G. C. SOWDER. There is something essentially American in the life and character of the gentleman who is the subject of this sketch. The United States has given rare opportunities to men with courage, honesty of purpose, integrity and energy, to achieve success. The bulk of the men who have legitimately achieved fortune have been men with the above characteristics, and Mr. Sowder is surely one of that stamp. He is the owner of a magnificent farm of 400 acres where he is now living, on which he has lived since he came to the county in 1868, and 165 acres of this farm are under the plow and in an excellent state of cultivation. He has given considerable attention to the raising of stock, and was at one time the owner of a saw and grist mill and cotton gin.
He is a native of Washington County, Indiana, where he was born September 12, 1833, a son of John and Polly (Carter) Sowder, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania, resided for a time in the Hoosier State, and in 1850 came to Missouri, residing for a time in Gasconade County, but eventually dying in Ozark County, where his wife also passed from life. The paternal grandfather, Jacob Sowder, was of good old Pennsylvania Dutch stock and was a soldier of the Revolution. The maternal grandfather, Jonathan Carter, was a Virginian by birth and bringing up. G. C. Sowder was one of eleven children born to his parents, nine of whom are now living, and he and his sister Sarah Young, are the only members of the family that reside in Ozark County.
When the Sowder family took up their residence in Gasconade County, Missouri, the subject of this sketch was but a lad, but prior to this he had received some schooling in the State of Indiana. In 1862 he enlisted in Company G, Missouri Home Guards, with which he served the most of the time until the war closed, being in many skirmishes during Price’s raid through Missouri, and proving himself an energetic and faithful soldier. He has always warmly supported the principles of the Republican party, is a law-abiding, public-spirited and enterprising citizen, is a patron of education and, in fact, all worthy enterprises, and he and his family are earnest members of the Christian Church.
In 1858 he led to the hymeneal altar Miss Emily Ridenhour, who died in August, 1859. The following year he married Caroline Garner, who bore him one child, Benjamin, who died in 1874. In 1862 Mr. Sowder was again left a widower and in 1866 was married to Louisa (Ridenhour) Hinkle, a sister of his first wife, and to them were born: George W., Rosetta, Lillian (deceased), Janetta (deceased), Edgar and Eddie (twins), and Dora, but in August, 1883, father and children were called upon to mourn her death. Miss Isabella Hawkens became the fourth wife of Mr. Sowder in 1884, and three children are the result of this union: Chleo Iowa, Vertie, and Wanda M. Mr. Sowder is a member of the G. A. R., is a self-made man, and his present prosperity is the result of long continued toil, good management and sterling integrity.