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Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 392-393

John A. BOWMAN, Secretary of the Royal Sewing Machine Company, also a Director and stockholder, is a native of Sweden, his birth having occurred in the Province of Smoland [Smaland], 22 Jan 1860.  His parents, S. A. and Anna G. (ANDERSON) BOWMAN, were natives of the same province, where they were married and began their domestic life, he father following the occupation of mining.  After the births of all their chidren the family came to the U. S., in 1869, sailing from England in May 1869 and landing in NY, whence they came to Rockford [Winnebago County], IL.  They afterward removed to MI, and in 1873, to Valley Springs [Minnehaha County], SD, which was then a new and unbroken country.  The parents are still living on a farm near that place and are prosperous and enterprising people.  They have lived to see all the improvements made in Minnehaha County, and are numbered among its honored pioneers.  The parents are both members of the Swedish Lutheran Church, and have reached the ages of 63 and 64 years, respectively.

Our subject is the third of four children who are yet living.  One sister, Sophia [Anna Sophia] is the wife of Andrew BORG.  [See also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of Andrew BORG.]  Hilma is the wife of Charles OLANDER, and Emelia is the wife of O. PETERSON.  The two latter reside upon farms in Minnehaha County, SD.

When a lad of ten summers, Mr. BOWMAN of this sketch went with his family to Marquette County, MI, and three years later removed to Valley Springs, SD, where he was reared and began business as a general merchant, there making his home until 1889, when he came to Rockford.  While a resident of Minnehaha County [SD], he was joined in wedlock with Miss Hannah HETLAND, who was born in Norway, 17 Sep 1863, and is a daughter of Stephen and Margaret (LARSON) HETLAND, also natives of Norway, who emigrated with their children to this country in 1872.  They located in Morris [Grundy County], IL, and in 1879 removed to SD, locating on Government land in Minnehaha County, where the parents still reside upon the farm which they improved.  Their family numbered six children.   Unto Mr. and Mrs. BOWMAN have been born three children:  A. Leland, Chester A., and Blanche M.

The parents are members of the Zion Lutheran Church and are prominent young Swedish people of this locality, ranking high in social circles.  Mr. BOWMAN is a Republican in politics.  Since coming to this city he has been closely connected with its business interests.  The Royal Sewing Machine Company was organized in July 1891, with a capital stock of $100,000, and began to operate the following May.  They employ about 100 men, and have a capacity of about 250.  They manufacture a good machine and have a constantly growing business.  Our subject is Secretary of the company, and is also a stockholder in the new Swedish paper of this city ["Svenska Posten?"].   He owns a half interest in the three-story brick block at Nos. 501 and 503 Seventh Street.  Mr. BOWMAN is President of the local board of the Loan and Investment Company of North America, located at Chicago.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.