sallie Lou Cowan related to Robert Cowan?

Also interesting to note, there’s a Nannie A. Cowan buried in Washington County, Arkansas who was born the same year as Robert’s wife Nannie, and died the same year as Robert’s Nannie. But she is buried with Richard G. Cowan, I found their marriage record, and I find them together on the census.

Elizabeth Elvira Cowan – Elizabeth was born October 24, 1861 in Arkansas. She married James Monroe Hicks on December 23, 1886 in Benton County, Arkansas. They had 2 children, but one died as a toddler. Elizabeth died on January 5, 1896. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. On the 1900 US Census their daughter Maude Hicks, age 9, is living with Elizabeth’s parents.

Martha Anna Cowan – Anna was born 1867 in Benton County, Arkansas. She married Robert Bennett Reed on December 22, 1887 in Washington County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. Robert was a farmer and then became a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service and then was a farmer again, in Benton County, Arkansas. He died in 1922. She died October 31, 1956. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

William Hayden Cowan – William was born December 13, 1869 in Arkansas. He married Eva Jane Vaughn on August 3, 1893 in Washington County, Arkansas. They had 3 children. Eva died in 1913. William married Lizzie Martin by 1920 and had two stepchildren. He was a mail carrier in Lowell, Arkansas. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Thomas B. Cowan (1855->1930) & Martha Josephine Johnston (1855-1920)

updated February 2019

Thomas B. Cowan and Martha Josephine Johnson Cowan are my 2x great grandparents, the parents of my great grandfather Albert Gibson Cowan.

Thomas B. Cowan was born in Arkansas in May 1855 according to the 1900 US Census. His parents were John Gillespie Cowan and Elvira Hubbard Cowan, and Thomas was the 3rd of their 8 known children. He had two older sisters, and three younger sisters and two younger brothers. You can see his parents’ Find A Grave memorials here. Read more about the family here.

Martha Josephine Johnston was born in Arkansas in June 1858. Her parents were Samuel Houston Johnston and Margaret Hickman, and Martha was the oldest of their 5 known children. She had one younger brother and three younger sisters. See her father’s Find A Grave memorial here. Read more about the family here.

On the 1860 US Census, Thomas was 4 and he lived with his parents and siblings in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas. Martha was 2 and she too lived with her parents and siblings in Colville, Benton County, Arkansas.

On the 1870 US Census, Thomas was 14, and he lived with his parents and siblings in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas. Martha was 12 and she too lived with her parents and siblings in Osage, Benton County, Arkansas.

Thomas and Martha were married December 25, 1876 in Benton County, Arkansas. Thomas was 21 and Martha was 18. In 1878, they had son Charles. In 1879, they had son John. Also in 1879, Thomas’ sister Bell died.

On the 1880 US Census they were farming in Colville, Arkansas.  Thomas was 24, Martha was 21, their son Charles was 2 and their son Henry was 9 months old.

Son Charles died sometime after that census, with that being the last record I find of him.

In 1884, they had son Albert. In 1885, they had daughter May. In 1896, Thomas’ sister Elizabeth died, and in 1899 his sister Emma died.

On the 1900 US Census they were in Springdale. Thomas was 45 and a carpenter. Martha was 45. Son Albert was 18 and a day laborer. Daughter Mary M was 14. They’ve had 5 children, 4 of whom are living.

Martha’s father Samuel died in 1904, and she was listed as married in his obituary. Sometime after that, Thomas and Martha divorced. In 1907, Martha’s brother James died.

On the 1910 US Census, Thomas was 54, divorced, and he lived with his parents John and Elvira Cowan in Washington, Arkansas. He worked as a carpenter in the housing industry.

Martha married George Skeith in Washington County, Arkansas on April 20, 1907. George was a widower with three grown children. On the 1910 US Census, Martha was 52 and George Skeith was 63 (born in Scotland, a stock dealer). They lived in McAlester, Oklahoma with Martha’s daughter May Cowan who wa 24, and adopted daughter Edna Johnson who was 16. George died in 1913, and his will refers to his wife as Josie.

