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Grand-dad Will's Stories -- Part VMargrett McCorkle (+1 509.924.3482, Margrett42 at comcast dot net)
In my previous articles, I have introduced my great-grandfather – William Marion Ewing who I have always called Grand-dad Will – and provided some life-illuminating stories which have had an incredible influence on my childhood and beliefs.
Memories are wonderful things, and during Grand-dad Will's and my lives together, he greatly relished both recalling his memories and sharing them with me. At the time he was in the autumn of his years, and I was very fortunate to be there and able now to pass on his stories and memories.
Rather than focusing on his stories, this articles turns to Grand-dad Will's heritage, discussing and clarifying some inconsistencies and incompleteness's in what has been published regarding him, his ancestors and his descendants. A synopsis of the relationships among the people identified in this article appears at the end of the article.
Death and Burial of Grand-dad Will's Father, John Anderson Ewing
John Anderson Ewing, the father of Grand-dad Will, died in 1878/79 when William was about nine years old. John died of a gunshot accident in front of his young son. The story as Grand-dad Will told it to me was:
He and his father were out hunting one morning, and John had climbed up on a tree stump to get a better view of their surroundings. John slipped on the stump because of the morning dew. As he fell, his gun hit the stump, causing it to fire, and John got both barrels of the shot gun blast in his chest. Firing at such close range, his clothing caught fire and this then set the woods on fire around him. William was uninjured and ran home for help. When help arrived, John had been very badly burned, had died, and they buried him where he lay.
This is essentially the same as Nancy Hanks Ewing's account of this tragic accident in her book James Ewing - Pioneer. Based on information provided by James Monroe Ewing, Nancy Hanks Ewing adds that:
Years later James [Monroe Ewing]'s father, Timothy Jordan Ewing, John [Anderson]'s brother, went to the spot where this all happened, along with a man by the name of Houston. This was probably Andrew Jackson Houston who married a niece of both Timothy and John [Anderson] Lena Etta May Ewing.
Andrew Jackson Houston ... would have been about 13 [years] old at the time of the accident. He had told Timothy he knew the exact spot where John [Anderson] had died. They went out there and Houston set his foot down in a spot and said, "If you dig under my foot, you will find John A. Ewing's boots." "My dad did dig down," James Monroe [Ewing] wrote, "and there was his leather boots." ... Houston knew where to look ... because for years he had kept a little pole fence around the spot. [James Monroe Ewing adds] "My dad tore off two small pieces and somewhere in my stuff I have those two pieces of leather."
In a relatively small area over an approximately 150-year period, there were two William Ewings – one with a middle name 'Marion' and the other with a middle name 'Allen' – and three John A. Ewings – two with 'Anderson' as their middle name and the other having 'Addison' as his middle name:
The two Williams and the first two John A.s were all living from 1871 to 1878/79. Later, from 1915 to 1922, the two Williams and the latter two John A.s were all living. There were even more Williams and Johns as time went on. This has led to several confusions.
To help sort them out, consider the following: William Allen Ewing was born February 11, 1842, a son of John Jordan and Elizabeth Amelia (Viers) Ewing. This William married, first, Sarah Elizabeth Reynolds in 1867 and, second, Nicinda Partin in 1878. William Allen Ewing died in 1922 at the age of seventy and is buried in what was then known as Brasfield Cemetery and is now known as Pleasant Home Cemetery in Worthington, Putnam County, Missouri. William and Sarah Elizabeth (Reynolds) Ewing had a son, John Addison Ewing, born February 2, 1872, in Adair County, Missouri. This John married Sophia Ann Savage. They were the parents of thirteen children all born in Adair County, Missouri. Sophia and John both died in Adair County, Missouri. John Addison and Sophia Ann Ewing's thirteenth child was named John Anderson Ewing, born June 7, 1915, in Adair County, Missouri.
Some of the confusions that have arisen are:
reported that John Anderson Ewing – Grand-dad Will's father – was buried in
New Harmony Cemetery, in Schuylar County, Missouri. This cemetery does hold
a number of Ewings, including a 'John A. Ewing'. But this is John Addison
Ewing – Grand-dad Will's first cousin – rather than Grand-dad Will's father
who is buried with his wife Evaline and their son Timothy Jordan Ewing.
records the name of John Anderson Ewing's only son as William Allen Ewing.
This mixes up John Anderson Ewing's son – William Marion Ewing – and his
brother – William Allen Ewing. She further reports: "[This] is the last that
is known of this family. All of them - ... Evaline, Georgia Annie, William
and his wife – disappeared from the Missouri scene. There is no record of
any of them in the 1900 Missouri census index, and none of their Ewing
family remaining in that part of Missouri has any knowledge of them." This
is probably because she was looking for a 'William Allen Ewing' when she
should have been looking for a 'William Marion Ewing'.
