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.


Wallace Paul Cowan was born on January 25, 1903 in Arkansas. He is the son of Albert Gibson Cowan and Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan. You can read about Albert here and here, and Bertie here.

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. You can read about them here.

Paul and Ellen were married sometime after April 1930 because 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.) Their son was born in 1931 and their daughter Carol Ann Cowan was born in 1937.

(Photo: Paul, Ellen and their son.)

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

(Photo: Paul, Ellen and their daughter Carol.)

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.

(Photo: Paul, Ellen, and two of their grandchildren.)

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. Ellen died exactly 2 years later, 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.

The Tomato Dream – Poem by Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988)


Gina Chandler, photographer

Gina Chandler, photographer





Here’s a poem written by my grandfather, Wallace Paul Cowan. Midland Hardware refers to the Midland True Value Hardware store located at Antioch Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  He worked there after “retirement” in the 1980s.

COWAN Wallace Paul Tomato Poem

The Tomato Dream
Daryl at Midland Hardware said
“They’ll grow tall & straight & Green
with the prettiest leaves you’ve ever seen.”
I took his word and bought a pack,
he took my coins & gave me a sack.
Spring ain’t here but I can wait.
There’s lots of ice & I don’t skate.
I’ve days to dream and plan & plot
which way I’ll plant them across the lot.
Come 2 days straight at 65
I’ll plant them Big Boys if I don’t die
I’ll dig that ground, swing my hoe,
shape it up Row by Row.
Make some hills, then I’ll sow,
cover gently then I’ll wait.
What luck I have will be rebate.

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. This 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 but I can’t find a memorial on Find A Grave.

James William Barber (1884-1951) & Lula May Watrous (1885-1960)

My great grandfather James William Barber was born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 6, 1884 to Joseph Barboro and Sarah Ann Clovis. (You can read all about them here.) His last name went through many changes over the years.

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

My great grandmother Lula May Watrous was born December 26, 1887 in Cass County, Iowa. Her parents Arthur Wardhardt Watrous and Caroline Deutsch. (Soon I’ll write about them.)

Photo: Lula & James Barber and their son James Jr.

Lula May first appears on the 1895 Iowa Census, in Pleasant, Iowa. She is 8. The 1890 US Census was lost to fire, and I can’t find the rest of her family on the 1900 US Census. Lula is found living in St. Joseph, Missouri with grandparents Andrew and Emma Watrous and three of their children. She is 12.

By the 1910 US Census James and Lula have been married 3 years. Their last name is recorded as Barbaro. James is 25 and an electrician, which remains his occupation until retirement. Lula is 23. They live in Kansas City, Missouri where they remain until death. Living with them is 1 year old Ellen and a boarder, 24 year old David Sargent, a photographer.

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

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

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

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

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 has become Barber.)
1957 Lula M (widow of James) machine operator Gernes Garment 2512 Monroe Ave

(Photo: This was taken around 1945. At the far right is my mother Carol Ann Cowan, then her father Wallace Paul Cowan, then her mother Ellen Cecelia Barber Cowan, and then her brother. The girl in the front is Delores Jeanne Darr, and behind her is probably her mother Delores Edna Barber Darr. 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 Barber 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:

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.

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:

(Photo: Ellen and Delores)

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 in 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.

BARBER James Jr (2)

James Barber – 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.

(Photo: James Barber)


Thomas Macklin “Mack” Hinson

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(Scrapbook pages were done in Close To My Heart’s Studio J. Edited to remove incorrect names. They had 2 children.)

Thomas Macklin Hinson is my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan’s uncle, brother to his mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan (1879-1971). He is the 2nd of 10 children of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp Hinson (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

On the 1900 US Census, Thomas M is 28 and Emily J is 27. They have been married 8 years and have two children. Daughter Henry M, age 6 and an unnamed son is 2. They live in Springdale and Mack is a horse trader.

Photo: “Mack at Mule Barn” I think the older gentleman is his father Isaac Newton Hinson. On the 1910 US Census Isaac is listed as a driver at a livery barn. I think the boy on the horse is Mack’s son Dock.

