Walter Worthington Bowie.

The Bowies and their kindred : a genealogical and biographical history online

. (page 1 of 36)
Online LibraryWalter Worthington BowieThe Bowies and their kindred : a genealogical and biographical history → online text (page 1 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Do Not


Cwoveriioi* Robert Bo^ie.


Bowies and Their Kindred.


Genealogical and Biographical
f"^\ History. , '






Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1899, by


in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.




An Explanation of the Numerical

The sketches of individual members are arranged in
numerical succession, the emigrant progenitor of each
family being No. i. Opposite the names of the child-
ren, through whom the line descends, there are large mar-
ginal figures indicating the number of the article further
on in which each child and his children are again carried
on. At the head of each sketch (No. i excepted) is given
the name of each paternal ancestor from whom the indi-
vidual is descended. A small numeral over each of these
names indicates the generations, starting with the emi-
grant progenitor. An index at the end of the work will
afford any further information necessary.

liist of Illustrations.

Governor Robert Bowie Frontispiece

Stirling Cathedral (plan) 12

Major Benjamin Brookes 45

Colonel Washington Bowie (ist) . . ... 97

Thomas Contee Bowie, Sr 108

Mrs. Thomas Contee Bowie 109

Commodore William D. Porter 116

William Mordacai Bowie 141

Judge Richard Johns Bowie 149

Hon. Reverdy Johnson 162

Mrs. Reverdy Johnson 163

Robert Bowie " of Cedar Hill " 168

General Thomas Fielder Bowie 172

Dr. Allen Thomas Bowie 180

Mrs. Allen Thomas Bowie 181

Allen Perrie Bowie 186

Mrs. Allen Perrie Bowie 187

William Duckett Bowie 192

Dr. Richard William Bowie . . 209

Major Thomas Fielder Bowie 221

Governor Oden Bowie 232

James Weston Bowie 255

Dr. William Capers Bowie 256

Rezin Pleasant Bowie 266

Colonel James Bowie 271

Dr. James Bowie 304

Major John Bowie 310

Chancellor Alexander Bowie 319

Roger Brooke Taney . . . : 354

Judge Samuel Harper Berry 377

Bishop Thomas John Claggett 407

Thomas Clagett (6th) 414

Judge Thomas William Clagett 417

Colonel Thomas Contee 436

Rev. John Eversfield 447

Mrs. John Eversfield 448

Colonel John Henry Waring 494

Walter Brooke Cox Worthington 507


In the preparation of this work, the author has endeav-
ored to present a clear and accurate record of the descend-
ants of the various emigrants of the name of Bowie,
who came to America from Scotland prior to the ending of
the Eighteenth Century. There are at present many of
this name in the United States who have arrived in
more recent years and whom the author does not
include in this work. Among these late arrivals are
several in the Northern and New England States. One
is a druggist in New York ; another a merchant in
Brooklyn ; and still a third is a weaver in Philadelphia.
Chicago has a Walter Bowie who hails from Glasgow ; and
several others born in the British Isles are found in Cin-
cinnati, New Orleans, and Baltimore, in addition to a
family in Petersburg, Virginia, which has been in this
country less than thirty years. At White Castle, Louisiana,
Capt. George M. Bowie is mayor of the town and a wealthy
lumber dealer; he was born in 1848 at Forchabers, in
Banf, Scotland, and emigrated to Texas about twenty-five
years since, where he married Miss Armstrong, and became
a partner of the multi-millionaire, William Cameron, in
the red cypress lumber business. He has four children,
the eldest being William A. Bowie.

But none of these later emigrants or their families, as
far as is known^ are related to the Bowies who settled in
Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina during the
Colonial Era.

All of the name, however, are doubtless sprung from
the same Gaelic stock which impressed its sturdy charac-


teristics upon members of the Clan, whether born in Scot-
land or America,

Owing to the vast extent of country over which the
numerous descendants of these early emigrants have
scattered, the loss of family documents, the difficulty ex-
perienced in consulting official records at distant points,
and the inaccessibility of the ancient registers in Scotland,
the writer met with obstacles often almost insurmountable.

The compiling of this history was first suggested by an
article which appeared in the Baltimore American during
December, 1894, entitled the " Fighting Bowies." It was
written by the well-known historian, J. T. Scharf, shortly
after the death of Ex-Governor Oden Bowie. While the
article was very complimentary to the Bowie family, it
asserted that the original progenitor of the race was ship-
ped to Maryland in 17 16, and "sold into slavery for seven
years, for participating in a ' Highland uprising' in 1715. "

Such barbarous treatment of a prisoner of war reflected
no personal dishonor upon the unfortunate captive, yet
the statement as applying to the ancestor of the Maryland
Bowies was so manifestly untrue, the present writer deter-
mined to make a thorough investigation, and to compile
a correct sketch of the entire family. The State records
show no Bowie was ever transported to Maryland as a
" redemptionist," but they do show that in 1716 "James
Bowe " was sent here and bound out for seven years for
complicity in the Argyle Rebellion.

