It is proper to judge of the success of a man’s life by the estimation in which he is held by his fellow citizens. They see him at his work, in his family circle, in church, hear his views on public questions, observe the operations of his code of morals, witness how he conducts himself in all the relations of society and civilization, and are therefore competent to judge of his merits and his demerits. After a long course of years of such daily observation, it would be out of the question for his neighbors not to know of his worth, for, as has been said, “actions speak louder than words.” In this connection it is not too much to say that the subject of sketch has passed a life of unusual honor, that he has been industrious and has the confidence of all who have the pleasure of his friendship.

Isaac W. Bowden, whose splendid farm is located in Pleasant township, Johnson county, Indiana, is a native of the state of North Carolina, having been born in Davie county, on August 27, 1857, and is a son of Caleb and Mary (Etchison) Bowden, both of whom were natives of North Carolina, where they spent their entire lives. They were the parents of twelve children, of whom, besides the subject, a brother and sister are still living in Davie county, one of the children is in Nebraska and one in Iowa. Three brothers of this family served in the Confederate army during the war of the Rebellion, one having been killed at Seven Pines, and one died at Goldsborough, North Carolina. The subject of this sketch received his education in the common schools of his native community, and as soon as old enough began farm labor, with which industry he has been identified ever since. On January 26, 1880, he came to Johnson county, Indiana, and located on his present farm in Pleasant township, to which he is giving his close attention. He is the owner of eighty-six acres of land, practically all of which is under cultivation, and here he gives due attention to the rotation of crops and other modern ideas relating to successful agriculture, so that his efforts have been abundantly rewarded with success. He gives some attention to dairying, having sold milk for the past fifteen to twenty years. In addition to the cultivation of the soil, he gives considerable attention to the raising of live stock, particularly Poland China hogs, in the handling of which he has been quite successful. He has been a close observer of modern methods and is a student at all times of whatever pertains to his chosen life work, and, judging from his past record, he will undoubtedly achieve much in the future years. He takes his place among the leading agriculturists of a community noted for its fine farms and adroit husbandmen.

Politically, the subject this sketch has always given his support to the Democratic party, though aside from the casting of his ballot he has not taken an active part in campaigns. He is a staunch advocate of all that will advance the interests of his community, and no worthy movement bids for his support in vain. Fraternally, he is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in the workings of both organizations taking a deep interest. Religiously, he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and gives his support to every phase of that society’s work.

On June 10, 1880. Mr. Bowden was united in marriage to Margaret J. Sheek, the daughter of Leven W. and Mary E. (Henry) Sheek, both families having long been identified with Johnson county, of which they were early settlers. Mrs. Bowden’s mother, Mary E. Sheek, was a daughter of Hiram Henry, who was a prominent man in Johnson county during his life. To Mr. and Mrs. Bowden have been born five children: Lola May, the wife of Jesse Tilson; Jessie, the wife of Ray Brown; Flora, of Indianapolis; Annie Marie, the wife of Oral Fix of Greenwood, and Julia, who remains at home. The family move in the best social circles of the community and are held in the highest esteem by all who know them because of their genial disposition and genuine worth.

Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County. Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913. pp 772-773

Transcribed by Lois Johnson