Biographies from Historical and Biographical Annals by Morton Montgomery


p. 1100


Conrad G. Bower (deceased) was born in Switzerland, March 22, 1846. His father came to America with his family of six children in 1851, landing at New York, whence he came direct to Reading. Here he followed his trade of wheelwright, but lived a retired life for twenty years prior to his death, on Jan. 22, 1897. His wife died Aug. 5, 1895, and both are buried in the Catholic cemetery at Reading. On the voyage to America two of the children died and were buried at sea. The children born in Switzerland were: William, Francis. Victor, Mary, Joseph and Conrad G.; while three born after the emigration to America were: John, Louis (deceased) and George.

Conrad G. Bower came to America with his parents when five years of age, and attended the public schools of Reading. His first employment was in a brick yard, and he later learned the hatting trade, which he followed for fifteen years in the factory of Kutz & Arnold. He then embarked in the hotel business at Locust and Elm streets, where he remained twenty six years, retiring from business in April of 1903. On January 22, 1904, Mr. Bower passed away, aged 57 years, ten months. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted February 10, 1865, in Company F., 192d Pa. VI, Col. William Stewart, and was honorably discharged Aug. 24, 1865. For twenty years he was a member of Post 16, G. A. R., and of the Ivy Leaf Association in which he was very popular. Both he and his wife belonged to St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church.

On June 4, 1868, Mr. Bower married Sarah A. Hauck, who was born in Lancaster county, daughter of the late John and Mary A. (Getz) Hauck, the former of whom came from Bavaria, Germany, in 1846, locating in the city of Lancaster. Pa., where he was the owner of the land on which St. Joseph's Catholic Church now stands. Mr. and Mrs. Bower had no children, but adopted and reared Mary A. Gantz, who survives. Mrs. Bower resided at No. 343 North Twelfth street, where one of her most precious possessions was an old spinning wheel, which was secured from a farmer, whom Mr. Bower, while on one of his numerous fishing trips, had seen throw it on an ash pile. In the death of Conrad G. Bower the city of Reading lost one of its good citizens. Honest and straight forward in his dealings with his fellow men, he was re spected and esteemed by all, and his loss is felt not only by his immediate friends; but by the community at large. Mrs. Bower survived until Aug. 23, 1907, when she too, entered into rest, beloved by all who knew her.


p. 333


Gen. Jacob Bower, prominent Revolutionary hero and county official of Berks county, was born at Reading in September, 1757. When eighteen years old, he enlisted in the stirring cause of the Revolution, becoming sergeant in the company of Capt. George Nagel (the first company raised at Reading). He marched with this company to Cambridge, Mass., in July, 1775, and participated in the first battles for freedom in that vicinity. In July, 1776, he became captain of a company of the "'Flying Camp" in the Pennsylvania line; and he afterward served as Captain of different companies in the Continental line, until the close of the war for independence, in 1783. He was one of the American officers who organized the General Society of the Cincinnati, May 13, 1783, in the Cantonment of the Hudson river; and he was one of the original members in the formation of the Pennsylvania State Society of the Cincinnati, which convened at Philadelphia, Oct. 4, 1783.

When the war was over, Captain Bower returned to Reading. After serving for some years as a clerk in the county offices, the Governor selected him to fill various local positions, in which he was active for some ten years, serving as sheriff from 1788 to 1790; as county commissioner, 1790?1793; as recorder, registrar and clerk of the Orphans' Court, 1792?1798; and as county auditor from 1799 to 1800. He was also delegated by the Governor in 1793 to act as one of the commissioners in the establishing of a branch bank of Pennsylvania at Reading.

