Andrew BOWER (Sr.)
William HOWETH
(-Abt 1810)
Andrew BOWERS (Jr.)
Katherine HOWETH


Family Links



  • Born: 2 Apr 1837, Grainger County, Tennessee 4 5
  • Marriage: Mary MAJORS on 3 Jan 1857 in Grainger County, Tennessee 1 2
  • Died: 6 Sep 1884, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory 6

bullet  General Notes:

Note the gap in the records for John Bowers from 1872 to 1880. Family sources say that part of this time was spent in Mammoth Springs, Fulton Co., AR. Certainly, the marriage of daughter, Susan Adeline Bowers, to Simpson Sloan in 1876 in Salem, Fulton Co., AR, means the family arrived there sometime before 1876. It appears the family may have moved to Choctaw Nation about 1878, for in 1902 Louisa M. McAlvain nee Bowers gave testimony -- in connection with her application for enrollment as an intermarried citizen of the Choctaw Nation -- that she had been a resident of the Choctaw Nation for about 24 years. 7 8

bullet  Research Notes:

Ruthie King has raised a question regarding the date of death for John Bowers. She says she "was searching in the Western History Collection at OU through Dr. Wear's account books. There he [John] was [after the date of death recorded in Polk McAlvain's daybook] paying for medical services with corn I believe it was." Could Dr. Wear's records be referring to John DeWitt Bowers? 8


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

1. Census: 1840, Grainger County, Tennessee. 9

Household of Andrew Bowers: 3101001-0221001

John would have been one of the children in the under age 5 group.

2. Census: 1850, Grainger County, Tennessee. 10

Nancy Bowers, 42, F, $200, TN, Illiterate
William R., 16, M, Farmer, TN, Attended School
Jacob, 12, M, TN, Attended School
Permina P. Hill, 11, F, TN, Attended School
Thos Bowers, 15, M, Farmer, TN, Attended School
John Bowers, 13, M, TN, Attended School

It is unclear why Thomas and John were enumerated as a separate family. Perhaps this was an effort to distinguish between the Bowers and Hill children. But then, why wouldn't William have been identified as a Hill and why wouldn't Jacob have been grouped with Thomas and John? Ruth Bowers Dommestrup thinks this enumeration indicates that Thomas and John were forced to live in a secondary structure on the property. But, what of the fact they are assigned the same dwelling number? I hesitate to read too much into any census entry, let alone this one.

3. Guardianship: 1852-1858, Grainger County, Tennessee. 11 12

It is unclear who provided care and support for John after the death of his father in 1849. Were he and Thomas on their own, as suggested by Ruth Bowers Dommestrup? If not, did they live with Nancy or some other family member? Normally, one might be able to answer this question by examining the Guardianship Reports to see to whom distributions were made for providing support, but no record of such distributions has been found.

A. The first Guardian was Daniel Hurst. The 30 Mar 1852 estate settlement shows that a total of $161.75 was distributed to Daniel Hurst as the guardian of the minor heirs of Andrew Bowers, Dec'd. No record of any guardian report filed by Daniel Hurst has been found.

B. The second Guardian was L. M. Ellis. He filed a Settlement as Guardian of John Bowers, a minor orphan of Andrew Bowers, deceased, dated 27 Apr 1858 and recorded 12 May 1858. This appears to have been the final settlement since by then John was 21 years of age and married. This report listed assets of $48.29 as having been received from Wm. T. Tate for John's interest in his father's land, a note from John Needham for $23.11 on account of John's work for him, and judgments against Harber Leffew and Elijah Jones for $10.34 (for unpaid work?). After some minor court costs and paying himself $7.00 for serving as Guardian for seven years, I presume the balance of $73.44 was turned over to John. There is no evidence of disbursements to anyone for providing care and support for John.

