Clarence and Stella Mowry


Here is the caption my mother (Barbara La Favre) applied to above photo: A graduate of Northwestern University - Grandfather Clarence Harrison Mowry. He married Stella in 1899. They lived in Chicago, Wilmette, Hartford-Mich. and North Whittier Heights- Calif. In 1934 they divorced and both remarried. Later, Grandfather moved to 1741 Clinton Street, Los Angeles. Several times he took me down the hill to ride the boats at Echo Park.

Clarence H. Mowry (wearing hat - not a cap, left of man with bicycle). Clarence was president of Sigma Chi at Northwestern (seen here with other members of fraternity)

Article by C. H. Mowry in The Northwestern, Vol. XIX No. 6, November 3, 1898


In the life of Jean Paul Richter there was an incident that may be regarded as signal for the world. Scholars will remember this circumstance of his youth, that while standing one day in the house of his father, and looking out of the open door, he made a discovery which gave to his genius an impulse that was responsible for his rise and renown. There is an attractive uncertainty in meditation and where genius plays, the final triumph of a definite thought bursts all the more inspiringly from the wonderful mist. That discovery came thus, as he stood meditatively looking at the world without, but perceiving another sphere. His soul, entranced, was reeling with the phantoms of great thoughts, and a pleasurable expectancy was realized as the phantoms cleared away, their work being done, leaving this crystalized truth to him, "Ich bin ein ich!" and Richter was born again.

"Ye must be born again." A privilege turned into a command. Christ was philosopher enough to recognize that privilege and godlike enough to command it. If this be a moral necessity so is it an intellectual one. Intelligence is moral. "Ye must be born again." People have to wake up at intervals. We must be born not only again, but also, again and again. Life is development or nothing. Man is at his best, thinking. Consciousness is not always enough in evidence as we look upon the worldly man, that is, the busy man. As we look at the brute, the child, and the man, there is sometimes a frightful similarity of mechanism in their acts; an unconscious play of cause and effect. The brute slays from instinct as well as from hunger. The sight of prey excites his nervous mechanism sufficiently for action whether he be hungry or not. The kitten runs after a rolling ball, not always because it wants to play but because it cannot help obeying an instinct. The act is a mere mechanism. And the unconscious activities of man are frightfully analogous to this phenomenon.

We should let consciousness seize us. Conscious activities are manlike, unconscious activities are animal-like. Development needs consciousness. In the science of chemistry there is a certainty in many problems as to the results of chemical actions in combinations of certain elements. If hydrogen and oxygen be combined in the right proportion and at the proper temperature, are we not sure that water will be the result? So sure, indeed, that the chemical symbol of water is H2O.

Definite calculations may also be made in the mental or nervous zone of animal life. In the study of zoology one can see a similar certainty of results. Law pervades everywhere and is responsible for the evolution of animal life. Evolution of the higher forms of life from the lower seems so plain that the mystery of development is its simplicity and naturalness. And unless the mind of man is awakened and becomes imperial and conscious, it does not rise far enough above the scientific mechanism, and is merely the machinery of a nervous sensitiveness. We wish to look upon the mind of man as metaphysical. Man is transcendant only as a thinker. Ye must be born again and again. Every time a man acquaints himself with one horizon, he must rise to the possibilities of a wider one. We must reason or we are not men of the immortal type. Man is at his best, I say, when he thinks.

It is easy to do from habit. Consciousness costs, but the reward is infinite because it marks the line between the finite and the infinite. This shows the necessity of rising above the mechanical. Each new new birth is only a stage in our development. Each new horizon is but an invitation to wider scope. Each is only a place for preparation for a larger vision. Thinking is the source of progress. We must have mechanical activities of course, but it is very gratifying to those entertaining exceeding hopes for the possibilities of mind, that there is also much of the conscious, intentional, and soul-doing among men. The world has transcendant prospects. Everything yields optimism. Even if there were no God, we could not be pessimistic, for then the goal of mind would be evident; but believing in God we must believe that the purpose of life is hardly less grand. We shall help the purpose of life if we believe in the imperialism of mind. The universes and their purpose are admirable. The heights are with child.

Clarence H. Mowry

Stella (Wing) Mowry - near the time of her marriage to Clarence. They were married on June 21, 1899 in Evanston, Illinois. Clarence was 28 years old and Stella was 18 years old.

Another newspaper article:

"Clarence H. Mowry to Wed.

