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I wanted to share the story of my grandparents. Both were hard working young adults when they were married in January 1906. They lived in several places around Neeper and Deer Ridge, Missouri.
My grandfather Maurice Bishop Owen was a blacksmith in Neeper. My grandmother Lillie May Egbert Owen was a stay-at-home mom having her two children very close together.
My father Wilbur was born April 1, 1907, and my aunt in January of 1909. My grandfather wanted more for his family so in January of 1918 he moved his family to Butte, Montana. There he also worked at a blacksmith and hoped for more to come later. In November of 1918, a pandemic know as the Spanish flu came along. It was terrible in Butte. Churches were turned into hospitals, families were separated and some hospitalized or quarantined at different places. My family was separated. My grandfather was very ill. He passed away on November 20, 1918 of the Spanish flu and pneumonia. He was only really ill for one week.
My grandmother along with her two children were still very sick. My grandfather’s body was sent back to Clark County, Missouri on a train and the rest of the family had to stay in Butte until they were well enough to travel. They then also rode the train on a long trip back to Missouri. Plans were made then for a funeral. His funeral was on November 27 at Ballard Church. My father was 11 years old and never really got over this tragedy.
My grandmother set out to work various places as a practical nurse and also ran the switchboard in Neeper. My dad finished school at Ballard to at least a sophomore and worked along the way to help with expenses. My grandma was 33 when she was widowed and never married again. She lived to be 95 and died of cancer in 1979 at the Clark County Nursing Home, having lived in Williamstown most of her older years to be near her daughter.
I stayed many summers with her as a child and loved her and hearing stories of her young years around Gorin and Wyaconda. I wanted to share this as I’m just about the only one left in this family aside from some great grandchildren. I’m the only living grandchild of Maury and Lillie.
Until next time good birdwatching.