Bowden Family in Texas
Bowden Family in Texas

This month I intend to concentrate on the Bowden family. The Bowdens are part of my family, although I don't believe my Bowdens lived in Palo Pinto County. My Bowden family immigrated from Pope County, Arkansas, to Brown County, Texas. But, this is not just about my Bowdens! I remember a time when there was a Bowden furniture store in Weatherford, and this always intrigued me as my grandfather, Marvin Tilden Bowden, had a furniture store in Brownwood. My Bowden family also had furniture stores in Arkansas.

However, checking the local telephone books, I have discovered about a dozen Bowdens in the Palo Pinto/Parker County area.

Ok, so now to Bowdens in general. The surname Bowden appears to be locational in origin and is believed to be associated with the meaning of one who lived in a particular location called Bowden or Boden. It is also suggested that Bowden might mean pleasant pasture. Here are two examples of the location origin.

The village of Bowden is a parish in the county of Roxburgh, extending in length about 6, and in breadth 4 1/2 miles. There are a few eminencies; but the surface is in general level. There are remains of military road through the parish and a ruin at Holydean, once a strong fortification, and the residence of the Dukes of Roxburgh. The family of Carre of Cavers, one of the most ancient in Scotland, have their seat in this parish. Population in 1801 was 829.

Another is Bowden Magna, or Great Bowden, a long straggling village with several good houses, pleasantly situated about a mile northeast of Market Harborough, on the north side of the vale of the River Welland, which separates it from Northamptonshire. Its parish is in Gartree Hundred, Market Harborough Union and County Court District, and, comprising the two townships of Great Bowden and Market Harborough, in 1871 contained 3,812 inhabitants, living in 831 houses, on 3,120 acres of land. It is traversed on the west by the Union Canal, and on the east by the Rugby and Stamford and the Midland Railways. The soil is clay, and chiefly pasture, and is supposed to be the best grazing land in England.

Although bearers of the old and distinguished Bowden name comprise a small fraction of the population, there are a number who have established for it a significant place in history. They include Elizabeth Bowden who is listed as a widow in Wills at Chester, England, in 1591.

Another is John Bowden who died in 1750. He was an English Presbyterian minister and popular preacher, who had considerable poetic ability. He was also classed as a liberal dissenter of his day. I find this interesting, as many, many men in my Bowden family were and are Methodist ministers.

Matthew Bowden (1779-1814) was a surgeon in Australia and was commissioned as a civil assistant surgeon to accompany Lieutenant Governor Collins' expedition to found a settlement at Port Philip, Australia, in 1804. Matthew Bowden became chief surgeon in 1811.

Charles Leonard Bowden (1865-1941) was an American automotive engineer and in his youth pioneered in motion pictures in the making of his own film of Hiawatha and the Oberammergau Passion Play, and in 1920 perfected a two-cycle automobile engine. In 1917 he patented calipers for aligning tires on automobile wheels and designed and exhibited the first streamlined bodies for automobiles.

Florida State football coach. Bobby Bowden, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929. He married Julia Ann Estock, and they had four children. He graduated from Samford in 1953 and did his graduate work at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.

The DAR Patriot Index lists the following Bowdens (Bowden, Bodoin, Boden) as proven patriots:

Elias Bowden who was born about 1763 and died on 25 February 1843 in Tennessee. He was married to Celia Lawrence and was a soldier in the Virginia Army. James Bowden was born about 1765 in North Carolina and died about 1845 in Georgia. He was married to Priscilla Williams and was a soldier in Georgia. John Bowden was born about 1750 in North Carolina and died before 14 October 1825 in North Carolina. His wife was called Molly, and he was a soldier in North Carolina. John Bowden was born about 1725 and died on 4 December 1788 in Virginia. He was also a soldier in Virginia and was married to Peggy (last name unknown). Martha Bowden, married to Isaac Odell. She was born 13 November 1768 in North Carolina and died in November of 1800. Nicholas Bowden was born on 25 March 1741 in Virginia and died in North Carolina in 1799. The name of Nicholas' wife is unknown, and he was a soldier in the North Carolina Army. Samuel Bowden was born 23 october 1743 in Massachusetts and died 25 July 1813 in Massachusetts. Was was a soldier in Massachusetts and was married to Priscilla Proctor. Thomas Bowden was born about 1754 in Virginia and died 10 December 1824. He was married to Cressy (surname unknown) and was a soldier in Virginia. William Bowden was born 29 November 1760 in Virginia and died on 9 October 1819 in North Carolina. He was married to Anne Allen and was a private in the Virginia Army. Twisden Bowden was born on 17 March 1744 or 1745 in Massachusetts and died about 1794 in Massachusetts. He was a sergeant in the Massachusetts army and was married to Sarah Orne.

