POWELL or James

Contributed by: William Brackett

Updated 12 Jun 2014

There is a curious family story passed down from Ada (Slocum) Swartz who was a daughter of Allie (Powell) Slocum.  Allie Powell was a daughter of John and Sarah (Brant) Powell.  The family story is that the family name of Powell was assumed, when the family was moving to another state, as the family name of James was associated with Jesse and Frank James, the outlaws.  According to this story the child (Allie) remembered, clearly, being told that from now on your name is Powell. The children of John and Sarah (Brant) James all went by Powell as did Sarah.  It may be a simple as Sarah remarried, after John James, and the new husband John Powell told the children that their name was now Powell.  No record of a marriage to John Powell has been found but in the 1885 state census of Minnesota they are listed as the Powell family as compared to the 1880 census of Michigan, in which they are listed as James. 

Sarah Brant married John Brackett in 1868.  John Brackett went off to work on the railroads with his family.  When their son Edgar Brackett was born in 1869 Sarah contacted John’s family and she was told he had died in an accident while working on the railroad.  It is said that his family disapproved of the marriage.  No death record has ever been found.  Sarah (Brant) Brackett married 2nd to John James on 14 Apr 1870 in New Buffalo, Berrien County, Michigan.  Soon after the marriage they left for Iowa and the children born between 1870 and 1880 all claim Iowa as their birthplace.  The last son, born in 1882, claims Michigan as his birth place.  Sarah Brant was the daughter of Lacey and Angeline (Brown) Brant of Berrien County, Michigan.

Lacey and Angeline (Brown) Brant had children:

Phillip Brant b. 1830

Amanda Brant b. 1835

George M. Brant b. 1840

Vincent G. Brant b. 1841

William L. Brant b. 1843

Olive Brant b. 1845

Sarah J. Brant born in Livingston, IL on 21 Jun 1850

Howard B. Brant b. 1853

Exzavia Brant b. 1855 often seen a Zaphia Brant

Sarah Jane Brant was born 21 Jun 1850 in Livingston.  Some census records give her birthplace as Illinois.  She was the daughter of Lacey and Angeline (Brown) Brant.  There is a small town of Livingston in Madison County, Illinois and a Livingston County, Illinois.  According to her Widow’s Pension file for Lacey’s service during the Civil War Angeline Brown was born in Illinois but census records indicate she was born in Vermont or Pennsylvania.  Lacey’s brother Nathaniel Brant also lived for some time in Illinois.

Note:  There is an area of Berrien County, Michigan called Livingston.  It was platted as a village but did not develop into one. 

Sarah Brant married 1st John Brackett in 1868 in Millburg, Berrien County, Michigan.  John reportedly died in 1869.  They had one child, a son, named Edgar Lacey Brackett born in 1869.  Sarah J. (Brant) “Bracket” married 2nd to John James on 14 Apr 1870 in New Buffalo, Berrien County, Michigan. In this marriage record they were both recorded as being from Benton Harbor.  Sarah was 20 years of age and John was 27 years of age.  We know from other records that she was born in Illinois.  Sarah’s maiden name in this document is given as Brant.  Sarah (Brant) appears to have married John Powell by 1873 as their daughter Olive or Allie Powell was born in Iowa that year and gives these names on her marriage record.  Another daughter Eva Powell reports she was born in Iowa on 12 Sep 1879.  Eva Powell’s death record gives her father’s name as John William Powell and her mother as Sarah Brant.  Both Madison and Nora Powell report being born in Iowa to John and Sarah Powell.  “Olive” Powell was married in 1890 in Hagar Township, Berrien County, Michigan and this was a double ceremony in which her half-brother, Edgar Brackett, was also married.  They married brother and sister, Sarah and William Wooldridge, and this appears to be Allie not “Olive” Powell.  So by 1890 some of the Powell family was back in Berrien County.  In 1893 Sarah J. Powell is listed in her father, Lacey Brant’s, probate as living in Benton Township, Michigan and as being 43 years of age.