From a Chicago paper we learn that Mr. Clarence H. Mowry and Miss Estella E. Wing will be united in marriage on the 21st of June. The wedding will be a quiet one, and will take place at the residence of the bride's parents.

Miss Wing is one of Evanston's beautiful and cultured young ladies. She is a daughter of Judge Wing, one of Chicago's most prominent lawyers.

Mr. Mowry is well known in Newton and is a gentleman of the highest type and worthy of his lovely bride. He graduated last June at the Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill. He now holds a position in the establishment of Crane Company in Chicago.

After the wedding the young couple will start for the west to view the beautiful mountain scenery, so attractive for a honeymoon. They will also visit the bride's grandparent, who live in Colorado, and on their return to Chicago they will stop at Newton and spend a week with the grooom's parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Mowry."

Notes on article: Newton is in Kansas, the bride's grandparent was Mary A. Wing (her husband died in 1875, at some point after this she moved to Colorado Springs to live with her daughter Electa [Wing] Kemple)

An examination of the marriage license reveals that the form was intended to be used in the decade of the 1930s. I suspect that this license may have been issued because it was needed as part of the divorce proceedings in 1934.

Letter to Stella from her mother (Amelia Wing), shortly after the wedding:

My Dear Stella-

Here we are Bess and Mother and I feel like reflecting on old Mrs. Willard's poem "All Alone in the House". I wonder if we will ever get- accustomed to the vacant chairs, for you know it left two instead of the usual one. Well, I am glad everything passed off so well - no breaks - Judge McCallum told me that the waiters said it was the swellest wedding they ever waited upon here in Evanston.

The Chicago reporters came thick and fast after you left. One paper stated we had fifty guests.

Please remember me to all. With love to both my children.

From Mother
1925 Sherman Ave.
Evanston, Ill.

Stella with her only child, Virginia.

Virginia and her father Clarence

The Mowrys first house in Wilmette, Illinois. The Mowrys moved in when Virginia was two years old. Previously they lived in an apartment at 1641 Melrose St. in Chicago. The U.S. 1910 Census lists the Mowrys living here at 1007 Forest Ave (my mother's notes also match this address). The US Census data is helpful in establishing Clarence's careers. After their marriage he worked for the Crane Elevator Company (presumably in Chicago - see news article above). I have not been able to find the Mowrys on a 1900 Census. In 1910 he is listed as a solicitor of fire insurance. In 1920 he is listed as a fruit grower and in 1930 as a rancher. I believe the Mowrys moved to Hartford shortly after 1910, at which time Clarence appears to have had a significant change in careers, which he carried through when they moved to California. But there may be more to the story of his careers than I know. - Jeffrey La Favre

Virginia Russell Mowry. Born April 10, 1900 in Chicago, Illinois. Lived in the city until 2 years of age. Then moved to Wilmette into house her grandfather bought for her family because he believed the city was no place to raise a little one. Sometime after 1910 the family moved to an apple farm out of Hartford, Michigan. Riding horses was her passion. She graduated from Hartford High and went on the the University of Michigan for her first 2 years. Next she attended Pomona College and USC. She began teaching English at Chaffey high in fall of 1923. She enjoyed writing. There are two family historical accounts she wrote. One about the Wings and the other about the Barbers. She wrote for our local newspaper - The Puente Journal. She, also, wrote several speeches for me to give. - Barbara La Favre


Stella (second from left) and Virginia (far right) - at their 20 acre farm (apple orchard) in Hartford, Michigan. The US Census for 1920 lists the Mowrys living in Ann Arbor, Michigan at 520 Thompson St. Also living at the same address was Albert Kellogg and his wife Margaret (was the house a duplex?). Perhaps the Mowrys had sold their property in Hartford by this time and had moved to Ann Arbor for a short stay before making the move to California. They were in California in 1921. My mother and father (Barbara and Howard La Favre) visited the farm in 1985 and the house was still in good condition and lived in. They met some friends of Virginia's. They asked after her.

Clarence and Stella's home in Hartford, Michigan. Barbara La Favre on right in photo.

Fred Wing's home in Hartford, Michigan. Fred was Stella's brother and lived just down the street from Clarence and Stella. Barbara La Favre in photo.

Virginia Mowry - about 18 years old. She went off to University of Michigan in 1918. Her mother wrote her that fresh air was essential for her health; to eat honey and stay away from students who seemed ill. That was the way to avoid the "grip" so Stella wrote. Virginia was in college during the time when the terrible epidemic of the 1918 influenza was raging.