Note there is no mention by Ellis of the funds distributed to Hurst, and also that Ellis' term as guardian seems to have started before the distribution to Hurst. Recall from the Events for Andrew Bowers that Ellis was also appointed to replace the initial Administrators of the Estate of Andrew Bowers, Dec'd, but was unable to obtain the assets from the former Administrators. It would seem that Ellis' appointment as Guardian may have occurred at the same time, so that the distributions to Hurst should have instead been made to him. If Hurst had turned over John's share of the assets to Ellis, his report would have mentioned this fact just as it mentioned the receipt of John's share of proceeds from the sale of his father's land. One hopes that Hurst fulfilled his fiduciary duties and expended the funds for the benefit of the minor heirs.

4. Census: 1860, Grainger County, Tennessee. 13

John Bowers, 26, M, Laborer, 100, TN
Mary Bowers, 23, F, TN, Illiterate
David Bowers, 3, M, TN
Susan Bowers, 1, F, TN

5. Military Discharge: 1863, Tennessee. 14

From Certificate of Disability for Discharge dated 24 Feb 1863:

"John Bowers, a private of Captain Cross' Company C of the 3rd Regiment of East Tenn Vol's was enlisted by L. C. Houk of the 3rd Regiment of E. Tenn Vol's at Flat Lick, KY on the 12th day of February, 1862, to serve 3 years."

"...5 feet 10 inches high, Fair complexion, Hazel eyes, Light hair..."

Discharged 6 Mar 1863 per Certificate of Disability for Discharge (9 Mar 1863 per other documents) because of: "Ascites; degree of disability total."

6. Census: 1870, Grainger County, Tennessee. 15

Bowers, John, 33, M, W, Farm Laborer, -/200, TN
Mary, 29, F, W, Keeping House, TN, Illiterate
David, 12, M, W, At Home, TN, Attended School, Illit
Susan, 10, F, W, Attended School, Illit
William, 8, M, W, TN
Louisa, 6, F, W, TN
Helon, 1, M, W, TN

Note the gap between Louisa and Helon. John DeWitt Bowers, age 3, is missing. There also appears to have been a daughter, Catherine, who was born 20 Sep 1865 and died 18 Oct 1866. See Daybook of Polk McAlvain.

7. Military Pension Application: 1871-1872, Grainger County, Tennessee. 14 16

From Declaration for an Invalid Pension dated 2 Aug 1871:

"...while with his Regt at Nashville on or about the 15th day of January 1863 he was attack with Dropsey in the Bowels and was sent to Genl Hospital No 8..."

"That after being discharged as aforesaid he returned to his home in Grainger Co., Tenn, and the rebels coming to his house took from him his Certificate of discharge and destroyed it."

"That [at the time of the Declaration] his Post Office is at Clear Springs, County of Grainger, State of Tenn. That his domicile or place of abode is in the 12th Civil Dis of Grainger Co. From 9 miles north west of Tazewell on a wagon road leading from Tazewell to Kemsville(?)." [Query. Tazewell is the county seat for Claiborne Co. and thus this description puts him in Claiborne Co. According to the Grainger County History Book, the Clear Spring P. O. was located in the Puncheon Camp Creek community, which means he lived not northwest but southeast of Tazewell in Grainger Co. Tazewell seems to be the point of reference because that was where the attorney handling the pension application resided.]

This pension application is the last record of John Bowers in Grainger Co., TN. Since the application was still being processed as late as July, 1872 (it was finally abandoned), it appears John and family may have left Grainger Co. as early as the latter part of 1872.

8. Work Permit: 1880, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. 8

On May 18, 1880 in Sugar Loaf County, Choctaw Nation, a permit was issued to Polk McAlvain allowing him to hire white help. There were two entries for John Bowers (Polk's eventual father-in-law): the first was for "John Bowers, white man, citizen of the United States, farming Polk McLavion;" the second was for "John Bowers and four in the family." It is believed that both these entries are for John, since son John DeWitt would have only been 13 years old.


