Tracy Dirk Tibbetts
Birth: 18 Jun 1958 - Moab, Utah Christening: Death: 12 Mar 1977 - Moab, Utah Burial:
Father: Rodney Gail Tibbetts Mother:Martha "Patsy" Toliver
Birth: 13 Mar 1797 - Ashe County, North Carolina 1 Christening: Death: Burial:
Father: Jesse Taliaferro (Toliver) 1 Mother: Frances "Frankey" Stamper 1
Spouses and Children
1. *John Fender 1 Marriage: Children: 1. Charity Fender 1Francis Reuben Towar
Birth: 4 Aug 1845 - Stephenson County, Illinois Christening: Death: 25 Oct 1928 - Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona Burial:
Father: Reuben Tower Captain 2 3 Mother: Dorothy Day 4
Spouses and Children
1. *Mary Lucina Bacon 5 6 Marriage: 17 Nov 1868 - Stephenson County, Illinois 5 Children: 1. Rose Elizabeth "Rosebeth" Towar 2. Ruby Towar
Dorcas Dorothy Edson Davis writes:
Francis Reuben believed that the spelling Tower was incorrect. He spelled his name Towar. -----------
First Airplanes over Phoenix
I remember the afternoon well. It had been raining and was cool. Therefore it must have been in the spring or fall. The planes were army planes. The year was probably 1918. I had been ill and I remember my mother remonstrating about taking me out. None the less, Grandpa Towar insisted. I was wrapped up in a blanket and someone carried me out to a very muddy East Moreland Street. The planes were flying low in a ruddy western sky - we had almost missed them. There were three or four in formation. I could just discern the wings.
There were a number of neighbors standing about taking in the sight. I probably would not have remembered all this if my grandfather had not said, "I was just a lad when I saw the first railroad cars arrive in Rockford, Illinois. Dorcas will remember this day as I have remembered that day." Then he added impressively, "This child," he said, turning to me, and everybody else looked at me also. I didn't often get such attention. "This child will some day see a man on the moon."
Needless to say the neighbors were properly amused at the old man's prophesy and the picture in my mind fades away. Many years later, while watching television, I had reason to remember my grandfather's words.
Since my grandfather was born in 1845 or thereabout, and being the youngest of ten children, his father was not a young man at the time. Let us surmise he was fifty at my grandfather's birth. Reuben must have been born shortly after the Revolutionary War. When he was a lad growing up his family was, without doubt, affected by many of the events of which we have studied in history classes. Some of the family may have worked on the building of the Erie Canal. As my grandfather Francis has described, his family were 'farmer folk'. I expect the various members of the family leaned toward a Democratic form of government and were followers of Jefferson rather than Adams and Hamilton, during those heated political times. No doubt the family as a whole had trouble making ends meet. Reuben, and probably other brothers and cousins went West to better their condition. Successful businessmen, or affluent merchants stayed in the East or, at least, did not try to improve their fortunes by bartering with the Indians.
Francis Reuben and Mary Lucina
At any rate, Reuben Towar and his wife settled on the section of land they had homesteaded. At the start of the Civil War my grandfather 'Frank' was about 18. The other brothers were anxious to join the army, go west, or whatever. Perhaps some of them had already left home. Therefore they made an agreement with Frank. If he would stay and look after the old folk he could have the farm. This agreement was made, as far as I know, amicably. It was to this farm that a few years later he took his bride, Mary Bacon. The story is told that at the general store, a hang out for the farmer's moments of leisure where gossip and tall tales were freely exchanged, a jokester made the loud assertion that "Frank Towar had gone over the state-line and stole seventy pounds of Bacon." This statement was met with vehement cries of denial. Frank Towar was no thief! Of course the "seventy pounds of Bacon" was non other than the petite Miss Mary Lucina Bacon whose family lived in Iowa. My grandmother, Mary Lucina, was surely an interesting character. Before her marriage she had taught school for a number of years. In an "early day", as my grandfather would say, school teachers were not required to have so rigorous preparation for teaching as in later years. This is certainly understandable. Well educated people were not easy to come by in a land where the most important knowledge required was the knowledge of how to survive. However, as the men brought their women with them, the demand for schools and churches and, indeed, law itself increased. The early teachers were obtained from those men and women who, for a variety of reasons, were better versed in "readin', writin', and 'rithmatic" than the average frontiers man or woman. Little by little educational standards required that the permission to teach became more rigorous. At the time my grandmother was a girl in Iowa, a would be teacher had to pass an examination given at the county seat. I do not know who prepared the examination or what scope of academic knowledge was required. However, from novels of this period, history, and other accounts which have come to my attention, I judge that in addition to elementary knowledge of reading writing and arithmetic up to what we might consider a sixth or seventh grade level a teacher would be expected to handle a little algebra, geometry, history and a smattering of Western Civilization humanities. One of the most prized text books of that time was the McGuffy's Reader - the Fifth Reader being the most highly spoken of. These readers contained, as well as many moral adages, excerpts from the great classics of all time. This reader was, necessarily, one of my grandmother's teaching tools. When Mary was sixteen years old, her two older sisters were planning to take the teacher's examination at the county seat. As the story is recounted, my grandmother wanted to go and take the test as well. In spite of the protest of the older girls, Great Grandfather Alanson Bacon is said to have come to her defense. Mary was allowed to go to county seat. According to the story that has come down to me, she was the only one of the girls that passed. However, this may be embroidery. She was only sixteen and was a very tiny lass, but she taught for many years and was beloved and respected by all. I wish I knew some of the stories of some of her difficulties, failures and triumphs. Such stories would be so full of human interest. All I can do is read stories which other people have written about school teaching in those days. A good example is The Hoosier School Master by Eggleston. Although my grandmother was a child of the Middle Border and used to the hardships of those early days, she was not a typical young lady of the times. Probably due to the fact that she had early become a wage earner teaching school, she was not expected to take an active part in the arduous duties of the household - the endless chores of washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning. I have lived enough in out-of-the-way places to have become familiar with washing on the board, ironing with sad irons, hauling my water from a cistern or creek, cooking on a huge coal and wood range. I have had the experience of having to bake the bread for the family if they were to have any bread. In my case it has been an occasional thing, but for people of my grandparent's day is was a way of life. As I said, in my grandmother's case, some of these duties did not fall to her. Therefore, when she married she found that being the wife of a successful farmer on a section of land, demanded talents she had yet to develop.
Feeding the Harvest Hands
However, she was resourceful. After the fiasco of the "Feeding of the Harvest Hands" a favorite family tale, she got Aunt Kate to come and instruct her. I will tell you about it. For a detailed description of the harvest times of those days, I will refer you to the novel by Hamland Garland - A son of the Middle Border. The harvest hands were neighbors would exchanged labor and machinery. They arrived at the Towar farm. The noon meal was, at such events, the big thing. Many times the neighboring wives got together on the project. However, this time my grandmother did the job by herself. She many have had a hired girl, but I doubt it. Well, the meal was beautifully prepared, delicious, dainty, suitable for, perhaps, an afternoon tea for the Ladies Aide Society. Can you imagine the faces of those ravenous men who had been toiling since dawn and who were expecting mountains of mashed potatoes, gallons of gravy and platters of chicken. And can you imagine the face of my grandfather. This is when Mary Lucina sent for Aunt Kate. I wish I knew more about Aunt Kate. She was grandfather's older sister. I do not know if she was married or if she had children. Somehow I am under the impression that she was a maiden lady. Perhaps she lived with a brother. According to my mother she was a capable, resourceful woman - the kind that is "sent for" in times of crisis. I am sure that my grandmother stood somewhat in awe of her; perhaps had, out of pride, not called on her before. But my grandmother Mary Lucina, showed her good judgment in laying personal feelings aside and getting available help when she needed it. My grandfather stated that Mary became a notable housekeeper and cook. Many years later my mother and Aunt Kate were in a runaway accident. Mother was thrown on her head but was saved because of the arrangement of her very long luxuriant hair. Aunt Kate was killed. I regret that I have knowledge of so few events and anecdotes from the long and happy marriage of Mary Lucina and Frances Reuben. I do know that they had planned on a large family, but that was not to be. Mary suffered several miscarriages and was able to bear only two living children, Rosebeth and Ruby. Baby Ruby died of summer complaint at the age of eighteen months. Summer complaint, as it was called, took the lives of so many babies. The second summer of the child's life was the most precarious because at that time the baby was being weaned and too often was given milk that was not properly refrigerated allowing the growth of infectious bacteria. That knowledge came too late to save my little aunt. Her picture hung in the hall of my childhood. My daughter Helen now has it in her home. I have been told that my mother, Rosebeth was a healthy baby. She was thrown from a horse when she was seven years old. The injuries she suffered at this time resulted in her being an invalid the rest of her life. An X-ray taken in the last years of her life revealed that her heart had, in that accident, been thrown out of kilter. All of life she suffered severe heart attacks. She died of such an attack at the age of fifty -seven. The disappointment and tragedy of their children did not embitter Frank and Mary. They took a great interest in young people. It seems that they had frequent and regular get togethers with the young folk of the neighborhood. There were refreshments and games on hand at all times. This leads me to remark on some of my grandfather's ideas about discipline, youthful behavior, etc. At a time when playing cards were considered the handwork of the devil, he permitted card games in his home. "Better," he said, "than hiding out in a drafty barn." At a time when the adage "Spare the rod, Spoil the child" was practically an article of faith, my grandfather did not believe in corporal punishment. His favorite remark concerning this matter was, "you beat one devil out and seven devils in" In civic and social affairs the Towars were active. Grandfather was a charter member of the National Grange in the area. The Grange was a National organization to unify the farmers and to further their interests. It is still in existence. Grandfather, also, was a deacon in the church and was, as far as I know, considered a prosperous farmer. At one time, whether it was before his marriage or not, I do not know, he belonged to the Vigilantes. I should judge it was when he was a young man. According to his account, horse stealing was very common 'in an early day'. The law was not yet strong in the area, and the farmers organized the Vigilantes for self preservation. Grandfather, however, was never required to attend a 'neck tie party'.
