James D. and Isabelle Showers

Related page:
Showers & Co.

Isabelle Allen was the oldest sister of my great-grandmother, Jennie Lind (Allen) Seward. Her parents were Thomas J. and Martha (Gibson) Allen. When I started research for her parents' page, I didn't have any information on this woman or her husband. Once the research began, however, sufficient information was developed that it became necessary to create a separate page for her and her own family, especially in view of the interesting family into which she married.

Isabelle was born 18 Aug 1845, in Floyd county, Indiana, and died 23 Dec 1926 in Bloomington. I list her as Isabelle in these pages because that's the name which is carved on her tombstone and which appears in several census records. I had her name as Anna Belle in a list of Thomas and Martha's children which I was given by my grandmother, but she seemed to have trouble getting her name recorded the same way in any two public records:

MARRIED.

On the 29th inst.,1 at Greenville, Floyd county, by Rev. Mr. Sinclir, Mr. JAMES D. SHOWERS to Miss ANNABEL ALLEN, both of this county.

May little Showers attend them all along the journey of life.

Isabelle's husband, James David Showers, was born 11 Jul 1841 in Fort Wayne, IN, and died 5 Apr 1939 in Bloomington. We found James' biography, which originally appeared on page 593 of Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana, 1884, Charles Blanchard, F. A. Battey & Co., Publishers, at the Monroe county biographical site:

THE SHOWERS BROTHERS, bedstead manufacturers. James D. Showers is the eldest of seven children born to Charles C. and Elizabeth (Hull) Showers, natives of Pennsylvania. He was born in Adams County, Ind., on the 11th day of July, 1841, and when fifteen years of age came to Bloomington with his parents. When but eleven years old, he began learning the cabinet and turning trade, with his father, and upon their removal to Bloomington, he continued in his father's shop until November 17, 1869. At this time he formed a partnership with his brother, William N. Showers, and purchased the business of Showers & Hendricks. April 29, 1878, Charles H., the youngest brother, was admitted to the firm, and in February of the following year they made a specialty of the manufacture of bedsteads.

On the 31st day of January, 1866,1 he was married to Miss Belle Allen, daughter of Thomas Allen, a respected citizen of Greenville, Ohio.1 To crown the happiness of this union there have been born three children:

  1. Martha E. (died August 28, 1882),
  2. Charles T. and
  3. Maud A.

Mr. S. is at present Past High Priest of the I. O. O. F. Lodge of Bloomington. He is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a stanch Republican.

Here's a photo and lengthy biography which appeared in History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana, 1914, B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., Indianapolis, pp. 608-610, and which devotes an unusual amount of space to the financial minutiae of Mr. Showers' bank:

J. D. SHOWERS.

J. D. ShowersA review of the life of the honored subject of this biographical sketch must of necessity be brief and general in its character. To enter fully into the interesting details of the career of Mr. Showers, touching the earnest and persistent efforts of his earlier years and successes of later days, would far transcend the limits of this article. He has filled a large place in the ranks of the enterprising and public-spirited men of his day and has been an important factor in the growth and development of the city's industrial and commercial interests. He is a representative of that sterling type of the world's workers who have furnished much of the bone and sinew of the country and added to the stability of our country and its institutions. And yet, in spite of the multitudinous activities of his life, he never allowed the pursuit of wealth to warp his kindly nature, but has preserved his faculties and the warmth of his heart for the broadening and helpful influence of human life, being a kindly, genial friend and gentleman whom it is a pleasure to meet.

