Cowherd named Patriot of the Month

Thursday, June 19, 2008
Ernest Cowherd

A long-time Barry County resident was honored recently by the Missouri State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Ernest Cowherd, a Purdy High School graduate, was named Patriot of the Month for January 2008 by DAR.

Cowherd was drafted into the Army in October of 1944 while attending the University of Arkansas. After training at Fort Roberson, Ark., Cowherd was deployed to Mindanao, Philippines, as a member of the 167th Infantry in May of 1945.

One month later, while serving on the front lines, Cowherd was wounded in his leg and hip by shrapnel and also suffered a broken leg. He was carried out of the jungle on a stretcher by medics and was the only one of his company to make it out alive.

Cowherd remained at a field hospital in the Philippines until September of 1945 at which time he was flown to Vaughan Army Hospital in Chicago, Ill., where it took him six months to recover from his injuries. He was discharged in February of 1946.

For his courage during wartime, Cowherd earned the Purple Heart, the Bronze Battle Star, the European African and Middle East battle ribbon and the Victory Medal.

After being discharged from the Army, Cowherd returned to his family's farm. He established a dairy farm there and attended the Agriculture Vocational School for Veterans in Monett.

In May of 1948, Cowherd married Mary Eden. The couple have seven children, 13 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Four of their sons are attorneys, one son is a banker and one son is a farmer and operates a grape vinyard. Their daughter is a high school principal in Kansas City.

Cowherd was a registered Holstein breeder, and with his family, participated in many Holstein shows and sales. He was also an active member of the Barry County community, serving as a 4-H leader, a member of the Barry County Extension Council and a member of the Federal Land Bank Credit Board. Cowherd also served six years as president of the Cassville R-IV School Board and is still a member of the Board of Trustees and Administrative Board at the Cassville United Methodist Church.

Cowherd is now retired from the dairy, but he and his wife, Mary, still enjoy the farm and caring for a herd of Angus cattle. Even though he suffered a 50 percent disability from his war injuries, Cowherd was able to live a productive life.

Cowherd was nominated as Patriot of the Month by his wife and members of the Alexander McNair Chapter of DAR.

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