Immediately after the Revolution, a complete system of militia was organized in Pennsylvania, and Captain Bower, on account of his former services, was selected as major of the 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia, in Berks county. He kept up an active interest in the military affairs of the country until his decease. He participated also in the war of 1812?15, serving as brigadier general of the 1st Brigade, 6th Division, Pennsylvania Militia, by appointment of Governor Snyder. During the trying winter of 1777?78 at Valley Forge, General Bower was stationed there and his "Orderly Book," in which he kept a record of the transactions of the officers from April 9, 1778, to June 17, 1778, is an interesting relic, consisting of two small volumes, and is still in the possession of the family.

General Bower resided at Reading until after 1800, when be removed to Womelsdorf, and he died at the latter place, Aug. 3, 1818. The following obituary appeared in the Berks and Schuylkill Journal, published at Reading, Aug. 8, 1818:

"Died at Womelsdorf, in this county, on Monday last, after a tedious and severe illness, aged sixty?one years, Gen. Jacob Bower. The deceased was a faithful and active officer during the whole of the Revolutionary war. He sacrificed at the shrine of Liberty a large patrimony, but, like many other veterans of the Revolution, was doomed to feel the stings of adversity in his old age."

General Bower married Rebecca Wood, daughter of Col. Joseph and Mary (Scull) Wood, the latter of Philadelphia. Colonel Wood died from wounds received at Fort Ticonderoga, in the Revolution. To this union were born six children. Among the many descendants still living are: Mr. Robert Scott Bower, of Philadelphia.; Dr. William Bower and Mr. Addison Bower, of Myerstown, Pa.; Col. Thomas Potter, Jr., Quartermaster?General of Pennsylvania; Hon. William Potter, President of Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia and ex?United States Minister to Italy; Mr. Charles, A. Potter, of Philadelphia; and Col. Henry A. Potter and Mrs. Stephen Jones Meeker, of Orange, N. J.

The father of General Bower and the ancestor of this prominent family of Pennsylvania was Conrad Bower, a pioneer settler of Reading, who became one of the city's largest property holders. He married Catherine Hoover, and they had the following children: Jacob; George; Catherine, m. John Spohn; Barbara, m. Henry Miller; Susanna, m. John Truckenmiller; and Eve, m. Michael Harvey. After the death of Conrad Bower in 1765, in the following year, his widow became the second wife of Michael Bright, a man of substance, and she died in 1814.


p. 430


Dr. Joel B. Bower, D. D. S., of Boyertown, one of the leading dentists of Berks county, was born in this town Oct. 27, 1840, son of Henry O. and Barbara (Borneman) Bower, and grandson of John Bower.

( I ) Hans Bower, the American ancestor of the family, emigrated from Switzerland between 1708 and 1717. He settled in Colebrookdale township, with other Mennonites who fled because of persecution. In time he bought three different tracts, and his first purchase consisted of 215 acres which he bought from Thomas Hopkinson. His second purchase which was 201 acres, he secured in 1734, and the third was made from the Penns in 1734, for which he paid twenty three pounds, five shillings. This land was located in Hereford township, Berks county, and is now owned by Rev. John Ehst. In 1749 he sold this tract to his two sons, Michael and Abraham (whose chil dren were: George, Samuel and Jacob).

( II ) Michael Bower, son of Hans, and great great grandfather of Dr. Bower, married Fronica, daughter of Johannes Landis. On July 7, 1784, he sold a tract of land containing 108 acres to his son in law, Christian Moyer, for the sum of 325 pounds; also a tract containing seventy four acres and twenty eight perches, for 175 pounds. His children were: Samuel, Fronica and Anna.

( III ) Samuel Bower, son of Michael, was born Aug. 6, 1746, and he is buried at Hereford Mennonite Meeting House. He was a farmer in Douglass township, Montgomery county. His wife was Elizabeth Ziegler. and they had children as follows: Susanna, Barbara, Deborah, John, Elizabeth, Samuel, Hannah, Andrew and Christopher.