J. D. Showers was horn in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on July 11, 1841, and is the son of Charles C. and Elizabeth (Hull) Showers, both of whom were horn at Coudersport, Pennsylvania. In an early day these parents came West, settling in Allen county, Indiana, where the father followed his trade of cabinet-maker, also working in various towns in Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and other states. In 1856 he came to Bloomington, Indiana, and continued to work at his trade until 1862, when, having succeeded in getting some machinery together, he started, in a small way, the manufacture of furniture. In this modest way was started the great Showers furniture factory, which has been developed by his sons until it is now the largest factory of its kind in the world. More than fifteen acres of floor space are utilized in this great plant, where more than twelve hundred men are employed, with a constant demand for several hundred more. In the year 1866 the subject of this sketch Ľnd his brother, William N. Showers, bought out their father's interest in the plant and from that time they made successive enlargements of the factory until 1904. In that year J. D. Showers sold his interest in the business to his brother, who is now the head of the business, and since that time the subject has lived a more retired life, though not entirely relinquishing his interest in business affairs. He is president of the Citizens Loan and Trust Company, of which he was one of the organizers and to his active efforts and pfrsonal influence has been to a large extent due the splendid success which has characterized the institution. The last financial statement issued by this bank was as follows: Resources—Loans and discounts, $295,183.15; overdrafts, $1,293.07; bonds and stocks, $30,488.62; furniture and fixtures, $2,465.02; advances to estates and trusts, $400.87; due from departments, $264.37; due from banks and trust companies, $137,397.01; cash on hand, $23,940.00; cash items, $2,883.57; current expenses, $1,108.27; taxes and interest paid, $4,608.83; total, $500,032.68. Liabilities—Capital stock, $55,000.00; surplus, $12,000.00; undivided profits, $13,800.84; interest, discount and other earnings, $7,281.42; demand deposits, except banks, $232,722.16; time deposits, $179,228.26; total, $500,032.68. The officers of the company are as follows: J. D. Showers, president; Roy O. Pike, cashier; S. O. Harrell, assistant cashier; directors, J. D. Showers, Ira C. Batman, W. S. Bradfute, W. T. Hicks, W. N. Showers, Fred Matthews and Roy O. Pike. The Citizens Loan and Trust Company is one of the strong and influential financial institutions of southeastern Indiana and has been an important factor in the business prosperity of Bloomington and vicinity.

Politically, a life-long Republican, Mr. Showers cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln and has always been an uncompromising supporter of his party, believing that the party's record in the past and her present position on the great issues of the day entitle it to the support of the people. Though not himself an office seeker, in the commonly accepted meaning of that term, he has rendered efficient and appreciated service to his city as a member of the city council, where he was retained for fourteen years, while for seventeen years he served as a member of the city school board. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Free and Accepted Masons, in which he has attained to the degrees of the Royal Arch. His religious membership is with the Methodist Episcopal church, in the prosperity of which he is deeply interested, contributing liberally to its support.

J. D. Showers has been twice married, first, in 1864, to Loretta Claypool Fish, and in 18651 to Belle Allen, who was a native of Floyd county, Indiana. To the second union were born three children, namely: Martha, deceased; Charles, deceased; Maude E., who became the wife of Doctor Myers, who is connected with the medical department of the State University, but who has a branch office at Indianapolis, where he has the advantage of the hospital equipments.

Although modest and unassuming and always easily approached, Mr. Showers possesses a strong and vigorous personality and, in the best sense of the term, is a leader of men and well fitted to manage important enterprises. He resides in a pleasant and attractive home on Walnut street, where the spirit of old-time hospitality is ever in evidence. A wide reader and a close observer of men and events, Mr. Showers is a well informed man and a most interesting conversationalist and companion. He enjoys a large acquaintance and is well liked by all who know him.

The biography above is the only mention we've seen of Isabelle Allen having been James Showers' second wife. And how did Isabelle, who lived in Floyd county, happen to meet her future husband, who was living in Bloomington, 100 miles away? Or for that matter, why did any of the other Allens end up in Bloomington? The story of how Belle and James met turned up in the obituary of one of James' IOOF lodge brothers, J. Wesley Walker, who happens to be my great-grandfather. Whether this tale of James' and Wesley's trip to New Albany for an Odd Fellows gathering is literally true, or needs to be taken with a grain of salt, we'll leave up to our readers. We have heard, though, that Isabelle's father and grandfather were both Odd Fellows, which does add something to the plausibility of the story.

I found the lengthy reports of James D. Showers' death and burial among the clippings in my grandmother's scrapbook. There was no headline on the first article. Perhaps she cut it off to make it possible to squeeze the articles onto two facing pages.

After nearly a century of life, during which he was one of the leading figures who brought Bloomington on from a village to a modern city, James D. Showers died this morning at 11:30 at his home on North Walnut street. While Mr. Showers had been failing for some time on account of the conditions brought on by his extreme age, it was not until the last few days that the decline started which brought about his death this morning.

Saturday Mr. Showers suffered from an attack of pleurisy and in a few hours his condition became dangerous. However, it was thought thet he was much better Monday night and it was believed that the crisis had been passed. But this view of his condition proved wrong and later he lapsed into an unconscious condition which continued to the end.

Born in the northern part of Indiana nearly a century ago - lacking less than three years - Mr. Showers as a boy saw Indiana in its wild state during its pioneer days. As a boy he saw Indians frequently but seldom saw a colored man. He saw Indiana when it teemed with game, with deer, millions of squirrels in droves and carrier pigeons to the number that they darkened the day as they passed overhead - and a flock would take hours in passing one point.