On the 1910 US Census, Thomas M is 37 and Emily J is 36. They are in Springdale. Their daughter Muriel H. is 16, and Dock N is 12. Mack is working as a Liveryman.

Photo: “Mack at Vernon Brook’s barn in Mill Street, 1918”

On the 1920 US Census, Mack is 47 and E Janie is 46, and they live alone. Mack’s occupation is horse dealer.

I can’t find Mack on the 1930 US Census. It’s the Great Depression so he could be anywhere looking for work. (His obituary published October 4, 1945 in Springdale News says he was a lifelong resident of Northwest Arkansas.) Emily is found on the census in Springdale listed as Emma J Henson, married, boarding with Chace and Lottie Hannah. (Chace does special delivery for the US Mail. Mack and Emily’s son Dock, who is about the same age as Chace, is a mail carrier in Florida.)

I can’t find Mack on the 1940 US Census either, but Emily is listed as a widow living along in Springdale. That is very curious, because Mack wasn’t dead!

Mack died October 18, 1945. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Emily died in July of 1959 in Dade County, Florida. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. They are buried next to each other in Bluff Cemetery in Springdale.

Photo: Mack, his son Dock, and his daughter Murriel

Their children:

Murriel H. Hinson was born in August of 1894. She married Frank Leslie Farrar in Washington County, Arkansas on April 29, 1914. She was 20 and Frank was 25. On the 1920 US Census they are living in Springdale and have a 4 year old daughter Fracis L. Frank is a “dealer in apples, traveling salesman.” They were divorced May 21, 1925. By 1926 Murriel is listed in the Pasadena, California directory as a widow of F L Farrar. On the 1930 US Census Muriel H and Frances L are living in Los Angeles, California. She has cut 5 years off her age and is listed as 30. Frances is 14. Murriel is a saleswoman at a dry goods store. died. (Her ex-husband Frank is also in Los Angeles, listed as divorced, lodging, and working as a carpenter.)

On the 1940 US Census Murriel has gained back those 5 years. She is 46 and living with married daughter Frances and her husband Joe Rollins in Los Angeles.  Joe’s occupation is “clerical, general office” and Frances’ is “typist, collection office.” Murriel isn’t working. (Ex-husband Frank is still in Los Angeles, lodging, with no occupation listed. Frank died January 31, 1949.)

I know from her obituary (Northwest Arkansas Times, October 24, 1950) that Murriel married Sam Pine. She died October 10, 1950 in Los Angeles, and according to her obituary it was following a major operation. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. Her name is misspelled and her birth year is incorrect on her memorial page, and on the California Death Index. Murriel, Frank and Sam are all buried in the very large Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

For more information on Dock Newton Hinson see my previous post about him.

Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan (1879-1971)

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bertie_hinson_cowan_-_2-left  bertie_hinson_cowan_-_2-right

(Scrapbook pages created in Close To My Heart’s Studio J.)

This is the final installment of my series on the children of my great great grandparents Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp Hinson (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

My great grandmother Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan (1879-1971) is the 5th of 10 children. She was born August 13, 1879 in Whitener, Arkansas. She married Albert Gibson Cowan on March 16, 1902 in Washington County, Arkansas. My grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan was born January 25, 1903. The marriage ended in 1904 but I haven’t found divorce records. You can read about my experience figuring out what happened to Albert Gibson Cowan here.

Bertie, age 29, is found on the 1910 US Census living with her son Paul, age 7, in Springdale. They live with her parents Isaac and Cumi, her sister Clopie, her brother Lin and his wife Annie. She is working at home as a dressmaker. She is listed as married.

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. I can’t find a divorce record for this marriage either, and I’m not 100% sure it’s her. But I am 90% sure since there is a Henry T Troutt buried in Bluff Cemetery, Springdale, with his wife Amanda who died in May 1911.

The 1920 US Census finds Bertie, age 33, and Paul, age 16, living with their father/grandfather Isaac in Springdale. Bertie is divorced and not working. Paul is a delivery boy for a grocery store.

The 1930 US Census finds Bertie, age 48, working as a saleslady at a variety store. Paul is 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.

Back to Bertie. She is found in the 1940 US Census at age 56, living alone, with no occupation listed. She 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.

