Gees, not the sheep
again, I hope its not our ancestral occupation or a vocational
interest in the wooly little beggars that has any significance to
our history. I have heard and read that the known name of Ewart has
various spellings such as:
This could probably explain why so many
non-Ewarts have such a difficult time spelling a five letter name
let alone pronounce it properly!! I have heard it said and I have
also read some material that has our name tied to an area in the
borders that has to do with the rivers "glen and till" and
specifically land surrounded or bordered on three sides by water. It
also has been said that the name is a very old derivative English
pronunciation of a Gaelic word to describe a persons occupation
involving water, or the transportation of water. If anyone can add
to this or dispel this ---please do. It sure sounds a lot better
My grandfather used
to tell us that the "Ewarts" were once part of the "Stewart" clan,
but there being no saints in our branch of the family, they were
forced to drop the first two letters. Another explanation he used to
give (the inventiveness of his explanations being directly
proportional to the amount of Robbie Burns "gargle" he had used) was
that during the attempt to restore Bonnie Prince Charlie a branch of
the Stewarts was cut off by the British, and when captured avoided
certain death by claiming that they were not to be confused with the
"Stewarts" even though their name sounded the same.
a more accurate origin of the name was the occupation of the family
as sheep herders in the borderlands of Scotland. They raises ewes,
hence were "ewers." Over the years this name became Ewart.
The town was
established by three Ewart brothers; Robert, Thomas and Matthew.
They only allowed settlers of Irish descent, so the nearby town of
Grinnell grew much larger. When the railroad came and passed through
Grinnell rather than Ewart, the town became a footnote in the
history of Poweshiek County. Today the largest feature in the town
is the cemetery!
History of Poweshiek County, IA.
Matt Ewart-- Of the firm of Ewart Brothers, agriculturists and
stock raisers, Matthew was born in Morrow County, OH, in 1839, and
came to this county in 1866. Himself and half-brother Robert own
about 2,500 acres of land in Poweshiek County; the town of Ewart, on
the Grinnell and Montezuma Railroad, was laid out by them, and their
lands surround it. Ewart Bros. are well and popularly known
throughout this district, and are numbered among the leading
stock-men of the West.
Mansion pictured on the link page was built by Robert and
Matthew. Matthew never married and lived in the house with Robert &
his family and, later, Robert's son and his family. The house was
quite a show place in its day and even had a cork surface tennis
court. It was built some years after the founding of the town.
Robert's son was my
grandfather. My father was born and lived in the house until he went
to college. Unfortunately the house burned while he was a student at
History of Poweshiek County, EWART, IA
Official document about the history of Ewart, IA.
obituaries are PDF files that may be
obtained from the Grinnell Public Library,
Grinnell -- DRAKE COMMUNITY LIBRARY
You must have Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view these files. We are grateful to Grinnell
Public Library for providing this information for your convenience.