In 1915, Thomas’ father John died.

Martha married Isaac P. Brown on February 17, 1916 in Pittsburg, Oklahoma. Isaac was a widowed carpenter with three grown children. Martha died in 1920 and her Find A Grave memorial is here.

In 1919, Thomas’ mother Elvira died.

I can’t find Thomas in 1920. In 1930 he was still in Washington, Arkansas. He was 76, lived alone, and was a carpenter in a repair shop. I lose track of him after this.

The children of Thomas B. Cowan & Martha Josephine Johnston:

Charles E. Cowan – Charles was born in Arkansas in 1878, I have no record of him after the 1880 US Census when he is 2 years old.

John Henry Cowan – John was born August 5, 1879 in Benton County, Arkansas. He married Cora A. Smith in Washington County, Arkansas on January 22, 1902. They had 6 children. They were in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1910 and in Tulsa, Oklahoma by 1920. John worked as a manager at a telephone company is 1910, as a warehouse foreman for Nichols Transfer Company in 1920, and as a farmer in 1930. He died in January 8, 1938 at age 58. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Cora died in October 1976 and her Find A Grave memorial is here.

His younger brother Albert worked for telephone companies most of his life, and I wonder if John didn’t get him started in that line of work.

My beautiful picture

Albert Gibson Cowan

Albert Gibson Cowan – My great grandfather was born March 27, 1884 in Benton County, Arkansas. He married Myrtle Bertie Cowan on March 10, 1902 when he was 17 years old. They had a son and divorced. Albert married Izora Beatrice Shirley on September 3, 1912 when he was 28 years old. They had 4 children. He died December 17, 1963 in Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri at age 79. Read more about him here and here and here. His Find a Grave memorial is here.

Charlotte May Cowan & her daughter Virginia Cowan Cambron

Charlotte May Cowan – May was born in September 1885 in Arkansas. On May 7, 1912 she married Ruby J. Cambron, a plumber, and they had 2 children. She died in 1960 at age 75. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Albert Gibson Cowan (1884-1963) & Myrtle Bertie Hinson (1879-1971)

updated January 2019

Albert Gibson Cowan & Myrtle Bertie Hinson are my great grandparents, the parents of my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan.

Bertie was born August 13, 1879 in Whitener, Arkansas. Her parents were Isaac Newton Hinson and Louisa Cumi Harp. You can read about them here. When Bertie was born, she joined older brothers and two sisters, and three more brothers and two more sisters followed. Bertie, age 9 months, was found on the 1880 US Census, living in Prairie, Madison County, Arkansas. She lived with her parents and four siblings. In 1884, her brother Zimri died, and in 1887, her brother Polk died. Bertie was found on the 1900 US Census in Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas. She was 20 years old lived with her parents and four siblings.

Albert was born March 27, 1884 in Benton County, Arkansas. His parents were Thomas B. Cowan and Martha Josephine Johnston. You can read about them here. When Albert was born, he joined two brothers, and a sister followed. Albert, age 16 and working as a day laborer, was found on the 1900 US Census living in Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas with his parents and his sister.

Bertie and Albert married on March 16, 1902 in Washington County, Arkansas. Albert was only 17 years old, and Bertie was 22. My grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan was born January 25, 1903. The marriage ended in 1904 but I haven’t found divorce records. (Albert’s parents divorced sometime between 1904 and 1907. His mother married two more times.) You can read about my experience figuring out what happened to Albert Gibson Cowan here.

Bertie, age 31, was found on the 1910 US Census living with her son Paul, age 7, in Springdale. They lived with her parents Newton and Cumi, her sister Cleopie, her brother Lin and his wife Annie. She was working at home as a dressmaker. She was listed as married.

Albert, age 26, was found on the 1910 US Census living in Lawton Ward 3, Comanche County, Oklahoma. He was a boarder, working as a telephone lineman.