The 1880 census of Keeler, Van Buren County, Michigan includes:

John James 39 years of age born in New York

Sarah James 30 years of age born in Michigan

Edgar James 11 years of age born in Michigan (actually Edgar Brackett)

Albert James 10 years of age born in Michigan (a line is drawn through bert, listed as daughter-Al or Allie)

Madeson James 5 years of age born in Michigan

Ellen James 3 years of age born in Michigan (actually Nora Ellen)

Pheoba James 10/12 ten months old born in Michigan (appears later as Eva)

The 1885 State census of Lake Shore, Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota includes:

John Powell 47 years of age born in New York

Sarah Powell 33 years of age born in Illinois

Ira Powell 14 years of age born in Michigan (actually Edgar Brackett)

Alfred Powell 13 years of age born in Iowa (Allie-listed as a male)

Madison Powell 9 years of age born in Iowa

Nora Powell 7 years of age born in Iowa (Nora Ellen)

Phoebe Powell 6 years of age born in Iowa (Eva)

Jennie Powell 3 years of age born in Michigan (appears to read “Jonnie”-John George Powell-listed as a female)

Notes:  These two are the same family even though the last name has changed.  The 1885 census indicates an accurate list of the children’s birth places. Did John James die after 1880 or was there a divorce and Sarah remarried John Powell or is the family story true and the family name was actually changed.  Some genealogists indicate that this was actually John William Powell son of John and Jane (James) Powell who was born on 25 May 1838 in New York.  John and Jane (James) Powell were born in England.  There is an age shift between these two records for John James and John Powell.  If he was 39 in 1880 he would have been 44 in 1885 not 47 as indicated.  This might indicate he was not the same person in both census records but the other ages vary also. In some census record the birth location of the father of some of these children is given as England.  The birth records for Van Buren County, Michigan were checked and no birth record was found for the children.

The 1900 census of Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan shows, on Buss Avenue, Sarah Powell, widow, 48 years of age, born in June 1852 in Illinois and her two “sons”, John G. and George T. Powell.  John was born in March of 1882 in Michigan and George was born in April of 1889 in Minnesota.  This record indicates that John and George’s father was born in England.  This record also indicates Sarah had 7 children 6 of them still living in 1900 and was a widow.  George T. Powell is seen in later records as Timothy Powell and was actually Sarah’s grandson.  Birth location of the father of these boys is given as England.

The 1910 census of Galien Township, Berrien County, Michigan shows Sarah Powell, widow 58 years of age, born in Illinois and her “son” Timothy 20 years of age.  Timothy was born in Minnesota and his father in New York.  This census indicates she had 8 children 7 who were living in 1910.  George T. Powell of 1900 had become Timothy Powell.  This record shows an increase of one child (7 to8) born to Sarah.  George’s middle name must have been Timothy and since his brother, John G. was going by name J. George he probably went by Tim. 

Rev. John G. Powell died in 1914 and was 31 years of age.  He was reportedly born in Grand Junction, Van Buren County, Michigan in March of 1882. He is also seen as Rev. J. George Powell and George Powell.  He is buried in the Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor. 

The 1917-1922 Rural Directory of Berrien County shows, living at 106 Alexander St. in Buchanan, Mrs. Sarah Powell and Tim Powell who was a truck driver.

The 1920 census of Buchanan, Berrien County, Michigan includes Sarah Powell, widow 67 years of age, born in Illinois, her “son” Tim 27 years of age, born in Minnesota and his wife Anna 18 years of age.  This record states that Tim’s father was born in Minnesota.

In 1925 Tim Powell married 2nd to Elnora Gross.  This record indicates his father was John Powell and his mother’s maiden name was Brant. 

The 1930 census of Galien Township, Berrien County, Michigan shows Timothy G. Powell 39 years of age, his wife Nora 19 years of age and Sarah J. Powell who is listed as his grandmother. 

Looking at Tim Powell’s death record from 1955 is confusing.  It says his mother was Allie Slocum, and his father was Patrick Powell.  In other records Allie Slocum is seen as Allie (Powell) Slocum. This record may be in error when compared to the earlier census records perhaps his second wife did not get the facts straight or the census records are misleading.  The 1930 census shows Sarah J. Powell living with Timothy Powell and she is recorded as his grandmother.   It would appear that there was not a William Powell, as her obituary indicates, but that this was actually Timothy Powell/George T. Powell.  No record of William Powell can be found in Berrien County.  Where the name Patrick Powell came from is not known.  Allie (Powell) Slocum was the daughter of John W. and Sarah (Brant) Powell who first married William Wooldridge in 1890.  If she was Tim’s mother he would have been Sarah’s grandson, as seen in some records.

