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Bowers ancestor migrate to area from Beaufort Co., N.C.

Two Bowers family lines have been reviewed in this column in the past, and today’s story will be an in-depth look at another Bowers line. This is at the request of Carlton Delano Bowers, a former high school classmate of this writer. It was fortunate that Vaughn Bowers, a Thomasson cousin to this writer, shared his copy of the publication, Bowers—A Genealogy of the Descendants of Benjamin Bowers, Sr. Esq., written by William Alfred Bowers, Jr. In addition, some data were gathered from Carlton’s Prescott family history book, A Prescott Path—The Descendants of Rev. Ephraim Prescott Through William Daniel Prescott, compiled by Dan E. Prescott.

At present, the earliest Bowers ancestor of this family line to be identified is Benjamin Bowers who was born in 1725 and died in 1793. In 1755, Benjamin was a resident of Beaufort County, N.C., where he continued to live until 1760 at which time Pitt County was carved from Beaufort. In 1761, he was listed as a planter, and records indicate he became a Commissioner of Pitt County. He was also shown as a Petit and grand juror as well as one of the first justices for the county. In addition, he served as Sheriff of Pitt County from 1774 to 1778. He is listed as having surveyed land, and he along with his three sons owned considerable land holdings in the county.

The name of Benjamin’s wife has not been found, but family lore suggests she was of Cherokee Indian descent and that her name was translated as “Shining Water” or “Sparkling Water.” He was the father of three sons: John, m. Mary Taylor; William, m. Cloie Llewellyn; and Benjamin Jr., m. Mary Llewellyn. Cloie and Mary were sisters and the daughters of John and Mary Llewellyn of Martin County, N.C.

Benjamin Bowers Jr. as an adult was listed as a landowner in Pitt County, N.C. He was married to Mary Llewellyn, and they were shown in the 1790 North Carolina Census as having three sons: Benjamin III, Silas, and James. Benjamin Jr. died in Pitt County circa 1797. Afterwards, his widow and sons were shown as owners of his land.

The son, Benjamin “Ben” Bowers III, was born in 1777 in Pitt County and died in 1873 in Pike County, Ala., so he is the ancestor who brought the family to South Alabama. He was married first to Nancy whose surname is not known. She was born circa 1780 in North Carolina. Benjamin sold his property in Pitt County in 1822 and 1823 and had become a resident of Twiggs County, Ga., by 1828. He purchased property in Houston County, and the tax returns and deed records indicate he owned land in George in Bibb, Houston, Cherokee and Muscogee Counties. By the 1840s, the family was residing in Pike County, Ala., near Troy. In the 1850 and 1860 censuses, he was listed as a “hatter” supplying almost every man in Troy with a hat, which was normal men’s wear of the day.

Ben’s wife, Nancy, was shown living in Pike County as late as the 1860 census. They were the parents of the following children: Eliza, b. ca 1806, d. 1872, m. Jonathan O. Brown; Alfred, b. ca 1809, d. 1869, m. (1) Martha ? (2) Charity Cherry, a widow, (3) Sarah Thompson; Samuel, b. 1807, d. 1890, m. Sarah Campbell; Cinderella, b. 1812, d. 1882, m. James Glawson (1804-1860); Benjamin Allen, b. ca 1816, d. 1884, m. (1) Georgia Sarah Ann Brown (2) Tilatha Ann Price; and Sarah Ann, b. ca 1824, m. Charles Driggers. In 1866, Ben was married a second time to Martha Ann Rolling, a young widow of a Confederate veteran who had died of an illness. At Ben’s death circa 1873 om Pike County, and his will shows how his property was divided among his wife and children.

The youngest son, Benjamin Allen Bowers, will be the focus from this point on in this story. He was born circa 1816 in Pitt County, N.C. He later moved with the family to Twiggs County, Ga., where he was residing in 1828. Then in 1830, the family was enumerated in Houston County, Ga. In 1836, Benjamin III was married in Bibb County, Ga., to Sarah Ann Brown who was born circa 1814 in Richmond County, Ga. By 1840, the couple had moved to Pike County, Ala. where they resided near Troy until his death in 1884. At some point his wife, Sarah Ann, died, and he later married Tilatha Ann Price, daughter of Edmond and Rhoda Price. He had rendered service in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States as a member of the First Alabama Cavalry. His service was well documented as Tilatha applied and received a widow’s pension based on it.

Benjamin Allen Bowers and first wife, Sarah Ann, were the parents of the following children: Marion M., b. 1838, d. 1926, m. 1856 Nancy Jane Hodges; William Jasper, b. 1840, d. 1920, m Chasie/Chasey Jones Hale; Virgil Newton, b. 1843, d. 1924, m. Eliza Jane Smart; Frances A., b. 1844; Eliza A., b. 1845; Monoguhan (Monzoban), b. 1846; John, b. 1847, m. Margaret ?; Andrew P., b. 1854; Nancy A., b. 1857, d. after 1900, m. 1879 John William Paul. Benjamin and his second wife, Tilatha Ann, were the parents of one child, Emily Jane, b. 1865, d. 1945, m, 1879 Franklin P. Hemphill.

The third son, Virgil Newton Bowers, was born in 1843 in Pike County, Ala. When the War Between the States erupted, he was of the age to volunteer for service in the Confederate Army. He was assigned as a private to Company F, 1st Alabama Cavalry and served throughout the war. Family lore claims he was a scout and was captured on more than one occasion. Following one of those incidents while he was being held by the Yankee soldiers, he was rescued by members of his unit. He was described on his parole document in Montgomery, Ala., as being five feet, six inches tall with light hair and dark complexion. He also received a veteran’s pension for his service.

The review of this family will be continued in next week’s story which will begin with a listing of Virgil Newton’s marriage and their 11 children.

The sources for today’s story were the books, Bowers—A Genealogy of the Descendants of Benjamin Bowers, Sr. Esq., written by William Alfred Bowers, Jr. and A Prescott Path—The Descendants of Rev. Ephraim Prescott Through William Daniel Prescott, compiled by Dan E. Prescott. Anyone who finds an error in the above or who might have additional information on this family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

HISTORICAL MEETING:

The Covington Historical Society will be meeting on Thursday, February 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests and prospective members are encouraged to attend.