My grandfather never mentioned that his mother remarried, but in the Arkansas Marriage Index I found Bertie Cowan marrying Henry T. Troutt on April 7, 1912. Bertie was 32 and Henry was 52. I can’t find a divorce record for this marriage either, but it apparently didn’t last long.

On September 3, 1912, Albert married Izora Beatrice Shirley in Custer County, Oklahoma.  Albert was 28 years old going into this marriage, and Izora was 20. They had a son in 1915 and a daughter in 1918.

In 1918, Bertie’s mother Cumi died, and in 1920, her sister Vernia died.

On the 1920 US Census, Bertie, age 41, and Paul, age 16, lived with Bertie’s father Newton in Springdale. Bertie was marked as divorced and not working. Paul was a delivery boy for a grocery store.

Albert was found on the 1920 US Census living in Kiowa, Roger Mills, Oklahoma. He was 36 and worked as a manager at a telephone company. That year, his mother Martha died.

In 1925, Bertie’s father Newton died.

Albert and Izora had daughters born in 1921, 1923. By 1923, they had moved from Oklahoma to Chilhowee, Johnson County, Missouri.

The 1930 US Census found Bertie, age 51, working as a saleslady at a variety store. Paul was 27 with no occupation listed. They were enumerated in the census on May 19, 1930 and Paul married Ellen Cecelia Barber in Platte County, Missouri later that same year. He spent time in Kansas City during 1929 and 1930, working various jobs, and living in what he referred to as Ma Terry’s Boarding House at 2512 Prospect.

Albert lived in Chilhowee, Johnson County, Missouri on the 1930 US Census. He was 46 and worked as a lineman at a telephone company. Sometime over the previous decade, their daughter Ada had died. Albert’s father Thomas died in 1930.

In 1938, Albert’s brother Thomas died. Albert and his family moved to California.

Bertie was found on the 1940 US Census at age 60, living alone, with no occupation listed. In 1945, her brother Thomas died; in 1946 her sister Cleopie died;  in 1949 her brother Dan died; in 1952 her brother Lin died; in 1959 her sister Ada died; and in 1970 her last living sibling, sister Belle, died.

Albert was found on the 1940 US Census at age 56, was a “trouble shooter”, and lived in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California with his wife and three children. In 1943, Albert’s wife died. In 1960, his last living sibling, sister Charlotte, died.

Albert returned to Missouri sometime after his wife’s death. He died on December 17, 1963 at age 79. He was a patient at the Missouri State Hospital in Nevada, Missouri at the time of his death. His Find a Grave memorial is here.

Bertie spent her last years in a nursing home in Springdale. I know from letters she wrote to Paul that Albert Cowan’s relatives visited and cared for her throughout her life. Tom Cowan served as a pallbearer at her funeral, but I don’t know where it fits into the family tree. Cora Cowan (married to brother-in-law John Henry Cowan) sent her dresses while she was living in the nursing home, and Mildred Cowan Stiles visited and wrote to Paul that she wasn’t happy with the conditions. I don’t think Paul visited much if at all, and I know that my great grandmother never met me. I was 3 when she died.

Bertie died September 1, 1971 in Springdale at age 92. She is buried in Bluff Cemetery. I have a letter from Paul’s cousin Theda Baggett imploring him to purchase a headstone for her grave, but I don’t think he did. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

The child of Albert Gibson Cowan & Myrtle Bertie Hinson:

Wallace Paul Cowan – My grandfather Paul was born January 25, 1903 in Springdale, Arkansas. He married Ellen Cecelia Barber in 1930 and they had 2 children. He died February 2, 1988 at age 85 and Ellen died February 2, 1990 at age 81. His Find A Grave memorial is here. I’ve done other posts about Paul, including filling stations he worked at, photos he took from the water tower in Springdale, and Marshall Auto Store where he worked.