Sarah’s children appear to have been:

1.  Edgar Lacey Brackett b. 11 Jul1869 in Pipestone Township, Berrien County, Michigan, married Sarah Jane Wooldridge, he died 08 Dec 1952 and is buried in the New Troy Cemetery in New Troy, Berrien County, Michigan, as is his wife.

2a. Olive Powell b. about 1872 in Iowa, married William Wooldridge on 03 Nov 1890 in Hagar Township, Berrien County, Michigan.

2b.  Allie Powell b. 17 Aug 1873 in Sterling, Iowa, married 26 Aug 1892 to Kenard Slocum, she died 26 Mar 1951 in Buchanan, Michigan and she is buried in the Hamilton Cemetery near New Carlisle, St. Joseph County, Indiana, as is her husband.

3.  Madison S. Powell b. 29 Oct 1875 in Iowa, married Minnie Shier on 04 Mar 1899 in Berrien County and lived in Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan, near Detroit.  Madison S. Powell died on 30 May 1952 and Minnie died on 29 Sep 1973 and they are interred in the mausoleum in Riverside Cemetery in Plymouth.

4.  Nora Ellen Powell b. 12 Sep 1877 in Clinton, Iowa, married 1st Marion Grubb on 28 Feb 1896, 2nd Levi Edward Phillips on 19 Apr 1900, 3rd August Singbeil on 17 Mar 1934, who d. 26 Dec 1968, she is buried in the Oakridge Cemetery in Buchanan, Michigan as are two of her husbands.

5.  Eva Powell b. 12 Sep 1791 in Iowa, as Eva Stover she married Frederick Elmer Hall in 1908 in Marion County, Indiana, she d. 26 Oct 1964, she is buried in the Oakridge Cemetery in Buchanan, Berrien County, Michigan as is her husband.

6.  John G. Powell b. 22 Mar 1882 in Michigan, married Catherine Cowgill he d. 20 Mar 1914, he is buried in the Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor, Michigan, as is his wife.

7.  unknown child according to the 1900 census who may have been born in 1871 or after 1882.

Notes:   2a. and 2b. are the same person. Allie Powell’s 2nd marriage record indicates she was married to a “Woolridge” before she married Kenard Slocum.  From this record she appears to be the same person as Olive Powell.  In the marriage record to Kenard her father is given as John Powell and her mother as Sarah Brant. This accounts for the 6 of 7 children Sarah reported having and who were living in 1900.  The 7th child must have died young.  The birth years I used are calculated.  The years vary in the records and so I looked at the 1880 census, the 1885 census the 1900 census, marriage records and death records including obituaries and used the most often occurring year.

 # 163 of the 1930 Berrien County Death Certificates records Sarah Powell's death.  Sarah Jane Powell died 29 Jul 1930.  She was 80 years, 1 month and 8 days old at the time of her death.  It states she was born in Illinois.  It lists her father as Lacy Brant and her mother as Angelina Brown.  She died in Galien Township. Sarah's obituary appeared in the Niles Daily Star (newspaper) on 30 Jul 1930 and

“Galien Pioneer Dies 

Mrs. Sarah Powell, 80, a pioneer of Berrien County died last evening at the home of her son William Powell with who she had made her home inGalien is survived by the following children: Mrs. Edward Phillips, Mrs. Anthony Slocum and William Powell of Galien, Mrs. Eva Hall of Buchanan, Madison Powell of Detroit, and Edward Brackett of New Troy.  Funeral services will be held at 2 o'clock on Thursday afternoon in the Christian Church, Buchanan.  Burial will be in the New Troy Cemetery.”

