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James Marion &
Mary Ann (Leydig) Bowles

James & Ann Bowles

The following article apparently appeared in The Topeka Capital newspaper on 23 Apr 1934.

Beat Grasshoppers Into Kansas
Mr and Mrs. J.M. Bowles Were Real Pioneers
Now observe their 57th Wedding Anniversary - The Parents of Twelve Children.

Special to the Capitol
Formosa Kan., April 13. Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Bowles, who recently observed their 57th wedding anniversary here, have been residents of Jewell County for 63 years, their arrivals having antedated the grasshopper years. They have resided here ever since, either in or within a few miles of this place where Mr. Bowles was for years a hardware dealer. Ten of their twelve children still are living as are 28 of their 33 grandchildren and all eleven great grandchildren.

Mr. Bowles, who was born in Metcalf County, Kentucky, August 27th 1856, came to Kansas in 1872 with his brothers and sisters, the parents both having died. They lived in a dug-out on White Rock Creek north of here even when Indians still roamed this country. Later he lived in Jewell City and Mankato, where he was married, then moving to Formosa.

Mrs. Bowles, who as Mary Ann Leydig, was born near Charles City, IA., September 30, 1859, came with her parents to Kansas in 1872, settling on a homestead, part of which now is occupied by this city. Altho only 13 years old she went to work the fall of the grasshopper year at the old Kelsey house, which still stands in Jewell City.

Later she went to Mankato where she met her future husband and was married.

The aged couple have been in poor health for some time and no big occasion was made of this year's anniversary although it was observed by the family. The children are: Mrs. Hattie Stransky, Munden, Kan.; Mrs. J.G. Sturdevant, Kearney, Neb.; Mrs. R.E. Hale, Randall, Kan.; Mrs. Peter Jesch, Horton, Kan.; Mrs. Katherine Brandt, Lincoln, Neb.; J.A. Bowles and M.W. Bowles of Atwood, and Mrs. John Magnusson, Samuel L. Bowles, and Funston Bowles of Formosa.

[In the middle of the article was a text box with this in it:]

Formosa, KS April 23. (special) Few married couples have had the unusual pleasure of attending the Golden weddings of parents on "both sides of the house," where all are residents of the same city, but such an occasion was recalled here with the 57th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Bowles. One of their daughters, Mrs. John Magnusson, resides here as do Mr. and Mrs. John Magnusson, Sr., the parents of her husband, a Formosa businessman. Mr. and Mrs. Magnusson, Sr., celebrated their golden wedding almost two years ago. All are long-time residents here.


James Marion, son of William and Lucinda Bowles, was born in Metcalf County, Kentucky, and departed this life at Formosa, Kansas, August 20th, 1936 at the age of 79 years, 11 months and 24 days. He was one of a family of 13 children who were left fatherless and motherless at a very early age. In the spring of 1872 at the age of 16 years, he with his orphaned brothers and sisters came to Kansas and settled in a dug-out one mile west of what is known as Reubens on the White Rock creek. Later he moved to Jewell City, Kansas, where he met and married his life companion, Mary A. Leydig, who preceded him in death, June 29, 1935.

To this union were born twelve children, two of whom had preceded the parents in death, an infant son, Walter, and a daughter, Mrs. Mary Cross of Topeka, Kansas. The surviving children are: Mrs. Hattie Stransky of Munden, Kansas; Mrs. Claudia Sturtevant of Kearney, Nebraska; Mrs. Golda Hale of Randall, Kansas; Mrs. Peter Jesch of Everst, Kansas; Mrs. Kathryn Brandt of ----, Nebraska; Jim and McKinley of Atwood, Kansas; Mrs. Louise Magnusson, Sam and Funston of Formosa, Kansas. There were also 27 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. One sister, Mrs. Ellen Nunnally of Mankato, Kansas, was able to be here, and two brothers Augustus of Norman, Okalahoma and Walter of Boston, Arkansas.

Mr. Bowles first entered the business world as a tinner for the McCarthy Hardward Company of Mankato, Kansas, later coming to Formosa where he engaged in the hardware business for himself. He retired a few years ago and had been in good health until two years ago when his health began to break. Since that time and until his death he has had constant care, having made his home with his son Funston and family since the Mother's death. He and his wife celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary, March 18, 1927.

J.M. Bowles was truly a pioneer of this country, surviving the worst, rearing a large family, through many privations, he can be remembered as a good father and citizen. He will be sadly missed by his friends and loved ones.

"Though you are gone, dear Father
Your memory will never grow old.
But to us will be forever
A treasure of purest gold."

Burial at Mount Hope Cemetery at Mankato.

Effort has been made to eliminate errors, but their absence is not guaranteed. This document is copyright 2007 by Charles Hartley. Permission is hereby granted to individuals seeking family history information to copy the contents of this document for their personal use. It may not be sold, either separately or as part of a collection, without the written permission of the copyright holder; nor may it be placed at any other location on the internet without said written permission.

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