May Belle Hinson Baggett (1877-1970)

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

May Belle Hinson Baggett is my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan’s aunt, sister to his mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan (1879-1971). She is the 4th of 10 children of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp Hinson (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

Belle was born September 24, 1977 in Whitener, Arkansas. She appears on the 1880 US Census as Emily M Hinson, age 3. She married Robert Blake Baggett in Washington County, Arkansas on December 24, 1899. She was 22 and he was 28.

HINSON Isaac HARP Louisa, HINSON Bertie HINSON Dora Ada SANDERS Andrew Jackson(Update: I had included this photo on some other pages, but wanted to add it here based on new information. Shiloh Museum of Ozark History has this photo in their archives and provided me with more information. It was taken at the Baggett residence in Springdale around 1904. The man in the middle row to the left of Cumi is Blake Baggett. With this identify confirmed, I think he’s holding his daughter Winnie G. Baggett, who was born in 1900, and I believe that is his wife May Belle Hinson Baggett standing behind him to the left. Dora and Andrew Jackson Sanders are mismarked as Mr. & Mrs. A. G. Sanders. I haven’t identified all the people in the photo but Ada’s mother Cumi is in the center and her father Isaac is marked G. Father Hinson.)

I find them next on the 1910 US Census in Springdale, Arkansas. Belle M is 32, Robert B. Baggett is 39, and they have three children: Winnie G is 9, Andy Ray is 6, and Theda is 3. Robert’s occupation is “Teaming” and industry is “freight.”

COWAN Wallace Paul

Photo: Seated in buggy is Dora Ada Hinson Sanders and her mother Louisa Cumi Harp Hinson. Standing, right to left are May Belle Hinson Baggett, probably her daughter Theda Gail Baggett Collins, then Wallace Paul Cowan and Mrs. Gramblin and Faye. I thought Mrs. Gramblin and Faye were neighbors but I can’t find them on a census.

On the 1920 US Census, May Belle is 42 and Blake is 48. Blake’s occupation is farmer and industry is “home farm.” They live in Springdale and Theda is 12 and Ada is 8.

HINSON Dora Ada HINSON May Belle 1927 cropped

Photo: May Belle Hinson Baggett on the left, her sister Dora Ada Hinson Sanders on the right.

On the 1930 US Census, Belle M is 53 and Blake is 59, living in Springdale, Arkansas. Ada K. is 18. Blake is a Laborer at the gas company and Ada is a Saleslady at a variety store.

On the 1940 US Census, Belle is 61 and R. B. 68 and they are still in Springdale. A granddaughter, Maxine Moore age 11 lives with them. R. B. is a “common laborer” and industry is “odd farm work.”

Photo: Thanksgiving 1959, May Belle Hinson Baggett and her sister Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan.

Blake died February 13, 1969 and Belle followed on October 26, 1970. They are buried in Bluff Cemetery in Springdale. Their Find A Grave memorials are here.

Her children:

Winnie G. Baggett Main was born October 12, 1900. She married John L. Main of Sebastian County, Arkansas on July 27, 1919 in Washington County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. She died January 14, 1983. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Andy Ray Baggett was born July 10, 1904 and died January 17, 1919. His Find A Grave Memorial is here.

Theda Gail Baggett Collins was born April 25, 1907. She married Fern Eugene Moore in Washington County, Arkansas on August 20, 1927. They had a child in 1929. On the 1940 US Census she is divorced, lodging with a family and working as a waitress. Her daughter Maxine is 11 and living with her grandparents. Theda married Calvin Thomas Collins in Washington County on April 14, 1940. She died December 2, 2004 and is buried in bluff Cemetery in Springdale. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. (Maxine’s Find a Grave memorial is here, and it says she is the daughter of Theda and Calvin.)

Ada Catherine Baggett Jenkins (see photo on the left) was born August 16, 1912. She married Harold Jenkins in Springdale, Arkansas on November 23, 1932. They had 2 children. She died February 15, 2010. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.



Lin Walter Hinson (1885-1952) – Part 1 – Military Service

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

My grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988) left lots of photos of his Hinson side of the family. His mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson Cowan (1879-1971) had seven siblings who lived to adulthood, and I have photos of most of them and their children. I’ll be doing a post on each of them. I shared earlier about Dock Newton Hinson, and soon will share information about his father, Bertie’s sister Thomas Mack Hinson (1872-1945).