( IV ) John Bower, son of Samuel, farm of 156 acres in 1814 for $13,000. This he sold to John Moyer in 1890 for $5,600. He was a well known farmer and a most excellent man. During the panic of 1814 to 1820, he hauled rye flour to Philadelphia, receiving seventy five cents per hundred pounds. Later he prospered, and although many lost their farms during this time of stringency, he did not. His wife's maiden name was Susanna Overholtzer, and they had five children: Catherine married Samuel B. Latshaw; Elizabeth m. Jonas Sassaman; John O.; Samuel O. and Henry O.

( V ) Henry O. Bower, son of John and father of Dr. Bower was born in Douglass township, Jan. 6. 1807, and died there Feb. 14, 1867. He was a clockmaker, and made 130 grandfather clocks, some showing the movement of the moon. His grave is at the Mennonite Meeting House at Bally. The last clock he made, completed about 1845, is in the possession of his son Dr. Joel B. Bower of Boyertown. Mr. Bower was well known and traveled from house to house in eastern Berks county, repairing clocks. His wife was Barbara Borneman, also a native of Montgomery county. They had six children, as follows: Dr. Joel B.; John, deceased, a farmer in Douglass Town ship; Priscilla, deceased wife, of Levi Ehst; Johanna, deceased wife of Daniel B. Rittenhouse, of Montgomery county; Dr. Daniel B., of Boyertown; and Elizabeth, living at Boyertown, widow of John Bechtel.

(VI ) Joel B. Bower was reared in Douglass town ship, where he attended school, but later he went to the Freeland Seminary, and then studied with his uncle, Dr. J. H. Borneman, who was a dentist at Boyertown. Still later he attended the Philadelphia Dental College, from which he was graduated in 1867. He immediately located at Boyertown, where be followed his profession for a period of forty five years. In 1905 his son Dr. A. L. Bower took charge of the office. In 1892 Dr. Bower opened a branch office at Pottstown, and this his son Dr. Samuel Bower now conducts. His son Dr. Daniel Bower had charge of the Pottstown office for ten years prior to his death in 1905. Dr. Joel B. Bower and his family are members of the Mennonite Church of Boyertown, and he is very active in Church work. He resides in his own house on Philadelphia avenue.

Dr. Bower has been married three times. His first wife, Sevilla Stauffer, of Boyertown, died at the age of twenty, leaving one son, Henry, who died soon thereafter. He married (second) Elizabeth Latshaw, of East Vincent, Chester Co., Pa., who bore him five children: Dr. Daniel, born March 2, 1873, died unmarried, Feb. 15, 1905; Jacob died at the age of four years; Miss Mary lives at Boyertown; Dr. Abram L. is maentioned below; Dr. Samuel, of Pottstwon, graduated from the Philadelphia Dental College in 1902, and married Blanche Grubb, of Chester county (no issue). Dr. Bower married (third) Annie B. Bickhart, who died October 16, 1906, aged sixty-nine years (no issue).

Dr. Abram L. Bower, son of Dr. Joel B. Bower, was born Jan. 23, 1879. He graduated fro the Boyertown high school in 1894, and from the West Chester State Normal School in 1896. He taught school two terms, after which he attended the Philadelphia Dental College toow terms and graduated from the Dental Departent of the University of Pensylvania in 1901. He has practiced dentistry since at Norristown, Pottstown, and Boyertown, in which latter place he is now engaged. Dr. Bower has been granted nine patents and a number of other patents for his inventions have bee allowed by the United States Patent Office but havenot yet been issued. He has invented a dental preparation to be used in the operation of capping live and exposed nerves in teeth. This method and preparation were quickly adopted by the dental profession and are now largely used for that purpose His other inventions relate to railway signalling, chiefly cab signalling, where three classes of signals are transmitted to the train through a sincle circuit from the rails to the engne and displayed in the cab in frot of the engineer. These three classes of signals are clear, cautioary, and danger, shown by colored electrical incandescent lamps, the colors being white, green and red, respectively. Bells are also automatically rung in the cab to call the engineer's attention to a change in the signal displayed.