There were four Williams. I will name three, and the fourth, I will describe in some detail. The first William Bowden was born in 1746 in England and died in Massachusetts on 27 October 1807. He was a majordomo in the Massachusetts army and was married to Experience Downing. The second William Bowden was born about 1745 in North Carolina and died in either 1831 or 1832 in Alabama. He was a soldier in the North Carolina army and was married to a woman named Martha. The third William Bowden was born in 1759 in Virginia and died in 1814 in Virginia. He was married to Sarah Owen and was a private in the Virginia army.

The William Bowden in whom I am interested was born in 1742 in North Carolina and died in Maury County, Tennessee, on 25 October 1834. He died at the age of 92. He entered the American service during the Revolution in Guilford County, Tennessee, in 1776 and went on a tour across the mountains into the Indian Nation. He served again in 1781, when he lived in Surry county, North Carolina. On this tour he went to Moravian Town, now called Salem, to guard the General Assembly.

William left North Carolina in 1784 and moved to Oglethorpe County, Georgia, where he lived until 1818 when he moved to Maury County, Tennessee. He applied for a pension in Maury County on 17 June 1833, when he gave his age as ninety-one years. He was allowed $26.21 per year for seven months and eleven days of service in Captain Nelson's Company, Colonel Martin's Regiment, North Carolina Line.

When he died, James Bowden was appointed administrator of the estate of William Bowden, deceased (pension no. S23888, Maury County Minute Book 12, page 409). In the DAR application of one of the Bowden descendants, it is stated that James Bowden, son of William Bowden of Maury County, Tennessee, is the only surviving son of said William Bowden.

There is speculation about whether this William is my direct ancestor. At this point I am going to say that there a likelihood that James Bowden was either not the only "surviving" son of William, or James was also called John. I know this sounds unlikely, but records being what they are, we are going to take a leap of faith. Obviously, this would not be enough for DAR membership, but it is a family legend.

So here goes. John Bowden (named changed from James at this point) was born in 1777 and died in 1872 in Lawrence County, Tennessee. He married Anna Blackburn on 7 September 1802 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia (see the connection!). Anna was born about 1784 in South Carolina and died between 1850 and 1860 in Lawrence County.

John and Anna had thirteen children. They were Polly, William, James, Ferbia, Anna, Jane, John S., Jackson J., Charles W., Wiley F., Newton, Lucinda, and Allen Blanton.

At least two of these children or their off springs immigrated from Tennessee to Pope County, Arkansas, and then on to Texas. Jackson J. (born 22 Jan 1814 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and died 24 November 1896 in Mexia, Texas) appears to have become a minister. He was married first to Salina Lay in Tennessee and second to Narcissa Bewley in Pope County, Arkansas. They both died before Jackson moved to Texas. They had thirteen children.

James Bowden was born 6 February 1806 in Oglethorp County, Georgia, and died in 1885 in Lawrence County, Tennessee. He was married to Elizabeth McAnally on 12 March 1830, and after she died he married Louise J. Ladd. Elizabeth was born 6 July 1814 and died 11 February 1848. She was the daughter of William McAnally and Elizabeth Stone. She was the descendant of Charles McAnally, Revolutionary War officer...but that is another story!

James and Elizabeth had ten children: Mary Ann, William Sebastian, Charles Winston, Elizabeth S., Lois Matilda, Sarah Frances, John Archibald (Allen), James H., David F., and Margaret J. Of these children, four came to Texas. They are William Sebastian, Charles Winston, Lois Matilda, and John.

William Sebastian married Didama Elizabeth Nowlin. Charles Winston married Mary Jane Austin, Lois Matilda married J. M. Harlow and later Wiley P. White. She had children by both marriages. John married in 1898; his wife's name is unknown. All four of these Bowdens are buried in Brown County, Texas.

There is a preponderance of William Bowdens, and, in fact, my great-grandfather William Sebastian Bowden, was one.

If you are interested in discovering more about the Bowden family, check out the internet, The Bowden Family History <> or my Bowden page at <>.

The book, The Bowden Family of Pope County Arkansas, can be purchased from Lina Jane Owens Boyd, P. O. Box 22, Dover, Arkansas 72937-0222; 501-331-2322.

If you have questions or comments, please let me hear from you: Sue Seibert, P. O. Box 61, Mineral Wells TX 76068-0061 or . So, until next time, you all take care and come back and visit!


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