Mr. Showers was born July 11, 1841 in Fort Wayne. His father, Charles Christopher Showers was a cabinet maker and sold his handiwork in his own store. Mr. Showers learned the cabinet making trade from his father.

The Showers family moved about the middle west, with almost the regularity of a traveling show troup, while the father plied his trade in numerous towns of Ohio, Illinois and Iowa. Mr. Showers recalled many times during the family's travels, seeing many Indians but they seemed to be peaceable and he had no fear of them until one day in Rock Island, Ill. His father had told him: "Jimmy, an Indian never forgets, whether it be a good deed or bad turn. Just treat the Indians right and they won't bother you."

But that day in Rockford [sic], young Jimmy and some playmates didn't heed the admonition of the elder Showers. They saw some gaudily-painted canoes tied to the river bank. They belonged to Indians. "Those canoes would look pretty floating down the stream," said one of the boys.

"We set them adrift, watched them float down stream and then started home," Mr. Showers recalled. "We hadn't gone far until it seemed that all the Indians west of the Mississippi River surrounded us. They told us they were going to take us away because we set their canoes adrift. We pleaded with them and promised we'd never do it again. They let us go and we didn't walk home. We ran all the way."

Later the Showers family drifted down "Ole Man River," finally settling at Shreveport, La. There they remained until a dreaded outbreak of Yellow fever, which had taken as many as one hundred lives a day in New Orleans, struck the city. "My father was sick, but he loaded us into a two horse carriage and took us to eastern Texas. We returned later but the Yellow fever was worse than ever in Shreveport, so my father sold his cabinet shop and store and boarded a steam boat which took us down the Red River to the Mississippi, where we got on the steamboat "Sultana" and started up the Mississippi. We planned to go to Nashville, Tenn., but my sister Ellen contracted the Yellow fever, and we couldn't get off the boat, so we came up to New Albany, Indiana."

On the first trip down the river, the Showers family had traveled on the steamboat, "Post Boy." Mr. Showers read an account of the two worst steamboat disasters in history in a Sunday newspaper feature two years ago. One concerned an explosion on the "Sultana," resulting in death to nearly all the Civil War prisoners who were its passengers.2 The other was about the "Post Boy," which was rammed at the fork of the Red River and Mississippi River by another steamboat. Boilers of the "Post Boy" blew up, killing about 700 Indians it was transporting.

The Showers family did not stay long in New Albany. Mr. Showers recalled that the trip by steam coach from New Albany to his next home, Orleans, Ind, was made in scheduled time, exactly eight hours for the 57 mile journey. From Orleans the family moved to Owensburg, then Harrodsburg and finally came to Bloomington on April 13, 1856.

Dr. James A. Woodburn, professor emeritus of history at Indiana university, has told Mr. Showers that they both had reached Bloomington on the same day. "The only difference," Dr. Woodburn is quoted as saying, "is that you were fully clothed and I was in my original birthday suit.

Resuming his trade here, Mr. Showers' father made his most pretentious entry into business in 1862 when he opened a shop on the east side of the public square where the Wiles drug store now stands. His shop, equipped with second-hand boilers, rip saws and engines, made so much noise that other business men objected, so he moved it three blocks east, to third and Grant streets. For three or four years, Mr. Showers' father and a Mr. James Hendricks operated the cabinet and furniture factory but profits were small despite a fairly good volume of business. In 1867, James D. Showers and his brother William N. Showers bought the interests of their father and Mr. Hendricks in the small plant. Their youngest brother, Hull Showers, then only 16, completed the newly formed Showers Brothers Company when his mother gave him her share in the enterprise.

Moving the plant to Grant and Ninth streets, the brothers added a planing mill to the cabinet factory. The first year they turned out a large quantity of cabinets and a few pieces of other furniture. The next year they decided to specialize in making beds. The little factory turned out 200 beds and James Showers, who was president of the company, also became sales manager (in fact the entire sales force) and went forth and sold the entire output. The following year they made 400 beds and again, the company president sold them.

By this time, the brothers decided their business was so flourishing that they needed one man to devote all his time to selling. They signed up their father. The elder Mr. Showers, who had become a sort of itinerant preacher since selling his cabinet shop always read the Bible on the train when he went on sales expeditions.

One day, with presentiments of death, be rode the Monon train from Bloomington to Greencastle, on the first leg of a business trip to Akron, 0. He had dreamed not long before that he had been killed in an accident. In the dream, as he told his family, he was led after death into a subterranean cavern. Then his guide told him "This place is not for you." Although he had a feeling the dream might come true, it did not disturb him because he was a God fearing man and at peace with his Maker.