Clarence and Stella Mowry's new home on Avocado Terrace, North Whittier Heights (later called Hacienda Heights), California. Grandfather built an arbor over this front porch and planted grape vines on it. It was this house where I, Barbara Barber, was born in 1927 (June 26). Virginia, my mother, was afraid the Whittier hopsital would mix up her baby with another as they had done recently. - Barbara V. La Favre

This home was still standing when we moved to our new home in 1960, but was torn down not long after. It was only a few hundred feet away from our house. I regret that I never was inside this house. - Jeffrey La Favre

Another view of Mowry home in California - Turnbull Canyon Road in foreground. During my childhood, there was a barn located near Turnbull Canyon (the location would be directly below the house in this photo or slightly to the right, or perhaps it is out of view to right in this photo?). - Jeffrey La Favre

The article transcribed below describes the original 8 acres off of Avocado Terrace (my father, Howard La Favre, still owns two of the original 8 acres).


C. H. Mowry and Family Are Hosts To Hartford Crowd at Fine Mountain Home.

Glendale, Calif., Jan. 20, 1926. Friend Don:

Knowing, as I do, that the Hartford people here are anxious and glad to hear news from friends at home, I assume the home people there would like also to have some news regarding some of the Hartford people who are sojourning or residing here, so will give you a little "verse."

On last Saturday Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Mowry and daughter, Virginia, were hosts at a "pot-luck dinner" at their lovely home which is in the country about 30 miles from Glendale, in Puento township, to the following Hartford people. (I call them all Hartford people whether they have taken up their homes permanently here or not): Mr. and Mrs. E. D. Conlklin, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Tuttle and son, Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Carpp and daughter, Joy, and "Vet's" mother, Mrs. Carpp, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Traver and Mr. and Mrs. S. A. Doyle and daughter, Cecil.

After partaking of a very fine dinner, Mr. Mowry took us for a stroll over his plantation which consists of eight acres of land. This land is situated on the north side of the mountain and has a natural slope from the high point in all directions.

At the top of the place, which is about 700 feet above sea level and about 3/4 of the distance to the top of the mountain, is their residence which was built by Mr. Mowry and is a fine 8-room house, with basement, and a large sleeping porch on the second floor over the garage. The heating and lighting is all done by electricity.

The whole place is set to fruit of nearly all kinds and varieties. Among them being the apple, oranges, 10 varieties, lemons, peaches (now in blossom), lime trees, pears, nectarines, apricots, jugules, almonds, walnuts, pecans, filberts, sapote, cherimoya, feyora, guavas, loquats, grape fruit, bananas, tangelo, pomgranite, Japanese persimmons, mangoes, all kinds of berries, last but not least, the Avocados. There are about 850 of the Avocados, 50 of which were planted in 1921, and the balance since that time. From about 150 trees that bore this season Mr. Mowry says he sold $545 worth, with about $150 to $200 worth still on the trees. Locations adapted to the raising of the Avocados are very scarce. They are very sensitive to cold. Mr. Mowry says it never freezes at his place. This fruit sells for 50 cents to 60 cents per pound.

This whole place is watered by an overhead spray irrigation system. Mr. Mowry can have it rain on any or all of the place at any time he wishes. The bare land in this immediate neighborhood is selling for $900 per acre and up.

I have seen a good many fine country homes in California, but none have more favorably impressed me than the home of the Mowrys.

We were called to dinner by the old dinner bell Mr. Mowry brought from Hartford.

To say that we all enjoyed every minute of the time would be putting it mildly.

Stephen A. Doyle.

During my childhood, most of the trees were gone. There were a few surviving avocados. I remember one apricot tree near my great grandmother Stella's house (the one she lived in after Stella and Clarence divorced). There were also two loquat trees. There were some pomegranate trees in our neighborhood which may have originated from seeds of trees on the property. I believe there were also some citrus trees on the land near Avocado Terrace. However, I was not very familiar with most of the land that was not ours at the time (the other 5 acres). - Jeffrey La Favre

This photo is the view from the La Favre home built in 1960. Mount San Antonio (Old Baldy) is directly above the tractor. This land is part of the original Mowry "plantation." Some of the surviving avocados can be seen in the near distance between the tractor and my father's 1957 Ford station wagon. The house that Stella lived in after her divorce is also seen in this photo (although not a good view). The back of the house is seen just to the right of the tall pine tree at far left of photo. The house burned down about 1969. No one was living there at the time. I remember it clearly because it happened at night and woke me from my sleep. I looked out my bedroom window and saw the flames rising high above the house. The fire department put it out but then early the next morning, before dawn, it rekindled and basically burned to the ground. It was quite a frightening experience.

