With 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.
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 remarried. 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.
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