Notes:  Edward Brackett should have been listed as Edgar Brackett.  He often went by Ed and some assumed his name was Edward instead of Edgar.  This William Powell must have been G. Timothy Powell.  Sarah Powell would have been born 21 Jun 1850.  In 2006 my aunt Carroll and I had a grave marker made and set on the Brackett plot in the New Troy Cemetery for Sarah J. Powell.

Page 85 of Liber "B" of the Berrien County Marriages records the second marriage of Sarah J. (Brant) Brackett.  Sarah Brackett married John James in New Buffalo Michigan on 14 Apr 1870.  It states they both lived in Benton Harbor and were both born in New York.  Sarah J. Brant Brackett was 20 years of age and John James was 27 years of age.  The marriage was recorded on 30 Jun 1870.  Her maiden name is given in this document as Brant. 

Names of parents given in records of her children indicate that in 1872 Sarah was married to a John Powell.  The 1880 census would disprove that as they are all listed by the name of James.  We also know from her death record, that Sarah was born in Illinois, not New York, as this record indicates.  The fact that her grandson, Tim Powell was born in Madison, Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota, in 1892, places them in that area and supports the 1885 census record and the name of Powell.

Looking at these records you can see that Sarah Brant was born in 1850 in Illinois, lived in Berrien County in 1870, lived in Iowa in 1872-1880, was back in Michigan in 1880 around the small village of Keeler in Van Buren County, lived in Minnesota in 1885-89 and was back in Michigan by 1893.  The records indicate that John James who may one in the same as John William Powell was most likely born in New York.  John James/John Powell’s death date nor the location of his or their death has been discovered.  I could not locate a marriage record for Sarah (Brant) James and John Powell nor find the birth records for John G. Powell, who reported being born in Grand Junction, Van Buren County in 1882.

Niles Daily Star

Tuesday 27 Mar 1951

“Mrs. Allie Slocum, 77

Buchanan, March 27-Mrs. Allie Slocum, 77, of 705 North Portage street, died at 12:15 p.m. Monday in Berrien County hospital after being ill for several months.  She was born Aug. 17, 1873 in Sterling, Ia., the daughter of John and Sarah Powell.  She married Tony Slocum Aug. 22, 1892, in Niles.  Surviving are her husband; three sons, John and Edward, of Buchanan, and LeRoy of South Bend; two daughters, Mrs. Ada Swartz, of Buchanan, and Mrs. May McCoy, of Antioch, Cal; two sisters, Mrs. Nora Sinvoil, of Galien, and Mrs. Eva Hall, of Ber- … Powell, of Plymouth, Michigan; 26 grandchildren; and 30 great-grand children.  The Rev. W.D. Ruff pastor of the Bethel temple of the Pentecostal church will conduct the services at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Swem funeral home.  Burial will be in the Hamilton cemetery in Hamilton, Ind.  Friends may call at the funeral home.”  Allie Slocum was buried in the Hamilton Cemetery near New, Carlisle, Indiana. 

Note:  There is something missing in this obituary between “Ber-Powell”.  It may have been supposed to read Ber[rien Springs and one brother, Madison] Powell.

In 1900 this Slocum family was living in Weesaw Township, Berrien County, Michigan.  The 1910 census of Olive Township, St. Joseph County Indiana includes:

Kenard Slocum 38 years of age, born in Indiana

Allie Slocum 37 years of age, born in Iowa

Lacy Slocum 18 years of age, born in Michigan

John Slocum 16 years of age born in Illinois

Ada Slocum 14 years of age, born in Michigan

Roy Slocum 9 years of age, born in Michigan

Eddie Slocum 5 years of age born in Michigan

Susie May Slocum 2 years of age born in Indiana

During the 1920 census they were living in Buchanan, Berrien County, Michigan

The South Bend Tribune carried the following articles concerning the death of  William Lacey Slocum:

Monday 07 Apr 1913:  “William Lacey Slocum, of New Carlisle, Ind., died in the Epworth hospital Saturday of appendicitis, aged 22 years.  He had ill three months.  They body was taken to that place yesterday and funeral services were held there to-day.” Tuesday 08 Apr 1913:  New Carlisle, “The funeral of Lacey Slocum was held Tuesday at 2:30 at the M. E. church.  Burial in the Hamilton cemetery.” Wednesday 09 Apr 1913:  South Bend,  “Mrs. Edward France has returned from New Carlisle, Ind., where she attended the funeral of her nephew, Lacie Slocum, who died in St. Joseph’s hospital, South bend, last Saturday.” Saturday 12 Apr 1913 New Carlisle, “Those from out of town who attended the funeral of Lacy Slocum Tuesday, were Mr. and Mars. Hall, of Indianapolis; Mr. and Mrs. Bracket and family, of New Troy; Mrs. Powell, of Bridgman; Rev. J. Powell, of Benton harbor; Mr. and Mrs. J. Slocum, of Mishawaka, Mr. and Mrs. John Oberla, of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Slocum, of Mishawaka; Mr. and Mrs. William Anders of South Bend; Mr. and Mrs. Johns, of Mishawaka; and Mrs. J. Kentz, of South Bend.”

Niles Daily Star

06 Dec 1955

“Timothy Powell Galien-Timothy Powell, 63, of rural route one, Galien, died suddenly of a heart attack in his home at 5:30p.m., Tuesday.  Powell was born April 26, 1892 in Madison, Minn., and married Elinora Gross, May 4, 1925 in St. Joseph.  He was employed by the Clark Equipment Co.  Survivors are three brothers, John and Ed Slocum of Buchanan and Leroy Slocum of South Bend; two sisters, Mrs. Ada Heyn of Buchanan and Mrs. Mary McCoy of Antioch, Calif. Friends may call at the Swem Funeral Home after 7 p.m., tonight where services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday with the Rev. W. Robert Palmer of the Church of Christ officiating.  Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery.” 

After reading this obituary and looking at his death record it would appear that this Timothy Powell was the son of Allie (Powell) Slocum.  His father may have been Patrick Powell.  This Timothy Powell appears to have been the grandson of Sarah (Brant) Powell, as the 1930 census indicates.  The Slocum family members mentioned in the obituary, as survivors, would have been half-brothers and half-sisters.  Madison is a town in Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota.  There was a census taken there in 1885 and there was a John and Sarah Powell living in Lake Shore in that County.  This appears to be John and Sarah (Brant) Powell except the children’s names vary slightly as do the ages.  There was a Madison Powell, Phoeba Powell, and a Nora Powell in this household but the other children’s are not the names as known.  This adds to the confusion concerning the James/Powell family. 

Eva (Powell) Hall died on 26 Oct 1964 in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  Her death record indicates she was born in Iowa on 12 Sep 1881 and was the daughter of John William Powell and Sarah Brant.  Her husband was Frederick Elmer Hall, whom she married in 1908 in Marion County, Indiana, as Eva Stover.  Eva must have been married before.  This marriage record gives her parents as John and Sarah (Brant) Powell.  Eva and Fredrick Hall are buried in the Oakridge Cemetery in Buchanan, Michigan.

Niles Daily Star

27 Oct 1964

“Berrien Springs-Mrs. Eva Hall, 83 of 201 S. Main St., died at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Buchanan Community Hospital where she was admitted Sunday.  She had been in failing health for the last five years.  Mrs. Hall was born in Iowa Sept. 12, 1881, and married Frederick E. Hall in 1908.  He died Jan. 18, 1946.  The Halls came to Berrien Springs about 25 years ago.  She is survived by one sister, Mrs. Nora Singbeal of Berrien Springs.  Mrs. Hall was a member of the Evangelical United Brethren Church Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Thursday at the McLaughlin Funeral Home, here.  The Rev. Carl J. Litchfield, pastor of her church, will officiate.  Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Buchanan. Friends are being received after 7 p.m. tonight at the funeral home.”

Niles Daily Star

Friday 27 Dec 1968

“Mrs. Nora Ellen Singbeil Buchanan-Mrs. Nora Ellen Singbeil, 89 of 312 Chippewa, died Thursday in Berrien General Hospital.  She was born Sept. 12, 1879 in Clinton, Iowa.  Mrs. Singbeil married the late Edward Phillips, April 10, 1897, who died in 1930.  On March 17, 1934 she married the late August Singbeil who died in 1957.  Mrs. Singbeil is survived by a daughter from the first marriage, Mrs. Bessie Walter of Buchanan; two grandchildren, one great-grandchild and two great-great- grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Swen Funeral Home with Rev. Lawrence Smith, pastor of the Olive Branch United Brethren Church of Galien, officiating.  Burial will be in the Oakridge Cemetery.  Friends may call at the Swem Funeral Home at 7 tonight.”