When I was a very little girl my grandfather took much care of me. Without a doubt he told me many tales of his boyhood which I have forgotten. As I became older I became aware that he was mortally afraid of boring people, as so many elderly people do, by telling things over and over again. Thus I have been deprived of man interesting tales. Nevertheless, I do remember two interesting anecdotes. The first occurred before he was married. Apparently the folk in the country side were somewhat superstitious. The graveyard was regarded with awe and trepidation. The rumor was spread about the ghosts were walking in the graveyard. Several people stated seriously that a ghost had been seen wandering about the graveyard. Now Francis did not believe in such nonsense. "There are," he stated, "no such thing as ghosts." He therefore proposed to walk through the graveyard lat at night. He made this proposal on moonlit night. He and other young fellows of the neighborhood had just been enjoying a 'coon hunt, a favorite pastime. Frank invited his pals to accompany him, but his companions felt that it was late and they'd better go home. Grandfather said that, sure enough, there was a white figure wandering about the cemetery. On investigating he discovered a young lady walking in her sleep. She was the daughter of a family who had just moved into the neighborhood. Grandfather gently awakened her, wrapped her in his coat, and took her home promising the embarrassed girl never to reveal the outcome of this adventure. He kept his promise faithfully in spite of the queries and coaxing of his friends. The graveyard ghost was never seen again. Since I am a lover of the mysterious and eerie the second tale is more to my liking. The young Towars settled on the ranch - family farm- I should say, that Reuben homesteaded. However, Francis built a brand new house for him and his bride. There were no old creaky stairs, squeaky boards, flapping shingles. No! No! Everything was as thigh, plumb, trim and neat as could be possibly imagined. The couple were sitting snugly by the kitchen's great wood and coal range late one fall evening when there was a "tapping" at the kitchen door. Come in", Francis Shouted, but there was no reply. In fact, upon getting up and opening the door there was only a harvest moon lighting up the back yard and nearby out houses and the stillness of the night. This tapping occurred several times and Francis and Mary gave up opening the door as a useless exertion. Later, after they had gone to bed, the tapping took place at the front door at the same regular intervals until they, the intrepid couple, went to sleep. Grandfather stated it never happened again and that he never could figure out any reason for the phenomenon I suggested that the new home was built on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground and that the spirits of warriors long gone were annoyed at the encroachment of the white couple. Or, per chance, an Indian maiden whose lover had been killed had died of a broken heart on this spot. Grandfather merely pooh poohed my romantic imaginings. Resorting to his firm beliefs, he assured me that there is no such thing as ghosts and that all events, however mysterious, have a logical and reasonable explanation if one knew all the facts.