Again in 1746, one "John Bowe," taken prisoner at the
battle of Coloden, was sent to Maryland under like con-
ditions. The progenitor of the Maryland Bowies.^ as will
be later shown, was here prior to 1706, was married and a
large land owner in 1708. Further, there is not a particle
of evidence to indicate he was in any way related to the
two men named Bowe^ transported a number of years
later to the Province.

Mr. ScharPs attention was called to his misstatement,
and the author of this work received a letter from him


acknowledging his error, which he explained was caused
by his supposing Bowie to have been the correct spelling
for the name of the two redemptionists.

The researches thus instituted caused the writer to be-
come much interested in his family genealogy, and he
concluded to present short sketches of many who were an
honor to the generation in which they lived. In the work
thus undertaken he has been greatly aided by the hearty
co-operation of his numerous relatives, and he cannot
refrain from especially thanking Mr. Robert Bowie, of
Annapolis, who devoted much time to a research of the
old records in that city, and whose personal reminiscences
have been so valuable ; Dr. Howard Strafford Bowie, who
was untiring in his efforts and interest in the work, and
Capt. Allen T. Bowie for his able and extended assist-
ance. Mrs. Eugene Soniat, of New Orleans, will be
ever gratefully remembered for her earnest efforts to assist
in unraveling the line of the Louisiana Bowies and for
contributing some of the most interesting data received.

Among enterprising seekers for information concerning
the South Carolina Bowies have been Hon. Frank P.
Bowie, of Carthage, Mississippi, Mr. Sidney J. Bowie,
of Talladega, Alabama, and Mr. John M. Bowie, of
Anniston, Alabama. Many other contributors such as
Mr. T. T. S. Bowie, Miss Willie Swan, Miss Mary
Tasker Bowie, Miss Lucy Leigh Bowie, Miss Rebecca
Davis, Mrs. Fannie Ogle Griffith, Mr. B. H. Craig, of
Trappe, Maryland ; Mrs. William Wallis ; Mr. Augustus J.
Bowie, of California, who sent much of the matter regard-
ing his branch of the family ; his cousin, Mrs. Chipman ;
Miss Mary A. Bowie, of Richmond, who furnished very
nearly all the information regarding the Virginia Bowies,
and to others, too numerous to mention, thanks are due
for their valuable aid. Nor must I fail to thank the mem-
bers of my immediate family, who have greatly assisted
me in the laborious preparation of the work. Much of
the data regarding the Bowies in Scotland was procured


for me by Mr. Henry Patton, of Edinburg, who makes a
specialty of such researches.

The gathering of the necessary material for this history,
has, after a lapse of three years, been at last completed,
and the work is presented to the Bowies and their connec-
tions of the present generation by

The Author.


The origin of the name of Bowie is lost in the mists
and shadows of antiquity- The word is probably a blend-
ing of the early Norse, or Scandinavian, and the later
Gaelic of the Scotch Highlander.

We gather from tradition that the progenitor of the
name was one of the reckless and roving vikings of Nor-
way, who " harried " the coasts of Caledonia, and whose
descendants finally settled in the western isles of Scotland
and the neighboring shores. Professor Anderson, of the
University of Wisconsin, an authority on Scandinavian
literature, writes, in 1896, to Miss Virginia Berkley Bowie,
in regard to the derivation of the word. He says : " It is
very difficult to trace the origin of names, and the nearest
we can come to the significance of your name Bowie
is your own construction. Biia^ in the old Norse, means
to ' dwell,' and ' biia sik ' means to ' get ready.' Bua is
the past participle biiin^ and bua sik^ and buin^ survive
in our English 'busk' and 'bown.' They 'busked
themselves for the fray ; ' they were ' all busk and bown '
for the journey. We have the word buer^ which means a
farm. In modern Norwegian bit means an inhabitant.
Satideidsbu means a ' dweller in Sandeid.' Then we have
the old name Bui^ or Bue, ' Bue Digre^^ or ' Bue the Thick,'
or ' Big Bue.' I am of the opinion that Bue means a
dweller on the farm, and I know no other name in the
North from which Bowie could be derived. I am inclined
to agree with you, and, being myself of Norwegian stock, I
avail myself of this opportunity of shaking hands with
you across the centuries. We are doubtless both descend-