When the train chugged into the Greencastle station, the combination preacher-salesman clutched his Bible and his traveling bag and stepped out into a blinding snow storm. While waiting for his east bound train, he went into a nearby planing mill, which he inspected out of business curiosity. Hearing the whistle of a train, he rushed out and started toward the station. As he started to recross the Monon tracks, his vision obscured by the heavy snow, he heard the roar of a train directly in front of him. He attempted to jump back but too late. His dream of death came true.

Following the shock of their father's death, the Showers brothers were confronted with a factory disaster on Aug. 27, 1884. James D. Showers recalls that he was ill at home when the fire broke out in the factory and wiped it out, with a loss of $88,000. The brothers rebuilt a new plant on the present wite of the mammoth factory on north Morton Street with a fire insurance payment of $21,000.

Mrs. Burton D. Myers is the only surviving child.

In addition to Mrs. Myers, survivors include a sister, Mrs. Lola Ingler, Bloomington; four grandchildren, Dr. Rudolph Myers of Los Angeles, Cal.; Mrs. Margaret Ann Helm, wife of Dr. Standiford Helm of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Miss Mary Myers and Mrs. Tracy Ross, Bloomington; two great grandchildren, Lela Jane Ross, Bloomington and James Myers Helm, Rocherster, Minn.; three nieces, Mrs. Noble Campbell, Mrs. Beryl Holland and Mrs. Nellie Teter, Bloomington, and four nephews, Frank Allen, Fred Seward, Austin Seward and Earl Showers, all of Bloomington. Mrs. Bertha Showers is a niece by marriage and Mrs. Robert Dillon and Mrs. Charles Ziegler are grandnieces.


Showers Funeral Friday at First Methodist Church

Bloomington will pay its final tribute to James D. Showers, who died yesterday at the age of 97, tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock at the residence, 424 North Wa1nut Street, when the funeral will be held. Business in the community will be largely suspended as all classes of people pay their last respects to this pioneer, industrial leader and banker who during his life gave such outstanding service to the Community.

All local banks will honor him by suspending business from 11 to 12 o'clock.

Rev. C. Howard Taylor, pastor of the First Methodist church and a personal friend, will have charge of the service. Dr. William Lowe Bryan also will speak. Wallace Pauley, another personal friend, will sing.

Mr. Showers will be carried to his final resting place by his grand-nephews as pallbearers. They are: Will S. Teter, Dr. Charles Holland, Clyde Hare, Robert Dillon, Robert Allen, Austin Seward, Chester Tourner and Fred Seward. Members of the local Odd Fellows will officiate at the grave.

Mr. Showers is thought to be the oldest member of the Odd Fellows in the state of Indiana. He was initiated by the Bloomington lodge on February 7, 1863. He last attended an Odd Fellows meeting some six years ago. At that time he amazed his fellow members with the details which he recalled with his bright mind. "He kept us laughing all evening with his jokes and funny stories that evening," according to one member present at that meeting.

Honorary pallbearers will be relatives and close friends, as follows: Dr. W. L. Bryan, Judge James B. Wilson, Roy Pike, Maurice Riley, Hays Buskirk, Oscar Cravens, Henry B. Gentry, Dean H. L. Smith, William Harris, Harry Orchard, Charles Stineberg, Glenn Woodward, Arthur Dial, Earl Showers, Frank Allen, Bedford Sudbury, Stacy Harrell, Noble Campbell, Andrew Ziegler, Allen Carter, Len C. Field, Quince Cox, Fred Beck and Charles Cathcart.

Among those here from out-of-town for the funeral are: Mrs. Standiford Helm of Rochester, Minn.; Charles N. Nelzer of Ft. Wayne; Miss Flora Purviance of Huntington, Mrs. Wick Ray of Indianapolis, and Mrs. Carl Wilson of Louisville.

Mr. Showers' death yesterday morning at the home on North Walnut Street, brought expressions of regret from hundreds of people of the community and kind words for the man who had done so much for Bloomington. His final illness started five days ago when an attack of pneumonia developed. His condition was serious from the first on account of his extreme age but after forty-eight hours he rallied and it was thought that he might get over the attack. But the aged man did not have the strength and after a day of hope he again la[psed into unconsciousness.

