James H. McGOWAN
MCGOWAN, HALL, CUTTING, BERTRANG, HENTON, MILLER, MCGUIRE, FARISY
Posted By: Sarah Thorson Little (email)
Date: 6/2/2018 at 13:52:28
James H. McGowan, horseman, man-of-affairs and theatrical manager, was born in Canada, March 1, 1854, second child of Patrick and Cholice (Hall) McGowan. The father was born in Canada, August 7, 1826, and died May 18, 1901. He came to the United States in 1856 and spent the first winter at St. Peter, in this state. Then he moved to Sibley county, where he farmed near Green Isle until the spring of 1868. Next he went to Brown county on the Ft. Ridgely Reserve, where he remained until 1877, then going to Redwood county, near Morgan. In 1880 he moved to Renville county and worked on the railroad with his teams. In 1882 he erected the building now used for the Morton post office. It was then used by R. B. Henton and J. H. McGowan as a store. After a short time he worked on the railroad again and in 1884 moved to a farm in Norfolk township. Subsequently he built a residence in Morton which he occupied for a time, later making his home with his son-in-law, John Cutting, and with Matt Bertrang, another son-in-law, near Sleepy Eye, where he died. His wife, Cholice Hall, was born in 1833 and died March 8, 1885. They were married in Canada in 1851, and had fifteen children. James remained at home until he was twenty-one years old. Then he worked in the woods and on the river for four years. In 1880 he worked on the Dakota Central railroad as rodman with the division engineer. Then he worked two years on the Toledo & Northwestern railroad from Eagle Grove, Iowa, as contractor. Next he started a store with R. B. Henton at Morton in the building erected by his father, on the northwest corner of block fifteen, lots 26 and 27, were the store of R. B. Henton Jr. is now located. In 1887 Mr. McGowan bought R. B. Henton's share and in 1891 sold a half interest to R. B. Henton Jr. The firm then became known at McGowan & Henton, until December 12, 1903, when it was sold to D. L. Crimmins, Mr. McGowan has been a horseman for many years. In 1890 he purchased Pedro L., 2:18, a trotter. In 1903 he owned and raced Alenner, 2:191/4, a pacer; in 1904 Tempest, 2:22 1/4, pacer: both sired by Tempter and both dying while Mr. McGowan still owned them. In 1905 he raced Marion Lockhart, 2:19 1/4, pacer; Minnie Nutwood, 2:13 1/4, pacer. Happy Heart has won the first place three times and was a close contender in six other fast races in four states, having brought home about $1,400 in prizes. At Des Moines, Iowa, September 2, 1914, he was the winner of the pacing division of the Western breeders' Futurity No. 1, getting first, third and fourth money and a very handsome silver cup. Happy Heart's next start was at Huron, South Dakota, State Fair, September 15, in the 2:40 pace, purse $500. Over a bad, muddy track with a strong wind blowing he won in three straight heats, each in 2:21 1/4. The next time Happy Heart raced was at Redwood Falls on October 1, in the 2:25 pace, purse $300, where he won in three straight heats, best time being 2:22.
Mr. McGowan now looks after his farms, the Morton Opera House and his horses. He resides in a modern house of ten rooms in Morton erected in 1894. He has been a member of the village council for seven years. November 13, 1880, Mr. McGowan married Emma Henton, born July 20, 1860. they have had seven children: Margaret Cholice, born August 22, 1881, died March 7, 1902; Mable Josephine, born March 4, 1883, now the wife of Ward Miller, wholesaler and Manufacturer of Ladies' garments at West Adams street, Chicago, by whom she has one child, McGowan Miller; Myrtle Agnes, born April 26, 1885, married to Charles McGuire, a conductor on the M. & St. L. R. R., and lives in Morton, having two children, Margaret and Katherine; Anna Belle, born July 19, 1887, died July 13, 1912; James Bennett, born March 1, 1889, a conductor on the M. & St. L. R. R., who live in Minneapolis and is married to Emma Farisy; Ralph Thomas, born January 1, 1893, who is at home; and Marion Edgar, born August 25, 1895, died July 26, 1903.
Source: History of Renville County, Vol. 1, by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, Published by H. C. Cooper Jr, & Co., Chicago, 1916, pages 393-395.
[James H. McGowan worked two years on the Toledo & Northwestern railroad from Eagle Grove, Iowa, as contractor]
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