Nancy Clark Letters
Written to Naomi Snyder, La Plata, MO, June 7, 1971 by Nancy Clarke
Dear Mrs. Snyder,
Thank you for writing to me. The reason I am looking for information on WILLIAM THOMAS BOWN is that I am writing a family history on my grandmother's line and have not been able to obtain much information on her brother JAMES A. BOWN'S family. My grandmother, NANCY JANE BOWN, was the first child born in America, after her parents had emigrated from England. Her older brother, JAMES, was born onthe ship as they were coming across the Atlantic Ocean.
The day after your letter arrived I received one from Mr. Ken Lorton, who mentioned that he was the son of William Thomas Bown's sister. I will answer his letter as soon as I can.
If you have any information on the BOWN family I would certainly appreciate having it and if there is any expense involved (copies made, etc.) I will be more than happy to pay for them. My grandmother was such a wonderful person that I feel I want to write herhistory and that of her ancestors at least for my own children.
Thank you, again, for writing, and do hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely, Nancy Clark.
1931 Placentia Drive
Hacienda Heights, California 91745
Written to Naomi Snyder, La Plata, MO, June 16, 1971 by Nancy Clarke
Dear Cousin Naomi,
What a thrill it was to get your letter. I am eagerly looking forward to the material that you said you would send in a few weeks. Please let me know what expenses it entails and I will reimburse you. I already have your Grandpa James's service record. That was where I found the names of his children.
I am so glad you mentioned that his older brother, Joseph, Mr. was by a first wife. It seemed likely, because Hannah was 6 years younger, but it is not mentioned in any of the records I have searched. You said there was a "Janie" between Mary Ann and Ed. Did she die young? I have no records of her at all.
Yes, Nannie Smith was my grandmother. Her name was Nacy Jane, but she always went by Nannie. I have a silver sugar bowl that my grandfather (James M. Smith) gaver her when they got married. It has "Nannie" engraved on it.
Enclosed is a small copy of a painting I have of Hannah Bown and her grandmother--done in England before the family came to America. This would be our great, great grandmother. I thought you might like to see it. The painting itself is about 11 x 14 in a large picture frame.
Another thing I have that you might be interested in. I have a picture of James and Edward taken in the late 1800's. Their names are written on the back, but it doesn't say which one is which. If you would like I can have a copy made for you or send the picture itself. It is small enough to put in a letter.
I'm sorry, but the name Wesley Clarke doesn't sound familiar to me.
After I look ovr the information you send I will be better able to see what I have and what I need. Thank you, so much, for being so sweet about helping me. Please let us continue to correspond as it is so wonderful for me to have found a cousin. Please write soon.
Sincerely, Nancy Clark.
July 3, 1971
Thank you, so much for sending me the biography. I have just finished copying it so I could return it right away. Enclosed is the picture that I was telling you about. If you will let me know which one is your grandpa James I would appreciate it. I was going to have a copy made, but it takes about four weeks and I thought you might like to see it before that.
This is the story about the Bown family that was passed from my grandmother Nancy down to me Dad. They were quite wealthy--being owners of a large foundry. Our great grandfather Joseph was in line to inherit it when his father died. The story goes that a younger brother tricked their father in signing his name on a will leaving everything to him. They say the the elder Bown was on his death bed when the brother did this. Joseph was so mad that he packed up his family and came to America.
In the 1870 census of Fort Scott, Kansas there is a John Bown living with Joseph and Elizabeth. He is the very same age (60) as Joseph--also born in England. I wonder if he was a twin brotheror perhaps a cousin. Maybe he is the father of the Jack Bown that your father heard from. What do you think?
Here is what I have on Joseph and Elizabeth (Cooper) Bown's children:
1. Joseph, Jr. (by Joseph's first wife) was born Sept. 11, 1831 in Maccelsfield, England. He married Elizabeth Shule on October 19, 1853. They had two children: Mary Alice Bown, born about 1862, and Joseph Gordon Bown, born Aug. 9, 1872. Joseph Jr. died in 1917 in Terrell, Texas and Elizabeth died in 1930--also in Terrell.