Mrs. Burton D. Myers, the only living daughter, was at his bedside during his last hours and Dr. Charles Holland, a grand nephew, was in constant attendance. He regained consciousness for a short time a few hours before his death. This was early in the morning and his nieces, Mrs. Nellie Teter and Mrs. Beryl Holland, were in the room. The aged man realized that the end was rapidly approaching but he displayed no fear or regret. The picture of his wife who died several years ago was always in his room and one of his last references was in regard to her. He whispered: "I am going to join that old sweetheart of mine of 60 years. This "old sweetheart" died December 25, 1926, but Mr. Showers felt that she was very close to him in spirit during the final years of his life. When he was ill one of his daily requests was for his nurse to bring Mrs. Showers' picture to him.

Mrs. Myers is the only surviving child of Mr. and Mrs. Showers. Another daughter, Mary Elizabeth died at the age of 14, and a son, Charles died at the age of 25.

In addition to Mrs. Myers, survivors include a sister, Mrs. Lola Ingler, Bloomington; four grandchildren, Dr. Rudolph Myers of Los Angeles, Cal.; Mrs. Margaret Ann Helm, wife of Dr. Standiford Helm of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Miss Mary Myers and Mrs. Tracy Ross, Bloomington; two great grandchildren, Lela Jane Ross, Bloomington, and James Myers Helm, Rochester, Minn.

The story of James' father Charles C. Showers' death appeared in the 25 Jan 1882 edition of the Bloomington Republican Progress on page 3:

KILLED BY THE CARS!

Rev. C. C. Showers Meets a Terrible Death

Last Monday noon Mr. C. C. Showers, father of the Showers brothers, proprietors of the furniture factory, left here on a trip connected with the business of his sons. He was in the best of health and excellent spirits. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon a dispatch was received here that Mr. Showers had been run over by a train at Greencastle and "badly cut up." In a short time this was followed by another dispatch announcing his death.

A thunderbolt striking the earth in the center of our little city would not have shocked our people more. Two of his sons, Hull and William, at once made preparations to leave for Greencastle. A special train with some of the officers of the road was at the depot. This was held 30 minutes for the sons and on it they embarked on their sad journey.

The deceased was a licensed local preacher in the M. E. Church. He took an active part in all matters connected with the church and was an earnest worker in the cause of Christianity. He was especially a friend to the colored people and was much beloved by them. They are now among the chief mourners of his loss. He frequently preached for them in their churches and was always ready in every other way to lend them the right hand of Christian fellowship.

He leaves a widow besides several grown sons and daughters to mourn his untimely end. The bereavement will be the more painful to the widow from the fact that we hear this is the third time she has undergone the suffering consequent upon the sudden death of a husband. Her first husband, it is said, was killed by an accident, the second died within a few days after marriage, and the fate of the third is a mournful reality of the present. She will find many sympathizing friends to comfort her in her almost unbearable burden of sorrow.

THE ACCIDENT--On Monday last Mr. Showers took the express train north on his way to Ohio by the way of Indianapolis. At Greencastle he went up town and spent a couple of hours. Returning to the north depot, he visited a planing mill and, while there, he heard a locomotive whistle blow. Thinking that it was his train on the I. & St. L. Road, he started for the depot in a great hurry. He went along with his head down and holding his hand up to the side of his face as if to ward off the snow which was then falling. As he was about to cross the New Albany track the locomotive of the express train going south was in a few feet of him. Apparently bewildered, instead of stepping quickly across the track he turned his back to the locomotive and, in another instant, was struck by the pilot.

In this manner he was carried along near 40 feet when a foot that was dragging caught in the track and he was pulled off the pilot and under the wheels. The engine and forward trucks of the baggage car passed over his legs severing one of them and badly crushing the other. Mr. R. A. Fulk and others immediately carried the mangled form into the depot. Here an effort was made to have him speak, but he did not. Once he raised his head and glanced around him and then sank back. He died in about 20 minutes. The remains were taken to an undertaker's where they were taken charge of by two of his sons who arrived that night, and on the next afternoon they were brought to Bloomington.

THE FUNERAL--The funeral services were held in the M. E. Church on Tuesday afternoon, and there was a very large audience present. There was no regular sermon, but short addresses were made the Revs. Pittner, Webb, Reed, Garrison and Pardue. W. F. Browning read a short biographical sketch of the deceased which we print below. The ceremonies were very impressive. It was said that last Sunday in class meeting the deceased spoke of dreaming the night before that he was dead. He said that he was ready to go at any time. While on the train on his way to Greencastle, he was almost constantly reading his bible. Before leaving, he asked his son William to postpone a contemplated trip until he heard from him. He seemed to have a presentiment that something was going to happen to him. After the ceremony the remains were followed to the grave by a large number of mourning relatives and friends.