Note:  On 17 Mar 1934 Nora (Powell) Phillips married August Singbeil in St. Joseph County, Indiana.  Mrs. Bessie Walter was the wife of Arthur Walter and in the 1920 census they were living in Buchanan with one daughter, Virginia Walter.  Her marriage record to Levi Phillips is interesting because one of the witnesses was “John W. Powell”.  Could that have been her father or more likely her brother John G. Powell.

John George Powell was born 22 Mar 1882 in Van Buren County, Michigan.  He was a minister (street evangelist) and married Catharine Arminta Cowgill.  They had three daughters, Dorothy L., Ruth M. and Naomi J.  He died on 20 Mar 1914 and is buried in the Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  He is also seen as George J. Powell.  Ruth and Naomi were twins.  They can be found living in Benton Harbor, Michigan during the 1910 census:

George J. Powell 28 years of age, evangelical minister, born in Michigan

Arminta C. Powell 29 years of age, born in Indiana

Dorothy Lee Powell 5 years of age, born in Indiana (she married on 02 Dec 1923 to Samuel Arent)

Ruth Marguerite Powell age 11 months, born in Michigan (she married on 02 May 1928 to Lawrence Badgley)

Naomi Judith Powell age 11 months, born in Michigan (she married Dunning Yore)

The Berrien County marriage record indicates that “George Powell”, age 19 years, married on 03 April 1901 in Benton harbor to “Arminta Catherine Cowgill”, age 20 years.  He was working for the Union Tea Company and she is recorded as being “at home”.  His father is recorded as John W. Powell and his mother as Sarah Brant.  Her parent’s are recorded as “unknown”.  The minister was Wm. H. Prescott and the witnesses were Frank T. McLeod and Eva Powell.  I have found from records that Catherine was the daughter of Benjamin F. and Francis (Kelley) Cowgill. 

The New Palladium carried the obituary for Rev. J. G. Powell on 24 Mar 1914: "Rev. J. G. Powell was born in Grand Junction, Mich., March 22, 1882, died at his home at 646 Buss avenue, Benton Harbor, March 20, 1914. He was united in marriage to Catherine Cougill of this city April 3, 1901. He leaves a wife, three children, Dorothy, Ruth and Naomi, a mother, Mrs. Sarah Powell, New Carlisle, Ind., and three Sisters, Mrs. Allie Slocum of New Carlisle, Ind., Mrs. Nora Phillips of Galien, Mich., and Mrs. Eva Hall of Indianapolis, Ind.; two brothers, Madison Powell of Plymouth, Ind., and Time Powell of New Carlisle, Ind.; one half brother, Ed Pracket of New Troy, Mich., and a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn his loss. All the sisters and a brother were present at the funeral except Mrs. Eva Hall."

Note: This should read Tim not "Time" Powell, Ed Brackett not "Pracket" and Madison Powell lived in Plymouth, Michigan not "Ind.".

John G. Powell also seen as George Powell:  There were some interesting newspaper articles written about J.G. Powell when he died. 

The New Palladium carried this article on 20 Mar 1914:  “George Powell Dead; Was Street Evangelist  Founded Lighthouse Mission In Early Days Said To Have Been “Bad Man”  George Powel, a well known local evangelistic character was found dead this morning in his bed at his home at 646 Buss avenue.  Death was due to paralysis.  He had been ill for several weeks and been confined to his home.  Founded Local Mission.  Powell founded a local mission, styling it the Lighthouse Mission.  He had been a street preacher and evangelist in Benton Harbor for a number of years.  The dead preacher had lived an eventful life.  When a young man it was said he had figured in many exciting western episodes and prided himself on being a “bad man.”  Becoming converted, he began preaching the gospel of his own accord.  He worked at various jobs by day and preached in his mission at night.  In the course of his mission career he converted a large number of outcasts.  He grew to be quite a forceful speaker and it is said his evangelistic work had something to do with his illness.  Powell was a deputy sheriff for the Berrien County Humane Society at one time.  Powell was about 40 years old.  He is survived by a wife and several children.  His funeral will be conducted Sunday afternoon at o’clock.” 

