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Information for John Maloney Bowman
9 March 1834 - 9 October 1936

First Article from
The Caldwell News-Tribune, 
dated Monday, 30 November 1931

Also below is the obituary from
The Caldwell News-Tribune
dated Saturday, 10 October 1936

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Captain John Bowman
Aged Caldwell Pioneer
Hears Radio For
First Time

Life of Canyon County Pioneer
  Being Broadcast Over Boise
         Station; Interesting
   Experiences are Recounted

     John Bowman, Caldwell's forefather of agriculture as well as one of the oldest pioneers, heard a radio for the first time Tuesday evening as the first chapter of the story of his life was broadcast over KIDO by William Bales of the Co-operative store.
     Mr. Bowman bought the first pig for this county from immigrants from Washington.  He paid one dollar a pound for a 12 pound porker.  He also purchased the county's first chickens paying three and four dollars apiece for them.
     Mr. Bowman says that he thoroughly enjoyed the broadcast and heard it quite plainly in spite of his partial deafness.
     Further chapters of Mr. Bowman's life will be broadcast over KIDO each evening at 7:30 o'clock. 
         Inherits Southern Estate
     Apparently Captain Bowman enjoys living over memories of his early life.  He smiled and chuckled as he related stories to a News-Tribune reporter.
     He was born in East Tennessee, Green county, 1834.  His grandfather came to America from Germany and owned a 1000-acre farm and many slaves in Tennessee.  His grandmother was brought to this country from France and sold on an auction block for 40 pounds of tobacco.  Four children were born to his grandparents, three older ones being educated in Germany, while the younger one, Captain Bowman's father, preferred owning the plantation to receiving an education.  He inherited the estate and was married to Miss Newman, a well educated lady of English and Irish descent, and said to be related to the famous Byrd family of Virginia.  The mother taught her children to read and write and spell and taught them some arithmetic, but she died when her son, John, was only six years old and he received no training in those fundamentals from his mother.
     The family moved to Missouri in 1850.  When Mr. Bowman was 20 years of age he received two months schooling from a school teacher in Ohio.
              Fights in Civil War
Mr. Bowman and Miss Sarah Ireland were married in 1850 and made their home in Missouri until the outbreak of the Civil war.  Mr. Bowman left his wife and baby daughter and collected half a regiment for the South.  His half regiment was united with another and Mr. Bowman was make a lieutenant and later captain of the 110 men.  After the battle of Pea Ridge only 40 of the 110 men survived.  Captain Bowman handed in his resignation at Little Rock, Ark., at the close of the war in 1864.
     In the same year he gathered together what remained of a $40,000 fortune, a few choice head of cattle, one team of oxen, a yoke of cows for leaders and about 40 mares and mules and started west with a company of pioneers.
     The party encountered a great amount of trouble with the Indians and all their young cattle were driven off by the red natives.
        Stakes Claim Near Notus
Most of the Captain's company journeyed on to Oregon, but the Captain believed the mining prospects near Notus to be good so with two or three other families he settled there.  Mining proved prosperous for some time and then Captain Bowman built a roadhouse.  He also built the first house below the Canyon near the present location of Caldwell.  Soldiers going to and from For Boise often stopped at his roadhouse and paid $1.00 or $1.25 for a meal and $1.00 to have their horses fed.
     The Bowman family later took up a homestead and a timber claim in the Dixie country, paying $1.25 an acre for the very best stands of timber.
     Captain Bowman was the first man to raise grain in this vicinity and paid $100 for a 12 inch plow and 12 1/2 cents a pound for seed.  He made a harrow of a tree trunk fashioned into an "A" shape with spokes for teeth.  The government gave him 6 1/2 cents a pound for his grain.
     Captain Bowman wears a Southern  Cross of Honor, inscribed, "Des Vinsice 1861-1865 from United Daughters of Confederacy to the U. C. V., 1922."