ants of Odin, and will look for the blessings and smiles of
Idiin and Bragn." The EncyclopcBdia Britannica says:
"About 860 A. D., a number of jarls and their families fled
from Norway to escape the tyranny of Harold the Fair
Haired, and settled in Iceland and in the Hebrides of Scot-
land. In Lighton's ' Olaf the Glorious,' ' Bue the Thick '
was a celebrated viking who fell in the battle of Joms-
vikings. This same ' Bue the Thick,' or ' Bui the Big,' is
referred to in old histories as a famous warrior who was a
powerful personage at the Norwegian Court during the reign
of 'Hardy Canute.' Elsewhere it is asserted that this 'Bui
the Big' was descended from the god Odin, and also in
the translation of ' The Younger Edda ' the warrior Bue,
or Bure, is said to have sprung from Odin." Other
authorities assert that the name Boivie is a phonetic spell-
ing of the Gaelic word Buidhe^ which, pronounced booay,
or booaie, means victory, conquest or success, and also
"yellow hair," or saffron-colored garments, which, among
the ancient Gaels or Picts, was symbolic of royal extrac-
tion. In modern lowland Scotch, a small milk pail is
called a " bowie." There is little doubt that the name
has been transmitted from the early vikings of Norway,
who settled in the western isles and on the coast of
Argyleshire, Scotland. It can be traced through all
stages of history in the Gaelic districts, and is found as
" Ballochbuie," " Killbuie," "Lochbuie" in the Isle of
Mull, "Slachbuie," etc., etc. In December, 1895, an
article by the Marquis of Lome, was printed in the Scot-
tish American regarding the Lairds of Lochbuie in the
Island of Mull. He says that visitors to lona are shown
a tombstone with a warrior in a conical helmet, mail and
sword, and are told that it is " Hugh of the Little Head,"
son of " Ian Bearnach," Lord of Loch Buie ; and that his
ghost still rides around at night to warn his descendants
of coming events. It seems that Ian Bearnach, or "John
the Toothless," had a dispute with his son, Hugh, who
knocked his father's teeth out, which blow " created much


spite, contention and ill-nature between them." They
finally marshaled their adherents, and Hugh, who was
urged on by a bad wife (a daughter of the House of IMac-
Dugal of Lome), attacked his father's forces, and was slain
in a bloody battle. The old Lord of Buie later had to
flee, but many years after his little son, Murdoch the Curt,
became a great warrior and regained his estates. Accord-
ing to the Marquis of Lome, the Buies of Mull were a war-
like family, identified with the Clan IMacLaine, and like
most of the Gaelic tribes, ferocious and cruel.

In a more recent issue of the Scottish American it is
asserted that the name of Bowie antedates many of the
most historic names of Caledonia. That, in fact,
men of this family were the progenitors of the noble
houses of Forbes and Kilmarnock, of the Clan MacKay,
of the very ancient and noble Earls and Thanes of Angus,
and of the Ogilvies, originally written " O'Gillie Buidhe."
" The Ragman Roll " shows the name variously spelled
in English as Boye, Buie and Bowie, but the Gaelic for
each was Buidhe. The writer of the article in question
further says that his investigation shows the name was
one of great standing, and as early as 605 A. D., was
borne by " Eocha Bui," known in English as Eugene IV,
King of Scotland from 605 to 621. Like his father, Aidan,
he was a great warrior, and kept the Saxons in constant
alarm. He also repaired all the churches in his realm.
" The ancient family of Bowie, or Buidhe, bore ' argent
on a bend sable, three buckles or,' " and the same arms were
born by the Stirlings.

In the year 1200 A. D., the ancient cathedral at Stirling
was built, and on either side of the structure, forming as it
were the double arms of a cross, were two chapels. One
was called "The Queen's lyle" or chapel, and the other
" Bowye's lyle." A family which at that era could have
a portion of this celebrated structure named for it, must
have been one of much power and importance. In 1600
A. D., the name was changed to " Stirling lyle" by the


Earl of Stirling, who was iiildoubtedly of Bowie extrac-
tion. In Stirlingshire for several centuries the Bowies
have been quite numerous and influential. " Bowie Hall,"
near Denby, was for many generations owned by them,
and only passed into other hands during the Eighteenth
Century. About 1700 a certain Walter Bowie was sent to
The Hague as minister to the Scottish Colony in that
city, and he is mentioned as "a son of Mr. James Bowie,
the third son of Mr. James Afac Donald of Slate, in the Isle
of Skye." Some three hundred years since, a " portion
of the obstinate Clan of Macdonald, refusing to surrender
to the agents of the Crown, removed to Forchabers in
Banf, and settled on the river Spey at a place they called
Slach Bowie, and were known as the ' MacDonald

Grey Friars Church, IStirling;, {Scotland.

