Small Town- David Alexander Cawyer and Mary S. Case (and Paralee and Emma)

On 27 February 1883, David Alexander CAWYER and Mary S. CASE were married in Avilla, Jasper County, Missouri.  David and Mary were my husband’s paternal 2nd great grandparents.  I’ve written about David and Mary before and you can find that post here:

David Alexander “Eleck” Cawyer- Another Plea for Help  (You can see David and Mary’s marriage license here.)

david cawyer

Above is a photo of David (who went by Eleck but whom I will call David in this post.)  I have no photo of Mary, unfortunately.

When I’m researching someone to write a blog post about them, sometimes it’s the strangest things that stand out to me.  For instance, what stood out to me about David the most this time around is the tiny area in which he lived after Mary died and after he remarried.  It appears that Mary passed away sometime during the first 10 years of their marriage- between 1883 and 1893.  I’m guessing around 1891 but I have no proof.  In 1893, David married Paralee MARTIN in Webb City, Jasper County, Missouri.  You can find Webb City on the second map below.  I have been unable to locate them in the 1900 census but starting in 1902 I can pick David up through city directory entries and this is where I want to start.

The 1902 city directory just states “Joplin”.  The only clarification I could find in the directory states they lived somewhere in the vicinity of Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, outside of any city or town limits (but still in Jasper County).  There was one other CAWYER in the directory- a W. R. CAWYER who also lived in Joplin.  This could be David’s brother, William.  Starting in 1905 the entries give street addresses (except for 1909).  The directory entries list name, occupation, whether residence (‘r’) or business, and the street address of the person listed.  The entries for David go like this:

1905: David Alex Cawyer, team [I’m guessing this means ‘teamster’], r [residence], 218 St. Louis [Joplin].  218 S. Saint Louis Avenue is currently an empty lot.

NOTE: In 1905, Paralee died.  David remained single until 1907 when he married Emma SIMPSON FAWVER.  Their respective residences on the marriage license are both Villa Heights.  So we know that in 1907 he was living in Villa Heights.  Based on this 1895 Joplin map, it looks like Villa Heights was located by the present-day North Point Shopping Center in Joplin (near Books-a-Million).  You can search the historical map of Joplin and compare it to a present day map at Google maps.  Here’s a section of it below.  You can see Villa Heights right next to Range Line Road.  On a present-day map you can find Villa Heights Christian Church near 7th Street and Range Line and this would be the right area.  You can see he is living amongst many mining companies.  The nearest is Butcher Boy Mining Company.  Unfortunately, I still don’t know which one he worked at for sure.  All I know is he worked at a zinc mine.

villa heights historical map

1909: D. A. Cowyer [a common misspelling of Cawyer in this area at this time].  I had to do a little digging to figure out where he actually lived at this time.  He was living in the country in Galena Township in an area considered to be Joplin but not in the city/town limits where he would have a street address.  I can’t chart this location any closer than this.

galena twp

Above you can see Galena township outside the Joplin city limits.

1910: Alex Cawyer, miner, r [residence], 209 Highland [Joplin].  There is one other CAWYER in the directory- Wm. R. Cawyer, a laborer living at 2nd and Indiana.  The 1910 Federal Census corroborates the Highland Street address.  The census shows the following people living in the home: David A. Cawyer, his wife Emma, David’s son James, and Emma’s children- Alexander Fawver, Emma M. Fawver, Harry (?) Fawver, and Arcus (?) Fawver.  David’s son Sam and Sam’s family are living nearby.  (It appears that Sam’s family lives on Farmers Lane but Farmers Lane is not near Highland on current maps so I’m not sure what street name the census enumerator wrote.)  The census also gives some additional detail about David’s job.  The census shows that David worked as a Shoveler at a zinc mine.  Today, this is what stands at 209 S. Highland Avenue:

209 highland joplin

I’m pretty sure it’s that tiny brown house behind the tree where the red truck is parked.  This is located close to the Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery in Joplin.

1911: David Alex Cawyer, miner, r, 1511 Hill, Joplin.  Samuel Cawyer is the other Cawyer listed in the directory.  I believe this is probably David’s son.  Samuel is living at 1500 Valley in Joplin and is also working as a miner.  There used to be a home sitting at 15ll E. Hill Street in Joplin but it burned in the summer of 2008.  Nothing has been rebuilt there.

1914: David A. Cawyer, laborer, r, 203 St. Charles, Joplin.  When you type in this address in Google maps it takes you to an intersection at E 2nd Street and S Saint Charles Avenue.  I’m assuming that the intersection went in over the top of whatever used to be there in 1914.

So, below are a couple of maps (current maps) that I put together so you could see the different places he lived.  It puts it in perspective as to how small of an area he lived in for as many places as he lived.  The majority of them are near Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery.

david mary cawyer one

david mary cawyer two

I’ve marked the two main roads that form the boundaries of the residences- Range Line Road and St. Louis Avenue.  To the south is 7th Street.  On the northern side is Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery.  The mapping program wouldn’t let me get all the locations on one map.  I’ve added in the year he lived at each residence.  Hopefully all of that isn’t too confusing.  In any case, I think it’s clear enough that he lived in a number of places in a small geographic area over the course of about a decade.

There are several large gaps of time during which I can’t account for David.  Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to fix that.

Until then,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Sources:; Google Maps;; Bing maps


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