Today, I’ll tell you about Grandpa’s uncle Lin Walter Hinson (1885-1952) and his military service. In my next post, I’ll tell you about his rowdy behavior, including a newspaper article about him with the headline “Send Him Away.”

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Lin Walter Hinson

Lin is the son of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa “Cumi” Harp Hinson (1852-1918). You can read about their family here. The 1910, 1920 and 1940 US Census lists his birthplace as Arkansas, but his obituary (Springdale News, October 20, 1952) says he was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. (This obituary misnames his mother as Nancy Harp Hinson, and misspells his name as Lynn.) His World War II Draft Registration Card also lists his birthplace as Wichita Falls, Texas. I suspect something took the family to Wichita Falls, Texas at the time of Lin’s birth, but all his siblings were born in Arkansas.

Lin married three times but had no children. On September 18, 1909 he married Annie Gramling (1888-1941) in Benton County, Arkansas. They were counted twice in the 1910 US Census, first living with Lin’s parents, two sisters including my Great Grandmother, and my grandfather on April 21 in Springdale. On May 2 they are recorded living alone, in Springdale. By 1920 Annie is found on the US Census, divorced and living with her father. A lot happened during that decade, and we will talk about that.

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Nadine and Lin Hinson

On April 4, 1922 he married Hazel Snowden in Washington County, Arkansas. I don’t know how long the marriage lasted, and I can’t find them in the 1930 US Census.

On August 2, 1938 he married Nadine Harris (1905-1995) in Washington County, Arkansas and he was married to her when he died.



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Marked “Lin in Army, Mexico”


The military photos I have of Lin are marked on the back in my grandfather’s handwriting saying he is in Mexico, and the dates are a bit off. He did serve in Company A of the Arkansas National Guard and went to Deming, New Mexico (Springdale News 1916: May 19, June 30, July 29, September 15) but not Mexico. From Wikipedia, I learned that the 142nd Field Artillery Regiment served in The Mexican Expedition, against the paramilitary forces of Francisco “Pancho” Villa:

In July 1916, the entire Arkansas National Guard was mobilized for federal service on the Mexican border.  Arkansas units began to assemble immediately at Fort Roots, near Little Rock. Of the 2,078 Guardsmen that answered the call, only 1,208 passed the new physical standards for entry into federal service. The Arkansas troops received orders on 29 June to move to Deming, New Mexico in order to replace regular troops joining the actual expedition into Mexico and prepare if Mexico reacted to the incursion. The Arkansas troops were not engaged in Mexico and returned to Little Rock in February, mustering out of service 19–24 February at Fort Logan H. Roots. This mobilization of the National Guard along the Mexican border was the training ground for many future leaders of the Arkansas National Guard. Many of the officers who led Arkansas National Guard units in the early years of World War I and World War II began their service on the Mexican border.

Sources used for the Wikipedia article provide more information if you are interested: Arkansas Army National Guard website and Arkansas National Guard Museum website.

Linn’s obituary (Springdale News, October 20, 1952) says that he served with the 142nd Field Artillery in France in World War I. From the Arkansas National Guard Museum website:

142nd Field Artillery Regiment (originally the 2nd Infantry) was delayed by training as it converted from infantry to artillery.  It sailed for France August 31st and arrived September 7th. The 142nd was certified for combat November 8th, 1918 and the armistice was signed on the 11th, preventing the 142nd from participating in combat.

Before he served the United States on the border with Mexico and in France, he was a wild young man living in Springdale, Arkansas. In my next post we’ll talk about his rowdy life before his military service, and his life after it.

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:

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Wallace Paul Cowan – around 1920

This photo is marked “Looking SW from top of city water tower. X location of station where I work. 1917 Springdale Ark.” I enhanced the X in photoshop.

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I have photos of some gas stations in Springdale, but I’m saving them for another day.

This photo is marked “Looking S from tower. X real estate I own. 1917 Springdale Ark.” Maybe he marked the X (which I enhanced in photoshop) years later, because in 1917 he was only 14. I think the X probably marks the house on Frisco Street where his mother lived the 1940s and 1950s, which his mother signed over to him in 1950.

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

My beautiful picture

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

My beautiful picture

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 did come across a Bright & Shiny Object (aka BSO, a genealogical distraction) – land records for Arkansas, including dozens for folks in my family tree: Washington County Arkansas Land Records 1834-1991. That will keep me busy for awhile, entering all those into my research log.

