Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988) & Ellen Cecelia Barber (1908-1990)

Wallace Paul Cowan & Ellen Cecelia Barber Cowan are my grandparents, the parents of my mother Carol Ann Cowan Hopper.

ellen_childyoung_lady_-_7

Wallace Paul Cowan was born on January 25, 1903 in Arkansas. He is the only child of the very brief marriage between Albert Gibson Cowan and Myrtle Bertie Hinson. You can read about Bertie & Albert here and about my attempts to make sure I was following the right Albert here.

Paul grew up living with his mother and grandparents in Springdale, Arkansas. I don’t believe he had much if any contact with his father throughout his life. In 1912, both of his parents remarried. His father remained married and had four more children, while his mother was only briefly married. Paul never met his siblings and may not have known about them. Paul started working at an early age, and is listed as doing grocery deliveries on the 1920 US Census when he was 16.

I’ve already posted a lot about my grandfather Paul. A poem, photos of filling stations he worked at, photos he took from the Springdale water tower, photos of Marshall Auto Parts where he worked, and information about Ma Terry’s Boarding House where he stayed.

Ellen Cecelia Barber was born on June 9, 1908 in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the daughter of James William Barber and Lula May Watrous. Ellen was the firstborn, and would later have a sister and brother. You can read about them here.

 

On the 1930 US Census, Ellen was enumerated living with her parents and Paul was enumerated living with his mother (though he was spending time in Kansas City at the time, living in a boarding house.)

Paul and Ellen were married June 23, 1930 in Platte City, Platte County, Missouri.

Their son was born in 1931 and their daughter Carol Ann Cowan was born in 1937.

On the 1940 US Census, the family lived with Ellen’s parents at 1832 Lister in Kansas City, Missouri. Their children were born in that house.

They later lived in an apartment over the Marshall Auto Store that Paul managed in Kansas City, Missouri, before buying a house in Kansas City North.

Ellen’s father died in 1951, and her mother died in 1960. Her sister died in 1966. Paul’s father died in 1963, and his mother informed him of this. Paul’s mother died in 1971.

After retiring from Marshall Auto Parts, Paul worked at Midland True Value Hardware at Antioch Shopping Center in Kansas City North. He was a hard working and very frugal man, and very quiet. He worked until shortly before he death.

Ellen worked as a bookkeeper for Paul when he was managing Marshall Auto Parts. She was primarily a homemaker, and was a great cook. I grew up living with Paul & Ellen, and my mom and brother, from age 5. I remember her making me bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Every Sunday was a big dinner with a pot roast. She was a worrier, loved to take care of people, and had a bit of a temper.

Paul died on February 2, 1988. You can see his Find A Grave memorial here. Not long after, Ellen’s brother died, so despite being the oldest child in her family, she was the last living sibling. Ellen died exactly 2 years after her husband, on February 2, 1990. You can see her Find A Grave memorial here.

Their children were a son, and a daughter (my mother):

HOPPER Carol Ann Pink Shirt

Carol Ann Cowan – Carol was born on December 21, 1937 in Kansas City, Missouri. She married Harley Darrell Hopper on April 21, 1964 in Jackson County, Missouri. They had two children, and I’m one of them. They divorced in 1976. She had worked in banks prior to her marriage, and worked for Gladstone, Missouri from the time of her divorce until her retirement. She was City Collector for many of those years. Carol died on October 11, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

James William Barber (1884-1951) & Lula May Watrous (1887-1960)

updated February 2019

Lula May Watrous, James Barber Jr., James William Barber

James William Barber and Lula May Watrous were my great grandparents, the parents of my grandmother Ellen Cecelia Barber.

James William Barber was born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 6, 1884 to Joseph Sbarboro and Sarah Ann Clovis. James was the 7th of their 10 children, and their only son to live to adulthood. You can read all about them here. His last name went through changes over the years – Sbarboro, Barboro, Barber.

Lula May Watrous was born December 26, 1885 in Cass County, Iowa to Arthur Wardwell Watrous and Carrie Elizabeth Deutsch. She was the oldest of their 4 children. Read more about them here.

Since the 1890 US Census was lost to fire and I can’t find James’ family on the 1900 US Census, my first record of James is after his marriage on the 1910 US Census.

Lula first appeared on the 1895 Iowa Census, in Pleasant, Iowa. Lula’s parents divorced soon after, and her father remarried in about 1896. He soon moved to Kansas City and Carrie moved to St. Joseph. I can’t find her parents on the 1900 US Census, but Lula lived in St. Joseph, Missouri with grandparents Andrew and Emma Watrous and three of their children. She was 12, and was listed as their daughter.

Lula’s mother Carrie died in around 1902.

James and Lula married June 10, 1907 in Wyandotte County, Kansas. James was 22 years old and Lula was 19 years old. Daughter Ellen was born in 1908.

By the 1910 US Census James and Lula had been married 3 years. Their last name was recorded as Barbaro. James was 25 and an electrician, which remained his occupation until retirement. Lula was 23. They lived in Kansas City, Missouri where they remained until their deaths. Daughter Ellen was 1 year old. A boarder, 24 year old David Sargent, a photographer, shared their home.

In 1915, daughter Delores was born.

In 1918, James used the last name Barbero on his World War I draft registration card.

