Bowers Family Was At Ooltewah Prior To The Indian Removal

Friday, October 27, 2017 - by John Wilson

John Bowers arrived in the vicinity of Ooltewah prior to the Indian removal. His brother, George Bowers, had several homes, but he was at Dallas in Hamilton County when he died in 1873.

The Bowers (or Bower) family was originally in Orange County, N.C., where Green Bowers was sheriff for seven years. A George Bowers, who may have been the grandfather of John and George Bowers, died there at a young age in 1770. He left a wife, Margaret, and several small sons and daughters. Green Bowers was among the family members to migrate to Roane County,Tn., arriving in 1814.

John Bowers married Nancy Morgan at Roane County in 1823. They had made their way to Hamilton County by 1837. Their children included Elizabeth, Rebecca, Martha, Newton Malcolm, John and Callman. John Bowers died in the late 1840s, but Nancy Morgan Bowers lived until 1883. She stayed during her latter days with the Newton Bowers family.

Martha Bowers married John W. Smith, who fought with the Union army. The Smiths settled a mile south of Georgetown. Martha Bowers Smith died in 1907.

Newton Bowers in 1861 at Meigs County married Surrelda Magdalene Curton, daughter of George and Lucinda Curton. Her father was a Methodist minister. Both George Curton and his son-in-law, Newton Bowers, went into the Union army with the Third Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers. Curton was killed at Sulpher Trestle, Ala., on Sept. 25, 1864. His fatal wound was a shot in the chest. Newton Bowers enlisted March 2, 1862, at Decatur, Tn., in Co. E. of the Fifth Tennessee Infantry. He was at Cumberland Gap, Ky., when he was wounded in the left arm while on picket duty on Sept. 15. The arm had to be amputated an inch from the shoulder the next day. The Union abandoned Cumberland Gap, leaving Bowers and others in a hospital there. He was taken prisoner by the Confederates, but was exchanged two months later. Despite the loss of his arm, he remained with the Union army. Family members said that Newton Bowers later in the war sneaked through Confederate lines to visit his home.

Word got out that he was there, and some Confederates went to check it out. Surrelda held them off with a shotgun long enough for her husband to get safely away.

Newton Bowers lived until 1912, and his wife until 1917. They are buried at the Church of God Cemetery at Birchwood.

George W. Bowers, oldest son of Newton Bowers, died when he was 20 in 1882. The other children are given as John W. who married Nannie Rains, Nancy Surrelda who married Jack Pendergrass, Mary Jane who married William Edgeman, Joseph Coleman who married Martha Katherine "Mattie'' Tipton, Louise Angeline who married Luther Gamble, Janette Isabel who married James Wiley Shahan, Olive who married James Quinn, James A. who married Josie Anne Malone, and Mattie W. who married George Webb.

Children of Joseph Coleman Bowers included William Claude who married Lassie Bell Lovelland then Carrie Flemming, Anna Lula who married Burton Williams, Nellie Pearl who married Tom Franillin Smith, Dewey Eugene, Bessie Viola who married Emory Brown Harbour, Joseph Cliff who married Frances Emily Bostwick, Clyde Newton, Neil, Mildred Ruth who married Herbert Galloway, and Lena Loraine who married Edward Biesekerski.

Children of James A. Bowers included Chester who married Billie Collins, Jack who married Nannie Allison, and James Cecil who married Virginia Elmore.

George Bowers, who was born in 1797 in South Carolina, married Mary Armstrong in Roane County in 1837. Their children were John Jehu, Ansell, Joanna, Thibet and James Marion. After the death of his first wife, George Bowers in 1844 married Lula Jane Roulstone, who had previously been married to a Millsaps. Their children were John B., Fielding Tillman, Mary Averilla, William Allen, Margaret E. and Sarah Lucinda. The George Bowers family was in McMinn County in 1850, Polk County in 1860 and at Dallas after the war. The family mainly favored the Union side, and several of the men went off to war, including Edward Reynolds, husband of Joanna Bowers. They settled at Knoxville.

James Marion Bowers and his wife, Jane, went to Indiana, settling two miles south of Seymour and a half mile from E.T. Blankenship's brickyard. The Bowers family here in 1872 received a letter from Blankenship, relating that he had just been to the bedside of Marion Bowers. He said he was too weak to write and had been ill 6-7 weeks and was "getting worse all the time.'' The letter said Marion Bowers was "very anxious to see you all. He says he cannot die without seeing some of his people. He talks about Jasper more than the rest.'' That was his half-brother, Jasper Millsaps. It was related that Marion Bowers had four children, but only one was able to work "and that is a girl who can't earn more than a dollar and a quarter per week.''

John Jehu married Sally Mitchell. John B. Bowers died in 1864 when he was 20. Fielding Tillman was a farm laborer who married Mary Ann Grissom. Their daughters were Lydia Caroline who married James Shannon and Sarah Jane who married Napoleon Carlisle. A son, William Jasper Bowers, was killed in a coalmine in Kentucky when he was a young man.William Allen "Allen'' Bowers, married Lovie E.Lewis. Margaret E. Bowers married Isaac Frederick, then his brother James Frederick. Sarah Lucinda Bowers married Joseph S. Lewis. Mary Averilla Bowers in 1872 married James Alexander Smith, a Union veteran who had first been married to Mary Jane Varner. They lived at Igou Ferry. James A. Smith was the Igou postmaster,though Mary Bowers Smith often ran the office while he was off tending to his duties as a minister.

After George Bowers died, Jane Bowers continued the farming operation on 150 acres of leased land "on both sides of the Poe Turnpike Road.'' Conditions of the lease were that she was to "have all that might grow and be raised on the north side of the wood in consideration of my keeping same fenced and watching and keeping trespassers off of that part south of road and keeping fences on same in repair after they might build same, burning leaves around fences and taking care of their fruit trees.'' Jane Bowers later resided on four acres on the old Poe Road, which she left to Allen Bowers for caring for her in her old age. She had given another acre to Fielding T. Bowers.

Many Bowers descendants still live at Soddy Daisy and on Daisy Mountain.


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