|Agnes Morrison Smith and |
Agnes Watson Smith Bowers
Their fifth child, William Lawrence Smith, was born in 1853 in Grant County, Wisconsin. He moved with the family to Iowa, then moved as a young man West to the Republican Valley, Spring Creek Township, Harlan County, Nebraska. The Republican Valley, named after the Republican River, was a rich prairie land and favorite buffalo hunting ground for the Sioux Indians. Settlers had feared to travel there until the the US Army ran a series of campaigns, ultimately annihilating the warriors and capturing their women, children, and horses in 1869. W.L. Smith arrived sometime in the mid-1870s, when the settlements were only a few years old.
Agnes Watson, the fifth child of Scottish Immigrant parents, was born 22 Dec 1856 in Astoria, Queens, NY. Her parents were James Watson, born 07 Jan 1825, and Agnes Morrison, born 07 Aug 1826, both in Dundee, Angus, Scotland. The two surviving children of the four they had in Scotland, accompanied them across the ocean. Young Agnes was the first to be born in America and was quickly followed by four others, one of whom died in infancy.
"Most of their money they carried in their shoes, but they also had a little pocket money. One day they were robbed by Jesse James of their pocket money. When they reached Nebraska, they decided this was the place and soon the rest of the family joined them."Agnes met and married William Lawrence Smith on 08 Jan 1878. They had two children, Agnes Morrison was born 07 Jan 1879, and William "Willie" Lawrence was born 22 Mar 1880. Willie did not get to meet his son, because in early February 1880, Willie died at age 27 of what the coroner determined was heart disease.
What's a girl to do - on the frontier, with two small children to raise, but get a job and figure it out? In 1880, her widowed father-in-law, James Smith, lived with the family in Spring Creek. But then,
Agnes was hired to work in the kitchen of Buffalo Bill Cody and Frank North's cattle ranch dubbed Dismal River Ranch, outside of North Platte. The ranch was built in July 1877 on the headwaters of the Dismal River in the Nebraska Sandhills. Cody and North sold the ranch in 1882 and it's unknown whether she continued to work there.
|Buffalo Bill Cody|
In 1884, she met and married Mr. Joseph Cyrus Bowers, born 16 Jun 1861 in Linneus, Linn County, Missouri. Joseph is sometimes listed as an M.D., but is listed in the 1900 census as a pharmacist. He worked for the Keeley Institute, which promised cures for alcoholism, tobacco use, and drug addiction. He traveled extensively pitching the cure - a concoction of widely varied chemicals that are thought to include strychnine, alcohol, apomorphine, will bark, ammonia, and andatropine. Bowers extolled the virtues of the "Keeley Cure" far and wide until his untimely death at age 44 in 1905 at Oxford, Nebraska. This "cure" eventually fell out of favor, but was used in variations through 1965.
Joseph and Agnes had two children who survived to adulthood, Van Buren (named for Joseph's father), born 02 May 1885 in Oxford, Nebraska and James Harvey, born 20 Sep 1888 in Bucklin Township, Missouri. Van Buren reportedly left home in 1902 to go work for his uncle Dave Watson and aunt Belle Watson Richardson, both of whom had married and moved to Crook County, Wyoming. He returned home for a visit in time for his father's funeral.
Agnes' daughter Agnes Morrison Smith had met and married Mr. Fred Callander sometime before the turn of the century and pioneered in Nebraska. Their story will follow.
Life after Joseph's death had its ups and downs. Her son, like his father and namesake, died at age 27.
"Agnes then kept house for her eldest son, Willie, as he had a homestead and times were hard. There were a lot of big birds in the area and many of them roosted on the windmill. Willie and Agnes devised ways of catching them and used the meatiest part for food to keep from starving. In 1907, Willie somehow injured his foot and it developed into blood poisoning and he died June 6, 1907.
Agnes decided she wanted her family reunited and so she and James Harvey loaded all their belonging into a covered wagon and Agnes' buggy and headed for Sundance, Wyoming. The wagon was so loaded that in places they had to unhook the buggy team and hook them on the wagon to pull the load over the steep places, then go back for the buggy. By the time they reached Sundance, where Van lived, the horses were nearly dead."Bear Lodge Country is located in a small mountain range outside of Sundance. It's near Devil's
"When the family was all together again, they each took out a homestead in the Bear Lodge Country about 13 miles from Sundance. They built a log house for Agnes near a beautiful littlespring. They cleaned out the spring and rocked it up so they could get the water deep enough to dip from and still leave it to run freely. They lived there long enough to prove up on their homesteads and for the two boys to marry. Van married Hilda Reinhold on 01 Oct 1913 and James married her sister, Amalia, 11 Nov 1917."
Quotes taken from a document believed to be:
Pioneers of Crook, County, Crook County Historical Society, Crook County, Wyoming, Pierre, SD; circa 1981