The children of Albert Gibson Cowan & Izora Beatrice Shirley:

Albert Gibson Cowan, Jr. –  He was born June 16, 1915 in Oklahoma. He married Grace Irene Redfield on September 7, 1940 in Los Angeles, California. They had a son. Albert died October 24, 2002 in California at age 87.

Ada M. Cowan – She was born about 1918 in Oklahoma. The only record I have of her is the 1920 US Census.

Sonora Joe Cowan – She was born about 1921 in Oklahoma. She married Addison L. Chrisman on April 27, 1946 in Los Angeles, California. They had two children. Sonora died November 15, 1973 in Issaquah, King County, Washington at age 52.

Marjorie B. Cowan – She was born July 5, 1923 in Missouri. She never married and had no children. She died October 15, 1997 in San Bernadino, California at age 74.  Her Find a Grave memorial is here.

Update – Albert Gibson Cowan (1884-1963) is my Great Grandfather

Without a doubt, Albert Gibson Cowan (born in Arkansas in 1884 and died in Missouri in 1963) is my great grandfather!

In July I posted about my detective work here.

I requested Albert’s medical records from Nevada State Hospital after reading how to do so here. I sent the letter of request in late July, and received letter saying my request had been approved by the court in August, and received a copy of the records yesterday.

The Court Order states and I must keep the records confidential, so I can’t share the information. I thought I’d say what information is included in these records that confirm that this Albert is the right Albert.

First, there is a photo of 78 year old Albert upon admission to the hospital, and the resemblance is so strong it could be a picture of his son, my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan.

Second, there are notes about him discussing his marital history, and it matches what I believed to be true.

Finally, the woman my grandmother Bertie thought was her ex-husband’s daughter was actually his caregiver, which was my theory.

I thought it was interesting that notes made about Albert’s personality and some general health issues are things that could have been written about his son too.

It’s good to know that my Cowan branch of the family tree is following the right path!

Filling Stations in Springdale Arkansas 1920s

My grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988) always loved cars, and worked at filling stations as a young man in Springdale, Arkansas. These are some of his photos. I’ve captioned them with what Paul wrote on the back of each.

My beautiful picture

Bearcat Oil Station – 1924 – Business good

My beautiful picture

Filling Station, corner of Spring & Johnson. July 15, 1923

My beautiful picture

Paul Cowan & ’22 Dodge (Lindley Filling Station) 1924

I think that is Wallace Paul Cowan sitting in the car, and I probably have the paperwork from when he bought it. I’ll update if I find it.

COWAN Wallace Paul worked her Lemleys Filling Station

Lemley’s Filling Station – Paul worked here

Gasoline was under 25c a gallon, and attendants pumped the gas, checked the oil and cleaned the windshield.

View From the Water Tower in Springdale, Arkansas 1917/1921

My grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988) apparently climbed the water tower in Springdale, Arkansas . . . at least twice. I doubt the dates on the photos are correct, but I’m reporting what is written on the back in my grandfather’s handwriting. Here’s a picture of him from around this time:

My beautiful picture

Wallace Paul Cowan – around 1920

My beautiful picture

“Looking SW from top of city water tower. X location of station where I work.
1917 Springdale Ark.”

My beautiful picture

“Looking S from tower. X real estate I own. 1917 Springdale Ark.”

My beautiful picture

“Looking north, a scene from top of water tower in city park, Springdale Ark. 1921. Welch Grape Juice factory on left.”

My beautiful picture

This photo isn’t dated: “Looking SE from tower.”

I decided to Google search for pictures of Springdale from around this time, and I didn’t find much more than a postcard of the Welch’s Grape Juice factory and mention that it’s now Clements Processing. I can’t find where the water tower is or was in Springdale.

I’m going to work on these photos more, and try to figure out where exactly they were taken. If you information that could help me, I’d love to hear from you!

Update 8/29/2015 – Robert McClain commented below that the water tower was just to the right of the pin on this map.