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Jennie Stark Robinson Bowman


Jennie Stark Robinson Bowman was born in Payson, Utah on January 22, 1890. She was the 2nd child born to Samuel John Robinson and Minnie Amelia Stark Robinson .In 1893 her father returned from a mission to England and moved his family to the Mormon Colonies in Old Mexico. Jennie, her mother, sister, and two brothers traveled to Mexico by train. Her father traveled by team and wagon, bringing the family's belongings.

Jennie remembered a four-room adobe house in Colonia Dublan where the family first lived. After a few years her father built a large, two story home which was quite modern for its day. Later, in 1912, during the Mexican Revolution, this lovely home was burned down by rebels passing through. It happened on Christmas Eve and the family escaped with only the clothes they were wearing. This home was eight or nine blocks from the church and school so Jennie walked a lot. The children used slates and slate pencils instead of notebooks and lead pencils to do their school work. Jennie was given the opportunity to develop her talents as a young girl. She had a natural talent in art and took some classes in oil painting. Her first charcoal paintings were destroyed when the family home was burned. Throughout her life, when time would permit, she used this wonderful talent and her paintings became prized possessions in the homes of her posterity.

She also took advantage of the opportunity to learn to play the guitar. In high school she played guitar in a string band. When she had her own family she inspired some of her children to learn to play the guitar too. Throughout her life she scolded herself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to learn the piano. She often said she could have learned piano along with painting and guitar if she had used her time well. She wrote in her personal history, "See that your children learn music and also develop their other talents. They will always be grateful."

Growing up in Dublan was a delightful experience for Jennie. The population of the town was mostly young married couples with young families. Jennie said they were courageous, energetic, industrious, and hopeful, happy people. They worked hard to establish good homes and farms and a good environment for their children. They furnished their own amusements and excelled in the dramas they produced and the musical talent that was developed. Jennie remembered being in plays and there was always time for lots of visiting and parties, too.

Going to high school was a special experience. The high school was in Colonia Juarez, 18 miles away. A team and wagon was the only mode of travel then and it took half a day to get there so the students from Dublan would live in homes of the people in Juarez or they would get together and "batch it". Jennie had experience in doing both. She was very popular in high school and had many dates to dances and parties. She even had serious intentions of getting engaged to a young returned missionary while in high school. She said, "I did some serious wondering, and I prayed a lot about the matter." She felt relieved and happy when it was "all off".

Claudious (Claude) Bowman had been a friend all through her growing up years and he had asked her for dates but she had always declined because she wanted to go with the older boys. He went to Provo to attend high school and when he returned all grown up and handsome she began hoping he would forgive her for all the times she had avoided his attentions. Apparently he did forgive her for a year later they were married.

Jennie taught first grade in Dublan the year before she was married. As soon as school was out her mother traveled to El Paso with her and Claude where new clothes were purchased for the wedding trip.

Her mother went back home and the excited couple traveled by train to Salt Lake City where they were sealed in the Temple on June 5, 1912. For a honeymoon trip they traveled onto Baker, Oregon to visit Jennie's grandparents and then to Los Angeles, California to spend a few days sightseeing.

Jennie had enjoyed a carefree childhood and youth but many challenges and trials were just around the corner. When the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon the Mexican Revolution that had been raging strong in the south was beginning to move to the north. Suddenly conditions became so serious that the old men, women and children were sent by train to El Paso with the men and boys soon following on horseback. Claude got work in and around El Paso the next few years. Most of the time they lived with his family. Her family was also there waiting for the chance to move back to Mexico. Three children, Claudius Jr., Bardell, and Dorothy were born during these years.When they were able to return home, Claude formed a partnership with Harvey Taylor and began operating a flour mill.

After returning home to Mexico Henry Wesley, Samuel Keith, Dorm Seymore, Kathleen, and Maurice Dwight joined the family. The first tragedy to come into Jennie's life was when her youngest son, little Tracy Reed was just three weeks old. He became so terribly ill that she finally prayed for him to get better or for the Lord to take him. He died on her birthday, January 22, 1932.

Jennie was a faithful church worker throughout her life. For example, her son Wesley remembers that many times she worked throughout the night covering and lining caskets for deceased friends and relatives. She remembered once telling the bishop that she didn't feel capable of a calling but the bishop told her that dependability was a better quality than capability.

As Claude served in the Stake Presidency for 5 years and then as Stake President for 20 more years, Jennie had the opportunity of having General Authorities of the Church in her home many, man. times. She was the right person for this responsibility. She made them comfortable and each meal was a banquet! She appreciated the opportunity this gave her children to get to meet these great men.

When Claude was called to be a mission president, Jennie again felt incapable but she didn't need to. She continued to entertain Church leaders in her wonderful style and support her husband in his great work. The missionaries and the members all loved her. Alter 5 years in the mission the next great tragedy of her life came when Claude was killed in an accident that almost took her life too.

She returned home and bravely continued on, being a tremendous help and influence to all of her family for the 20 more years of her life. She was always on hand to help in her children's homes when new babies came or when there was any other need. She made beautiful quilts for each new baby and for each grandchild's wedding. She also returned to painting, something she hadn't done for a long time but still did so well.

In 1972 Jennie went to Mesa, Arizona to do endowment work for the dead. After about four years she returned home and continued to give loving service to her family in Dublan. On April 1, 1978 she passed away, leaving her family the memory of a beautiful life filled with love, service to others, and sacrifice of her own desires and comforts for the desires and comforts of others.

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