Tuesday, February 24, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #8 Gowdy's Good Deed

My 3rd great-grand uncle, John K. Gowdy
A Family History Comprising the Surnames of Gowdy
and the Variant Forms
 by Mahlon Myron Gowdy, 1919, p. 537.
John K. Gowdy's son was born on the last day of November 1867 in the little town of Arlington, Indiana. Given the rather unusual name of Latta Theodore, he was the pride of his father, the joy of his mother, and their first born -- a beautiful and sprightly child.

On March 24, 1870, little Latta Gowdy died.

He was only two years, three months and twenty-four days of age.  Those, who have wept, and still weep over a loss like this -- the death of a first born -- can best sympathize with those who weep.  His [father], mother and sister survive.  (Rushville Republican, 22 Aug 1931, p. 4)

It must have been a terrible shock to the Gowdy family, especially since their daughter Fanny had been born just two weeks earlier. I'm sure that John never got over the loss of his beloved son, yet he found a way to ease his grief and help someone else in the process. Sometime around 1876, John Gowdy took in a boy from the Cincinnati Children's Home.

For three years, the Gowdys provided a caring home for this new son.  Then something completely unexpected happened...

Last week the boy's father, living at Lawrenceburg, heard of his whereabouts, came and claimed him, and they reluctantly gave him up. (Rushville Republican, 16 Oct 1879, p. 3.)

I really wish I knew what the boy's name was so that I could find out more about him.  Hopefully, his father treated him well.  I like to think that John Gowdy's kindness had a lasting impact on the boy's life.


  1. Wow! What an incredible story! It gave me chills. I hope you are able to find out more about this boy and what became of him.

    1. Thanks for reading! I was able to find the guardianship records for Hamilton County, Ohio online, but only the children's names are indexed, not their guardians. Not sure what to do next, but I won't give up!

  2. How sad that John Gowdy had to give up the boy. Since the guardianship records still exist, you may be able to find out more about the boy eventually, even if it takes time.

    1. It seems like there is more information about the boy just waiting to be found, but it is probably not online. I might have to make a trip to Ohio!
      Thanks for reading!