My grandfather was a young man during the Civil War. He and my grandmother grew up during the times of the great controversies concerning slavery. Should it be abolished? Should it be allowed to remain where it had already existed, but not allowed to expand? New states were being added to the nation all the time. In these new states how should slavery be handled? The Bacons and the Towars were "Free Soilers", believing that all new states should be forever free from slavery, an institution they considered morally wrong. As far as I know the members of the family , for the most part, did not favor abolition. Slavery, they thought, should be done away with gradually, and the slave owner should receive recompense for the monetary loss he may have suffered. However, there were some relatives who had a more radical view. My mother has told me that she did have relatives who were part of the underground railway - the underground movement which, at considerable danger to the participants, helped run away slaves escape to Canada. She was very proud of this bit of family history. The opposing view to "Free Soil" was led by Stephen A. Douglas. This view was called "popular Sovereignty." The new state would, by ballot, decide whether it would be free or slave. I will not go into the exciting history of these times; but one event stands out. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas were opposing each other in a run for the office of Senator of Illinois. As part of their campaign, they had a series of debates concerning these matters of new states and slavery. The most famous of these debates occurred at Freeport, Illinois. This debate held the very telling question asked by Mr. Lincoln which, although he lost the race for the Illinois Senate, was an important factor in his winning the Presidency. My grandmother, Mary Lucina, attended this debate. It was one of her best memories. 7
Rose Elizabeth "Rosebeth" Towar
Birth: 29 Sep 1870 - Lena, Stephenson County, Illinois Christening: Death: 3 May 1928 - Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona Burial:
Father: Francis Reuben Towar Mother: Mary Lucina Bacon 5 6
Spouses and Children
1. *Peter Isaac Edson 7 8 Marriage: 30 Nov 1899 - Iowa Falls, Hardin County, IA Children: 1. Hope Towar Edson 2. Dorcas Dorothy Edson 9
I have been told that my mother, Rosebeth was a healthy baby. She was thrown from a horse when she was seven years old. The injuries she suffered at this time resulted in her being an invalid the rest of her life. An X-ray taken in the last years of her life revealed that her heart had, in that accident, been thrown out of kilter. All of life she suffered severe heart attacks. She died of such an attack at the age of fifty-seven. The disappointment and tragedy of their children did not embitter Frank and Mary. They took a great interest in young people. It seems that they had frequent and regular get togethers with the young folk of the neighborhood. There were refreshments and games on hand at all times. This leads me to remark on some of my grandfather's ideas about discipline, youthful behavior, etc. At a time when playing cards were considered the handwork of the devil, he permitted card games in his home. "Better," he said, "than hiding out in a drafty barn." At a time when the adage "Spare the rod, Spoil the child" was practically an article of faith, my grandfather did not believe in corporal punishment. His favorite remark concerning this matter was, "you beat one devil out and seven devils in" In civic and social affairs the Towars were active. Grandfather was a charter member of the National Grange in the area. The Grange was a National organization to unify the farmers and to further their interests. It is still in existence. Grandfather, also, was a deacon in the church and was, as far as I know, considered a prosperous farmer. At one time, whether it was before his marriage or not, I do not know, he belonged to the Vigilantes. I should judge it was when he was a young man. According to his account, horse stealing was very common 'in an early day'. The law was not yet strong in the area, and the farmers organized the Vigilantes for self preservation. Grandfather, however, was never required to attend a 'neck tie party'.
Rosebeth and Peter Edson
Both my mother and my father were born in the 1870's. Mother was a little older than Dad. She was thirty when they married. As I have indicated my mother's childhood was protected, and although, after the accident, she was frail and often ill, it was a happy childhood. A favorite experience she had when she was a little girl was to go on a trip. Grandpa would hitch some kind of a vehicle, supply it with what was necessary and he and little Rose would take off. It seems that they camped here and there at farms getting eggs, milk, etc. From the farm house Mother described to me woodland areas, springs, little creeks and the little wild creatures. His memories of these outings were very precious. It seemed that many evenings were spent with books and magazines. Grandma would probably be mending and Grandpa and Rose would take turns reading aloud. Other evenings were spent playing games. This past time lived down to my childhood. After supper (no Dinner) the dishes and kitchen were cleaned up. I can even remember the big kerosene lamp being set on the dining table as the family gathered around. Sometimes it was dominoes. As I grew older we played cards more often. Euchre, High Five (sometimes called Pedro) were our favorite games. I know this was a continuation of my mothers younger days. Caring parents, little in the way of financial worries, simply happiness seemed to be the ingredients that made up my mother's childhood. 7
Birth: 17 Nov 1877 - Stephenson County, Illinois Christening: Death: 16 Aug 1878 - Stephenson County, Illinois Burial:
Father: Francis Reuben Towar Mother: Mary Lucina Bacon 5 6
1 Ron and Judy MacKendricks Records.
2 Unknown, "Reuben Tower Notes found on separate sheets of paper in the Towar Bible."
3 The History of Stephenson County, Illinois (Document Provided By Ancestry.com. Then History of Stephenson County Illinois: contain a history of the county, its cities, towns, &c., biographical sketches of citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics, portraits of early settlers and prominent men, history of the Northwest, history of Illinois.).
4 Unknown, "Ezra Day notes found on separate sheets of paper in the Towar Bible."
Mary Lucina Bacon Edson Obituary (
Illinois, Stephenson County, "1850 Census, Population Schedule" (Washington DC National Archives.
7 Writings of Dorcas Dorothy Edson Davis, "Writings of Dorcas Dorothy Edson Davis" (Dorcas wrote her memiors over a period of time from about 1985-2004. Her daughter Helen Rose Davis Hawkins has transcribed these writings with some editing and footnotes.).
8 George Thomas Edson, Nathan Edson and His Descendants (Filley, Nebraska; 1926 The Filley Spotlight).
Helen Rose Davis Hawkins (These are stories that Helen Rose Davis Hawkins remembers her mother telling her.).