Friday, June 29, 2012

Lycurgus Confucious Cowardin, 1872-1903

I was spending time today with some of the COWARDIN relatives.  Specifically, Lycurgus Confucious Cowardin or "Curg" to his friends.  Curg was the son of Collin Hunter Cowardin and Louisa McLoud and was born in Illinois.  The Cowardin family moved from Illinois to Iowa in 1875 when Curg was about three years old.

In 1896, Curg married Lydia Ann LINCOLN.  She was the daughter of Alvin A. Lincoln and Sally Jane Hobson.  The following year they had a daughter, Byma Lincoln Cowardin.  In 1899 another daughter was born named either Lora or Leora "Sarah".  In 1902 Dwight Leslie was born and their last child was born in 1903 and was named Lycurgus Chalmers.

On March 15, 1903, Curg went out to his duck blind on the Missouri River, just a little less than a mile from his home.  Unlike hunters of today who hunt mostly for sport I'm sure Curg was hunting for food to feed his family.  Curg had probably been handling a gun for many years and duck hunting since he was a boy.  However, on this fateful day he made the mistake of reaching for the gun and taking it by the muzzle.  The trigger caught on something and the bullet entered his left wrist and travelled up to his elbow, just about taking his lower arm off.   He was weak, probably lost a lot of blood and in shock but he was also alone so he had to do his best to make it back home by himself.  According to reports when he got close to his house he called for help.  He was taken inside and the Doctor was called  but his injuries were too great.  

Lycurgus Confucious Cowardin died at 5:05 am on the morning of March 16, 1903. He was just 30 years old.

From the Mill County Tribune, March 19, 1903
L.C. Cowardin Accidentally Shot While Hunting Ducks

L.C. Coward, living northwest of Pacific Junction about a mile distant from the Missouri river, died last Monday morning at 5 o'clock from the effects of the accidental discharge of a shot gun.

On Sunday afternoon--the day before--he was down in the willows on the river bank alone, hunting ducks.  About 6 o'clock while waiting for game he set his gun up against a willow in front of him.  Wishing to recover it, he reached forward and grasping the barrel near the muzzle with his left hand, drew it towards him.  The hammer caught on a twig, the gun was discharged, the load catching the unfortunate man in his wrist and tearing its way up the forearm to the elbow.

This is the story of the accident as related by Mr. Cowardin and confirmed by those who visited the spot later and found his gun.

He immediately started for home, a mile distant, faint from the shock and growing momentarily weaker from the loss of blood, and the trip was the limit of his endurance.  It was 8 o'clock before a doctor could be summoned and reach him and he never fully rallied from the shock, continuing to grow weaker until Monday morning when he died.  During most of this time he was conscious and able to talk, and told the story of the accident about as related above.

The deceased was an estimable young farmer about 30 years of age who came here about five years ago from hamburg and last fall bought a farm in section 12 of Platteville township.  He married Lydia Lincoln, the daughter of Al Lincoln, and she is left with a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy.

Funeral services were held Wednesday at 10 o'clock, at the home, conducted by Rev. I.P. Kelley of the Pacific Junction Methodist church, burial being made in the Glenwood Cemetery.

From the Malvern Leader, March 19, 1903
A fatal accident happened over on the Missouri bottom Sunday afternoon about 5 o'clock.  L.C. Cowardin had gone duck hunting and having staid some time in a "blind" watching in vain for ducks to come in he decided to go home.  Taking up his gun by the barrel he pulled it toward him when it discharged and literally tore off one of his arms.  He was given surgical attention as soon as possible but despite all efforts he died Monday morning at 5 o'clock from loss of blood.  He was a large strong man 30 years old and a son-in-law of Albert Lincoln.  The funeral was Wednesday. (Actually his father in law was Alvin A. Lincoln.  HIS father was Albert.)

From the Glenwood Opinion, March 19, 1903
The people of Pacific Junction and Glenwood and vicinity were saddened Monday to learn of the death by accidental shooting of L.C. Cowardin, commonly known as "Curg."  Mr. Cowardin was out shooting along the Missouri river Sunday afternoon.  He was on his own farm about three-fourths of a mile from the house, and about 5 o'clock was about to pick up his gun and return home.  He grasped the gun by the muzzle pulling it toward himself when the trigger struck something and it went off.  The charge went into his left arm. Cowardin made for home as pest he could.  But he was so weak from loss of blood and pain that he almost fainted several times.  When he got near enough to the house he shouted and fell in a swoon.  Dr. DeWitt was immediately summoned but the poor fellow was so exhausted that he sank rapidly and died the next morning at 5:05.  Death is particularly sad coming in such a manner to one so young.  Mr. Cowardin leaves a wife and two children. (Actually, according to census records he leaves behind a wife and four children)

Mrs. Cowardin is a daughter of Al Lincoln.  The deceased was born July 3, 1872 in Sullivan County, Mo., and besides his wife and children leaves a mother, a sister, Miss Stella, a brother, O.B. Cowardin, all of Humphreys, MO.; another brother D.K. of Filmore MO. These and Mrs. Allen, an aunt, and mark Maer, a nephew also of Humphreys, were present at the funeral which occurred Wednesday, interment being in the Glenwood Cemetery.

Interestingly enough Curg's son, Dwight Leslie Cowardin, died in a hunting accident just 30 years later.  Dwight was out with two other men and their motorboat capsized and sunk.  Dwight could not swim so his two friends tried to save him but in their attempts they almost drowned as well.  Dwight was just 32 years old at the time of his death and he left behind a wife and three children.  A twist to the story....the Jim CHEYNEY that is mentioned in the newspaper article is the brother of Edith Cheyney.  Edith is married to Dwight Cowardin's brother, Lycurgus Chalmers Cowardin.

Taken from the Burlington Gazette November 25, 1932
Farmer Drowned, Hunt Companions Have Close Call

Pacific Junction Ia., Nov 25- (AP) Dwight Cowardin, 32, a farmer near here, drowned, and two hunting companions narrowly escaped similar deaths when their motorboat capsized and sank on the Missouri river here Thursday.

Jim Cheyney, 21 and Harry Kiser, 32, the companions, sought to rescue Cowardin, who, unable to swim, nearly pulled Cheyney under.  Kiser was able to reach shore with Cheyney only after considerable difficulty.

Cowardin's body was found last night.  He is survived by his widow and three children.

Possibly one of the
Cowardin's from Iowa.
Something completely separate but possibly related to the Iowa Cowardin's is this picture of a young boy in a kilt. It's not annotated so we don't know who the boy is.  The only information was the photographer's mark: Monfort and Hill, Burlington Iowa.  A year ago when I first scanned this picture I wrote about it on Victorian Hoarders. At that time we didn't know of any Moran kinfolk that had gone to Iowa.  Today, we do.  It's very possible that boy in the kilt is one of the Cowardin children from Iowa. 

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