Murdo Girl…Constance Francis Bowers

I have written in great detail about the Sanderson side of my family, so I thought I would tell you a little more about the Francis family. My Dad, Bill Francis, was the only son to come back to Murdo after the war. It seems that during WWII, most of the family, with the exception of my Uncle Chuck Francis, settled in California. Chuck lived with his family in New York.

I have written a poem of sorts about my Grandma Connie, (as I heard her called), but first I would like to tell you a cute story my Dad told me about his Mother.


Dad (little Bill), had 2 brothers. John was was older, and Charles (Chuck), a little over 5 years younger. One day Grandma Connie was getting frustrated with Chuck, who was probably 2 at the time. little Bill heard her say, “I would sell this baby for 5 cents right now!” Hearing this, little Bill went to his piggy bank and took out a nickel. He presented his payment to his Mother and said he was buying baby Chuck. Grandma took his payment, and they shook hands on the deal. Together they packed up all of Chuck’s things and moved him to little Bill’s room.

Hardly any time had gone by when here came little Bill with the baby and all his things. He said he had changed his mind and wanted his nickel back. Grandma gave him his nickel and advised him to be very careful of a deal that sounds “too good to be true.”

In all the photos except when she was very young, Grandma Connie looks like a Grandma.  I don’t mean that she looked old, but you have to admit we Grandmothers now don’t wear house dresses and sturdy black shoes. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and quite the feminist for those days. She even had the word “obey” taken out of the vows of her first marriage. She changed her name from Content to Constance as noted below each of the photos.

I was named after both Grandmothers. Mary after Mary Sanderson, and Constance after Grandma Connie. (Mom called me Mary Content if she was super upset with me.)

Constance Francis Bowers with her Grandson, Billy Francis.

Constance Francis Bowers

She lived before me, her years were few, this woman that I never knew.

I didn’t know her, but knew of her, Constance was my Father’s Mother.

I’ve seen her pictures from way back then, and letters that she sometimes penned.

Her husband died and went to heaven. My Father William was only seven.

Son Charles was 2, John only 10. These boys were hers alone to tend.

She owned a hardware store in Murdo, and tried her best to make it go.

No time to grieve, she worked long hours. Then Constance Francis wed William Bowers.

1-IMG_20160814_0004 (3 files merged)_1
Bill Bowers was 55 and Connie was 38 when they married.

William had lost his children’s Mother, and until Connie, had loved no other.

By all accounts they got along. There’s was a union described as strong.

Dad Bowers and Connie, six kids in tow, lived fifteen years above the Depot

The Murdo Depot

Life was good, but there were fears, for these were the depression years.

The small rooms above the railroad station, had no plumbing for the duration.

The heat was from two old coal stoves. They carried water to wash their clothes.

The years went by, the children grew, then they were faced with World War II.

Most of the six stayed way out West, after the war, they thought it best.

Charles the youngest, Connie’s pride, got a furlough when Dad Bowers died.

It was 1943, it seemed California was the place to be.

In 46, after the war, Connie sold Francis hardware store.

To California she made her way, where son Charles attended UCLA

She made a home for Charles and his friends, but far too soon her story ends

She made plans to visit Murdo, but got too sick and couldn’t go.

1948 was the year she died. Her son Charles was by her side.

She was only 59. I am her family and she was mine.



Bill Francis, an Army Engineer, later chose a plumbing career.

He married Loretta  and settled down, they raised two children in their hometown.

John chose teaching as his career path; moved to Pasadena, and taught High School Math.

Bob, Bev , and Margarete, were the nicest people you could ever meet.

In California, they built their lives; Margarete with her husband, Bob and Bev with their wives.

Barbara and Charles, the youngest of all, lived in New York and raised Abby and Paul.


All of us are God’s creations, and our families span the generations.

Remember family… where it all starts, and they’ll live forever in your hearts

The Francis family in New York for Uncle Chucks funeral…The part of the Depot at the Pioneer Auto Museum.


Beautiful family Queen Elizabeth







11 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Constance Francis Bowers

  1. countrygirl57 August 14, 2016 / 5:23 pm

    Great story. Love the 5-cent deal!!😊

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. scoper07 August 14, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    Shows your dad had a kind heart at a young age. It’s nice to hear about your other side of the family. Nice story Murdo Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch August 14, 2016 / 5:57 pm

      Constance is a special name 07. I’m very proud to be one, even if I’m in the middle. Dad did have a kind heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. scoper07 August 14, 2016 / 6:35 pm

    You are in great company 1900.

    Liked by 1 person

      • scoper07 August 14, 2016 / 7:32 pm

        Your intelligence and perception are showing through so no you should not be worried.


  4. sanjuan831 August 15, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Loved hearing about the Francis and Bowers matchup. Marguerite sure had a lot of boys to deal with growing up. Mom loved her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch August 15, 2016 / 10:11 am

      According to Chuck’s book, Margarete didn’t get along with Connie at first. She was used to being the woman of the house. She was 15, and spent quite a bit of time with her grandparents in Iowa. later, she and Connie were great friends. PS. I checked and I spelled Margarete correctly.


  5. Billy Francis August 15, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    Great Post! Chuck and Barbara lived in California until 1961. I was supposed to stay with them that summer. When I arrived, Chuck informed me that they were moving to NY and I would be staying with John and his family. I am sure I would have had fun if Chuck had stayed, but no more than my adventures with the John Francis family! It was a summer I will never forget. I worked at the Coliseum parking lots and parked cars for the Dodgers. Once the cars were parked, I went to the Dodger game. (Never missed one!) When the Dodgers were on the road, I explored downtown LA, Disneyland, Pacific Ocean Park, Knotts Berry Farm and the Hollywood Park race track! Uncle John was the only person I ever knew that was funnier than Dad. He told jokes at the dinner table. I laughed so hard, that I could not eat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch August 15, 2016 / 6:01 pm

      Funny, I don’t remember you taking your little sister all those fun places. I do remember Uncle John’s intercom announcements. He was funny.


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