Monday, December 14, 2015

Moonlit Eve, Foggy Morn, & Family History

As I've mentioned before, my family and I enjoy excursions around lakes and on trails in the area.  We have three runners in training  (best time so far: one of my sisters ran a 5K in a little over 24 minutes).  Those of us--including myself--who don't run, like to ride along on bicycles.  Below you can find an assortment of photos from various trips.
The trees above are in Deer Park.  For many years the city kept a herd of real reindeer in this park; the past couple years though, Santa has had to look elsewhere to replenish his herd.  

Though the reindeer are gone now, as I walked through the park, a herd of common whitetail deer spirited through, right toward the highway.  Before I could process my thoughts, Bam!  A pickup had hit a big buck's hind leg.  The poor thing crumbled, but managed to stumble off the road, where it soon regained strength and ran off with the rest.  The pickup appeared no worse for the ordeal.
One morning on our way to a trail, we saw a firetruck, ambulance, and group of firemen by Pine Lake.  At first we wondered if some disaster had occurred, but soon we discovered they were testing out the water and ice rescue gear they will use if anyone falls through the ice this year.  Our local volunteer fire departments are awesome!
Fog is beautiful, unless you have to drive in it.  I especially love cemeteries in the mist and fog...
Eldora city cemetery is one of my favorites--though seriously the thought of spending the rest of my life, erm... death, in a city does not sound attractive at all.  I prefer country cemeteries.  But my great great grandparents Charles and Mary Edith Cowell are buried here.  My great grandma was their tenth child; they named her Eldora Leona Mae Finnis Cowell--Finnis meaning they were finished having children.  Below are Charles and Mary Edith with seven of their children.
The story goes that one of the brothers married and moved to Minnesota.  They had three or four children...and then his wife died.  He remarried, but the new wife did not want his children.  So, they loaded the children onto a train and sent them to Charles and Mary Edith in Eldora.  Grandma Leona had to quit school to help raise them.

Charles was an engineer.  He was converted/saved at a meeting at the Eldora Gospel Tabernacle in 1937, and was remembered in his obituary as a sincere Christian.  Grandma Leona wrote of her mother Mary Edith,  
My mother loved everyone, and treated everyone alike. She was forced to help raise several grandchildren when she was in her sixties. I quit school two months before I graduated from the 8th grade to help her care for these grandchildren. She thought nothing of doing huge washings on the washboard. She loved to raise a nice garden and piece quilts. I have so many fond memories of my mother, this book would not hold them all.
Family history is a favorite study of mine.  There are many colorful stories, but Charles and Mary Edith Cowell, I think, are some of my best bets when it comes to meeting relatives in heaven someday.
Can you share a story from your family's history?

40 comments:

  1. sadly, too many grandparents raise their grandchildren these days as well. love the trees and moon and the fog, too. yes, volunteer firefolk rock!

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  2. Love the photos, especially the moonlit trees. Too bad about the children being unwanted, but I'm sure they were better off with loving grandparents than with an unwilling stepmother. Isn't family history fascinating.

    It's remarkable how we view things differently now than when our country was first being settled. I'm sure you're aware that some were looked down on if they hadn't come directly from England. One of my Scots-Irish forbears, when asked where he was from, gave different answers on two different censuses. Too bad he felt compelled to do that.

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    1. Oh, I hadn't heard that! That is too bad. On another side of my family, my great grandfather and his brother had running argument on whether they were more Scottish or Irish. My great grandfather insisted we were Scottish and spelled his name MacArthur. My uncle insisted we were Irish, so he spelled his name McArthur.

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  3. I enjoyed your photos, and the stories! I love that type of thing. One of our favorite stories is about my Dad and his sister. He is now 84 and she is 82. They came from a family of 10 kids and the whole group of them are full of mischief and love to tease. Well, one day my aunt got mad at my Dad and threw his new coat down into the outhouse. This was during the depression, and he got into big trouble for losing his coat. She never confessed until she was married with kids. I'm sure he had it coming though. We often say our grandma must have been a pretty amazing lady to deal with all those kids and keep her sense of humor. :)

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    1. Oh wow, it's hard to believe he could have done something bad enough to merit getting his new coat thrown down into the outhouse during the depression. That must have been dreadful! Your grandma must have been a remarkable lady to handle 10 children! I'm sure your family is a lot of fun. :)

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  4. Didn't want the children. So sad, but well-told story. I can't think of anything to share, but I thank you, for telling us this story.

