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Days Gone By

By John Owen

Webmasters note: This was written by John Owen in 1936. He was fifteen years old at the time. This was submitted by his son,John D Owen Jr.

John Sr. was born in 1921 and has given his permission to place this on the Webster County site. I hope you enjoy the story of his youth, in his own words as much as I have.

A Bit About Myself

My name is John Owen and this is a story about my life. I am fifteen years old, and I live in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where I have lived all my life. This autobiography is short, but it covers the fifteeen years of my life. I am about five feet two inches tall an I weigh about ninety five pounds. I have blue eyes and brown hair.

I have gone to Duncombe school, Lincoln school, and Junior High school. I play the violin in the High school orchastra. I also played the violin in the Duncombe school, and the Junior High school orchastras.

I am a boy scout and I have reached my second class. I belong to troop three, which is the American Legion Troop

In the next seven chapters I am going to tell you a little about friend, pets, ancestors, my travels and other things which interest you and me


This chapter is a brief story of my ancestors. I have chosen to write about my ancestors, because it will help aquaint you with myself and my people.

On my mothers side my great, great grandfather, Sam Carr, was born and raised in Germany. He and his wife came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania. After my great grandfather, Henry Carr, was born , the family moved to Indiana. My great grandfather, Henry Carr moved to Ohio where he met Havanah Carr, whom he later married. This couple then moved to Corydon, Iowa, where my grandmother, Cora Carr, was born. She later moved to Dayton, Iowa, where she married L.G. Richey. They moved to Dell Rapids, South Dakota where my mother was born.

My great grandmother, on my mothers side, came from Sweden, and settled in Webster County when she was a young lady. She lived in Fort Dodge until May of 1936. She reached the age of ninety.

On my fathers side I know very little about my great grandfather Owen. My greatgrandfather Brown was a veteran in the civil war. My grandfathers both have died, but my grandmother is still living in White City, Kansas, where my father was born.


Friendship is a cherished possesion which should be treated with respect.

Two of my old pals, whom I played a great deal with, are Bob Moore and Sylvester Nelson. These two boys are two of my oldest friends, and I recall many adventures, which we shared together. They are both freshmen in high school this year.

In Junior High School I met lots of boys and girls, and some of them have become my very good friends. Among these are Bud Smith, Joe Buckroyd, Jack Medick, and Faber Cripps. We have had many skating and skiing parties. We sometimes spend weekends together.

My newest friends were Wally and Bob Lichtenberger. Thet lived next door to us all last summer, and we became very good friends.Wally and I slept together for about two months on his front porch. We also fished, built canoes, and took long hikes together. He was a close companion and, I missed him a great deal, when he moved in the fall.


Most everyone has had some experience in traveling regardless of the distance he has traveled. You may travel thousands of miles, and still about fifty miles, yet you do travel.

The first real long trip I ever took was when we went to White City, Kansas, to visit some relatives. The relatives I went to visit were my great great grandfather and my grandmother.

The next long trip I took, was went I was eight years old, to Colorado. I think it was the longest trip I have ever taken. I passed through the folloeing states; Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado. We made this trip by automobile and lodged in tourist cabins. We found all sorts of tourist camp some of which were very good, while others were very bad. We spent one night in a cabin on the top of the Royal Gorge. It was extremely cold, and we needed extra blankets. They were just starting to build a bridge across the gorge at that time.

While traveling we passed through parts of the country which were practically a desert, because of the intense heat and strong winds. None of these states compare to Iowa for the production of crops and for a nice home.

A few of the sights I saw were Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Phantom Canyon, Cave of the Winds, Cripple Creek Gold Mine, Helen Hunt's Grave, The Seven Falls as well as the citys of Denver and Colorado Springs.

In the summer of 1933 and 1934 I visited the Worlds Fair in Chicago. This was very interesting and educational. The two buildings I enjoyed the most were the Firestone building and the Hall of Science. This trip was one of my best trips I have taken.

Growing Up

When I was just five years old I started the most important part of my life. I had started school. The first school I went to was the Duncombe School. This school is a large brick building with three stories. So many pupils went to that school, that they found to build an anex on to the school building. Almost all football fans of Forth Dodge have seen this building for most of the high School and Junior College football games are played in the Duncombe school field.

