Monday, July 6, 2009

Who Were the Parents of Nancy M. Bowles?

Information about the Bowles family on the Internet is full of conflicts and contradictions. I would appreciate any comments from Bowles researchers. This post raises the question of the parents of Nancy M. Bowles who married John Jefferson Williams about 1813 probably in Warren County, Tennessee. Censuses indicate she was born about 1796 in Virginia; she died 27 Mar 1876 in St. Francois County, in southeast Missouri, where the family had moved about 1829. John and Nancy had 11 children - their daughter Sarah, born 1833, married Andrew White about 1859 and they were one set of my husband's great, great grandparents.

John Jefferson Williams is believed to have been the son of Robert Williams and Charlotte Scott. I found John on FindAGrave.com, see later. In 1806, Robert Williams's family moved from North Carolina to South Carolina, then on to Tennessee. His wife Charlotte died in Shelby Co TN, near Memphis, on 14 Nov 1828. He then moved on to Missouri in 1838 and lived with various children. He died on his 76th birthday.

1830 Census, St. Francois Co MO. John J. Williams, 3 m children under 5 [Thomas, John & Elias], 1 m age 30-40 [John J.]; 1f -5 [Mary], 2f 5-10 [Charlotta & Frances], 1f 10-15 [Louisa], 1f 30-40 [Nancy]
Just a few households away was Ambrose Williams, also age 30-40 with a spouse of the same age. 1m -5, 1f -5, 1f 5-10. [Probably John J.'s brother]

1840 Census, St. Francois Co MO. Liberty Township.
John J. Williams. 1m 5-10 [Ambrose], 1m 10-15 [Elias], 2m 15-10 [John & Thomas], 1m 20-30 [??], 1m 40-50 [John J.] 2f -5 [Nancy & ??], 2f 5-10 [Lucinda & Sarah], 1f 10-15 [Mary], 1f 15-20 [Charlotta], 1f 40-50 [Nancy]
Louisa & Frances had both married.

1850 Census, District 80, St. Francois Co MO. E. C. Sebastian, enumerator. Household 107.
John J. Williams, age 56, b. SC. Nancy same age, b. VA. Elias age 22, b. TN. Ambrose age 18, b. MO as were all the rest of the children: Sarah & Lucinda 15, Nancy 11, Mary 21.

1860 Census, Liberty Twp, St. Francois Co MO, p.23, Household 155.
John J. Williams, age 67, b. SC, Nancy age 63, b. VA.

I have not been able to find John J. & Nancy in 1870. Were they perhaps living with a married daughter?

John J. and Nancy are buried Libertyville Christian Cemetery, Libertyville, St. Francois Co, MO.
Only John is listed on FindAGrave. Born 10 Nov 1792, North Carolina. Died 17 Nov 1874, Knob Lick, St. Francois Co, Missouri. Note says he was married to Nancy M. Bowles in 1813. There is no picture and I wonder if this grave was marked at some later date. There were only 22 graves listed. However, FindAGrave also has Libertyville Christian Church Cemetery with 89 listings . This would seem to be two names for the same Cemetery.
Nancy M. Bowles, b. Nov 1796, SC. d. 28 Mar 1876, Knob Lick, St. Francois Co, MO. Married to John J. Williams in 1813. [submitted by the same person who had sent John J.'s entry]
and
Nancy M. Bowles Williams who is said to share a double tombstone with her husband, but no dates. These two entries submitted by two different people.


One database, apparently from a book on the Williams Family by Cora Louesa Williams, p. 7 states that Nancy M. Bowles was Cherokee. I very much doubt this - there were way too many Bowles families in colonial Virginia and in 1850 and 1860, and she gave her place of birth as Virginia.

I doubt very much that Nancy has been correctly placed in the Bowles family - she is most often seen as a daughter of John Bowles and Mary Redford/Radford. But I believe she might be of the next generation instead - she was born some 28 years after their marriage.
Marriages of Goochland County Virginia 1733-1815, Compiled and Published by Kathleen Booth Williams, p 13
27 November 1768. John BOWLES and Mary Redford, dau. of William Redford, deceased. Sur. John Cannon. Elizabeth Bowles makes affadavit that John, 21 years old last May, is son of Benjamin Bowles, deceased.
The Douglas Register gives the marriage as 9 November 1768, and says "in Hanover".

Searching online has been more confusing than helpful. John Bowles and Mary Redford may have had a son also named John - he would be of the likely age to be the father of Nancy if indeed there is a tradition her father's name was John. However, databases do not agree on what became of the younger John. The younger John Bowles, usually shown as born from about 1769 to 1775 in Hanover Co VA is sometimes suggested to have been married to Frances "Fanny" Bolling - a marriage which took place 27 Apr 1795 in Henry Co VA. Research would need to be done to determine exactly how the family of John Bowles came to be in Henry Co. as I've not been able to determine where John Bowles & Mary Redford later lived, nor when and where they died. Then there is the larger problem of exactly who were the children of young John and Fanny. I have seen two widely divergent theories.

One story is that John M. Bowles who married Frances Bolling 27 Apr 1795 in Henry Co, VA, apparently moved to Tennessee where some of their younger children were born. At least Tennessee is the state where the Williams family lived. Children are suggested as William [not in all databases], Nancy b. ca 1795 who married John Jefferson Williams; John, born 1802 in Hanover Co VA, who moved to Mississippi, married Millie Caroline Pate and died in Uvalde Co, Texas 1859, scalped by Indians; Sarah, born ca 1800, who married William Howard; Lucinda, born ca 1810 in DeKalb Co TN, married Isaac Adcock and died in DeKalb Co about 1870; Mary, born 1815, DeKalb Co, married John B. Walker and lived to appear in the 1900 census still in DeKalb Co; Frances, born 1819 in DeKalb Co, married Thomas Adcock, 5 May 1838 in DeKalb Co, died between 1906-1910. Frances had a Confederate Widow's Pension. The parents, John & Frances Bowles are said to be buried in the Walter Cemetery, Keltonburg, DeKalb Co, TN.

