#52 Ancestors – Week #5 – John Henry McGowan: He “Plowed Through” Tradition

farmer_with_plough_horsesWith 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.

Miners photo

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 John McGowan HSremarried. 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.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available onAmazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

4 thoughts on “#52 Ancestors – Week #5 – John Henry McGowan: He “Plowed Through” Tradition

  1. First, I wanted to thank you for this blog post. First, let me introduce myself. Alton Edward McGowan was my maternal grandfather. Growing up he told me that the McGowans were Irish. I knew that the surname had both Irish and Scottish heritage. Therefore, I wanted to solve the puzzle concerning where our McGowans came from. I came across this post while researching Francis McGowan, my 4th great grandfather. His son, Thomas M. McGowan, was my 3rd great grandfather. From research I knew Francis immigrated from Ireland, and died in Monroe, TN, but my research dried up from there. I searched but failed to locate any immigration records for Francis. Your blog has help fill in missing pieces. Therefore, I am hoping you can help me locate immigration records for Francis McGowan because it is my hope that I can trace the McGowan line further into Ireland. Please feel free to email with any information that could help.
    Thank you,
    Ragon W.

      1. Thank you for this blog. I’ve rearched the McGowans and other sides of my family line on and off for several years. Recently I picked up my research again because I wanted to confirm whether our McGowan line originated from Ireland or Scottland. I greatly appreciated your blog; it is one thing to find records and another to actually hear stories passed down about our ancestors. I loved reading about how Francis passed down Irish stories and legends to his children.

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