Meet the powers family
The Powers Museum's founding collection was gleaned from the business and household effects of the Powers, Wright, and Winchester families.
Dr. Everett Powers
Born to John Alexander Powers and Maria Louisa Crowder in 1869 in Labaddie, Missouri, Everett Powers was the last born of ten children. He studied at Missouri State Normal School (Warrensburg) after spending his childhood in Franklin County, Missouri.
Dr. Everett Powers began his medical career as a general practitioner in Monett, Missouri, after graduating in 1892 from the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1896. He also studied at the New York Post-Graduate School and Hospital, Philadelphia Polyclinic, and in Vienna, Austria before establishing an ear, eye, nose and throat specialty practice in Carthage in 1902. As one of the few physicians trained to do eye surgery, Dr. Powers was called often to the stone quarries and tri-state mining fields to administer medical aid to injured workers in those dangerous settings.
During World War I, Dr. Powers served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was stationed at Camp Dodge, Iowa, during the influenza epidemic. He was Chief of Staff at Carthage's McCune-Brooks Hospital when the hospital opened its facility on West Centennial Avenue in Carthage in 1929 and was an active member of several medical societies including the American Medical Association, Missouri State Medical Society, and the Southwest Missouri Medical Society. Dr. Powers retired from practice in the early 1950's and he died in 1954, at which time, the Carthage Evening Press eulogized him with an editorial entitled, "Another Good Man Gone."
Marian Wright Powers
Marian Wright Powers was born in Connersville, Indiana, in 1880, but just a few years later, her father and mother, Curtis Wright and Nira Koogler Wright moved to Carthage to pursue the riches of the area's mineral and stone industrial boom. Mrs. Powers' father was co-owner of the Carthage Stone Company that supplied the limestone for the 1895 Jasper County Courthouse. He was also involved in lead and zinc mining of the Tri-State District and owned a slate quarry near Slatington, Arkansas at Big Fork.
After graduating from the Carthage Collegiate Institute in 1900, Marian studied music, concertized by herself and with her sisters, and performed in local musical theater productions until her marriage in 1903.
After the birth of her daughter, Marian Louisa in 1905, Mrs. Powers re-entered the musical profession and was a popular local and regional performer continuing her studies in Chicago, New York City, and Paris and performing with traveling symphonies from St. Louis, Kansas City, and St. Paul when they toured the central states and Texas. Many of her performances were given in the Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas region, but Mrs. Powers once remarked that she had "married and buried half of Jasper County [Missouri]" by singing at hundreds of weddings and funerals.
A coloratura soprano who performed under the name of Marian Wright Powers, "Mame" as she was known to her family, had a varied repertoire including classical, opera, folk, and popular songs, and performed special programs on seasonal or special subject themes (ie. Native American, women composers, etc.). Her favorite recital program was a series of Civil War-era songs her mother taught her. It was performed in a re-created Civil War ballgown and accessorized with period accessories handed down through her family.
In addition to her musical talents, Mrs. Powers was an active club woman (PEO, Daughters of the American Revolution, Junior Shakespeare, church societies, and other clubs). She also was an avid gardener and expert needlewoman. She died in 1969 and is buried with her husband in Park Cemetery, not far from the museum.
In 1997, Mrs. Powers' journal was included in a collection of documents and writings by Missouri women and collected by Carla Waal and Barbara Oliver Korner. The book, entitled Hardship and Hope: Missouri Women Writing about Their Lives, 1820-1920, is available at local libraries and can be consulted at the Powers Museum Reference Library.
Marian Louisa Powers Winchester
Marian Louisa Powers was born in 1905 at 208 West Macon Street in the former Updegraff-Rittenhouse family home. This house was owned by the Curtis Wright family across the street at 304 West Macon and used by almost all their children when they set up housekeeping upon marriage.
Little Marian, or "Toots" as she was known by most, accompanied her mother occasionally on study trips as in 1909 when she went to Paris and attended a local day school there. The Powers family moved eventually to 806 South Grant Street, and Toots attended Franklin School. Neighborhood acquaintances at this time were Marlin Perkins and his father Judge Joseph Perkins. Toots and Marlin were life-long friends and both graduated from Carthage High School in 1923.
Miss Powers attended National Park Seminary near Washington, D.C., Ozark Wesleyan College in Carthage, and the University of Texas in Austin. After her college career she assisted her father in his medical practice and became the Secretary of the Carthage Red Cross in the 1930s. She continued this service throughout World War II.
In 1946 she married Willington Lafayette Winchester of Joplin, Missouri, and lived briefly in Columbus, Ohio. The Winchesters returned to Carthage and lived with Dr. & Mrs. Powers at 314 Euclid Boulevard, the home the Powers family had purchased from Col. W. R. Caulkins in 1917.
Like her mother, Toots was an active clubwoman and a dedicated hostess keeping meticulous records of family and friend's preferences on a wide variety of items such as food, linens, entertainments, etc, for use when visiting at the Powers home. Both Mrs. Powers and Mrs. Winchester were known for their holiday decorating and entertainments and many of their decorations and holiday items are part of the Powers Museum's collections today.
After the death of her husband and mother, Mrs. Winchester spent much of her time in the 1970s making preparations for the museum and selecting its founding collection from among her prized family's possessions. She died in 1981 and is buried with her parents in Park Cemetery.