Built about 1200 A. D.

Bowies.' Though the Government had set a price upon
their heads, they maintained their position in their slach,
or valley, and by force of arms, held the passes of the
Burn of Aldargh, and the Muckle Dramlech." They
defended their possessions successfully until, in more
peaceful times, the lands which could not be wrested from
them by the sword were quietly sold, and are now owned
by the Duke of Gordon.

When the name was y?rjr/f spelled "Bowie" it is now
impossible to say, but from Buidhe, Bue, Bui, Buie, Boye,
or Bowye, it finally became Bowie. The parish register
at Stirling mentions a John Bowye in 1553, and a few


years later a James and William Bowie. In 1617 the
same register refers to " Sergeant James Bowie, of His
Majesties." The Register of the Great Seal at Edinburg,
Vol. IV, pages 282-283, contains the following : "Decem-
ber I, 1581, His Majestic, James VI, grants to Jereme
Bowie, Master of the King's Wines, a house and garden in
Cowper." The same record shows that in October, 1585,
" Jereme Bowie, Master of the King's Wines, obtained a
tack of tines of the lands of Kinpout in Lieulithgowshire,
and at His Majestie's desire, transferred same to Ludovick,
Duke of Lennox." January 25, 1586, it was ordered by
the Council that " all wines imported during the present
year, belonging to any person whomsoever, shall be put and
remain under arrestment, ay, and quhill samekle thairof
be waillit, taistet, market and intromettit with, by Jeremy
Bowye, His Majestie's symlier, as he shall deem necessary
for the Royal Household, upon reasonable prices to be
paid therefor by the tacksman of His Majestie's Customs."
In 1597 "James Bowie, son of Jeremie Bowie, deceased,"
is appointed Master of the King's Wines, and on Novem-
ber 22, 1598, James Bowie, "His Majestie's symlier," is
instructed to procure wine for the Royal Household, as
the supply is exhausted, and all magistrates are directed
to assist James Bowie in procuring a further supply. In
1603, John, Marquis of Hamilton, testifies that "James
Bowie is the lawful heir of his deceased father, Jeremie
Bowie." In 1617 it is stated that, "in view of His
Majestie's visit to Scotland, James Bowie has received "
certain quantities of w'ine, and on January 23d, "1,200
pounds Stirling was paid to James Bowie to enable him
to visit France on His Majestie's business and enquire
into the production of certain wines," etc. June, 161 1,
" Elizabeth Crichton, wife of Mr. James Bowie, Master of
the King's Wines," requested permission to send certain
servants from her home near Stirling to London to wait
upon " the bairns " of James Bowie, " now with their
father in London, England." Numerous other Bowies


are mentioned, such as Thomas Bowie, constable of
Whitekirk in 1617 ; John Bowie, burgess of Falkirk in
1623 ; Walter Bowie, burgess of Glasgow, 1717 ; William
Bowie, magistrate of Stirling in 1737, etc., etc. In 1602
complaint was made against "John Bowie and others" for
" raiding the lands of the sheriff of Moray." Numbers of
them are recorded as land owners in Stirlingshire, mer-
chants, magistrates, town burgesses, and clerks of the
parish. Mention is made of a William Bowie in 16 10,
who was apprehended for " striking his dirk into Alaster
Reach, and then binding him hand and foot with a horse
teather.'' In 16 13 a William Bowie was assaulted and
robbed when on his way home and left for dead, "having
lost an arm he was not so able to defend himself." In
1780 Ralph Bowie became involved in trouble with the
authorities for alleged complicity in the Gordon Riots
and emigrated to Pennsylvania.

At the battle of Waterloo a Capt. John Bowie was
killed, and another Bowie, also an officer, fell at the battle
of Inkerman.

A famous botanist named James Bowie entered the
Royal Service in 1810 ; traveled extensively in Africa,
and his valuable contributions to science are mentioned
in the Encydopcndia Britannica^ and by Professor Har\-ey,
who refers to him as a man of great learning. He died
at London in 1853.

The College of Heraldry gives the arms borne by the
Bowies as " demi lion azure, holding a dagger in dexter
paw ; surmounting shield, argent, crossed by a bend sable
with three buckles or ; motto : ' Quod Non Pro Patriae "
Translated : What not for Country.

