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Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

Cape Girardeau Co Mo
  • "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 1900s.

    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 infancy.

    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 Missouri.


I remember the Bowmans. They lived next door to us (Note by Carol J. Bowman:  "next door" was in Marble Hill, MO). Mr. B. L. Bowman was the Baptist preacher there and had quite a large family, mostly boys. Bill, the oldest, was the first to establish a flour mill at Sikeston. Mr. and Mrs. Bowman were very fine Christian people, and I have many pleasant memories of them. One year their son, Bill, sent one of his sons to live with his grandparents to run errands and carry wood and water. Then he bought a house near his home in Sikeston and moved them down there, so I never saw them again. Mr. and Mrs. Bowman both loved flowers, and their garden and front yard were laid out in many large flower beds; also, she kept many indoor plants.

Contributed by Carol Bowman

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