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.

Albert Gibson Cowan (1884-1963)

I grew up, from age 5, living with my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan (1903-1988). He went by the name Paul, and was a quiet man. He didn’t share a lot, but it was clear he was bitter about his father. Until I found Paul’s photos and letters after my Mom’s death and started researching, all I knew was that Paul’s dad abandoned him and his mother, which meant that Paul had to go to work at a very young age to help support the family.

I found a piece of paper written in my grandfather’s hand:

Pauls Father

And I found one photo of Albert Gibson Cowan:

My beautiful picture

Front Left is Albert Gibson Cowan

and written on the back:


Pratt Photo – Paris Texas
AG Cowan, First Row Left
age: 28
Supt. of Telephone Co Lines & Switch Board Crew
& his 7 man crew. Names?

Here is a closeup from the photo of Albert next to a photo of Paul as a boy:


From letters between my grandfather and his mother (Myrtle Bertie Hinson, 1879-1971) I thought I’d found valuable information:

Bertie to Paul Letter October 28 1964SHORTENED






Dated October 28, 1964:
Now Paul we have real Beautiful weather. Now all I no about AG, he died at Neoshea MO at Hospital with cancer of stomac he was at Springfield Springfield Hospital for month so his girl and …

It seems my grandfather asked for more information because the topic is addressed again:

Bertie to Paul Letter March 23 1965  Bertie to Paul Letter Part 2 March 1964

Dated March 23, 1965:
Now about your Dad being dead he had a cancer of stomach. he was at the Neosho MO Hospital is all I no for Willie Pond told me and as for no I sent you his girl and husband name after I heard it so that I no.

I found this in with Paul’s letters, and I think this is Bertie’s writing, so perhaps this is what she’s referring to:

Albert's supposed daughter

Bertie was 85 when she wrote these letters. The person she was getting information from, Willie Reed Pond (1891-1987) was Albert’s cousin, daughter of Martha Anna Cowan.

I wanted to know what happened to Albert after he left the family. I pieced together quite a bit of the family tree using Paul’s photos with names and dates recorded on them, and other written records he left. Those were very helpful when combined with census information and other records I found online at or

The first census Albert would have been recorded on isn’t available – most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire. He is found in the 1900 census living in Springdale, Arkansas with his parents Thomas and Mary Cowan, and his sister Mary M. His age is recorded as 18, but I believe it was actually 16. (I know that he had an older brother, too, who was already out of the house.)

The next record I have of Albert is his marriage to Bertie. They were married on March 16, 1902 in Washington County, Arkansas, and the license says they were both 21. Actually Bertie was 22, and I believe Albert was was 11 days shy of 18.


My grandfather was born January 25, 1903, and I believe Albert left before he was a year old. I haven’t found record of a divorce.

By the 1910 census, Bertie and Paul are living with her parents and a sister and brother in Springdale (and is marked as married) and Albert is boarding in a house in Comanche County, Oklahoma working as a telephone lineman.

In 1912 he married Izora Beatrice Shirley (1892-1943) in Custer, Oklahoma, and he is recorded as being 28, which agrees with the 1884 birth year.


His World War I draft card shows him living in Roger Mills, Oklahoma and married to Izora. He is of medium height and medium build with blue eyes and dark hair. He works as a lineman for the telephone company.

US World War I Draft Registration Cards AlbertGibsonCOWAN

In 1920 Albert and Izora are living in Roger Mills, Oklahoma and have 2 children. Albert is listed as a manager in the telephone industry. In 1930 they’ve moved to Chilhowee, Missouri and have 3 children. Albert is listed as a lineman in the telephone industry and Izora is a dressmaker at home. He probably doesn’t know that his son Paul has moved to Kansas City, Missouri, just 70 miles away.

In the most recent census available to us, 1940, Albert and Izora and their 3 children are living in Los Angeles, California. Izora’s brother also lives in the house. Albert’s occupation is troubleshooter for telephone company and he worked 12 hours the previous week and only 4 weeks in 1939. Izora is a Forewoman and worked 40 hours the previous week and 43 weeks of 1939. The Great Depression was just about over. This is the first census where Albert’s birth year is listed correctly.

It’s interesting to note that on the 1940 census, their oldest child, Albert Gibson Cowan Jr, age 24, has completed his 2nd year of college but isn’t currently attending school, and is working as a service station attendant. Their daughter Sonora, age 19, is said to be a senior in high school. Their daughter Marjorie is 17 and is said to be in 4th grade.