2. Hannah Bown, born about 1837 in England. This is all I know except thanks to you I know that she married a Vanice.
3. Mary Ann Bown, born about 1839 in England. I know she married a Cartwright.
4. James C. Bown, born Dec. 27, 1841. I have quite bit on him, as you know.
5. Nancy Jane Bown, born April 18, 1845 in Burlington, Iowa. Married James McGrady Smith april 13, 1868 at Greentop, Missouri. She died on March 13, 1919 in El Paso, Texas. They had four children: Harry Joseph Smith, born April 23, 1869, William H. Smith, born July 17, 1872 and died Aug. 6, 1873, Fanny Bismark Smith, born Jan. 3, 1875, married Nov. 10, 1910 Samuel John Fennell. She died March 6, 1964, James McGrady Smith, Jr. (my Dad), born Feb. 3, 1878- married Oct. 20m 1921 Alice Russell Dickinson. He died March 15, 1952. They had four children: James McGrady Smith III, born Nov. 19, 1922 - died Dec. 31, 1941, Joseph Henry Smith, born April 11, 1924, died July 23, 1925, Fred Perry Smith, born april 30, 1925 and Nancy Russell Smith, born Feb. 10, 1927, married Fred Albert Clarke Nov. 29, 1952. We have three children: George Alber - 17 years old, Barbara Sue - 15, and James Andrew who is almost 10.
6. William Bown born in Dec. 1849.
7. Edward Bown born about 1853, married about 1876 to Sarah N. All I have is one son, Joseph W. born 1877 in Missouri.
8. Charles Bown, born about 1858. There is a Charles Bown buried beside Joseph in Fort Schott, Kansas. He died May 18, 1886. I have not been able to prove if this is the son or a brother of Joseph. It seems likely that it would be the son.
Where James comes in the family Ido not know. Do you have his birth or death date?
Well, I could go on and on, but will save the rest for a later date. Thank you again for the biography. You did a beautiful job of writing it.
You may keep the picture of our great great ggrandmotherand Hannah as I have another copy. I do wish we lived close enough so tha tyou could come see the original painting. I have other things I would like to show you too. Please write soon.
With love, Nancy.
August 7, 1971
In my last letter I had meant to thank you for the lovely pictures you sent, but I got so wound up on telling family history that by the time I had reached the end I had forgotten. Yes, I do think that you look like the Bown side of the family. Whenever I can get all of us to stop long enough to get a family picture I will send you one. You have such a sweet face and your letters are so friend and sweet, that i do hope we can meet someday. My husband, Fred, was on a business trip to Missouri and stopped by a few places to get what he could on the Bowns. He is not very interested in tracing family trees, but he is very tolerant and helpful to me as I work on mine.
I am not sure if I have any Smith relatives in Missouri or not. My grandfather, James McGrady Smith ran away from home (Pleasant Grove, Iowa) when he was 14 years old. The only thing I have on him is that his father's name is believed to be Joseph. His mother had died when he was quite young and his father had remarried. He had several half brothers and sisters. I believe three of them were Sophia, Lottie and Conrad. My father was still unmarried when both he and my grandmother died. My Dad married when he was 43 and my mother was 24. That is the reason for the difference inour ages. We are the same generation, but our fathers married at different ages.
You asked about where our great grand-parents were buried. Joseph Bown is buried in the Evergree Cemetary in Fort Scott, Kansas. Fred went to the cemetary to try and find out anything he could. The sexton had the record and showed him the place, but there was no headstone. He told Fred that the family plot had been purchased by someone named Clark. Would you know who that could be? Elizabeth went to Silver City, New Mexico after his death to live with her daughter, Nannie (my grandmother). I have been unable to find any record of her death there. Perhaps when they moved to El Paso, Texas, she went to live with another son or daughter and died while there. My Dad always said that he couldn't remember if she died in Silver City or moved away. He said he was sure she didn't go to El Paso with them.
We are leaving next week on our two week vacation--camping and fishing. When we get back I will take the picture of your grandpa in to be copied. It takes bout six weeks. I will send the original back to you, as I know how much it must mean to you.
I am looking forward to seeing Cleo. He sounds like he is as enthused about family history, etc. as I am. I hope he doesn't happen to come whille we are away on vacation. Maybe you could come, too. That would be wonderful.
Write when you can, as I really look forward to hearing from you.
With love, Nancy
The Legend of Mars Hill