Colorful Career of Caldwell's
Earliest Pioneer is Ended
By Death

    Death brought to a close the colorful career of Caldwell's oldest resident, Captain John M. Bowman, late Friday.
    Captain Bowman, 102 year-old pioneer reputedly was the first person to build a house on the present site of Caldwell and since that time has seen the town grow from nothing up to the thriving municipality that it now is.
    The funeral will be conducted at the Methodist church at 2:30 Sunday afternoon.  Dr. H. H. Hayman will officiate.  Interment will be at Canyon Hill cemetery.  Funeral plans are in charge of the Peckham mortuary.
    At the time of his death Captain Bowman was living at the home of Mrs. Martha Cook, his eldest daughter, who was an infant of two years of age, made the trip with her mother and father across the plains by covered wagon in 1857.
                Born in Tennesee
Captain Bowman was born into a wealthy line of mingled French and German plantationers in Tennessee in 1834 and enjoyed an early life of traditional southern ease.  However the flood of Huegenot ancestors boiling in his veins he was little content with the quiet southern atmospherre and consequently he made his was to Missouri in 1850 and remained there until the outbreak of the Civil war in 1861.
    He served as a lieutenant under Price and assisted with the coup of Lexington.  By sheer valor and military prowess he was made a captain in the Confederate army shortly before the battle of Pea Ridge.
             Moves Westward
    The subsequent defeat of the south and loss of family ties led Captain Bowman and his wife of a year to take the westward trail.  They arrived in Idaho in 1867 after being attacked several times by hostile bands of prairie Indians.  At Caldwell they left the main caravan and remained here.
    The rest of the captain's active life was spent in ranching and stock raising near Caldwell.  Previous to his last illness Captain Bowman told priceless tales of the Indian wars in this territory, of rustlers, hardships of the early settlers and the coming of irrigation.
    The year before the Nez Perce outbreak, Captain Bowman planned and helped to build Fort Tom Johnson and the next year Fort William Kincaid.
    Eight sons and daughters were born to the family and most of them are located in the Boise Valley.  They in turn have assisted with the population of the country and all in all there have been more than 150 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren living in this vicinity.
    The captain's daughters, will known in Caldwell, are Mrrs. Cook, Mrs. G. W. Froman and Esther McConnell, the latter deceased.
    The five sons are, Henry of Havre, Mont., John of Boise, Robert of Nampa; Bird of the Dixie district and Luther, now deceased.

Also this article from
The History of Idaho,
The Gem of the Mountains, Vol II
by James Henry Hawley
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1920
Pgs 304-306