His 1942 World War II draft card solved a mystery for me.

US World War II Draft Registration CardsAlbertGibsonCOWAN

I had a lovely photo that was marked in my Grandfather’s handwriting as “Aunt May Cowan & daughter” but I couldn’t figure out who Aunt May was. His father had one sister, noted as Mary M in the 1900 census.

My beautiful picture

“Aunt May Cowan” – Charlotte May Cowan

Backof AuntMay photo

On the draft card, it asks him for “Name and address of person who will always know your address.” He answered “Mrs. R. J. Cambron (sister) Route 2 McAlester.” He also notes that his place of residence is 4492 W 16th Street in Los Angeles California, but that his mailing address was Route 2 North McAlester. I researched Mrs. R. J. Cambron in McAlester and found a marriage license for Mr. Ruby James Cambron and Miss May Cowan from May 1912. She was 26. “Mary M,” Albert’s sister from the 1900 census, would have been 26. Tracking her through 1940 on the census, she went by May but her tombstone says Charlotte May.

Izora died in Los Angeles in 1943. It appears that their children stayed in the area. It’s hard to track people without the census but I know that Albert Gibson Cowan Jr died in 2002 in California, Sonora died in 1973 in Washington, and Marjorie died in 1997 in California.

Despite the age inconsistencies, I think I have the right man. However, the information from the letters between Bertie and Paul don’t mesh with what I found regarding Albert’s death. Plus, he didn’t have a daughter who became Mrs. Clifford Johnson in Sparta, Missouri. In fact, I find that Clifford Johnson’s wife was Mable Alice Dobbs.

Missouri  puts death certificates online:(
and I found a death certificate for Albert G. Cowan:

Albert Cowan Death Certificate

This shows that he died December 17, 1963 at the Missouri State Hospital in Nevada, Missouri, which was sometimes referred to as the Lunatic Asylum. He had been there for a year and half, and the cause of death is coronary occlusion. His occupation is listed as “retired telephone man” and his usual residence is in Springfield, Missouri. His parents are unknown, and his wife is Izora Beatrice Shirley (Dec.) He is buried in Ozark Cemetary, and Funeral Director was Adams-Monger.

I requested records from Adams Funeral Home in Ozark. I received a form filled out containing information for death certificate and obituary, which doesn’t indicate who provided the information. Listed are his 3 children, all in California. It’s noted that the funeral was a Masonic service. There’s also a letter from his niece, Virginia Saunders, in Oklahoma, who wants to put a stone on the grave. Virginia Cambron Saunders (1921-2006) is the baby in the picture above with her mother, Aunt May.

An obituary can be found at the Christian County Missouri Genealogy website:
“Cowan, Albert G. 27 Mar 1884 – 10 Dec 1963  CCR 19 Dec 1963
Albert G. Cowan, 80, of Ozark, died at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday in the state hospital at Nevada. He had lived in Ozark since 1937 and was a retired lineman. Survivors are two daughters, Mrs. Sonora Christman, Orange Calif., and Miss Margie Cowan, of Norco, Calif.; a son, Albert Cowan, Jr., North Hollywood, Calif.; and four grandchildren. Funeral services were at the Adams-Monger Chapel here at 2 p.m. today (Thursday), with Masonic rites at the graveside in Ozark Cemetery.”

There’s some misinformation there. He hadn’t lived in Ozark since 1937. He was in California on the 1940 census, on his 1942 World War II Draft Card, and his wife died there in 1943. Sonora Christman was actually Sonora Chrisman. Finally, his date of death was reported incorrectly.

I have theories about the discrepancies between what Bertie said in the letters to Paul and the records I have found. The birth and death years my grandfather wrote for his father don’t match with what I found. The birth year of 1881 is from the marriage certificate, which Paul had. I don’t know where the 1965 death year came from – the letters mentioning his death were written in 1964. Regarding the cause and place of death, I wonder if relatives shared a false story since he was in a mental hospital. The note regarding his daughter really threw me, but I have a theory that Mrs. Clifford Johnson was a caregiver for Albert. Maybe someone referred to her as “Albert’s girl” and Bertie thought they meant his daughter. Just a theory.

If you have any information about Albert Gibson Cowan, I’d love to talk to you.

September 2015: Check out the update here.