|JOHN A. BOWEN, Chief of Police
in Norwich, was born May 25, 1843, at Voluntown, in what was then Windham
County, now New London County, Connecticut. His parents were Philip A.
and Charlotte C. (Gardner) Bowen. The history of the family has been traced
back to Cadivor, who, about the twelfth century (1133), was of the fourth
generation in Wales. He had two sons, we are told, Myrick and Griffith,
from the former of whom this particular branch of the family is descended.
Griffith Bowen came to America in 1638; and Richard Bowen, the progenitor
of this branch, said to have been a brother of Griffith, came about 1640,
settling in Rehoboth, Mass., where in 1643 his estate was valued at two
hundred and seventy pounds. From him the lineal representatives are, named
in their order: Obadiah, first; Obadiah, second; Aaron; Asaph; Philip;
Aaron; Philip A.; and John A., of Norwich.
Asaph Bowen was a mariner, and
died at sea in 1748. Philip, his only son, had eight sons and two
daughters that reached adult life. The eldest was Asaph, second; and the
second was Aaron, who resided in Washington, here he owned nearly all of
Bowen Hill, so named for his grandfather, Asaph. Aaron Bowen married Hannah
Merrill, of Rhode Island. They had eight children, three sons and five
daughters, of whom the sons and four daughters grew to manhood and womanhood.
One daughter, Sally A., the widow of Albert Randall, an octogenarian, recently
of Greenwich, R.I., is now deceased. Philip A., the youngest child, was
born in Rhode Island about the year 1819. He was a stationary engineer,
and during the latter years of his life he owned and kept a hotel in Franklin.
He died there in 1873, survived by his wife, Mrs. Charlotte C. Gardner
Bowen, who died in 1880, aged fifty-seven years. Two of their five children
are now living in Norwich, namely: Lucy, the widow of Henry A. Bowen, who
died in 1891; and John A., Chief of Police. James T., his twin brother,
died when sixteen months old; a brother Charles died at three years; and
Henry, at four years of age. The family burial lot is in Yantic cemetery.
John A. Bowen was kept in school until his
eighteenth year, when he volunteered in the Fifth Connecticut Infantry,
Company G, and, going to the front as a private, served four years, coming
out as a Sergeant. At Resaca, Ga., he was wounded in his right hand; and
at Cedar Mountain, Va., August 9, 1862, he was taken prisoner, but in November
following was exchanged and returned to his regiment. Mr. Bowen became
a member of the police force when it numbered but eleven, and from the
lowest rank rose step by step through all the positions in the department,
until in 1886 he became the Chief. This responsible position he continues
to fill in a very creditable manner.
In 1865 Mr. Bowen was married in Woodstock,
Conn., to Eleanor Arnold, a daughter of Samuel and Esther Arnold, of Westerly,
R.I. Her father died several years ago; and her mother was left with
six children, all now living, with the exception of Joseph and Rouse, who
were killed on the railroad. Mr. and Mrs. Bowen have one child, Philip
E., a merchant in Webster, Mass. He is married, but has no children.
Politically, Mr. Bowen is a Republican. Fraternally,
he is a member of Somerset Lodge, No 34, F. & A. M., of which he is
Marshal: Columbian Commandery, No. 4, K. T.; and Sedgwick Post, No. I,
G. A. R., in which he has served as Quartermaster, also as Assistant Inspector
of the Department of Connecticut.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company
pgs 104 -107