The first teacher I had was a lady named Miss Fox. She was a nice lady who taught kindergarten. The next teacher was Miss Keep who taught the Preliminary grade, but I don't remember much about her.

The next step was the passing from the Grade school to the Junior High. As you know it is quite pleasing to pass from a Grade school to the Junior High. I thought this was quite an honor, but I was still a little confused.

When I first stepped in the door of the Junior High building boys and girls were swarming all around me. I felt like an ant in a department store on a Dollar Day. I didn't know where to go nor what to do. I finally found my advisors room which was Miss Howorths room. Miss Howorth helped helped me alot in becoming acquainted with this new plan. I liked this school much better than grade school and I still think it was a nice school.

High School is based on the same principle as Junior High School except it is run on a larger scale. High Scholl offers many opportunities for developing. Some of the many outside activities other than your regular routine are stage crew, drama, art, and many more different clubs.

I have enjoyed all of these schools and I hope my last years of school will be enjoyable too.


Hobbies are a rather recent development of leisure time. I think hobbies are helpful and help increase the knowledge of the individual. I am not a person who cares especially for hobbies although I have a few hobbies I indulge in.

An old hobbie of mine, which I was interested in, was collecting match books which were empty. This is an interesting hobbie because of the many amusing designs which are printed or stamped or painted on the covers. This hobbie is also helpful in relating you with the different stores in different towns and states, and even different countries. I had about three hundred different kinds of match books, when I agreed with my mother, that it was a poor hobby. She said that there were germs on the old match books which I found, and that they could easily cause disease. I didn't feel like catching any disease so I gave them all away.

After my hobby of collecting match books, I decided to try working on the stage crew. This the most interesting pastime I have ever indulged in I believe. It increases ones knowledge of different things such as designing, painting, building and electricity. It is also fun, and many times you can make quite a bit of money working for some plays. I have been on the stage crew for about one year, and I find there are still many things to learn. This hobbie or work is very interesting, and I hope to be on it all through high school.


I will tell you something about dogs. Dogs were first domesticated by people in the New Stone Age. These people domesticated them chiefly for hunting. As time went on many different breeds of dogs were raised. Some of these breeds of dogs are Greyhounds, terriers, bulldogs, airdales, St. Bernard, setters, pointers, Great Danes and spanials.

I know own a springer spanial and will tell you something about him and some other dogs I had.

The name of the springer spanial I now own is "Laddie". "Laddie" Is one year and one month old. I got "Lad" when he was just three months old, from a man named Paul Stemple. When I first saw "Lad" he was carrying a large stick back and forth the length of his chain. His head was held high and his ears were almost touching the ground. He stood about eight or nine inches high and his ears were about three inches long. He is brown and white with a brown mark in the middle of his back which looks like a saddle. He has enormous webbed feet, with which he swims. He is a very good swimmer and can run pretty fast also. He is also pretty smart.

Another dog I had sort of a peculiar name. I called him "Penny". "Penny" was a large dog of no particular breed, but he suited me. He had brown and white hair which was long and he also had brown eyes. He was a very intelligent dog. I had him for about five years and he grew to be quite a companion to me.

I have had two other dogs, one named "Billy and the other named "Boots". Billy was a large Airdale and "Boots" was a small bulldogs. I didn't have either of these dogs very long.

Interesting Incidents

We all have had a few outstanding incidents that we do not easily forget and I am going to tell you about a couple of mine.

When I was about six years old, my grandmother took me to visit a cousin living on a farm. I persuaded my grandmother to let me go to school with my cousin. The school bus picked us up, and was on the way to school, when the driver lost control of the bus while going down a steep hill. The bus ran into an embankment and turned over. I had the experience of being thrown out the window and rolling down hill. Outside of being a little stunned and mused up, I was alright.

Another unforgettable incident was when I fell off a second story porch while visiting my cousin. We had gone out on to the porch and had decided to crawl down over the railing. My cousin was holding me, whwn he saw a cat. Being fond of cats he forgot everything else and ran for the kitten. I fell about fifteen feet landing on the edge of the walk. I was winded and badly shaken up. Fortunately no bones were broken. I was none the worse for my tumble.

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