John M. Bowman

     John M. Bowman, of Caldwell, has reached the venerable age of eighty-five years. His reminiscences concerning the early days are most interesting and present a vivid picture of conditions that existed in Idaho when this was a frontier district, in which the work of development and improvement had scarcely been begun. Mr. Bowman was born in Greene county, Tennessee, near Greeneville, on the 9th of March, 1834, and is a son of Joseph and Honor (Newman) Bowman. The old home of the Bowman family, on which Joseph Bowman was born, bordered the highway between Tennessee and Virginia, and his people were originally Virginians. Joseph Bowman became the owner of a plantation of over one hundred acres, inheriting the property from his father. He married Honor Newman, whose father was of Irish birth, while her mother, who in her maidenhood was Miss Bird, was born in England. To Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bowman twelve children were born: Jacob, Cornelius, Joseph, John, Henry, Samuel, Mounce Bird, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Mary, Honor and Martha. After the death of the mother the father married again and of the second marriage there were born nine children: George W., Andrew J., Benjamin F., William, Barbara, Liddy Ann, Hannah, Nancy and Eliza.
     John M. Bowman was reared in Tennessee. At the time of the Civil war he became a member of Company B, of the First Division of General Y. Slack's army. He had previously been a lieutenant at Lexington, Missouri, and received his commission as captain just before the battle of Pea Ridge. He now has in his possession a Cross of Honor which was presented to him by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and he is justly proud of this gift. He also has a fine gold- headed ebony cane, which was presented him recently by the business men of Caldwell in recognition of his act in knocking down with a hickory cane a socialist who had hit a recruiting officer while he was recruiting troops for the Mexican border. He also retains possession of the hickory cane. As the business men had oversubscribed the cost of the gold-headed cane to the extent of thirty five dollars he was asked what disposition should be made of this balance. He suggested, and it was accordingly carried out, that the money should be spent in purchasing hickory canes such as the one he used to be given to the old soldiers, both those who wore the blue and those who wore the gray.
     Mr. Bowman came to Idaho from Missouri in 1864, crossing the plains with ox teams. When they reached Deer Creek station on the North Platte river in Nebraska, twenty head of their stock were stolen while most of the men were fishing. They immediately followed the Indians as soon as the loss was discovered and the white men killed four of the Indians. A mule which one Indian had been riding returned to camp and this was the extent of the stock recovered. The white men were so greatly outnumbered by the Indians that they were forced to retreat. Soon afterward they met a squad of soldiers who informed them that there were no Indians within fifty miles! They hurried on their way and between Deer Creek station and Box Elder they suddenly met about fifty Indians, with whom they fought a running fight. Four of their party were killed and three were badly wounded. Mr. Bowman escaped only by being fleeter of foot than the Indians, who pursued him and two companions into the timber, into which the red men were afraid to enter. Mr. Bowman and his party then moved on without further incidents of this character save that on several occasions they saw Indians in their war paint and feathers.
     On the 6th of September, 1864, Mr. Bowman arrived in Boise and after remaining there for a few days moved down the Boise river, locating on the south bank opposite the present site of Notus, although there was no town there at the time. He cut balm trees and built a cabin with a dirt roof and dirt floor and in this he and his family lived for the first three years. Their first table was made from planks rudely split from a log and the second year he put a floor in his cabin of the same kind of planks. A cellar was dug in the bank of a stream as a refuge for his family when in fear of Indians. Upon his farm he raised stock and also raised the first grain grown below the present site of Caldwell, paying twelve and a half cents per pound for the seed and selling his crop at six and a half cents per pound. Eight years later he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres on the north side of the river and in the conduct of his farming and stock raising interests won prosperity. He lived upon that place until 1880, when he sold both the homestead and his first farm and took up his abode farther down the river on the south bank. In 1877 the Indians became very troublesome and the settlers formed a company and built Fort Tom Johnson, where they kept their families for more than a month. In 1878 they built Fort Kinkaid and for portholes put in large wagon hubs, which in the distance looked like cannon. This camouflage movement proved so effective that the Indians would not venture near. There the settlers kept their families until they felt that it was safe to return to their homes. In 1908 Mr. Bowman sold his farm property and removed to Caldwell, retiring from active business life. His former toil brought to him the competence which now enables him to enjoy all of the necessities and many of the luxuries of life.
     In 1859 Mr. Bowman was married to Miss Sarah Elizabeth Ireland, of Missouri, and they became the parents of the following children: Hester Ann; Martha H.; Henry Newman; Mary Ada, who is the wife of George Froman and has five children, Walter, Harry, Grace, Georgia and Ethel; John Calhoun, who married a Miss Brown and has three children, Lola, Luther and May; Maunce Bird, who wedded Mary Marrs and has one child. Birdie; Robert E. Lee, who is living near Nampa and who married his cousin Liddy Bowman, by whom he had two children, Charles Richard and Helen, while after the death of his first wife, he wedded Minnie Bader, by whom he has two children, Palmer and Roberta; Martha Honor, the widow of Harry Cook; and Luther; Charles Richard Bowman, son of Robert E. Lee Bowman, has recently returned from France, where he was in the balloon service. The second wife of John M. Bowman was Mrs. Sarah Duncan, of Duncans Ferry, who passed away thirteen years ago.
     Mr. Bowman was one of Governor Hawley's old pioneer friends and relates many interesting incidents of the early days in which the former governor figured. He is familiar with every condition of frontier life, when the settlers had to travel long distances to market, when they lived in log cabins or other rude pioneer homes, when the land was unclaimed and uncultivated, the streams unbridged and the forests uncut. He has lived to witness a remarkable change as the years have passed and has borne his part in the work of transformation that has been steadily carried forward.

Full-sized headstone photo available upon request.