The Niles Daily star carried this article on 21 Mar 1914:  “Once A Bandit In James Gang; Dies Preacher.  George Powell, Benton Harbor Mission Leader, Is Paralysis Victim.  Once a bandit in the train robber gangs of the James boys and the Younger brothers, George Powell, for several years a rescue worker in Berrien County and leader of the Lighthouse Mission, Water street, Benton Harbor, died Friday morning following a stroke of paralysis.  He is survived by a widow.  The Story of Powell’s life is one of vivid romance.  He went into the western country following the Civil war and being of a venturesome spirit joined the James boys in their reign of terror among the railroads of the newly opened country.  He participated in some of the biggest hauls made by this and the Younger gang.  After these bands had been broken up Mr. Powell became converted and since the late eighties has devoted his life to mission labor.  His career in Berrien county has been marked by many ups and downs and several times he was brought into the limelight.  Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon.”

The 1907-1908 City Directory of Benton Harbor includes Rev. J. George Powell, pastor, People’s Bible Holiness Mission, residence 219 Buss Ave.  The 1910 edition gives his address as 646 Buss Avenue.  John G. Powell is buried in the Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Township, Berrien County, Michigan. 

One has to question the story the Niles Daily Star ran because the Jesse James of the James Gang was shot and died in 1882.  John George Powell was born in that year.  Maybe he was telling stories about his father, John W. Powell/John James.  It is interesting also that these articles tie into the theory behind the name change from James to Powell between the 1880 and 1885 census records.  By looking at the address in the News Palladium articles on 20 Mar. 1914 and his obituary on 24 Mar 1914 you can see they are identical.  This address also matches the address in the 1910 City Directory.  This is obviously the same individual even though the name changes slightly.  His death record indicates he died from “hysteria major” so it sounds like he was scared to death perhaps brought on by the paralysis. 

The News Palladium carried this news brief on 22 Mar 1984:  “70 Years Ago-Over 1000 personal friends and acquaintances attended the funeral services Sunday at the Evangelical church for George Powell, Benton Harbor’s late street evangelist.”

The Herald Palladium carried this news brief on 23 Dec 1988:  75 Years Ago-George Powell of the Light House mission announces that he has arranged to provide baskets for about 25 poor families and also that he will have a Christmas tree and a good program at the Light House Mission on Water street the evening of the 26th.”

John George and Catherine Arminta (Cowgill) Powell had three daughters:

Dorothy Lee Powell and she married on 02 Dec 1923 to Samuel Arent

Ruth Marguerite Powell and she married on 02 May 1928 to Lawrence Badgley

Naomi Judith Powell married to Dunning Yore

After John G. Powell died Catherine (Cowgill) Powell married 2nd on 15 Mar 1916 to Edward Bender.  An obituary reads:  "Mrs. Edward (Catherine) Bender, 81, route 1, Box 186, US 31, Berrien Springs, died at 9:45 p.m. Saturday at her home. She had been ill for eight years and seriously ill for two weeks. Mrs. Bender was born July 27, 1880, in New Carlisle, Ind., the daughter of the late Benjamin and Frances Cowgill, and came here with her parents at the age of 11. Besides her husband, whom she married March 15, 1916 in Benton Harbor, survivors include four daughters, Mrs. Ruth Badgley of Monroe, La., Mrs. Dunning (Naomi) Yore and Mrs. Don Chaddock of Benton Harbor and Mrs. Fred (Pearl) Gitersonke of Berrien Springs; three sons, Walter of Benton Harbor, Alfred of Berrien Springs and Donald of St. Joseph; 25 grandchildren and 38 [great] grandchildren. A daughter, Mrs. Sam (Dorothy) Arent preceded her in death. Funeral services will he held Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Florin funeral home. The Rev. James H. Sherwood, pastor of the First Evangelical United Brethren church will officiate. Burial will be in the Crystal Springs cemetery."