THE OBITUARY--Charles C. Showers was born May 22, 1815, in Yorkstown, Union County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 18 years he commenced learning the trade of a cabinet maker. When 19 years of age he was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. Was married to Elizabeth Hull May 16, 1836.

Removed from Coudersport, Pennsylvania, to Adams County, Indiana, in the spring of 1838, making the entire trip in a small wagon drawn by one horse. (Other records indicate he removed to Allen County as opposed to Adams County.) In 1843 he removed from Indiana to Morrow County, Ohio. In 1847 he removed from Morrow County, Ohio, to Rock Island, Illinois, in which place he was licensed to preach in the M. E. Church. In 1851 he removed from Rock Island, Illinois, to Fairfield, Iowa. In 1852 he removed from Fairfield, Iowa, to Memphis, Tennessee. In the same year he removed from Memphis, Tennessee, (he removed) to Shreveport, Louisiana, at which place he was attacked with yellow fever and his life despaired of. In the providence of God he recovered and was restored to health. He then resolved to return to the North again.

In the winter of 1854 and 1855 he moved to Indiana from Shreveport. April 13, 1856, he moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where he continued to reside the remainder of his life.

On the 9th of June, 1878, his companion was taken from him by death to her reward in heaven. Sometime after her death he was married to Mrs. Sarah Harrison of Bowling Green, Indiana, with whom he lived until the day of his death which was caused by an accident January 16, 1882, at the depot on the L. N. A. & C. Railroad at Greencastle, Indiana.

He was a local preacher in the M. E. Church 43 years. On last Sunday while conversing with his companion on the subject of death, he said he was ready to meet it at any moment.

Over the years, the Showers family's activities were reported frequently in the Bloomington newspapers. We'll include a few of the clippings here. The status of this family was such that when America's leading advocate of women's rights came to Bloomington for a suffrage convention, she stayed at the home of Isabelle's sister-in-law. The brief news item on the front page of the 11 Nov 1887 Telephone doesn't mention the fact that Maude is the wife of James' brother Charles:

Miss Susan B. Anthony, while in the city, is a guest of Mrs. Maude Showers.

The 28 Jul 1891 edition of the Bloomington Telephone described James' brothers' new homes:

Two handsome residences have been contracted for on North Washington Street and will be erected within the next two months. One is to be occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Charley Showers and will be just east of the home of James D. Showers. It will be a two-story house of six rooms, built after the most modern plans with hardwood floors, etc. The other house will be just south of Charley's home and is being erected by W. N. Showers and has been leased by Frank Simmons of the Corner Store. It will be of the same pattern as the other house.

The Telephone reported, on its front page, 6 Jun 1905:

The city council, in regular session tomorrow night, elects a school trustee as the time of James D. Showers expires. It is generally understood that Mr. Showers will be asked to accept the place again, and certainly a more capable or efficient trustee could not be found.

On the front page of the Telephone for 28 Mar 1930:

J.D. Showers Long Fight for Health

President J.D. Showers of Citizens Loan and Trust Company and one of the men who played a big part in the building of modern Bloomington, continues his fight for health. He has been confined to the hospital and his home for many months, going under the knife three times at Indianapolis. An incision in his side from an operation reopened and continues to give him trouble. In other ways he is in good condition, and he still retains his deep interest in all Bloomington affairs. Mr. Showers and men of his type have done much to bring about the advancement of Bloomington.

The old Showers furniture company was succeeded by a conglomerate known as Showers Group, Inc., which is still headquartered in Bloomington. The Showers name appears on several landmarks in Bloomington, including City Hall. A number of oral histories are available at the genealogy library of the Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana, which touch on the Showers factory, including:


Descendants. James and Isabelle Showers had the following children:

  1. Martha E. "Mattie" Showers, born about 1868 in IN, died 28 Aug 1882 in Monroe county, IN.
  2. Charles T. Showers, born about 1871 in IN, died 27 Mar 1896 in Monroe county. On 3 Jun 1891, Charles married Lela Rogers, who was born 20 Aug 1873 in Bloomington, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Victoria (Smith) Rogers.
  3. Maud A. Showers, born about 1878 in IN, married Dr. Burton Dorr Myers, who was born in 1870 in Attica, OH, and died in 1951. Dr. Myers served Indiana University as professor of anatomy and as secretary, assistant dean and dean of the School of Medicine at Bloomington, over the period of 1903-1940. The School of Medicine Building was renamed Burton D. Myers Hall in 1958 in his honor. His papers are archived at IU, with a catalogue available online. His biography appeared in History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana, 1914, B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., Indianapolis, pp. 680-682:

    BURTON DORR MYERS, A. M., M. D.

