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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William Frederick Bowman

On Rural Route No. 3 from Petaluma may be seen the unpretentious but nevertheless thrifty ranch of which Mr. Bowman is the owner and proprietor. Here he is engaged in the dairy business, on a much smaller scale than formerly, but in the care of five cows he finds enough to occupy his time and to maintain himself and wife in comfort.

A native of the east, W. F. Bowman was born in Boston, Mass., in 1845, and in that city of culture he received an excellent education, attending first the grammar schools and later the high school, from which he was graduated. With the splendid educational preparation which had been granted him he might have filled successfully any position in the commercial world that he had chosen, but he preferred agricultural life and it was to this that he turned his attention as the vicinity of Boston for a number of years when, in 1873, he determined to come to the west and locate. Setting sail from an eastern port, he made the voyage by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and without unusual delay or disaster he finally reached his destination, San Francisco. Five years were passed in the metropolis in the milk business before he finally took up his residence in Sonoma county, which he did after selling his business and goodwill in San Francisco for $3,000. Near Petaluma he purchased eighty acres of land upon which he established himself in the dairy business on a moderate scale, having twenty-five cows, and during the many years in which he continued the business as then started he laid by considerable means and is thereby enabled to live at the present time with less effort to provide for necessities of life than would have been possible otherwise. He has disposed of a large part of his original acreage, now having only twenty-three acres, and caring for only five cows.

Mr. Bowman's first marriage united him with Miss Rebecca Lougheed, a union which resulted in the birth of two children, Charles J. and Rebecca, both of whom are married and have families. The daughter is the wife of Clayton Shader and the mother of five children, George W., William, Clayton, Gertrude and Florence. Some time after the death of his first wife, Mr. Bowman was married, July 3, 1894, to his present wife, who was formerly Mrs. Louise (Miller) Sunderhous. She was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1855, the daughter of Jacob and Marie Louisa Miller, they too being natives of Switzerland. No children have been born to Mr. Bowman and his wife and they live quietly and alone on the ranch near Petaluma. Their lives, however, are not devoid of activities, for they are active workers in the Episcopal Church in which they hold membership, and are constantly helping and cheering those with whome they are brought in contact. Mr. Bowman has no inclination to recreation of an active kind, finding sufficient activity in the care of his ranch and in doing for his fellowmen and his community whatever benefit lays in his power. Politically he is a Democrat.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011