Another confusion is the claim in Nancy Hanks Ewing's book that: "On 23 August 1885 Evaline and Simon A. Haynes were married in Elm Township, Putnam County, Missouri." This was news to me and my family. It might indicate that a young boy of fourteen-to-fifteen years may not have accepted a stepfather and had, instead, gone to live with his grandmother. Or it might have been that in those days an elderly woman – his grandmother – needed a strong lad to help care for her after her husband had passed away. Either way, Grand-dad Will told me that he looked after his grandmother Elizabeth (1816-1899) until she died on May 24, 1899, in Putnam County, Missouri. I don't remember him telling me any stories about his mother; his stories were of his grandmother. As is always the case, there is likely much more to this story.
My own understanding of, and rationale for, my heritage comes from family memorabilia and my genealogical research:
I have personal
records written by family members. William Marion Ewing himself recorded his
marriage date and the dates his children were born. I also have his death
certificate with his middle initial as 'M' and several letters addressed to
him as W. M. or William M. Ewing. In addition, his descendents have carried
the name 'Marion' down through second and third generations.
I have found indicate that William Marion Ewing – Grand-dad Will – was born
February 21, 1871.
He was the only son of John Anderson Ewing – born October 29, 1836 – and
Evaline Mary Gardner – born in 1838. He had a sister Georgia Ann
('Georgiana' in some records). She was known as 'Anna' and was born February
The 1870 census has John and Evaline Mary (Gardner) Ewing listed in Schuylar County, Missouri. In the 1880 census, the family of John A. Ewing, wife Emeline [sic], William (age eight) and Annie (age two) is listed as living in Adair County, Missouri. It can't be determined when they moved from Schuylar County to Adair County. As Adair, Schuylar and Putnam Counties all share borders, it could be that county lines changed or that just moving across a road put you in a different county. It was always reported that William was born in 1871 in Schuylar County and that his sister Anna was born in 1878 in Schuylar County as well.
My Family History
Grand-dad Will claimed that, after the death of his father (in 1878/79) and before the death of his grandfather (in 1888), he lived with his grandparents, John Jordan and Elizabeth Amelia (Viers) Ewing. Grand-dad Will also claimed that he continued to live with his grandmother Elizabeth after his grandfather's death. It's believed by my family that Grand-dad Will's mother, Evaline, died by 1890. It has been written by others that she remarried on August 22, 1885, to Simon A. Haynes.
The net sum of all of this appears to be that upon the accidental death of his father in 1878/79, Grand-dad Will went to live with his grandparents, John Jordan and Elizabeth Amelia (Viers) Ewing. His mother, Evaline Mary (Gardner) Ewing, subsequently, after a half-dozen-or-so years, married Simon A. Haynes. Grand-dad Will's sister, Georgia Ann Ewing, lived with her mother and step-father.
Grand-dad Will spoke highly of his grandparents, John Jordan and Elizabeth Amelia (Viers) Ewing. As he was a young boy when his father died and he went to live with his grandparents, he most likely had more memories of his grandparents than he had of his parents.
Grand-dad Will told of his grandfather, John Jordan, as the one who migrated west. When Grand-dad Will's father – John Anderson Ewing – was about twenty years old, John Jordan Ewing moved his family to Missouri and ended up in Putnam County. Grand-dad Will told me about the big wagons, the matched set of mules that pulled them, and the trials of traveling overland in those times. His stories told of someone being bitten by a snake and being very sick, and another time of a mule slipping and breaking a leg and having to be shot. These stories would make me sad, but he would tell how it was important to be strong and brave.
Grand-dad Will told of John Jordan Ewing being a very Christian man and a loving grandfather. Grand-dad Will also told me that his grandfather loved to read his Bible and would preach in his church. He also told me that life was very hard for John Jordan and Elizabeth Amelia (Viers) Ewing during their years together, losing many of their children to war and accidents.
As I look back today – with information recently learned and my memories of Grand-dad Will's stories – I can see where at the young age of eight-to-nine, when Grand-dad Will lost his father due to a horrific hunting accident, that he would rely greatly on his grandfather, John Jordan Ewing, and that John Jordon would have more than welcomed the young son of his son, as and his wife had already lost five sons by 1865.
Grand-dad Will married my great-grandmother, Ellen Ann Admire, on October 30, 1892, in Martinstown, Putnam County, Missouri. Ellen, or 'Ellie' as she was known to her family, was a young girl just a month shy of her fifteenth birthday. Her father, Jesse Admire, had to sign a document giving permission for his daughter to marry.
The first of Will and Ellie's children – my grandmother, Evaline Mary 'Linee' Ewing – was born in Missouri. She was without a doubt named after her grandmother Evaline Mary (Gardner) Ewing. Linee was born July 26,1895. This birth date differs from census records and data recorded by others, but this is the date recorded in Grand-dad Will's 'little black book'.
Shortly after, on February 21, 1898, a son – Henry Lee 'Pete' Ewing – was born in Putnam County, Missouri.
