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June 14 , 2010

The Olden Time: Stories for Betty


Elizabeth Hawley was born in Pekin, Illinois in 1857, to Mary Shuah Nason and William Caldwell Hawley. Mary taught school with her mother before she married. William Hawley was a farmer and businessman, operating a coal mine in Illinois before moving the family west to Mount Pleasant, Iowa in 1863. By summer they were living in the new two story building which became the rear section of the house when it was finally completed in the fall of 1864. Elizabeth had an older sister and two younger brothers all born at Pekin and later two brothers born at Mount Pleasant. Their grandmother Martha Coffin Nason lived with them. Elizabeth’s childhood memories are primarily from her years at Mount Pleasant. Leaving there in 1873, the family lived for twenty-one months in Albia, Iowa, in preparation for the move to Nebraska. At Albia, Elizabeth, fifteen years of age, taught her first three month school term, for which she was paid twenty dollars a month. The family arrived at Stevens’ Creek, Nebraska in November, 1874. Their home was five and a half miles northeast of Lincoln. Elizabeth and her sister began university studies in the fall of 1875. After her first year at the university, she taught seven months at Weeping Water, followed by three months at Yankee Hill. She returned to the university in the fall of 1877, but her mother’s illness required her to leave her studies and return home. During the subsequent three years, she was able to teach school again. In 1888, the family farm was sold to a syndicate which established Cotner University and the family moved closer to Lincoln. Elizabeth married James Albert Bowen, September 13, 1881, and their son, George, was born July 26, 1882. Elizabeth returned home with her son in January, 1883. She makes no mention of her divorce in her writings. She served as the principal of Everett School in 1891 and as the principal of the school in Prescott, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She then became the Superintendent of the Highland Park public schools. She returned home in 1899 to be married at the home of her parents in Lincoln. The groom was Francis Dennison Everett, born at Halifax, Vermont in 1839. They lived for many years in Highland Park, Illinois. Elizabeth dedicated her work to her granddaughter, Betty Bowen Haynes. She died in 1940, four years before her granddaughter’s own death.
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