Stella Wing Mowry Martinelli - sometime in her early 70's.

This is the way I, Barbara, remember my sweet Grandmother Stella looking. She's in her early 70s here and is at some park with Mother Virginia Barber. - Barbara V. La Favre

My Great Grandmother died when I was 10 years old. While I don't remember very well how she looked, I can confirm that she was my sweet Great Grandmother. Her house was just a short walk from ours and I spent many hours with her. - Jeffrey La Favre

Stella is holding me here on the occasion of my first birthday. I do remember that she had long hair and remember her braiding it. Then she would roll the braids in a circle and pin to the back as you see in this photo. Also in this photo is another of my great grandmothers, Mary Ellen (Huntzinger) La Favre. - Jeffrey La Favre

Here are some memories written by Stella:

Hickery - Dickery - Dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck 13 and down he run
"Something is always spoiling my fun."

Bright and early in the morn
a voice says Hi, and he slams the door
Does your Mother know you are here?
She says "Its all right, its all right"
So with nothing to fear,
We get down on the floor
and play, and play, and play,
Jeffrey of three and his Bannie
of seventeen, turned the other way

He rides his horse around my room
and underneath my table
He goes so fast around about.
To stay on his back
He must be very able.

He is a cowboy
No, he is Jeffrey.

He washes well his dolly's clothes
He rubs, and rubs, and rub,
He squeezes all the water out
And hangs them on My tub.

He takes his wheelbarrow and runs along my beaten path,
"Watch me Banny, watch me"
And then I hear his loud laugh.

He takes along my long pipe stems.
And out of doors he goes.
"These are my guns, Bannie, my guns" he cries
And running to and fro he shoots down all the foes.

When Jeffrey wants some music
He takes Bannie's omelet pan,
And on it plays dance music
As loud as ever he can.

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
Shining thru the night,
If we could hang you on our Christmas tree
It would make it very bright.

One day we took a ride in Bannie's sedan
Jeffrey took the wheel and drove like a great big man.
He blew his horn, a buss went by.
"Too bad," he says. But didn't tell me why.
To the beach and home again.
He parks at the self same tree
He took me there, he brought me home.
As careful as can be.

Today we played at tea.
He poured mine in a cup.
He poured his own and then,
We both drank it up.

One fine day
"Hi" - and in walks Jeffrey.
Banny - is your fever gone?
"Yes" - I answer - "yes" - I say.
But when you read these lines
You will think its here to stay.

"They are Bobby's," said Jeffrey
Said Jeffrey, "They are Bobby's"
Bobby's things are her things
And her things are Bobby's things
This challenge to all he flings.

He loves to dance to music,
He turns it on real loud,
He backs, he turns, he is stepping high,
To watch him, makes me proud.

Mary had a little lamb
its Mother was a ewe
Now how mixed I am,
I thought Jeffrey was you.

Three mice that were blind.
Followed the farmer's wife.
She being very kind.
Put some cheese upon the floor.
Now they don't follow her any more.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
But watch the little Sprats.
They eat every platter clean.

Alex is Jeffrey's little brother.
Who came to live with him and Mother.
Jeffrey is looking to the day.
When Alex joins him in his play.

"Oh Mother come look at little brother,
I'd rather play with him than any other."

As the oldest child in our family, and the oldest of all of my first cousins, the names I applied to my grandmother Agnes and great grandmother Stella were those that the other children used (at least in the case of my father's mother). Apparently, I was not able to pronounce Granny correctly and it came out as Banny (or Bannie). I always called my father's mother Bana, even as a grown man. As far as I know, so did my brothers and sister and all of my first cousins.

The beaten path that Stella writes about was the path from a car shed located at the end of the driveway to her house. It was a long path, more than 100 feet, along the terrace behind our first house (2137 Turnbull Canyon Road). I believe this was part of the terracing my great grandfather Clarence made for his avocados. There were several avocados on the terrace above the path and there were some on the same terrace as the path. There was one loquat tree alongside the path. That was the tree that my brother, Alex, climbed one day. He ate too many green loquats and got an upset stomach.

