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
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
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
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
John is a Charter Member of the Weaubleau Lions Club that was
established in 1963. He continues to support their activities when he
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,
Contributed by: Stacy Kelly