An obituary: from The Herald Press newspaper, St. Joseph, Michigan, 29 March 1962: "Mrs. Edward Bender. Funeral services were held Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Florin Funeral home, Benton Harbor, for Mrs. Edward (Catherine) Bender, route 1, Box 186, US-31, Berrien Springs, who died at 9:45 p.m. Saturday at her home. The Rev. James H. Sherwood, pastor of the First Evangelical United Brethren church, Benton Harbor, officiated. Burial was in Crystal Springs cemetery, Benton Harbor. Mrs. Walter Hornack sang Shall We Gather At The River and The Eastern Gate and was accompanied by Mrs. W. W. Butcher at the organ. Casket bearers were Norris Arent, Noble Arent, Norman Arent, Wesley Arent, John Badgley and Michael Yore. Mrs. Bender was born July 27, 1880, in New Carlisle, Ind., the daughter of the late Benjamin and Frances Cowgill, and came here with her parents at the age of 11."

Dorothy and Samuel Arent had eight children:  Norris, Noble, Norman, Noreen, Tilford, Carl, Wesley and Marilyn Arent.  Dorothy died on 01 Sep 1951 and her and her husband Samuel are buried in the Kniebes Cemetery in Bainbridge Township, Berrien County, MI.

Ruth and F. Lawrence Badgley had eleven children:  Jacqualyn, Ruth, David, Patricia, Cather Laurel, Catherine Lorraine, Lawrence Jonathan, Carl, Steven and Judith Badgley.   Ruth died on 21 Jun 1965.  Her death record indicates she was “Divorced”.  She was buried in the Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor, MI. 

Naomi and Dunning Yore had one son:  Michael Yore.  Naomi died on 07 Feb 1997.  She and her husband were buried in Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor, MI.

Madison Powell married Minnie Shier on 04 Apr 1899 in St. Joseph, Berrien County, Michigan.  In 1900 he was living in Three Oaks during the census.  This census record indicates he was born in Iowa in Oct 1875, had been married one year, and was 24 years of age.  His wife is recorded as “Nettie” and she was born in Sep 1882 and was 17 years of age.  They had one child who had died.  He was working at the Featherbone Factory in Three Oaks.  In 1910 he was living in Plymouth Township of Wayne County, Michigan.  In that year he is recorded as being 28 years old and his wife is recorded as Minnie, who was 27 years of age.  They had two children:  Maria Powell who was 9 years old and Russell Powell who was 7 years of age.  Madison was working in a Creamery as a butter maker.  In 1920 they were still living in Wayne County and he is recorded as being 42 years of age.  Minnie was 37 years of age and their children were Maria A. Powell 19 years of age and Russell D. Powell who was 16 years of age.  Madison was working in an Air Rifle factory.  Russell Powell was born on 20 Apr 1903 and died in Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan in November of 1977.  Madison, Minnie, Russell and Russell’s wife Esther are buried in the mausoleum in Riverside Cemetery in Plymouth, Michigan.

A descendant of John George Powell told me that John William Powell went to Wisconsin and “had another family”.  They said the aunt Eva, Eva (Powell) Hall, was very upset when she found this out.  On Eva’s death record her father is given as John William Powell.  Searching for records I found a John Powell who married Belle Johnson on 28 Feb 1892 in Arcadia, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin.  Belle’s parents are given as Ole Anderson and Belle Abramson.  John’s parents are given as John Powell and Jane James.  This family can be found in the 1905 Wisconsin state census with three of her children, Severt, Bennie and Minnie Johnson. This indicates that Sarah (Brant) Powell and John William Powell must have divorced between the 1885 census and 1892.

The big question remains was the family name James or Powell?  Personally I lean toward the idea that the name was James until 1880, as verified by that census, and then between 1880 and 1885 Sarah remarried to John William Powell and they moved to Minnesota.  I believe the family story about the name change is from the new husband telling the James children that they are now Powell children.  The children born in Iowa would be the children of John and Sarah James even though they all indicate in their records their father was John Powell.  Allie (Powell) Slocum, being an older child, recalled being told their “name is now Powell” but not why they were told this.  The younger children remember their father as John William Powell.