"GENEALOGY OF A BOWMAN FAMILY," Byron Whitener Bowman, 1956
The Rev. Benjamin Lee Bowman was the sixth child of Benjamin and Sophia
Ferguson. He was born January 31, 1837, in Franklin County, Virginia, where he
grew to youth. He tried various occupations, such as blacksmith and machinist,
but did not like any of them, so he decided to run away and become a sailor. But
after reaching a port and enlisting, he became sick and did not go to sea.
He returned home after visiting some relatives in eastern Virginia and then
slipped off again and came to Missouri by following some neighbors who came
west. Here he met Miss Eliza Ford, and they were married on October 6, 1856, and
settled down. The next year he induced the family to follow him to Missouri.
He possessed the faculty of being able to do almost anything he set out to
do. He was a good entertainer and was an expert banjo player.
When the Civil War came on, he organized a Company and went to the
Confederate service. Captain Bowman was very popular and was given Command of a
Battery of Light Artillery and saw some exciting service (Note by Carol J.
Bowman: Bowman's Missouri Light Artillery, Capt. Benjamin L. Bowman, merged into
6th Missouri Infantry Regiment). Captain Bowman was very popular with his men
because of his social qualities and had circumstances permitted, he would have
risen to more honorable positions. But his health could not stand the strenuous
service, so he resigned his Commission and came home. He soon found that he
could not stay unmolested and was finally induced to take clerical service in
the Quarter Master's department of the Federal Army. After the war, he turned
shoemaker, at which he was a success. Then later on, he took up carpentry and
contracting. Then he turned his attention to architecture, in each of which he
excelled. One of his best works and accomplishments was the building of the high
school and grammar school buildings at Dexter, Missouri, back in the early
When he was about thirty years of age, he was converted and was baptized by
the Elder Reed and soon went to preaching, to the great delight of all the
family. In 1877, he moved to Marble Hill, Missouri, and preached for churches
and did District and State Mission work for the Baptist denomination. He was
induced to serve as Justice of the Peace, which he did successfully for years,
until he became too feeble to work. For years he suffered from palsy, which
necessitated his early retirement from all public life.
His last years were spent in Sikeston, Missouri, where he and his wife Eliza
Jane had every convenience and comfort, furnished largely by his oldest son
William Chesley who was known around Sikeston as Judge Bowman.
He was for many years an active Mason and, until feebleness prevented,
attended the meetings of the Grand Lodge each year.
To him and Eliza Jane were born thirteen children, three of whom died in
Written by Rev. Thomas A. Bowman
"OLD BOLLINGER," Cletus R. Ellinghouse, 1975
Elder B. L. Bowman - This self-made, but no less efficient, minister was born
in Franklin County, Virginia, January 31, 1837; came to Cape Girardeau County,
Missouri, in October 1853. He was married to Miss Eliza Jane Ford, October 6,
1856; and was converted under the ministry of Elder James Reid in the winter of
1869, when he united with the Goshen Church; by the order of this church he was
licensed to preach three months after his baptism, and one year afterwards was
ordained to the full work of the Gospel ministry. He served as pastor of the
following churches: Goshen, Ebenezer, Oak Ridge, Gravel Hill, and New Bethel of
the Cape Girardeau Association. He removed to Bollinger County in 1877, and
united with the Marble Hill Church, which church he served as pastor in
connection with Mt. Carmel, Castor and Trace Creek Churches of the St. Francois
Association, besides doing more or less missionary work for the associations
above-named. He also served as missionary one year for the General Association
of Missouri, including pastoral work for Morley Church in the Charleston
Association. All these services have been performed in the district of Southeast