With the continuing rain, it’s too muddy to drive in to shift my cows to a new paddock, so once again, I’m ‘hoofing’ it across the previously ploughed ground to their paddock. Today, as I walked across the muddy ragweed and cocklebur infested paddock, I spotted something very white and roundish on the ground. Nothing to do when finding something so unusual, but to stoop and pick it up. Alas, nothing but a broken piece of porcelain, which – guessing – was once a drawer pull or door handle. Not one to just toss away such treasure/trash, I contemplated about the story it could tell. Possible, if my Grandma Falconer was still alive, this little bit would bring memories – good or bad – we’ll never know. I found it just back of where the old house, yard, hen house, and cellar once held sway on the Bowyer Farm at which Grandpa and Grandma ‘went to housekeeping’ back in 1940.
I trekked on down to the little creek (crick, as we say) and washed it off a bit, but carried it to the cows, shifted the cows, and brought it back. As I passed where the old homestead once stood, I imagined my dad and his younger brother dashing out the door to catch up with their papa on his way to milking cows, with momma hollering out ‘DON’T….. slam the door” as the screen door bangs shut behind the two boys. Momma sighs…
Of course, I don’t know that any of that happened, but grandmas, grandpas, moms, dads, and children are much the same – we say the same things to each generation – some of it sticks and is good and sometimes it seems they/we hear nothing. And, sadly, too many times now, there is no mom or dad to instruct their children not to slam the door.
Previous entries have referred to the Bowyer Farm in regards to the management or, mismanagement, i’ve allowed on the property. Though i am no longer leasing it out and have begun low input, high animal impact to bring it to better production than before (the goal was to reduce the amount of toxic endophyte fescue and i believe that will be accomplished but it could have been done with much less invasive practices i have since learnt), it will take years.
This entry, however, is to report some history and memories i have put together. It is interesting to me that the bulk of the farm (the exception was those 10 acres which exchanged hands at extremely high price – this is a mystery to me) has stayed in my family since January 29, 1878 to my 3rd great grandparents.
History of Bowyer Farm, Linn County, Missouri
US granted to State of Missouri – June 10, 1852
State of Missouri patented to Hannibal & St Joseph Railroad Co – Sep 20, 1852
Hannibal & St Joseph Railroad to Spencer P Bowyer and wife Sarah A January 29, 1878 for $656.08 (82.01 acres) $8.00/acre
Spencer P and Sarah A Bowyer family to Walter M Bowyer, Sep 1, 1898 for 72 acres $1575 ($21.88/acre)
Spencer P and Sarah A Bowyer to Price Bowyer, Nov 27,1899 for $5440 for 10 acres ($544/acre)
Price Bowyer and his wife, Malinda Bowyer to Lester Phillips and his wife Floy Phillips Mar 27, 1908. $3000 for 10 acres ($300/acre)
Lester Phillips and his wife, Floy Phillips to Dallas A Falconer Oct 26, 1914. 10 acres for $4500 ($450/acre)
Dallas A Falconer to Walter M Bowyer Dec 21, 1914. Ten acres for $900
Walter M Bowyer and Edna, his wife, to Dallas Falconer and Hermia (Bowyer) Falconer, his wife, on Jul 18, 1940. 82 acres for $4000. ($49/acre)
Dallas and Hermia to their son, Virgil Lee Falconer and his wife Virginia Pulliam
June 13, 1946 the east half of the northeast quarter (82 acres +/-) for $4000 ($49/acre)
August 31, 1946 the SW quarter of the NE quarter (40 acres +/-) for $1500 ($37.50/acre)
Virgil Lee and Virginia to Tauna M (Falconer) Powell upon his death in 2009. Appraised to stepped up basis of $1200/acre.
Unfortunately, I do not know much history of life on that farm. Why do we take interest after everyone who was involved has died? I do remember working calves and yearlings in the smaller of the two barns left on the property – the one which has the home-built head catch. Quite rudimentary, but it worked. Grandpa had feed bunks in a large fenced lot just to the south and east where he fed Silver Moon Grain Plus pellets to his heavy grass yearlings for a couple weeks before selling them at Milan or Green City sale barns. Until livestock trailers became affordable and popular, we used a ramp to load into 2-ton trucks fitted with stock racks out the south door of the barn previously mentioned. Up until I took over in about 2011, cattle were still loaded out that south door but in livestock trailers.
When i was a little tyke, Grandpa would let me ‘drive’ the pickup in super low, while he threw small round bales off the back to the cows. Of course, he would put the pickup in granny low even when i wasn’t there, but it made me feel helpful and involved – it is a good strategy for piquing the interest of the next generation.
There is an old cistern/well to the west of the dairy barn which was set up with a very slow electric pump which supplied water to a tank for the yearling cattle when they were shut up the night before load out next morning or whenever it was needed. The pump took a very long time to fill the tank so we’d turn it on before feeding the cattle or taking out hay or whatever needed doing. Later, he set some home-made poles in the ground to the windmill in the center of the field and cattle watered out of the Ritchie fountain. Later, we set up a tire tank with more holding capacity since refill is slow out of the old pond on the west 40. The windmill and well have long been abandoned by 2010. The west 40 had always been a brome hay field in my memory, but i incorporated it as part of the grazing programme.
In the big dairy barn, we kept our horses for riding out on the farm to check cattle when I was up visiting. It was handy place to keep them instead of hauling them every day. I don’t think Grandpa rode as much when I wasn’t there. He certainly indulged my passion for horseback riding and getting to check the cattle whilst riding with my grandpa was pretty much the top of my life at that time in the 1970s. It was sad to return to my home in the town of Mexico vs the freedom of the farm, cattle, and land.
I don’t know for sure, but I think my dad, Stanley (b. 23 Sep 1940-d. 04 Sep 1962), and his brother, my Uncle Stephen (b. 23 Mar 1942-d. 15 Jan 2016) spent their earliest years at this house and farm. I remember Grandma saying that’s where they ‘went to housekeeping’ after they were married on February 10, 1940 (which is also my birthday in 1962!), so that would make sense. But did my great grandparents also live there before them? When were the house, cellar, chicken house, and barns built? Sadly, i simply do not know.
There was very little of the house to explore even when I was young. In 2011, I had the old house razed, the well and cellar filled in since all were hazards by this point. My son, Nathan and family friend, Christian Finck picked up and loaded all the old chimney bricks which are in storage and i hope to find another use for them.