The progenitor of the Maryland Bowies is said to have
come from North Britain, and doubtless was born near
Stirling, but which one of the several Bowies, recorded as
living near that city in 1685-90, was his father, it is now
impossible to say.

There is little room to doubt that the various Bowie


emigrants who came to America during Colonial times
were all members of the same family in Stirlingshire, as
evinced by the baptismal names which in every genera-
tion have been identical with those of the men living
near Stirling in the Seventeenth Century. The history of
this family, whether amid the rugged hills of Scotland or
on the more fertile shores of America, shows that with
the fighting blood of their ancestors, the freebooting
vikings, they inherited that love of freedom and fearless
spirit characteristic of the Scotch Highlander and his
descendants on both sides of the Atlantic.

From the earliest dawn of histor\' Scotland had been
the battle-ground of rival clans, whose haughty chieftains
recognized no law higher than that of the claymore, and
with them inight was ever right. Their wars were fierce
and bloody ; expecting no quarter they usually gave none,
and when victorious they " harried " the glen of the van-
quished with fire and sword, destroying the dwellings and
frequently putting to death even the weaker members of
the opposing tribe. These internecine troubles continued
as late as the middle of the last century.

Ages of warfare kept the country in a state of great
poverty, but at the same time it produced a race of brave,
self-reliant, and determined men, ever ready to draw the
sword in defense of libert\' or to assert their religious or
civil rights, and, in the words of an old writer, the land
"produced ver>' valiant sons."

Towards the end of the Seventeenth Century the dis-
putes between the Presbyterians, or " Covenanters," and
the representatives of the Church of England were marked
with great intolerance, to which was added the bitterness
engendered by the revolt of the adherents of the House of
Stuart. Though every Scot was by heredity a man of
the sword, the more enlightened grew wean*' of such
eternal strife and began to think of the New World,
where men might worship their Maker according to their


convictions, without the necessity of praying with wea-
pons in their hands.

This desire for more peaceful surroundings caused
many Scotchmen at an early period to leave their native
hills, seeking freedom of conscience and other blessings
in the American colonies, where they impressed their
marked individuality upon their descendants, who, in a
great measure, became dominating factors in the mighty
Republic to whose prosperity they have so greatly con-

To the old Covenanters who migrated from Scotland,
Maryland especially proved attractive. The province
was by Royal grant conferred upon George Calvert, first
Lord Baltimore, in 163 1, and his brother Leonard, in
1634, planted a colony on the St. Mary's River, near the
Potomac. The date of this landing, March 27, 1634, be-
held the dawn of American liberty. Never intolerant,
like the Puritans of Massachusetts, or arrogant, like the
Cavalier domination in Virginia, the early settlers in
Maryland enjoyed a freedom long unknown to the
denizens of any other country. The location of this
favored land had much to do with fostering and preserv-
ing in the colony that love of liberty brought over by the
early settlers, and of engrafting in their descendants the
spirit and courage to defend it. Situated in a temperate
climate ; bordered by the Atlantic, which facilitated inter-
course with o'ther peoples ; watered through the center by
the Chesapeake Bay and its magnificent estuaries, which
teem with the richest products of animal life in such
abundance as would make the treasures of an empire ;
beautiful with the varied scenery of mountain and plain ;
its mineral wealth, its fertil soil, and noble forests —
Maryland, in its primeval stillness and present civiliza-
tion, was, and is, one of the garden spots of the world.
Nor have the people of this State been unworthy of such
a fair heritage. They have kept abreast of the world in
civil, religious, and scientific progress. Never a laggard



in the cause of liberty, her sons, early in Colonial times,
assumed the name of " Freemen," and have ever been
prompt to prove their right to the title. From the very
foundation of the settlement the colonists insisted upon
having their privileges, and when, in 1689, it was
believed that an attempt would be made to suppress
religious freedom, they rose against the authority of the
Lord Proprietor, overturned his Government, and removed
the records from St. Mary's City to a later settlement on
the Severn River then known as " Providence," where
they established a new capital for the Province and called
it Annapolis. In 1765, as one of the then eight colonies,
Maryland, among the first, sent delegates to a convention
held in Philadelphia to protest against the Stamp Act.
She quickly followed this with other open acts of resist-
ance to British oppression. The burning of the Peggy
Stewart, with her cargo, in open day, at Annapolis, with-

Online LibraryWalter Worthington BowieThe Bowies and their kindred : a genealogical and biographical history → online text (page 1 of 36)