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  5. You're such a Gal after my own heart Bethany! I love family history too. So interesting. I love the photo and hearing about your twice great grandparents. I know that on one side of my family they came from Ireland and Wales and many of them lived in Iowa actually. Their names were Waters and Flint. My Grandmother from that side was in a women's group related to the "daughters of the revolution" and said she could trace family back to the Mayflower. I guess she also had information about a relative that fought at the Alamo. A lot of this is info I'm relaying from things my Mom told me. ;) Thanks for sharing Hon. Love it! xo

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    1. Sounds like you have an interesting family history! I wonder what part of Iowa your Irish/Welsh relatives lived in. How neat that your grandmother could trace family back to the Mayflower, and it's also very neat you had a relative who fought at the Alamo! I believe I have a couple relatives who fought in the Revolution as well. Thanks for sharing about your family, Carrie!

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  6. P.S. I love the Finnis to her name - meaning they were DONE! Lol! My great grandparents on the other side (my Dad's side) had 17 children! All their own kids - and only 1 set of twins! Yikes! Talk about being "finnis" Ha! ;)

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    1. Wow, 17 children?! They could have been on reality tv if they had lived in more modern times!

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  7. Great pictures! I haven't spent as much time on family history as I'd like but fortunately my mom's grandmother and my dad's sister left us their research. I've posted some on my blog under this tag: http://webcroft.blogspot.com/search/label/Genealogy

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    1. That's awesome that your great grandma and aunt left their research. I am very blessed that my father has always been interested in genealogy, as is my grand aunt. And, my great-grandmother also did her best to preserve the family record, and sent copies of her work to the various branches of her descendents! Thanks for sharing the link to the genealogy posts on your blog. Enjoyed the stories and the photos of the beautiful cemeteries.

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  8. Family history is my favorite, too! My ancestors were mostly Mexican revolutionaries...one of them becoming quite famous. My only American great grandma had a dad who went to war when she was 3, but I have yet to find out what war it was - I would like to track him down. ;-) I've been recently learning more about my husband's family, who were considered "aristocratic", who came from the old Czech Republic. Anywho, it's so interesting to know about our ancestors! :-) P.S. That "Finnis" name made me laugh!

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    1. Sounds like you come from a very exciting family! Now you have me curious about which famous Mexican revolutionary you are related to! Thanks for sharing about your family!

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  9. I've seen red suits used to be safe in freezing water. I hear while it protects them from harm, they still can feel the freezing cold water.

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    1. The firemen we saw didn't seem to be cold in their suits, but then it was nicely above freezing. I hope everyone stays safe on the lake, so they won't have to use the suits in the real cold weather this winter.

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  10. Great photos Bethany! I especially like the misty trees in the last collage. :)
    How neat for you to know your family history! Leanora wrote such sweet words about her mother - it reminds me of Proverbs 31.
    I don'y know a great deal of my family history beyond my grandparents. However, we do have a copy of a letter and its translation that my great-great grandmother wrote to her husband after immigrating from Italy!

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    1. Wow! What a treasure that letter must be; it's awesome that your family still has it!

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  11. Bethany Eldora cvementery loks great and nice i would like to rest there..

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    1. It is very nice for a city cemetery--just on the outskirts of town, almost overlooking the Iowa River, but it still doesn't beat country graveyards in my book. ;)

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  12. I think a lot of people today would not make it if they had to work as hard as Mary Edith. She sounds like a fine, Christian woman!

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    1. It must have taken a lot of patience and fortitude to raise that many children, especially in the absence of modern conveniences.

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  13. I love all your photos especially the first one. Very beautifully composed. I wish I could remember all the stories my mother told me but I'm afraid I don't. It is good you know some of your family history. Have a very Merry Christmas if I don't visit again before then :-)

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    1. I am very blessed to have a father and grand-aunt who have always been interested in saving/recording family history, and it is awesome for all of us that my great-grandmother tried her best to record family history as well. Blessings to you Joyful, and thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Beautiful moonlight and interesting history! I find it interesting to learn about my ancestors too. During the Civil War a great-grandfather (how many greats I don't remember) of mine paid someone else to go fight in the place of his son. There is also a story about my great (again I don't know how many times) aunt who was chased into a church building during services by a wild boar. The hog proceeded to lumber in right after her making a sort of legend that was even mentioned in a book on the history of that county about 100 years later.

