Henry Bowman.

Page 768



Among the first objects that attract your attention upon alighting at the Bowmansville Station is the residence of Mr. Henry Bowman, which, in its general attractiveness and architectural beauty, is hard to be excelled.  His father John D. Bowman, Esq., was born in the year 1772, about two miles north of Lehigh Gap.  In the year 1796 he settled at the place near where Henry bowman now lives, known as Bowmansville, in Lower Towamensing township, Pa.  (A more complete history of this worthy gentleman may be found in Mr. Dennis Bowman’s biographical sketch.)  Mr. John Bowman was the father of twelve children, eight of whom are still living, among them are the subject of this sketch.  Mr. Henry Bowman was born in 1814, in what was then called Towamensing township, in Northampton County.  Until his twenty-fifth year he was chiefly employed in assisting his father in his occupation of farming and lumbering, taking advantage of the three month’s winter school that was obtained in those days.  About the year 1838 he started in business for himself, building canal-boats.  This he pursed for upwards of twenty years or more.  About the year 1855, Mr. George Ziegenfuss informed Mr. Bowman where he could find iron ore.  After experimenting with it as such, he found it was better adapted for paint than any other purpose, so he justly claims that he was the inventor of the metallic brown paint.  After this discovery he manufactured paints for some time, after which he organized a stock company under the name of the  “Poco Metallic Paint Company,” which is still flourishing.  Mr. Bowman being one of the principal stockholders.  He has been a widely-known contractor for many years.  After the freshet of 1841 he took a large contract for rebuilding some parts of the upper division of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company’s canal, from Mauch Chunk to White Haven; also contracted to build two sections of the Lehigh Valley Railroad; also of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad.  He has built many houses, churches, and bridges in his day.  In 1857 he was one of the prime movers in organizing the iron-works at Parryville, which went under the name of Bowman Brothers & Co.  He was the contractor who built the Carbon County prison at Mauch Chunk, which was completed in 1872; also arched the Mauch Chunk Creek, near Concert Hall, 1882.  He has mined immense quantities of coal and iron ore in years past.  His principal business now is furnishing building and foundry sand, of which he owns an abundance, and is constantly shipping to all parts of the neighboring country.

            In 1844 he was married to Miss Lavinia Peters, whose parents, Henry and Christina Peters, followed farming in East Penn township.  Mr. Bowman’s married life has proved a pleasant, uneventful one, in the fact of nine children being born to them, five of whom have since passed away.  The four remaining are being prospered, consequently are a source of much comfort and happiness to their parents.  His oldest son, Victor Bowman, married Miss Isabella, daughter of John Balliet, of Bowmansville, and is now in charge of Mr. Balliet’s large and popular mercantile establishment at that place.  The next son, Roger Bowman, is rail-inspector for the Edgar Thomson Steel-Works, which are located at Braddock’s Field, Allegheny Co., Pa.  He married Miss Sarah Jones, a sister of William Jones, the present superintendent of the same works.  Morris Bowman, the third son, married Miss Clara Eckert, of Parryville.  He is at present confidential clerk for his father at Bowmansville.  Fulton Bowman, the youngest, is still single, living at home with his parents.  He proves of valuable service to his father in his business.  Mr. Henry Bowman has also filled some offices of public trust, such as school director and township auditor.  He has been a faithful and consistent member of the Lutheran Church for forty years or more.  He has been a man of many ups and downs, yet has prospered wonderfully.  His afflictions through death, freshets, fires, failures, etc., have been many.  Yet through it all he feels grateful to the all-wise Providence that he has been so abundantly blessed.















The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,


Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford

Published in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1884


Transcribed from the original in November 2003


Edward Schaeffer



Web page by

Jack Sterling

November 2003