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E.L. Bowman Grocery: 1940

E.L. Bowman Grocery: 1940

March 1940. "Grocery store and filling station in the high plains. Dawson County, Texas." Medium format negative by Russell Lee. View full size.


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Outlived his obituary by 22 years

I love digging into the names of these old stores, and was surprised how easily this one was compared to most.

In the 1940 US Census, the family of 54-year-old W.H. Bowman, his wife 51-year-old wife Pearl, and twin 23-year-old sons Ernest L. and Everett Bowman appear with W.H. being "Owner Garage and Grocery Store." His sons are listed as clerks. It turns out Ernest was the "L".

Ernest L. Bowman went into the Army in October 1941, came back after a four-year stint, married in 1945 and stayed in the Lamesa area apparently until he died in 1994 at the age of 78.

Except, despite his tombstone saying 1994, and his BIRLS file saying 1994, and his Social Security saying 1994, I found his obituary. This was in 1977.

Usually I'd chalk this up to two people sharing a name, but in this case the obituary lists his twin brother as well as his sister!

I've been doing genealogy a long time, and I have to say finding an obituary 22 years prior to the actual death is a new one on me.

His obituary from 1977.

His Find-a-Grave (which correlates to his military records.)


Yes, that is definitely a DC power-generating wind turbine, probably a Wincharger. The lack of an air-brake governor leads me to believe that it is one of the small 6-volt machines, designed to replace a radio's A battery. They could handle a small number of light bulbs as well, but little more than that, unlike the larger 32-volt machines. The visible-register gas pumps were operated by hand, of course.

As to the ice, it was probably trucked from Lamesa. Just about every town with rail service would have had an ice plant in those days.

The Iceman Cometh

In answer to the question; "Where do they get their ice?" I'm going to venture it was trucked in from Midland or Lubbock.


As a youth, friends and I would prank call stores asking if they had Prince Albert in a can. When they said they did we would say "then let him out".

Childhood humor, anything so we could laugh. Of course the store owner probably did not appreciate it.

Wind generator

The windmill appears to be making electricity. No power poles to be seen.

Reading the sign on the photo first

I wondered what ELBOWMAN meant, I saw the very small periods meaning E.L. Bowman, then I looked at the title, oops.

Where do they get their ice?

Please educate me.

Shorpy Vehicle Identification Imperative

A couple of '38 Ford coupes. Nice, the way they balance out the photo.

Poster Boy

      Alvin R. Allison, generally regarded as the “Father of Texas Tech Law,” served as a statesman and as a member of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents. The Alvin R. Allison Professorship of Law is dedicated to supporting a faculty member based on commitment to the Texas Tech School of Law, to the legal profession, and to public service.

To Dave,Your title is much better than mine.

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