Bowman Grocery Store Dundee Scotland


Research by Liz Smith, Dundee, Scotland;
Family folklore by Dennis Sweet, Minnesota, USA
Story by Barbara Lewellen, Colorado, USA


John Guthrie Bowman, a grocery and spirit dealer, in 1899, owned and operated two grocery stores in Dundee, Scotland. John, age 29, managed the Bowman's Supply Store, located at 89 Strathmartine Road while his brother George Stirling Bowman, age 24, managed the second Bowman store at 173-175 Scouringburn. Both John Guthrie Bowman and George Stirling Bowman lived with their mother, May Ann Hogg, at 13 Balfour Street.

Mrs. Mary Ann Hogg Bowman, widowed in 1890, and mother of John G. Bowman and George S. Bowman, occupied the ground floor at 13 Balfour Street, in 1900/1901, as did David Duff, a grocer. Occupants of the floor 1 up included widow, Isabella Crichton, and William Ellis, a tailor; floor 2 up: John Craig, merchant, and George McIntosh, a basket maker; and floor 3 up included George Smith, a carter, and James Boyd, an engine driver.

John Guthrie Bowman, married Margaret Jane Kinnear on the 15th of January 1900 in Dundee, Scotland. The same year John G. Bowman applied for a license to extend his 89 Strathmartine Road premises. When the license was refused he moved his store to 117 Strathmarine Road. His home residence in the 1900/1901 Dundee Directory was 2 Woodthorpe Buildings, Clepington Road.

The licensing register shows that John Bowman's liquor license continued uninterrupted till 1914. Licenses usually ran for one year. The license was granted again in April 1914, but in October 1914, William Duff, grocer's assistant, applied for a transfer of license. This request was refused. William Duff then successfully applied for a license in Broughty Ferry, in 1915, but held it for only one year.

Family folklore states that John G. Bowman was a very generous man. At the beginning of World War I, in 1914, he extended credit to many of his customers who were unable to pay in cash. His generosity, and the inability of his customers to repay their credit debt, resulted in his filing for bankruptcy in late 1914.

In April 1915, Charles Hay Marshall S.S.C. ((Solicitor (of Dundee) to the Supreme Court)) appeared as Trustee for the Creditors of John G. Bowman. At the same meeting a new licence was granted to William Stewart for a public house licence at 117 Strathmartine Road.

John Guthrie Bowman, desiring to strt anew made a trip to the United States, exploring different cities, in order to find a suitable place to live. John departed the port of Liverpool on the 21st of April 1916. Enroute to the United States, a German U-boar attempted to torpedo the ship. The Captain of the ship spotted the torpedo in the water and tuned the ship. Family folklore state that John was on the ship deck, and watched as the torpedo narrowly missed the bow of the ship. That was when he made the decision that his family would not follow him to the United States until the War was over.

When World War 1 ended, John Sent for his wife, Margaret, and four children. Margaret prepared for the family's departure from Dundee, selling mnay of their household items and personal belongings. Margaret placed treasured family photographs and mementos in the family bible, which she packed in her suitcase. Margaret and her four children, ranging in age from five years-old to 18 yers-old, sailed New York City, on th 20th of August, 1919, departing from the port of Glasgow, on the S. S. Columbia.

Today, the property at 117 Strathmartine Road is occupied by Frews Public House, 113 Strathmartine, which was previously the Plough Bar. The premises have expanded to fill the first floor of the tenement. The former store located at 89 Strathmartine Road appears to now be the Athletic Bar.

George Stirling Bowman, age 24, managed the second Bowman Supply store at 173-175 Scouringburn. He married Jessie McIntosh Robertson, a violin and music teacher, on June 2, 1902, and they had one daughter named Elizabeth Robertson Bowman born April 28, 1903. George served three years (ca1901-1904) in the 10th Forfarshire Rifle Volunteer Corps Company.

George gave up his grocery license for the Bowman Supply Store at 173-175 Scouringburn, in 1904. Dundee University, in the mid-1900s, took over the Scouringburn area and demolished old properties in order to build new residences. The University left some of the old cobblestone roads and used the old street names, but not their addresses.

George immigrated to Canada in March of 1904, leaving his wife and daughter behind in Scotland. He returned to Scotland only once in 1907 at Christmas time, yet did not visit Jessie and daughter Elizabeth. Jessie McIntosh Robertson filed for and was granted a divorce from George S. Bowman, on January 22, 1910.

George answered the call of duty on September 1, 1915, enrolling in the 47th Battalion Canadian C. E. F. The Battalion trained in New Westminster, Vancouver, British Columbia, before shipping out to the European warfront. George died west of Le Sars, Regina Trench, in Belgium on November 11, 1916. He is commemorated at the Vimy Memorial, in Nord-as-de-Calais, France, his final resting place unknown.



Frew's Public House is the current occupant of 117 Strathmarine Road.


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