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James Reed Bowman Biography
Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

Cape Girardeau Co Mo
James Reed Bowman
  • GENEALOGY OF A BOWMAN FAMILY, Byron Whitener Bowman, 1956

    James Reed Bowman, the seventh child of Benjamin Lee and Eliza Jane Ford Bowman, was born at Pocahontas, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, on October 21, 1870.

    He spent most of his childhood and early youth at Marble Hill, Bollinger County, Missouri, where he lived with his parents and attended school at old Mayfield-Smith Academy. Here he also became a member of the First Baptist Church, of which his father was pastor.

    In the year of 1890, he moved to the town of Burfordville, Missouri. Here he worked for his brother, William Chesley, who was the manager in charge of the water mill at that place, it being one of the oldest flour and corn mills west of the Mississippi River.

    On August 30, 1892 he was married to Miss Lillie Belle Lively, the daughter of John M. and Virginia Levitt Lively, the ceremony being performed by his uncle, the Rev. Thomas Anderson Bowman of Jackson, Missouri, who was at that time the pastor of the First Baptist Church at that place.

    He and his wife, Lillie, established their home at Burfordville, he having become manager of the water mill, replacing his brother, William Chesley.

    During the next ten or twelve years, he and his wife moved to several towns in Southeast Missouri, including Sikeston and Advance where he was associated in the operation and management of a flour mill located at that place. Finally he moved his family back to Burfordville, and at that time he built a new home, acquired farm lands, and managed the Burfordville mill.

    During this period of time, there were four children born to bless their home: Hinkle Jordan, the oldest, was born at Burfordville on February 13, 1894; Richard Earl was born May 18, 1896, and Anice Lilyan was born on October 6, 1900, both at Burfordville; and Myrtle Margueritte was born October 31, 1903, at Advance, Missouri.

    During the year 1912, he purchased a home in Jackson, Missouri, moved his family into their new home, and took over executive management of one of the mills of The Cape County Milling Company, of which he acquired a financial interest. He remained active in the operation of Mill B until the summer of 1953 when he disposed of his milling interest and retired to a quieter life.

    "J. R." or Jim Bowman as he is known among his friends and associates of the community, who number many thousands of individuals, has created a friendship of the highest confidence such that hundreds of them, both young and old, sought his counsel and advice.

    He served as the Mayor of Jackson for 19 years, and during his administration the city carried to completion many major improvements. He took special interest in the development and improvement, not only of the city's affairs but the schools, highways, and roads in the community.

    He was made a Master Mason in the Jackson Masonic fraternity in January 1902, and in 1953 he was honored by being presented a fifty-year pin by the local Masonic lodge. He is also a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason.

    At the present writing, he and his good wife, Lillie, live at Jackson, Missouri, in their home, although he recently passed his 85th birthday and she her 82nd. They both busy themselves, he looking after his real estate interests, and she the household affairs. He, for his age, maintains a lively interest in his fine family and community affairs.

    Written by Byron Whitener Bowman



    Former Mayor of Jackson Dies - James R. Bowman, Community Leader

    Former Mayor of Jackson and retired executive manager of Cape County Milling Co., James Reed Bowman,

    90 years old, died in a Cape Girardeau hospital late Tuesday (Note: April 4, 1961). He had been a patient of the hospital 10 days since breaking a hip in a fall.

    Mr. Bowman was mayor 15 years and during his terms the city constructed a modern municipal light and water plan, acquired a park, constructed a public swimming pool and had several of its present major industries established. He served from May 1931 to May 1941 and from May 1944 to May 1949.

    The former mayor was keenly interested in the growth and development of Jackson during his active years and gave much of his time toward these goals.

    He was associated with the Cape County milling firm for 60 years in Advance, Burfordville and Jackson. He was executive manager of Mill "B" in Jackson from 1912-1953, when he retired.

    A native of Pocahontas, Mr. Bowman was the son of the Rev. B. L. Bowman and Mrs. Eliza Ford Bowman. He was born Oct 21, 1870. Mr. Bowman spent his early years at Marble Hill where his father was pastor of a Baptist Church. He attended the old Mayfield-Smith Academy there.

    On Aug. 30, 1892, he was married to the former Lillie B. Lively who preceded him in death in January 1959.

    Mr. Bowman was an active Mason. He was a master Mason and in 1953 was honored by being presented a 50-year pin by Excelsior Lodge AF & AM. He was also a 32d degree Scottish Rite Mason.

    The former mayor is survived by a son, R. E. Bowman of Jackson; two daughters, Mrs. R. B. Goodwin of Jackson and Mrs. R. S. Duncan of Cape Girardeau; eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

    Services will be conducted by the Rev. Rex H. Henderson in McCombs Funeral Home Thursday afternoon at 2:30. Burial will be in the city cemetery with Masonic graveside rites.

Contributed by Carol Bowman

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