I don't remember Stella's cars but I do remember my mother mentioned the Austin at least once. Here are her notes that I found pasted to the back of the license: "Your Great Grandma Stella drove a tiny Austin. I remember the thrilling rides as we jolted up the hill. As she rounded the "S" turn below her house, she would gun it - racing up to the driveway, swing in and roar up to the landing. We always made it! Then my dad gave her our old green Buick. Howard gave her several lessons, but she never drove it afterwards. At three years old, Jeff was the only one to take the Buick out - on those imaginary trips with Stella." I believe she had a zest for life.

The driveway my mother mentioned is the lower half of the present driveway for my father's house (2151 Turnbull Canyon Road). Anyone who knows the driveway would understand why Stella needed to get a running start before reaching the drive. It is very steep. When I was in 7th grade I got a brand new Terot bicycle with 15 speeds. It had some very low gears, which I needed to ride the bike up that same driveway. If I was tired, I just walked it up.

- Jeffrey La Favre



by Stella Wing Martinelli

Journeying west in a pullman, I noticed a berth left with curtains drawn together until noon. Was someone ill in that birth? No--for then came the porter carrying a package to the berth and in a few minutes a very large man appeared out of the berth's dept. He was wearing the most amazing large plaid trousers ever. A shrieking of line and color.

I learned that his trousers had been stolen during the night and someone had wired ahead for a replacement. What a predicament he had been in. The poor man had to stay under-cover until that pair had arrived to cover him.

He must have been glad to receive even those trousers, but how glad the seller must have been to have gotten rid of them!

At the end of his journey what happened? Was he fortunate to arrive when night could cast her mantle of darkness over him?

- - - - - - - - - - -

When traveling over the Southern Pacific from Los Angeles to Chicago, my Pullman seat was opposite to two nicely dressed colored girls.

Soon after starting I witnessed the following most unkind acts. The porter and the two girls stood talking together and looking concernedly at two white women getting their bags and leaving our car for seats in another Pullman. These colored girls knew that these women were changing cars on account of them. The fires of tolerance and compassion were cold in these women. How true it is that "Ones behavior is the criterion of one's character".

Along our trip the porter kept the girls informed of places of interest and not to neglect me, he would step over and point them out to me also.

The two girls told me that they were returning to Chicago after appearing in Hollywood movies-- One was a dancer, also both were High School graduates.

I had an interesting trip. They told me their experience in the movies, passed me candy and gave me books to read thus showing their consideration for another traveler. When about to leave the train in Chicago the Porter said that he was very glad I had been on his train and he hoped he would have me again sometime. How glad I was that I was not guilty of hurting a fellow creature.


One spring day I boarded a Pullman carrying a canary in a little black box, like a handbag. Along the trip the bird would sing and what a look of bewilderment, amusing to me, would come over the porter's face as he passed through, staring at the ceiling and around the car for the singer, but he never solved the mystery.


Coming home from Hartford, Michigan to Los Angeles, on the Southern Pacific, our train as usual stopped at El Paso, where a nice young woman got on, came into my Pullman and sat down facing me.

After a little I spoke to her and she told me that she was a telephone operator in El Paso and was going ahead two hundred miles where she was to spend her vacation. She showed me some new clothes for the trip and handed me a nice red apple.

Looking out the window we saw a car racing along, the driver apparently trying to beat our train. "I hope he doesn't cross our tracks," I said. "Sometimes these roads suddenly cross over and there accidents happen. An engineer in Hartford, Michigan had to give up running his train for fear of killing someone like that driver." "Hartford, Michigan!-- I have an aunt living there," she replied, giving her aunt's name-- "Why, she is my best friend, I had dinner with her last Sunday," I answered. We sat and stared at each other for some minutes--

I recalled old times to her. I told her I had been a near neighbor of her aunt, how I had lived for 12 years on the farm where her grandfather had planted the orchard of grand apples, and built the old house there, and of the many good times we had had with her aunt and family. How our farm had such a peaceful atmosphere that we felt the first time we looked at it to buy--Her grandfather's family must have been contented people to leave behind such a peaceful atmosphere. Why did she choose to sit with me on that long train? Why do things happen like that? I wonder--

Why did the doctor who attended me in Chicago when my baby was born, turn out to be the nephew of the minister who married my father and mother in New York? I wonder--

Why does the man who lives across from me here in California turn out to be the baby boy I remembered playing in his high chair and living across the street from me in Morris, Illinois when I was a little girl. Why, I wonder.

Does chance get all the credit? Or are they glimpses of the workings of the Great Plan? I wonder.

Jeffrey La Favre -