Murdo Girl…Snap the picture, tell the story

Thornton-Pickard was established in 1888 in Manchester. After the death of one of the owners, and the resignation of another, the company ceased to exist in 1939.


(Found..the lens and the maker)

Thornton Pickard MCC No.6 Projector with brass lens ‘The Hatton’, fitted for an electric lamp..

I saw her at the depot and photographed her without her knowledge. As I looked at her lovely countenance, I tried to imagine why she traveled here. She was impeccably dressed and seemed so full of self assurance. I would guess she was highly intelligent and her life must be, or must have been, a big life. This kind of woman had family and friends who adored her. Did she arrive alone?

Content Abbie Bottom-001I was orphaned at the age of eleven. My mother and my father, a physician, died from a terrible illness. It was an epidemic that overcame so many. In some cases, entire families died. I was destined to live and I intended to lead a life I could be proud of.

I didn’t come here alone. I arrived with my husband. He was a handsome young man who was in the business of owning and operating hardware stores.

My granddaughter wrote this poem about my life here. Little did I know that some of my best years would be lived above the Murdo Depot. I raised my family there.

Constance Francis Bowers

She lived before me, her years were few, this woman who 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 two, John only ten. 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.

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. Their’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, and 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 for a trip to Murdo, but became too ill and couldn’t go.

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

She died at the age of fifty-nine. I am one of her family, and she was one of mine.

Connie Bowers and little Billy
Connie Bowers with Billy Francis


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

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

John stayed out west on a whim and Margaret left teaching in Murdo to marry him. 

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 made good lives. Happy to be where winter never arrives. 

Charles married Barbara and moved to New York. The depression was over. He would eat no more salt pork. Yes, Chuck, the youngest of all, had an amazing career and raised Abby and Paul.


All of us are God’s creations. Our families span the generations.

 Some come to us by birth, others arrive magically. Some carry our blood or bring us life after tragedy. Yes, remember them well right from the start and let them live forever, deep in your heart.


4 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…Snap the picture, tell the story

  1. Bobby February 27, 2018 / 12:23 am

    Dear Cousin, you are near perfect now, but I will not accept any credit. Your blogs are educational, informative, entertaining, and they unmask your loving character in so many ways. Just a great combination.


    • Mary Francis McNinch March 3, 2018 / 8:33 am

      Thank you Bobby…I’m saving this comment to read on the tough days. You are very kind. I have always known that!


  2. Bobby February 26, 2018 / 9:38 am

    Awesome poetic history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch February 26, 2018 / 12:27 pm

      Thank you, Cousin. When you respond to a post, I always go back and read it again. I see things I didn’t see before. You make me a better self-editor. Thank you. I’m really glad you liked the family poem.


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