John C. McGowan



JOHN C. McGOWAN. There are few people residing in the vicinity of West Branch to whom this gentleman is not personally known. He arrived in this city on the 2d of October, 1880. and at once opened a hardware store, investing his capital of 1250 in a stock of goods. From the first success attended his efforts, and his industry received the reward which was its just due. His was the first hardware store in the village, and he is now the oldest hardware merchant in Ogemaw County. The store of which he is the proprietor is a large structure, one hundred and thirty feet deep, and is stocked with a full assortment of hardware, tinware, agricultural implements, and other articles usually found in an establishment of this kind.

To Mr. McGowan additional credit is due from the fact of his loyal service in behalf of the Union. His patriotic spirit was aroused by the attempted rebellion of the Confederacy, and soon after the opening of the Civil War he enlisted to defend, with his life if need be, the honor of the Old Flag. He enlisted in April, 1861, and on the 2d of May was mustered into service as a member of Company C, First Vermont Infantry. After a faithful service of four months, the regulars were discharged, and he returned to his home. He is now a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, being identified with W. B. Hazen Post No. 371.

The McGowan family originated in Scotland, where the paternal grandfather of our subject was born. John C. and Sarah A. (Buckley) McGowan, parents of our subject, were residents of Vermont where the latter died. The father afterward came to West Branch and spent the balance of his days with John C., dying at his home in 1889, at the age of eighty-eight. His occupation was that of a clothier, at which he worked industriously, but never became well-to-do. Politically he was a stanch Democrat, and in his social connections was identified with the Masonic fraternity.

In the parental family there were six children who arrived at years of maturity. Charles, the eldest, has at different times been engaged as a farmer, merchant and tanner; he is now a resident of Richford, Vt. Erastus H., a farmer, lives in West Branch. George W., who was formerly a hardware merchant, makes his home in St. Albans, Vt. Olcott S., who is engaged in agricultural pursuits, is a resident of Fairfax, Mich. William B. is a dentist in Montreal, Canada. John C. is the youngest of the family.

Born in Fairfield, VI., August 1, 1838, our subject was reared to manhood in the Green Mountain State. In boyhood he had no educational advantages, as he was early obliged to earn his own livelihood. At the age of twelve years he went to St. Albans, where for eight months he worked in a printing-office. His employers failing, he was forced to turn elsewhere for work. He then began to learn the trade of a tinner, and on the completion of his apprenticeship continued in the occupation, being thus engaged until his removal to Michigan. He made considerable money, but was unfortunate in his investments, and lost the most of his property, so that on coming to Michigan lie had very little with which to start in business.

Politically our subject is an advocate of Democratic doctrines, believing that the platform of his party contains the principles most conducive to the prosperity of our country. For a time he filled the position of School Moderator, and he has also served as Town Treasurer, member of the Council and Judge of the Probate Court. His social connections are with the Knights of the Maccabees. He occupies a handsome residence, one of the best in the county, in addition to which he owns several business blocks in West Branch, including that in which his store is located.

The lady who presides over the pleasant home of Mr. McGowan and with whom he was united in marriage in Massachusetts, bore the maiden name of Mary Hyde and was born in Canada. They are the parents of six children, named as follows: Edward H.; Lilah, wife of R. C. Winslow, of West Branch; John C., Jennie, William and Irvia. The sons and daughters have been given excellent educational advantages, and under the judicious training of their parents have been fitted to occupy positions of honor and prominence in the business and social world.

Title Portrait and Biographical Record of Northern Michigan, Containing Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Together with Biographies and Portraits of All the Presidents of the United States
PublisherRecord publishing Company, 1895
Original fromthe University of Michigan
DigitizedJul 17, 2006
Length551 pages
John C McGowan444-445
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