Monday, February 24, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #8 - John W Howard

            John Howard was born in Holden, Missouri on December 13, 1891 to Mattie Thornton and Albert S. Howard.  When he was ten his family moved back to Clover Bottom in Woodford County Kentucky.  In 1914 John’s father was accidentally shot and died from an infection in the wound.  After his death, John was in charge running the farm where they lived. 
            In 1915, John’s mother noticed his interest in a neighbor’s daughter and told him he might as well marry her.  John agreed and on November 10, 1915 he married Lena Phillips in Versailles.  They then took the train to Frankfort for a few days’ honeymoon. 
            After returning they moved in with John’s mother for a few years.  Before the second child was born, John moved Lena into the house next door to his mother, but still on the same farm.  They lived there until about 1929, when they moved to down the road to a tenant house owned by a neighbor.  Another neighbor, noting the move, told John he should buy his own farm, but John disagreed.  So the neighbor went to Lena and told her he would finance the purchase if John would buy a farm from him.  Lena told John that night they were moving and he would be paying the mortgage. The bungalow house they bought was the house they lived the rest of their lives in and where they reared all nine of their children. 
John Howard (Back) and his sons - Taken about 1938
John still farmed for his mother and his six boys did the work on both
farms. They raised hemp, hay, and other farm feed crops.  He also was known as a good breeeder/trainer for Tennessee Walking horses, gaited mules, and hunting dogs.
            As the grandchildren came along, John mellowed and was known to always have candy tucked inside his dresser drawer…if he was asked.
John was a very stubborn man who refused to admit he was getting older.  When he was about 85, he was hit by a large truck as he stepped off of a curb.  The truck was turning a corner and did not see him.  He was knocked down and permanent damage was done to his knees.  Due to his age doctors gave him pain meds, but no treatment.  After a 3-year old granddaughter pointed out that she walked better than he did, John went looking for a Dr. that would treat the problem. At age 87 he had both knees replaced and had no problems walking the rest of his life. When he complained about the pain after the surgery his wife told him that he had paid a lot of money for those knees and he shouldn’t be complaining.  After that success he went looking for an eye doctor that would remove the cataracts that his previous eye doctor told him were not worth the risk of removing.  He found one and was able to see without glasses until he died.            
When he was about 90 his son brought a thoroughbred mare and colt home.  John decided that he should help train the horse.  Although he promised his wife he would stay away from the barn, the first time she went to town and left him alone, he slipped down to the barn.  .  When Lena came home she asked why he had changed his clothes, but he refused to answer her.  After investigating, she finally found his other shirt in the trash, torn and with blood on the collar.  He had gotten in the stall with the colt and the mother had defended her baby, getting him down against the stall wall. Luckily, when he went down the mare decided he wasn’t a threat and allowed him to crawl out of the stall.  Later he admitted that it took him the better part of an hour to get from the barn to the house.  John ended with stitches in his neck and shoulder and a vast array of bruises.
 As John got older, his driving became more and more alarming.  When his truck got a flat tire his sons decided that this was a blessing in disguise and kept putting off the repair, thinking this would keep him from driving.  Except John had other ideas.  So, when he decided that it was time for him to fix the tire he went out to fix it.  As he pulled the tire off, the jack slipped and the truck fell, breaking John's leg.
When Lena was unable to live at home any longer, John would move to the nursing home with her in the winter months, but would go back to the farm for the summer.  John passed away just one day before the second anniversary of Lena's death.  A few days before his death, John went to his lawyer to adjust some things in his will and went back to the nursing home.  It was like he knew it was time or, more likely, he decided it was time and he just died.  John always said that he would live to be 100, but he was a few months short.
John was very much against anyone gathering family history.  He was adamant that they shouldn't be poking around and would be sorry.  No one knows what he was trying to hide, but I sure am looking!

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