DeKalb Co was formed 1837-1838 out of Cannon, Jackson, Warren & White Counties. Warren had been formed out White in 1807 and might be the location of some of the records of the above family. That is where Nancy Bowles & John Jefferson Williams are said to have married ca 1813. This is definitely the most likely place for Nancy but the connection to her parents is still questionable at this point.

The second version of the story is interesting in that the same couple - John Bowles and Frances Bolling had a different set of children. John, in this database, was a Baptist Minister and died about 1814 in the Battle of New Orleans. No mention of a residence in Tennessee. This couple is said to have had William, born 1801; John, born 1802 in Hanover, married Millie Caroline as above, and died 1859, Uvalde Co TX [same story as the previous John - scalped by Indians]; Joseph born 1803; Edmond b. 1809, married Catherine Stockstill, died 1897 in Dade Co MO, buried Antioch Cemetery; and Thomas Phillip Bowles, b. 1811 in Hanover Co VA, married Huldah Stocktstill in Missouri. Except for John who was scalped, born 1802, these children, and others, also appear as children of a completely different John Bowles, born ca 1774, who married Elizabeth Longdon. This John, said to be the son of a Phillip Bowles, grandson of Thomas Phillip Bowles, b. 1745 - Thomas Phillip Bowles being a possible brother to the John Bowles who married Mary Redford in Hanover/Goochland, VA.

Obviously we are dealing with at least two different families of two different men named John Bowles and no proof that any one of them is the son of John Bowles & Mary Redford. Without supporting evidence and additional research, I have no clues as to which is correct. The second database also suggests that the older John Bowles who married Mary Redford in 1768, died in the Revolutionary War. If so perhaps paper work exists to confirm that and so far I've found none. Other than young John they are seen with children Martha, born 19 Dec 1773 in Goochland - she's in The Douglas Register and is there only child to appear there. Also said to have had a son Thomas who marred Lucy England, daughters Nancy [no doubt encouraged the casual researcher to leap to the conclusion she was the Nancy who married John Jefferson Williams] and Adeline [who may have married a Cocke], and a son William Joseph Bowles who married Nancy Rolf Bolling.

Now if there were two Bowles brothers who married Bolling girls, that would certainly help place the John who married Frances Bolling as belonging in that place. It is true that the family of John Bowles who married Mary Redford lived near Bolling families in Virginia. The family of the John who lived in DeKalb Co, Tennessee would certainly seem to be the most likely the family of this Nancy Bowles who married John Jefferson Williams. Adequate proof is lacking.

1820 Census shows a John "Boles", Jackson Co TN [Able & Rolin Boles also listed - likely not the father of Nancy.

1830 Census; Warren Co TN
John M. Bowles. 1m age 15-20; 1m age 60-70. 2f 10-15, 1f 15-20, 1f 50-60

1840 Census; DeKalb Co TN
Frances Bowls: 1f 50-60. Living next door to Thomas Adcock, most likely a son-in-law of the John Bowles who married Frances Bolling....

1850 Census: DeKalb Co TN
Frances Bouls age 70, b. VA was living with Thomas & Frances Adcock, and a 50-year-old Sarah Howard. Nancy & Sarah both possible daughters. The information concerning the John M. Bowles who married Frances Bolling does suggest their daughter Frances married Thomas Adcock and they did have a daughter Sarah who married William Howard.
Hh 1178: Thomas Adcock, age 33; Frances, age 31
Marshall E. age 10, Mary D. R. age 8, Calvin R., age 2 - all born Tennessee
Frances Bowls, age 70 and Sarah Howard age 50, born Virginia.

In 1860, Thomas, age 43, and Frances, age 41, were still in DeKalb Co.
Marshall E., age 20, Rufus C., age 11, Naomi C. age 9, Anthony E. age 8, Samantha E. age 5, and Stokely A. age 4.
In 1860, Frances Bowls, age 83 was living with another daughter:
Hh 605: John B. Walker, age 42. Mary, age 42. Both born TN.
Francis, 12 [female] and James age 8 - both born TN.
and Frances Bowls, age 83, b. Virginia

If I can ever prove the relationship of Nancy Bowles Williams back to Mary Redford, I can prove another "cousin" relationship between my husband and I. Mary Redford who married John Bowles, was a granddaughter of John Redford and Martha Milner who were my ancestors.

2 comments:

  1. I recently received an "anonymous" post by a person named Clydene, claiming proof that John M. Bowles and Frances "Fanny" Bolling were indeed the parents of Nancy M. Bowles. Unfortunately the post offered no actual documents or means of contact. I would very much like to discuss this proof and my email address can be found by clicking on my profile.

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  2. I eventually made contact with this researcher. There are a number of land records showing that John M. Bowles, John Jefferson Williams & wife Nancy M. Bowles, and Joseph and James Bowles, as well as Cantrells and Adcocks were all living as neighbors on Sink Creek, DeKalb Co, TN - DeKalb taken from Warren Co in 1837. The deeds, surveys, entries, can be found in Warren & DeKalb records. Their deeds do not reference specific relationships but certainly support a close relationship among these families.

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