St. Clair County Remnants Of The Past


St. Clair County
Remnants Of The Past

St. Clair County Courier
21 March 2003

Boswell to celebrate 90th birthday

John Boswell was born March 25, 1913, on a farm near Collins, to Tom and Effie Tucker Boswell. He is the youngest of six children. His mother passed away when he was about a year old. His oldest sister, Oral, who was 12 years his senior, became his mother figure. John has often praised his father for his constant love and care while raising a family of six and keeping them all together while being a full-time farmer. This influenced his whole life, because as an adult, John put his family first and was always helpful to all family members in times of poor health or need.
John was five years old when his father got his first automobile, a new 1918 Model T Ford. When asked if the whole family could ride in it together, John laughed and said, “There were not seatbelts then, and besides that, I was just a little guy. We all rode just fine.” When he was 14 he learned to drive in a 1927 Model T Ford and later that same year he learned to drive a 1927 Chevrolet.
John started to school at the age of four in a one room school in Oak Ridge school district. The school was called the Tillery School because the land for the school had been donated by the Tillery family. His first teacher was Effie Peterman. After graduating from eighth grade at Tillery School, he went to Collins High School. There, in addition to his academic studies, he played on the school’s baseball and basketball teams. He said that in those days when they went to another school for a game, they stayed overnight and the members of the visiting team stayed with people in the community where they were playing. John graduated from high school at the age of 16. There were five people in his graduating class.
For the next three years John worked with his dad on the farm north of Collins. The farming was done using horses and mules. John also recalls helping to cut blocks of ice from the creek and then hauling the blocks into Collins in a wagon. The ice had to be eight inches thick before they could cut it so during mild winters where was no ice to cut.
At the age of 19, John became a student at Central Missouri State Teachers College (now Central Missouri State University) in Warrensburg. While there, he worked in a little café as a short order cook and a waiter, to help pay for his college tuition. He had completed one full year when the Depression forced his withdrawal from college.
After leaving college, John found employment at the general store in Collins, a combination grocery and feed store. It was while he was working there that he met Ruby Thompson, of rural Weaubleau. John’s best friend was dating Ruby’s best friend and they introduced them. Approximately six months alter, on June 13, 1936, John and Ruby were married. For the first year of their marriage, they lived on the farm where John had grown up, as his father was ill and needed help with the farm work. John also continued to work at the general store.
1937 brought many changes for them – much happiness and much sadness. Their first child, Eddie, was born in April, but he lived only two days. A short time later, Ruby’s aunt, Cora Selvidge, was in poor health, so John and Ruby moved to the farm where Ruby had grown up to care for her aunt and to farm the land. Their farm was located between Weaubleau and Wheatland. They purchased their first automobile, a 1929 Pontiac. They got their first phone in 1937 as well, but it was not until 1946 that electricity was available. They lived there until February of 1966, when John took a job with Butler Manufacturing in Kansas City. They raised three children while living there: Corinne, Durl, and Richard. John used horses for farming until 1941, when he got his first John Deere tractor. They had milk cows, raised hogs and chickens, and several different crops.
Their three children all attended school in Weaubleau and all three graduated from Weaubleau High School. John and Ruby were avid supporters of the school activities their children participated in, especially sports. John served on the Weaubleau School Board from 1955-58. After their children were no longer in school, they continued to support the school teams. In the late 1980s, they were lauded in the Weaubleau High School Annual for their support.
John drove a tank wagon for the local Standard Oil Dealer, Warder Park, from 1950-61. He delivered fuel for farm machinery and heating oil for homes all around the area. During this he continued to farm. He was the Postmaster in Weaubleau from 1961 to February of 1966, when he went to work for Butler Manufacturing in Kansas City. He and Ruby moved to Liberty and lived there until John retired in June of 1978. They moved back to their farm between Weaubleau and Wheatland and lived there until Ruby’s health deteriorated and they moved to Osceola to be closer to medical care for her. John and Ruby were happily married for over 65 years.
For many years after John retired, he raised huge gardens of vegetables. He raised much more than they could use so he took tomatoes, cantaloupe, green beans, onions, etc. to many of their friends who could no longer garden, and also to the folks who lived in the Senior Housing in Weaubleau. Even now he has tomatoes growing behind his apartment in Osceola.
John is a Charter Member of the Weaubleau Lions Club that was established in 1963. He continues to support their activities when he can.
In addition to three living children and their spouses, John has 12 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
While he is no longer as physically active as he once was, he has learned to use the computer and enjoys reading the newspapers from all over the country on the internet, keeping up with all sports, and he enjoys playing games on the computer. He is an avid reader (prefers Westerns or sports) and works crossword puzzles almost daily. He uses his phone to keep in touch with family and friends and he loves to have them come to visit.
John takes great pride in his family and loves having them around, especially those great grandchildren. He is a great favorite of them as well, and when they are with him, they vie for their favorite seat, “grandpa’s knee”.

Contributed by: Stacy Kelly