Between the birth of Henry and their third child Anna, Will and Ellie moved to Boone County, Arkansas. They made their home in Alpena Pass which sits on the border of two counties, Carroll (west side) and Boone (east side).
Their third child, Anna Mae Ewing, was born September 30, 1900, in Boone County, Arkansas. She was my father's aunt, and the one he called his 'real mother'. She is the grandaunt who raised me from the age of two until her death in February of 1954.
On February 17, 1902 – as listed in Carroll County, Arkansas, records – Marion Francis Ewing was born. Known as 'Monk', he was killed in a railroad accident circa 1942-45. I was told he had a daughter, but I have no further information.
Will and Ellie had the following additional children:
On May 22,
1904 – as listed in Carroll County records – twin daughters were born to
Will and Ellie Ewing. They died soon after birth.
On March 3,
1907, in Carroll County, Arkansas, William Hugh Ewing, known as 'Bill', was
born. Bill lived most of his adult life in Texas and returned to Arkansas in
the 1980s where he died.
'Nettie' (Ewing) Breeden was born May 30, 1911, in Boone County, Arkansas.
She and her husband and four children lived most of her adult life in
The last of William and Ellie's children, John Anderson 'Pat' Ewing, was born April 28, 1915, in Boone County, Arkansas. John had five children.
Will and Ellie's last child – John Anderson 'Pat' Ewing – was born just a year before Will and Ellie's first grandchild, my father Frederick Richardson, who was born on July 18, 1916, in Alpena, Boone County, Arkansas. He was the only child of Evaline Mary Ewing and Garland Blaine Richardson. The 1920 census for Boone County, Arkansas, has my father, age three, living with his grandparents – Will and Ellie Ewing – along with his mother and his four-year-old uncle, John 'Pat'.
On December 3, 1921, while living in Boone County, Arkansas, great-grandmother Ellie Ewing died and was buried in Alpena Cemetery, Carroll County, Arkansas. This left Grand-dad Will with a fourteen-year-old son (William Hugh 'Bill' Ewing), a ten-year-old daughter (Vinita 'Nettie' Ewing), a six-year-old son (John Anderson 'Pat' Ewing), and a five-year old grandson (Frederick Richardson) living with him.
In addition, his older daughters – Evaline Mary 'Linee' Ewing and Anna – lived with him off and on in those years after the death of grandmother Ellie, but both were often away. By the 1930s, both were married: Evaline Mary had married a man by the name of Osburn and they had other children, leaving my father to be raised all his life by his grandfather. By 1935, Anna Mae Ewing had married Andrew J. Miller. They had no children.
By the early 1930s, Grand-dad Will had obtained the land at the bottom of Petit Jean Mountain and had built his house and moved to this home outside of Casa, Arkansas. There he would live out the rest of his life until his death on July 1, 1956.
In 2002, I flew to Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, and from there travelled to Marlinton, Pocahontas County, West Virginia, to visit my older brother William Richardson, named after his great-grandfather William Marion 'Grand-dad Will' Ewing. My brother Bill was fighting cancer at the time, and things were just not looking good for him. I lost this beloved brother in 2005. Bill, just recently retired, and his wife lived outside Marlinton, in the little settlement of Frost, West Virginia. His daughter and her family lived across the road.
Bill had fallen in love with that area of West Virginia on one of his construction jobs a few years prior. At that time, he had no knowledge of our family history in the area. When I went to visit in 2002, I had by that time learned of our family history in the Greenbrier and Pocahontas areas and was anxious to see with my own eyes the land of my ancestors. Much to my surprise, I discovered, running along the road in front of both my brother's and his daughter's homes, was Knapp Creek, known to us Ewings as Ewing Creek.
Sitting on the front porch of my brother's home, looking out over the West Virginia landscape, I was very close to the beginning of a well-traveled course of several lifetimes. My family's journey started on Ewing Creek, then on to Ohio, then into Missouri and Arkansas, and then to far away Washington state. I was back on Ewing Creek, the start of the journey. It was a humbling experience. 250-plus years had passed, many generations had come and gone. In my heart, I was quite proud to be a Ewing.
 Part I, J. Clan Ewing, Vol. 14, No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 27-29; Part II, J. Clan Ewing, Vol. 14, No. 4 (November 2008), pp. 13-18; Part III, Ewing Family J., Vol. 15, No. 2 (May 2009), pp. 38-40; Part IV, Ewing Family J., Vol. 15, No. 4 (November 2009), pp. 56-61. Available online at:
 Ewing, Nancy Hanks (ed. Barbara Ewing Powell). James Ewing – Pioneer, Self Published, 1994. Available online at www.EwingFamilyAssociation.org/books/Document_JamesEwingOfPocahontas.html. [Short Citation: Ewing, Nancy Hanks]
 Ewing, Nancy Hanks
 Ewing, Nancy Hanks
 Notice that this birth date is different from the 1872 date reported by Nancy Hanks Ewing.