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The days before the war, when I was a happy child

By Jim

On the second day of January 1927, Mrs. Julia Agnes Allen Powell of Rolla, Missouri, penned a note to accompany her two dollar subscription renewal to the Adair County News. In the brief message, she stated that although she had departed Adair County almost sixty years earlier, she still looked forward to receiving her "old home paper."

Mrs. Allen, a native of either Clinton or Cumberland County, was then approaching her 80th birthday. She, her parents, and older siblings resided in Adair County by 1850, and that was where young Miss Allen met and fell in love with Jeptha T. Powell. They were married there in February 1867, a few months before she turned 20.


Julia and Jeptha's oldest, Sallie, arrived the following year, and in 1869, the young family along with Julia's mother, Elizabeth, packed up and went west to settle near Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri. Over the next several years, Sallie became a big sister to ten brothers and sisters and sisters.

In the above-mentioned note, Mrs. Powell also wrote, "Sometimes I see the name of an old school friend, which carries me back to the days before the war, when I was a happy child in my old Kentucky home."

Jeptha and Julia were married for 57 years before his death in 1924; Julia joined him in eternity in the fall of 1933, age 86 years, four months, and one day. The December 6, 1933 News carried an unsigned but lovingly written memorial tribute to Mrs. Powell, stating that she was the youngest child of John and Elizabeth Nichols Allen, and that
"[Her] childhood and youth were spent at her father's home, near Columbia. in Adair County. She became the wife of Jeptha T. Powell, also of Adair County, in 1867, and with him and her widowed mother, left her old home in Kentucky in 1869. They settled near Rolla. Mo., and here made their home, rearing eleven children, ten of whom survive their father and mother."
"She professed religion while still a girl and united with the Zion Baptist Church of Adair County many years ago. Her life has been that of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. She has been a loving, tender mother to her children and a blessing to the neighborhood in which she lived.

"During the last year of her life, when she was confined to her bed, her memories were often of her old home in Kentucky, of her old friends and schoolmates. She so often talked of Caroline Willis, of Martha and Mollie Willis, of Juliet Miller, of Bill Jeffries, of the Garnetts, the Dunbars, the Pattersons [likely referring to the Pattesons], of old friends and teachers Always she spoke of them with fondness, and a wistful longing. To her they were ever young, as she had known them. Her own hair was silver, but she saw them with the bright locks of youth. Her hope was once again to visit her old home town, Columbia, and to meet again the friends of her youth.

"She has gone to a land where there are no more tears. . ."

Of the persons and families named above, Juliet Miller, the daughter of Gaither Miller and very close in age to Julia, died before Jeptha and Julia moved to Missouri. Caroline Willis married W.F. "Bill" Jeffries, well-known Columbia business man and founder of Jeffries Hardware; Martha and Mollie (Mary) were Caroline's sisters; the Pattersons included Oliver Bomar "O.B." Patteson of Civil War fame; and (future) Judge James Garnett numbered among the family mentioned here.

An image of Mrs. Powell in her later years is viewable online at findagrave.com. Entering her name as "Julia Agnes Powell" is the only information needed to access the photograph.


This story was posted on 2018-12-02 07:17:13
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