John married Mary MAJORS, daughter of Thomas MAJORS and Phebe LEFFEW, on 3 Jan 1857 in Grainger County, Tennessee.1 2 (Mary MAJORS was born about 1839 in Grainger County, Tennessee 17 and died about 1872 7.)

bullet  Marriage Notes:

1. The Film source shows John Bowers to Polly Majors, Jan. 2, 1857, By B. Branson, J. P., Jan 3, 1857.

2. The xerographic copy of the original documents show:

"Marriage License [issued by James K. Mcanally, Clerk of the the Court]
John Bowers
Polly Majors
Issued Jan 2 1857
Executed January 3th 1857
B. Branson
Justice of the Peace"

"Marriage Bond [Bondsmen: John Bowers and John Wolfenbarger]
John Bowers
Polly Majors
Taken Jan. 2, 1857" 1 2



1 Porter H. McCarty, Miss Lucille Renean and Mrs. Ellen H. Wilson, Compilers, Marriage Records 1838-1857, Grainger County, Tennessee, (The Historical Records Survey, 22 Feb 1939), FHL Film No. 024,657, Item 3, Page 297 of Records, Page 80 of Film.

2 Grainger County, Tennessee, Marriage Records, Marriage License, with Return, and Marriage Bond for John Bowers to Polly Majors. The author is in possession of xerographic copies of the official records, which were copied for the author in 2000 by Mickey Morris of M & D Genealogy.

3 Andrew Bowers Family Bible. The whereabouts or even continued existence of the Andrew Bowers Family Bible is unknown. However, there are two known transcriptions of the family information contained in the bible: first, a 1978 transcription by Ruth Bowers Dommestrup, at which time the bible was in the possession of Rector Bowers (William Rosecrans Bowers, Thomas Bowers, Andrew Bowers); and second, a transcription of unknown date and authorship that was obtained from collateral Howeth descendants and which contains the following note at the bottom of the transcription, "this is copied from the old record. the only one any of us knows of anywhere. this record is very fraile and looks to be written with pokeberry ink." The transcriptions are nearly identical, but do have differences: Ruth's has Grainger Co., TN as the place of marriage for Andrew and Katharine, while the Howeth version has nothing in that respect; Ruth's has daughter Katharine being born 6 Apr 1827, while the Howeth version spells her name Kathrine and has her date of birth as 16 Apr 1827; and Ruth's has son Andrew being born 9 Jun 1829, while the Howeth version adds his middle initial "J." and has the date of birth as 19 Jun 1829. Neither transcription provides places of birth nor dates of death. The dates for which this source is cited are from Ruth's transcription.

4 Andrew Bowers Family Bible.

5 "Daybook of Polk McAlvain." Polk McAlvain was Louisa Matilda Bowers' Choctaw husband. The original daybook passed from Florence Thomas nee McAlvain, daughter of Polk and Louisa, to her daughter, Lucille Blackard nee Thomas, in 1990. George G. Johnston has viewed the daybook and taken notes and photographs of it. The author has a copy of his notes.

6 "Daybook of Polk McAlvain."

7 Letter from Edna (Bowers) Bartlett to Area Director of Five Civilized Tribes, dated July 20, 1956. (Copy in possession of author).

8 Ruthie McLellan, Compiler, Miscellaneous Choctaw Nation Records,

9 1840 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 024,546, Page 128.

10 1850 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 444,836, Page 96.

11 Inventories of Estates and Wills, March 1852 - May 1860, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 580,849, Page 28 (source for note A).

12 Inventories of Estates and Wills, March 1852 - May 1860, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 580,849, Page 424 (source for note B).

13 1860 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 805,250, Page 521 (Districts 13 & 14, Dwelling 1667, Family 1667).

14 The National Archives, Soldier No. 172,522, John Bowers, Private, Co. C, 3rd Tenn Inf.

15 1870 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 553,029, Page 154 (12th District, Clear Spring P. O., Dwelling 13, Family 13).

16 Grainger County Heritage Book Committee, Grainger County, Tennessee and Its People, 1796-1998 (Walsworth Publishing, Third Printing, 2000), Page 8.

17 1850 Census, Grainger County, Tennessee, FHL Film No. 444,836, Page 100 (District 12, Dwelling 1429, Family 1492).

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