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    1. Oh wow! Now that sounds epic! Wild boars are not fun creatures--and it must have made quite the commotion in church. I had heard about people paying others to fight in their place in the Civil War. Sounds like you have a fascinating family history! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Bethany, I love learning more about your family, and seeing your beautiful foggy photos! My maiden name is Covell, which is so close to your grandparent's name, I did a double take :) xx

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    1. It is close enough to Cowell that it's a distant possibility two brothers just ended up with their names spelled differently however far back--maybe when they first moved to this country, or sometime back in the old country.

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    1. Thanks! One of my sisters had the same impression!

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  17. The picture of the moon behind the tree is amazing! What a great shot! It's so wonderful that you actually know some of your family's history. I loved reading some of it :) Thank you for sharing! It's amazing that family sticks together like that and does anything it has to to keep the family going. Even raising their grandchildren. I wish I could share some of my family history. But my grandparents didn't want to talk about any of it. Anything around WWII or before were too painful memories and I wasn't allowed to ask about it. I wish I could have, I'd really like to know more.
    I hope you have an amazing Sunday. Have a wonderful Christmas week :)
    Hugs, Beate

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    1. That is too bad your grandparents did not want to talk about their lives during or before WW2. I'm sure they would have had many interesting stories to tell, but it was all probably just too sad for them. I understand. My grandpa doesn't talk very much about his time in Korea during the Korean War, though he does tell us some things. I think war is a very painful experience for anyone who has experienced it first hand; they've seen things they never would wish on anyone. I hope and pray for the day there will be peace on earth and joy in heaven.

      Blessings to you, Beate! Have a beautiful week as well. Thanks for stopping by.

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  18. Hi Bethany, It’s neat to read what your Grandma Leona wrote about her mother Mary Edith:
    “She thought nothing of doing huge washings on the washboard. She loved to raise a nice garden and piece quilts.” When I stop and think about that for a moment … Wow, what a different time that was. There were no distractions like the internet or TV. Can you imagine having a day so peaceful that there are no worries about what’s going on in the world? Of course, those times were hard in a different way. But it’s neat to take a few moments and think about all the differences. Thanks for sharing some family history and photos. And your “moon in the trees” shot is just wonderful! Wishing you and all the Carsons a great Christmas holiday! Oh yes, one last thing: thank you for your thoughtful comments on my blog post with the old photos of Yellowstone.

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    1. Hi John, it was a very different world back in the day! There are good and bad points to how it was then, and how it is now. I prefer the way it is now because I'm used to it, but I have deep respect for our forefathers, their fortitude, and their way of life. One of my sisters grew wheat this year. It's something else to see how much work goes into making one loaf of bread the old-fashioned way--from the time she planted the seeds to the time the loaf reached the table! Thank you for stopping by, and for your thoughtful comment. May the Lord bless and be with you!

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  19. What a great post. How did I miss this? It didn't even show up on my bloglovin' page! I stumbled across it when I came over to see about your most recent post. What a fascinating family history. Too bad about the children, but thankfully they ended up in a good home.

    I have a lot of stories told to me by my mom that I hope to eventually share on my blog. Here's something I learned only recently about my dad: Apparently, he shined shoes when he was about 6 to make a little extra money. His family was very poor and all the kids (six of them) helped in whichever way they could. His dad had died when the kids were very young and his mom was left to raise them alone..during the second world war. Imagine what a struggle it was for her to raise six kids during that time!

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    1. Wow! That would have been very tough. Your grandma must have been an amazing woman...and it sounds like your dad learned the meaning of work at a very young age. I will be looking forward to (hopefully) more stories about your family! Thanks for stopping by, Martha!

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  20. How cool that you know so many interesting stories from your family's history. I loved reading about the Cowells. The only branch of my family I really have stories from is my maternal Grandfathers. None of the other branches were too interested in story-telling or keeping records, though nearly all of my great-grandparents were alive when I was a child so I did get a chance to get to know them.

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    1. That's awesome that you got to meet your great-grandparents. I only got to meet one great-grandmother. I'm very glad you've taken after the story-telling side of your family! Love the stories you post on your blog and wrote in your book!

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