HINSON BertieBertie died September 1, 1971 in Springdale and is buried in Bluff Cemetery. I have a letter from Paul’s cousin Theda Baggett Collins imploring him to purchase a headstone for her grave, but I don’t think he did. I can’t find a memorial for her on Find A Grave.



Her child:

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 and Ellen died February 2, 1990. 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.


James Daniel Hinson (1881-1949)

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(Scrapbook pages created in Close To My Heart’s Studio J.)

James Daniel Hinson is my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan’s uncle, brother to his mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan (1879-1971). He is the 6th of 10 children of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp Hinson (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

Daniel was born July 6, 1881 in Whitener, Arkansas. He first appears on the 1900 US Census, age 18, living with his parents and siblings in Springdale, Arkansas. He married Capitola Lester in Washington County, Arkansas on July 18, 1905. He was 24, she was 20.

On the 1910 US Census, Daniel J is 29 and Capitola is 24. They live in Springdale, and they have a son Willie N, age 4, Daniel is working as a laborer, doing odd jobs. Capitola is a dressmaker, working at home. She has given birth to two children. Horace G. Hinson was born October 23, 1908, and died of pneumonia on November 30, 1908 according to his Find A Grave memorial.

On the 1920 US Census, they are in Iola, Kansas. Daniel J is 38 and working as a laborer in a garage. Capitola is 34 and is a dressmaker, working at home. They have 4 children now. Willie is 13, Lester is 9, Murvin is 6 and Mildred is 2. They had another son, Herbert D. Hinson, born June 3, 1925. He died May 12, 1926 and his Find A Grave memorial is here.

On the 1930 US Census, they remain in Iola, Kansas. James D is 48 and a laborer doing odd jobs. Capitola G is 44 and a seamstress in a private home. Children still at home are Murvin (age 17), Mildred (age 12) and now they have E Glenn who is 8.

On the 1940 US Census, they are still in Iola, Kansas. Dan is 58 and Capitola is 54. An occupation isn’t listed for Dan, but Capitola is a seamstress at WPA Sewing Room. (WPA stands for Works Progress Administration, part of the New Deal which provided jobs during the Great Depression. You can read more about it here.) The only child left at home is Glenn, age 18, who is working as an elevator operator at a hotel.

Dan died on May 31, 1949 and Capitola died November 8, 1970. They are buried in Highland Cemetery in Iola, Kansas. Find A Grave has memorials for Dan and Capitola.

His children:

William Newton Hinson (pictured above with younger brother Murvin) was born April 20, 1906. He married Margaret Brower. I can’t find him on the 1930 US Census, but by 1940 they are in Las Vegas, Nevada. William is 34 and working as a brakeman on a steam railroad. Margaret is 30 and a stenographer. Margaret died July 13, 1956. William died August 17, 1989. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Lester K. Hinson (left, pictured with his dad shortly before his dad died) was born November 13, 1910. He married Thelma L. Croley, and worked as an auto mechanic in Iola, Kansas on the 1930 and 1040 US Census. They had 1 child. Lester died June 20, 1983 and Thelma died March 9, 1989. Lester’s Find A Grave memorial is here.

Murvin D. Hinson (right, pictured with his dad) was born July 26, 1913. He married Evelyn Ruth Leslie. On the 1940 US Census they are in Iola, Kansas, and he works as a timekeeper for county road improvement. He enlisted in the Army at the end of World War II on April 21, 1945 and served through July 21, 1946. He died September 30, 1994 and Evelyn died August 27, 1999. Murvin’s Find a Grave memorial is here.

HINSON MildredMildred Lois Hinson (pictured to the right, and below with her brother Glen) was born 1917. She married William McClay and is found living with him in the 1940 US Census in Iola, Kansas. William’s occupation was “ice-man.” By 1948 she is living in Wichita, Kansas and listed in the city directory under her maiden name. She died 1984. Mildred’s Find A Grave memorial is here.

Lloyd Glen HINSON Mildred and GlenHinson (pictured with his sister Mildred) was born August 19, 1921. He married Gladys Mae Downey and they had 3 children. They lived in Pasadena, Texas. Glen died on March 7, 1986 and Gladys died on December 12 the same year.