    The most elaborate history is necessarily an abridgment, the historian being compelled to select his facts and materials from a multitude of details. So in every life of honor and usefulness the biographer finds no dearth of incident, and yet in summing up the career of any man it is necessary to touch only the more salient points, eliminating much that is of interest. Consequently in calling the reader's attention to the life record of Dr. Burton Dorr Myers no attempt shall he made to give other than a brief resume of selected incidents.

    Burton D. Myers, who for a number of years has been prominently identified with the medical department of the Indiana State University, is a native son of the old Buckeye state, his birth having occurred at Attica, Ohio, on the 30th of March, 1870. He is the son of John T. and Eliza E. (Meyers) Myers, both of whom also were natives of Ohio. The subject's paternal grandfather, who was numbered among the early settlers of Ohio, was a native of the republic of Switzerland. The subject received his elementary education in the common schools, being graduated from the Attica high school in 1889. He then became a student in Buchtel College, where he was graduated in 1893, with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. From that year until 1897 he was superintendent of the high school at Greenwich, Ohio. He then became a graduate student and student of medicine in Cornell University, where, in 1900, he received his Master's degree. During the last two years of this latter period he was assistant in the department of physiology in Cornell. Going then to Europe, he spent two years in the University of Leipzig, where he completed his medical course, preparing his graduating thesis under the eminent Professor His of the department of anatomy, and receiving the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1902. During 1902-3 he was assistant in the department of anatomy in Johns Hopkins University.

    In 1903 he came to Indiana University as head of the department of anatomy and was active in the organization of the medical department, of which he has served as secretary continuously. From 1903 to 1905 he was associate professor of anatomy here, then for two years he was junior professor, and in 1906 was made professor of anatomy, which position he now holds. The Indiana University School of Medicine is officially recognized as one of the twenty-two A-plus medical schools in the United States, many of its graduates having attained to high standing in their profession, and much of the splendid success which has attended the school since its organization, ten years ago, has been due to the untiring and persistent efforts of Doctor Myers, who has thrown into the work all the ardor and enthusiasm of one who has had a thorough professional training and wide experience, added to which is a devotion and attachment to his calling which give added force to his labor and efforts. In addition to his creditable career in one of the most exacting of professions, Doctor Myers has proved an honorable member of the body politic, rising in the confidence and esteem of the public, and in every relation of life he has never fallen below the dignity of true manhood. Personally, he is genial and companionable and enjoys a marked popularity among the student body, while among his colleagues he is held in the highest regard.

    On March 4, 1904, Doctor Myers was married to Maude A. Showers, the daughter of J. D. Showers, of Bloomington, who is referred to specifically elsewhere in this work. To this union have been born three children, James (deceased), Mary and Rudolf.

    Politically, Doctor Myers has been a lifelong Democrat in national politics, while fraternally, he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons. His religious membership is with the Methodist Episcopal church.

    Maud and Burton had the following children:
    1. James Showers Myers, born in 1905, died in childhood. Wasn't listed in the 1910 census with his parents. The Bloomington Evening World, 6 Mar 1905, reported on page 4:
      Born to Dr. and Mrs. B.D. Myers, a son, James Showers Myers. Mother and child are doing well and Grandpa Showers is accepting congratulations.
    2. Mary Isabel Myers, born 19 Aug 1907 in Monroe county, died 23 Dec 2000 in Bloomington. My cousin Karen Evarts tells me that once, during a visit to Bloomington, Dr. Doris Seward introduced Mary Myers to her as a "cousin of your grandma Alice". Mary's obituary appeared in the 27 Dec 2000 issue of the Bloomington Herald-Times:

      Mary I. Myers, 93, of Bloomington, died Saturday at Bloomington Hospital.

      Born Aug. 19, 1907, in Monroe County, she was the daughter of Burton Dorr and Maud (Showers) Myers.

      She was a member of First United Methodist Church and worked for the Indiana University Alumni Office and Indiana University Foundation.

      She graduated from Bloomington High School in 1925 and from Indiana University in 1930. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and Tri Kappa sororities.

      Survivors include one sister, Margaret M. Helm of San Clemente, Calif.; and two cousins, James C. Holland of Bloomington and James Helm of Mount Prospect, Ill.

      She was preceded in death by two brothers, James Myers and Rudolph Myers.

      Services will be 2 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Howard Boles officiating. Burial will be at Rose Hill Cemetery.

