2320. James Emmett McCuistion was born on 15 December 1899 in Vernon, Barton Co., Missouri.674,2414 He appeared in the census on 19 June 1900 in Barton City Township, Barton County, Missouri.674 He appeared in the census in 1910 in Barton City Township, Barton County, Missouri.671 Name moved place date.2414,2415 McCuistion family finds home and leaves long legacy in Fowler, Colo.
The McCuistion family is one of Fowler’s true pioneer families.
Nellie (Smith) McCuistion was born in Fowler in 1902 and spent her entire life in Fowler.
Nellie married James McCuistion, who came to Fowler from Missouri in 1919 at the age of 19.
“We asked Grandma McCuistion why they decided to move to Fowler and she said they lived close enough to the Ozarks, people were intermarrying and she didn’t want to have a bunch of idiots on her hands,” Dorothy (McCuistion) Baker said.
Nellie and James McCuistion made their home in Fowler and that is where each of their eight children were born and raised.
Marie, the eldest passed away three years ago at the age of 82. Martha died of typhoid fever at 18 months, Dorothy is 82, Jean 80, J.H. 78, Verena 75, Willis 73 and Maxine 71.
Dorothy, Jean and J.H. remain in Fowler. They have raised their families in Fowler and their children have continued the legacy by raising their children in Fowler.
Back in the day, they never thought of their family as poor or needy, they had food to eat and lived in a two-story four-bedroom home.
But by today’s standards, they would have been considered disadvantaged. They had no electricity until 1942 and no indoor plumbing until 1953.
Each child was responsible for chores — Dorothy and Jean spent a lot of time helping in the kitchen and J.H. was busy doing outside chores.
Mealtimes at the McCuistion house were spent as a family, even if you weren’t hungry, you were seated at the table, sharing your day’s happenings.
On a typical school day, cows would be milked and the livestock watered before school. Jean was usually in the kitchen cooking breakfast, they would clean up and off to school they went.
“Our parents were both schoolteachers, so they insisted that we get a good education, attend Sunday school and in later years saw to it we attended church,” Dorothy said.
Their mother was a pianist, she played the piano for silent movies at the theatre in Fowler.
She attempted to teach her children to play the piano, devoting 30-minutes to each child.
According to the story I was told, Dorothy and J.H. were her worst students.
Their father James was a carpenter and also farmed so for the McCuistion children summers were spent thinning and hoeing beets and picking crops.
To earn money they would hire out to area farmers.
“Mama would figure out how many rows were in a acre, that’s how we were paid, by how many rows we hoed and thinned, sometimes we would play and visit and wouldn’t earn enough money,” said Jean.
“I never had any money, I remember my dad giving me a little roan calf to raise, he butchered it for the meat and gave me the hide to sell, I got $4 dollars for it,” J.H. said.
“I remember one summer I made $26 dollars, I think I bought a new pair of shoes and a coat,” Jean said.
“We would sit around the table, looking through the Montgomery Wards catalogue. We would pick out what we wanted or needed and that’s what we spent our summer earnings on.” recalled Jean.
“The Montgomery Wards catalogue and the Fowler Tribune were what we had to read, after everyone had read it, it served another use in the outhouse,” J.H. said.
“Back then money was shared amongst the family, if we had money saved and our parents needed it, they used it,” J.H. said.
As for their most exciting childhood memories, Dorothy and Jean agreed, it was during the summer after hoeing was done everyone would bring a freezer of ice cream and they would have an ice cream social.
As teenagers they had their own money and once a year they would go to the theater.
They remembered seeing Shirley Temple movies and Gone With the Wind.
“We lived those movies all year, we would act it out and talk about it all year long,” Dorothy remembered.
“It would cost 15 cents to go to show, they would have Saturday night money nights,” J.H. remembered.
Saturday night was the night they went to town to shop and once in awhile they would get a nickel to buy an ice cream bar or candy, back then you could get five or six piece of candy for a penny.
That was a rare treat for the McCuistion family, they never had much of that and never expected it.
“We took care of anything we had, dolls, clothes, etc., we appreciated everything we had and were taught to take care of it,” recalled Jean.
Discipline was not uncommon, especially for J.H. “I think I got at least 10 spankings a day from mom and one a year from dad,” he recalled.
“Our parents weren’t affectionate people, they never told us they loved us, but we knew they did,” J.H. said.
“I remember the day I left for the Army, I gave my mom a hug and it was like hugging a chair,” J.H. recalled with a laugh.
“Our parents were kind and generous people, I can remember them taking in gypsies, feeding them a warm meal, giving them work chopping wood, they never judged anyone, they accepted you for what you were,” Jean said.
Holidays were held at the McCuistion home simply because they had the biggest house.
It was a day of fun with cousins and neighbors if they didn’t have a place to go.
The McCuistion family was one of three or four families in the Fowler community that weren’t Danish.
“Mom played the piano, so we were always included at the Dane Hall activities, we all learned to dance at the Dane Hall. I remember an occasion in school when we were asked to raise our hand if we were Dane, I raised my hand, I thought I was a Dane,” Dorothy chuckled.
Life was simple, spending time with family, kids entertaining themselves, there were no televisions to watch or video games to play. People worked hard for what they had and appreciated it, they helped each other and didn’t judge.
My how things have changed.
James graduated on 15 May 1919 in Liberal High School.1402 At Commencement exercises for the seven senior graduates he gave an oration "Great Lives in History." The exercises were held in the Idle Hour Theatre. The Graduates were: N. May Curless, Helen Wimmer, Harry W. Bailey, Minna A. Talbott, James E. McCuistion and Lorene Todd. He was elected as Water Commissioner in 1955 in Fowler, Otero County, Colorado.2414 He retired on 28 February 1975 in Fowler, Otero County, Colorado.2414 James died on 19 September 1975 at the age of 75 in Pueblo, Colorado.2414 James E. suffered a stroke on 15 July 1975 and subsequent paralysis. He died at Four Seasons Nursing Home of a heart attack. He was buried on 22 September 1975 in Fowler Cemetery, Fowler, Otero County, Colorado.2414 He was a Carpenter, Farmer, Builder and Teacher in Fowler, Otero County, Colorado.2414 Was also employed by the Santa Fe Railroad, Fowler, Colorado. James has reference number 222(57-351).
James Emmett McCuistion and Nellie Inez Smith were married on 17 June 1923 in Fowler, Otero County, Colorado.2414 Married by Rev. Lawrence W. Coffman at Fowler, Colorado. Nellie Inez Smith134, daughter of Charles Henry Smith and Carrie Francis Kingsley, was born on 11 July 1902 in Fowler, Otero County, Colorado. She died on 14 January 1997 at the age of 94 in Fowler, Otero County, Colorado. She was buried on 17 January 1997 in Fowler Cemetery, Fowler, Otero County, Colorado. Nellie was educated in Colorado Teachers College, Greeley, Colorado. She was a Teacher, Cook, U.S. Mail Carrier. She got her first teaching job at Pleasant Hill, Colorado; then Grand Valley, Colorado. Both were one room schools. Nellie taught grades 1 through 8. She was Methodist. She was a life time member of the United Methodist Church, where she played the piano for 50 years. During her teenage years, she played piano for the silent movies that were played at the local theatre.
James Emmett McCuistion-53 and Nellie Inez Smith-97 had the following children: