Catherine Amelia Bowers

“Catherine Amelia Bowers

CATHERINE AMELIA BOWERS, one of the largest land owners in Garfield Township of Pawnee County, has lived in this county since she was four months of age. She is a daughter of the late George W. Countryman, one of Pawnee County’s honored old timers, and is the widow of the late J. Frank Ware, who distinguished himself in this section of Western Kansas both as a teacher and as a farmer, and she is now the wife of Mr. Arthur Bowers.

George W. Countryman brought his family out to Kansas in 1876 from New York State. He was a mechanic, stone and brick layer and carpenter, was a veteran of the Civil war and had come west for the purpose of securing a homestead and gaining some better degree of financial independence than was possible in the East. He came to Kansas by railroad, and acquired his homestead on the northeast quarter of section 30, township 23, range 18. His pioneer home was a dugout. This was succeeded by a sod house and as his menus increased he built a frame structure of a single room below and another above. The next improvement was a basement and finally the little house developed into a modern residence with comforts and conveniences of more than the average. Mr. Countryman continued to work at his trade as long as his strength permitted and left the task of farming to his sons, who were quite successful as wheat raisers. Mr. Countryman was wrapped up in his trade, and he used it for the improvement of a good home and to give comfort to his family.

George W. Countryman was born in New York State December 21, 1839, a son of Hiram Countryman. He grew up with only a little education, but became a proficient mechanic after an apprenticeship at the trade of brick and stone mason. That trade was his favorite work until the coming of old age. He was employed on some of the early buildings of Larned and Kinsley, worked on the court house at LaCrosse, and by this occupation and by his genial character he impressed his influence upon a wide section of Western Kansas. He was a man of fine physique and vigor, was the last of his father’s children to pass away, and his only serious illness was that which carried him off. He died March 26, 1917.

He married Amelia Knisley, whose father, Elijah Knisley, married a Miss Benjamin. Amelia Countryman died in July, 1910. Her childern were: William Lincoln, of Kinsley, Kansas; Fred, of Fairview, Oklahoma; Jane, wife of L. E. North, of Maxville, Florida; Samuel, who occupies the old homestead in Pawnee County; John, of Hanson, Kansas; George, of New York City; Mrs. Arthur Bowers, who was born in New York in February, 1876; and Charles Edwin, the only one of the family born in Kansas, now living and occupying the old homestead.

The late George W. Countryman contributed much to the improvement of his section of Kansas. While he passed through life he did what he could to make others happy. He was an old soldier, having served with the Fifteenth Regiment of New York Volunteer Engineers. His war service remained visibly with him, and his recital of his experiences furnish an entertaining chapter in his life’s story. He was in the Army of the Potomac and was present during the terrific Virginia campaigns of 1864-65. When the conflict ended at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, he took his trowel and fought as good a fight in civil life as he did when a soldier.

His daughter, Catherine A., now Mrs. Bowers, grew up on the old homestead in Kansas and received her early education chiefly in district No. 8. On May 16, 1900, she married Mr. J. Frank Ware. J. Frank Ware was born in Lee County, Iowa. In previous generations the family were Yorkshire, England, people. Grandfather James Ware was a coal miner, and followed that industry in Yorkshire. His brother John Ware was a stone mason who came to the United States and from his wages sent back enough money for the entire family to establish themselves on American soil. The family was connected with a colony of perhaps 125 people organized originally to purchase lands in the United States, but the scheme did not succeed, and the different families came on as individual emigrants. The Wares came to this country in 1845. James Ware followed farming during the few years of his residence in the United States, and he died in 1853, at the age of fifty-three. He married Elizabeth Clark. One of their children was John Ware, father of the late J. Frank Ware. John Ware was born February 3, 1830, and at the age of seven years began working the coal mines under his father. He received little schooling, but finally educated himself and became a well read man, possessing a good library and in Lee County, Iowa, where he located, he became prominent in local affairs even before the Civil war. He was proud of the vote he cast for John C. Fremont in 1856, and he continued a republican the rest of his days. In 1853 he bought a farm and lived on it until his death September 26, 1916. During the Civil war he was a member of the Home Guard and did some service within the state, participating in the “battle of Athens.” He stood for temperance, and in 1884 became head of the Lee County, Iowa, movement in the prohibition party. He was a member of the Universalist Church. John Ware was married in February, 1855, to Miss Jane Lightfoot. The Lightfoots also came from England to Lee County, Iowa. John Lightfoot, her father, was a cabinet maker, though he also owned a farm in Iowa. Mrs. John Ware died July 5, 1873. Her children were: Mrs. Mary Kennedy, who lives in Comanche County, Kansas; James Berry, of Wilmore, Kansas; J. Frank; W. Chase, ex-county clerk of Pawnee County; and Mrs. Alice Barton, of Milton, Iowa.

J. Frank Ware received a liberal education. In early manhood he became a teacher and made that occupation a stepping stone to a more independent life. He came to Pawnee County when a young man of twenty-one, homesteaded near Rozel, and had the courage to bear the discomforts of a dugout and an isolated experience while proving up and waiting for his patent to the land. When he married he established his home on section 16, township 23, range 18. He began with the southeast quarter of the section and started in industriously as a farmer and stock raiser. He continued as a country school teacher from the time he came to Kansas until he married, and Mrs. Bowers was one of his pupils. It is believed that he made the record of teaching longer in one district than any other educator in Pawnee County. This district was No. 8. Mr. Ware prospered steadily as a wheat and stock man and his land holdings increased until they comprised three quarter sections in section 16, one quarter in section 21, three eighties in section 20, one quarter in section 10, and eighty acres in section 15, altogether making two sections. Permanent improvements were placed on section 16, and the residence he built there is one of the largest and most commodious in the township. His barn is an immense affair, and of itself indicates the prosperity which the late Mr. Ware acquired by his efforts in Pawnee County. He also gave his time to the public welfare, serving as clerk of the township, and for many years as a member of the school board. He was always a republican in his political affiliations. Though a member of no church be believed in churches and supported them. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Anti-Horse Thief Association, and was master of the Local Grange from its organization until his death. J. Frank Ware passed away July 10, 1914. He served his county and his neighbors faithfully and lived and practiced the Golden Rule. By this marriage to Mr. Ware Mrs. Bowers had three children, a daughter Amelia Jane, and twin sons, Charles Ewing and Eugene Frank.

On December 10, 1916, Mrs. Ware married Arthur Bowers. He was born in Sedgwick County, Kansas, April 3, 1883, a son of Charles and Mary (Michael) Bowers. His father moved to Sedgwick County, Kansas, in 1880 from Clay County, Missouri, but was a native of Tennessee. Arthur was the youngest of a family of four sons and two daughters. He came into Pawnee County in 1908 and has been successfully identified with the farming community of Garfield Township ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Bowers now give their attention to grain raising. From their land as high as thirty-five bushels of wheat has been threshed to the acre. The best wheat crop came in 1914, when 700 acres of their land produced 16,000 bushels.”

Source:  Digital Library the KSGenWeb

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