I knew and remember my Great Grandmother Bower, who was born Hattie Almedia Bare. I didn’t know her well, though. I was only seven years old when she died in 1975. From my family’s occasional visits from our home in Harrisonburg, Virginia to our ancestral homeland in Ashe County, North Carolina, where my great-grandmother lived, I cherish a few fragmented memories of Grandma Bower’s home: hard candies in heavy, lidded, clear crystal bowls; old, stale circus peanuts in open dishes; candied peanuts, dark red and bumpy; a clean house with fine furniture; doilies on tables and linens on the armrests of sofas. My memories of Grandma Bower herself are even rarer: I’m left with only a vague impression: a larger, older woman, with soft skin and a soft, kind voice. I can’t remember anything she said or anything we did together, but I know that I felt loved when I was with her.
Hattie Almedia Bare was born on 7 February 1895 in North Carolina. According to census records, she lived in Jefferson, Ashe, NC in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1935, and 1940 (the last decade for which records are public). Hattie married George Cecil Bower, son of James Eli Bower and Emma Jane Bare; George was born on 2 September 1893, also in North Carolina. Hattie died on 28 April 1975 at the age of 80 in Jefferson, Ashe, NC, where she was buried.
George Cecil Bower and Hattie Almedia Bare had the following children:
- Ruby Helen Bower, born 10 May 1913, Ashe, NC; married Mont Warden Little, 24 Dec 1936, Ashe, NC; died 23 Jan 2013, Ashe, NC.
- Olney Paul Bower, born 30 Apr 1915, Ashe, NC; died 24 Feb 1993, Ashe, NC.
- George Pell Bower was born on 3 Jun 1917 in Ashe, NC; died on 19 Nov 2000 at the age of 83 in Ashe, NC.
- Ann Albertine Bower, born 7 Feb 1920, Wagoner Ashe, NC; married Clem O Smith Jr, 17 Feb 1943, Forsyth, NC; died 7 Dec 2006.
- Kenneth Fields Bower was born on 1 Sep 1922 in Ashe, NC.
- Audrey Bower, born 16 Nov 1927.
- Doris Madge Bower, born 31 Oct 1928, Ashe, NC.
- Wanda Bower was born on 23 Jul 1933.
UPDATE: After an interesting comment below, I began to question whether I have been misspelling my great-grandmother’s middle name, which I had recorded as “Almedia.” A search of the Social Security Administration’s Popular Baby Names database revealed that the name “Almedia” has never been among the top 1000 baby names, while the name “Almeda” was once quite popular, peaking in 1902. So I began to wonder if I’d been misspelling Hattie’s name. It appears I was not misspelling her middle name, that “Almedia,” is indeed correct. That, or it was also misspelled on her death certificate, which records her name as “Hattie Almedia.” I found no documents where her middle name was recorded as “Almeda.” Rather, this death certificate is the only record that I’ve been able to find that reveals the full spelling of her middle name; other records either use the name “Hattie Bare” or “Hattie A. Bare.” So, for now, it’s “Hattie Almedia Bare.”
Rev. Joe Stephen “Steve” Little, Jr.
9286 Old Dumfries Road
Catlett, VA 20119