      Friends may call from noon until services Thursday in the Thurston Room of the church.

      Day Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

      Mary Myers was actually a second cousin to Karen's father, and my mother.
    3. Dr. Rudolph Burton Showers Myers, born June or July 1910 in Bloomington (in Jan 1920, the census taker listed him as "9 6/12" years old), died 6 Sep 1966.
    4. Margaret Ann Myers, born 11 Feb 1915 in Bloomington, died 8 Aug 2008 in Orange county, CA. On 1 Jan 1937, she married Dr. Standiford Helm, who was born 27 Oct 1909 in Exeter, NH, and died 28 Mar 1998 in Evanston, IL. Margaret's obituary appeared in the 27 Aug 2008 issue of the Orange County Register:

      Obituary: Margaret Helm

      Submitted by Margo Withers

      Margaret Myers HelmMARGARET HELM. Margaret Ann Myers Helm passed away peacefully on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. She was preceded in death by her former husband, Standiford Helm; sister, Mary Isabel Myers; brother, Rudolf Burton Showers Myers; and son-in-law, Daniel D. Withers.

      She is survived by son and daughter-in-law Jim and Martha Helm of Mount Prospect, Ill.; daughter Margo Withers of Houston, Texas; daughter and son-in-law Liz and Oscar Struc of Addison, Ill.; and son and daughter-in-law Standiford and Noel Helm of San Clemente. Grandchildren are Mike Helm and wife Lisa; David Helm; Tom Withers and wife Ann; Heidi Hovan and husband Kevin; Paul Withers; Mimi Berck and husband Alan; Shawn Struc; Brian Struc and wife Jennifer; Lisa Struc; Courtney Helm; Guillian Helm; and Cameron Helm. She is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren.

      Margaret Myers Helm was born in Bloomington, Ind. on Feb. 11, 1915 and attended Bloomington schools. She then attended Indiana University where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Following graduation, she attended the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where she received her degree in Dietetics. It is there that she met future husband, Standiford Helm, who was studying medicine.

      Dr. and Mrs. Helm settled in Evanston, Ill. and there reared their family. Margaret Helm spent many years working in the Book Department of Marshall Field and Company. She was also manager of that division. Reading was always Margaret's passion.

      In 1982, she moved out to San Clemente to be closer to her youngest son, Standiford II. While in San Clemente she was active in PEO, Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Association and her book club. In these organizations she was an avid volunteer, bridge player, and reader. She also volunteered at the Community Presbyterian Church and assisted at the San Clemente Library.

      Margaret was a lovely and gracious lady. She bore a sense of quiet propriety. Her warm nature, too, will be missed. The young children on her block and their mothers would often stop by to visit her and she so enjoyed their company. She would always remember something special about each. She unfailingly wished others well, right down to the fire department who would call each morning. "Happiness to you" was her daily closing remark to them. While a gentle person, she was also strongly instrumental in guiding and spending quality time with her three youngest grandchildren, creating lasting impressions on them. One of her unforgettable mantras was "I always try to learn something new every day," and she passed this on to her grandchildren - a love of learning. To all those who knew her, she will be remembered for her gentleness, her strength of character and her uprightness.

      A Celebration of Life will be held for the family from Dana Point Harbor on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008.

      The Helm family is requesting that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in memory of Margaret Myers Helm to the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens to help enrich the Story Circle Program at the Casa. Margaret gave the gift and love of reading to her family and they would like this gift to live on in her memory. Please make checks payable to the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, P.O. Box 191, San Clemente, CA, 92674.

      Margaret's obituary in the Bloomington Herald Times spells out her Bloomington family connection:

      Margaret Ann Myers Helm passed away peacefully on Friday, August 8, 2008. She was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Burton Dorr Myers of Bloomington, Indiana and the granddaughter of J.D. and Isabel Showers, also of Bloomington. She was preceded in death by her former husband Standiford Helm, sister Mary Isabel Myers, brother Rudolf Burton Showers Myers, and son-in-law Daniel D. Withers...


1 Note the conflict of dates, and also of the location of Greenville! (New Albany is the county seat of Floyd county, Indiana, where the tiny town of Greenville is located.) I will go with the 29 Jan 1866 date which appeared in the local newspaper.
2The steamer Sultana sank in the Mississippi River north of Memphis early in the morning of 27 Apr 1865. She was carrying Union army veterans home. Many of them were ex-prisoners, having recently been liberated from Andersonville and other Confederate prisons. She was built in 1863, so could not have been the same ship in which J. D. Showers remembers traveling as a boy!
This page was last updated 25 Jun 2011.