On the 1920 US Census their last name was recorded again as Barbero. James was 35, Lula was 33, their daughter Ellen was 11, and daughter Delores was 4.

In 1925, son James was born. In 1927, James’ sister Minnie and his father Joseph died.

By 1930 US Census their last name was recorded Barber. My mother told me that he had to change his name because he struggled to get employment with an Italian last name. (As adults all the children used the name Barber). James was 45 and an electrical contractor. Lula was 42. Ellen was 21, Delores was 14, James was 3.

In 1931, James’ mother Sarah died. In 1932, Lula’s father died. In 1935, James’ sister Della died.

On the 1940 US Census James was 56. He didn’t list an occupation so perhaps that was still a struggle even with the name change. Lula was 53 and a seamstress in a garment factory. They had a full house. Daughter Ellen (age 30) was married to Wallace Cowan (age 37, salesman at auto store) and they had son Wallace (age 8) and daughter Carol (age 2, my mother). Also listed was Delores, age 24, who was married. She was also enumerated with her husband and children on the same census, living a few blocks away. James Jr. was 13.

In 1946, James’ sister Celestia died. In 1948, Lula’s brother Roy died.

One fun thing about researching people who lived in Kansas City, Missouri – Ancestry.com has city directories so you can follow their moves from year to year. There are many years missing but here’s what I found for James and Lula:
1904 – 1200 Penn
1905 – 2008 Bales
1906 -3213 E 18th
1907 – 2307 Indiana
1908 – 574 Holmes
1913 – 1318 E 33
1915 & 1918 – 4837 E 18th
1931, 1933 – 1832 Lister (Their last name had become Barber.)
1957 Lula M (widow of James) machine operator Gernes Garment 2512 Monroe Ave

About 1945. At the far right is my mother Carol Ann Cowan, then her father Wallace Paul Cowan, then her mother Ellen Cecelia Barber, and then her brother. The girl in the front is Delores Jeanne Darr, and behind her is probably her mother Delores Edna Barber. To the girl’s left is her brother Dwight Dudley Darr, Jr. Between the children at the back of the table is Lula May Watrous and James William Barber. James and Lula’s son James Jr. was serving in World War II at the time.

James died December 26, 1951. His Find A Grave memorial is here. His obituary, published in East Side News on January 3, 1952, read:

JAMES WILLIAM BARBER DEAD
Heart Attack is Fatal to Retired East
Side Electrician December 26th – Was 68 Years Old

James William Barber, 2512 Monroe avenue, for many year a resident of the East Side, died at the Northeast Osteopathic hospital Wednesday morning, December 26th. He was stricken at his home the previous day, following the family’s Christmas dinner, and was removed to the hospital.

Mr. Barber was born in Kansas City and had spent his entire life here. He was a retired electrician. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Lula M. Barber, of the home; a son, James W. Barber, Jr., Martin City; two daughters, Mrs. W. P. Cowan, 2304 1/2 Truman road, and Mrs. D. D. Darr, 7012 Prospect, and four sisters.

Funeral services were held at the Newcomer Chapel Friday, conducted by Rev. Edw. W. Potts, pastor of the Paseo Methodist church. Internment was made in Forest Hill cemetery.

In 1955, Lula’s brother Floyd died.

Lula died November 19, 1960. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. (Her birth year is incorrect on her death certificate and grave.) Her obituary (where and when published is unknown) read:

Mrs. Lula May Barber
Mrs. Lula May Barber, 75, of 2512 Monroe, died last night at her home. She was born in Atlantic, Ia., and had lived here 55 years. She was the widow of James W. Barber. Mrs. Barber, a garment worker, was to retire Nov. 30. She leaves two daugthers, Mrs. Dwight D. Darr, 12211 East Sixty-seventh, Jackson County, and Mrs. W. P. Cowan, 2304 1/2 Truman Road; a son, James Barber Jr., 9400 Lewis; a sister, Miss Bernice Watrous, St. Louis; seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Funeral services will be at 3:30 o’clock Monday at the Newcomer chapel, Brush Creek and the Paseo. Burial will be in Forest Hill cemetery.

There is a Kansas City Garment District Museum and hope to visit next time I’m in Kansas City to learn more about my great grandmother’s working conditions.

The children of James William Barber & Lula May Watrous:

Ellen Cecelia Barber & Delores Edna Barber

Ellen Cecelia Barber – My grandmother Ellen was born June 9, 1908 in Kansas City, Missouri. She married Wallace Paul Cowan in Platte County, Missouri in 1930 and they had 2 children. She died February 2, 1990, which was two years to the day after her husband. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Delores Edna Barber – Delores was born July 24, 1916 in Kansas City, Missouri. She married Dwight Dudley Darr (a florist) on September 8, 1934 in Jackson County, Missouri. They had two children. Dwight served in the Navy during World War II. Delores died May 18, 1966 and Dwight died October 2, 1988. They are buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri. Her Find a Grave memorial is here.

BARBER James Jr (2)

James Barber, Jr.

James Barber Jr. – Jim was born August 10, 1926 in Kansas City, Missouri. He married Billie Jean Raines on April 6, 1948 in Jackson County, Missouri. They moved to Colorado and had three children. Billie died May 30, 1985. Jim died December 14, 1988. His Find A Grave memorial is here.