Dr. Bower's device also makes the service application of the brakes when caution is indicated, and the emergency application of the brakes when danger or stop is indicated. The throttle also is operated, shutting off the steam. The entire device operates automatically but it is adapted so as to be instantly controlled by the engineer.

His inventions also include block signals for electrically operated trains or trolleys which automatically shut off the opwer or reduce the speed of the vehicle by introducing resistance into the motor circuit. Also a govenor to prevent the application of the brakes when the speed is not over six miles per hour; also a distance device which automatically displays the danger signal after the train has proceeded a certain perdetermined distance without receiving a clear or cautionary signal impulse from the divices on the roadbed. This distance device checks any failure of the other devices to operate. The Block Signal and Train Control Board of the Interstate Commerce Commission authorized a practical test of these devices, to be made by the Board in March or April of 1909, on the Colebrookdale Branch of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, near Pottstown.

Dr. Abram L. Bower married Hannah O. Landis, of New Britain, Pa. They have two children, Joel L. and Elizabeth L.


p. 540


John Lincoln Bower, M. D., was born in Amity township, Berks county, on the Bower home-stead, July 12, 1865. The Bower homestead is part of a five hundred acre tract of land purchased by Otto Earnest Koch from the commissioners of William Penn, by patent bearing the date of June 11. 1705. This property was given and granted by said Otto Earnest Koch to his son Zacharias (who signed his name Zacharias Cock) by a grant dated the "Thirteenth day of April in the Fourth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King George, Anno Dom. 1718" and remained in his possession until March 10, 1723, when it was acquired by John Waren, who dying without issue, April 24, 1734, bequeathed 150 acres of said property to his brother Jacob Waren. On March 10, 1764, 113 acres of this tract of land were sold by Jacob Waren and his wife Ann to their son Thomas (who signed his name Warren). Thomas Waren or Warren was possessed of additional property, for the records show that April 13, 1772, he and his wife Eva sold 137 acres of land to Moses Bauer (since Anglicized to Bower) the great-great-great-grandfather of Dr. Bower, for a consideration of 480 pounds 7 shillings.

Moses Bower was not the first of his family to hold property in this section, for on June 27, 1763, Jacob Waren sold to, Michael Bower, eldest son of Moses Bower, thirty acres of land, but May 7, 1767, this was purchased by Eleanor Lotz. Moses Bower died in 1805, and in a will dated March 14th, of the same year, he bequeathed his "plantation" in equal shares to his only surviving son Michael and his grandson Jacob, son of Moses Bower, and great-grand-father of Dr. Bower. Michael was to have the lower half and the grandson Jacob to have the remaining portion of the "plantation." By reason of these bequests certain cash payments were required to be made by said Michael and Jacob to the widow and grandchildren of Moses Bower.

Upon the death of Michael Bower in 1823 the property passed to his son Jacob, who retained possession until March 13, 1839, when it was purchased by Daniel Bower (grandfather of Dr. Bower) and his brother Jacob H. On April 1. 1847, Daniel became the sole owner and so remained until Nov. 8. 1882, when the property was bought by Jacob L. Bower. the present owner and the father of the subject of this biographical sketch. The farm now consists of 104 acres, com-posed largely of the portion bequeathed by Moses Bower to his son Michael, and lies on both sides of what was formerly known as the Reading and Perkiomen Pike, the main highway from Reading to Philadelphia, and is intersected by the Monocacy creek. A landmark of the place is a sawmill more than a century old, operated by water power supplied by the Monocacy creek and is widely known as Bower's saw mill. The original structure stands today, and the mill is still in use. Many Indian relics have been found on the farm, bearing mute testimony that prior to the coming of the white pioneer, this must have been a favored locality for the Red Man.

The great-great-great-grandfather of Dr. Bower, Moses Bauer, or Bower as the name is now spelled, and his wife Catharine and four children: Michael, John, Moses and Labright-were the first of this family to come to America. and came from Germany, landing in Philadelphia, Sept. 10, 1753. Moses Bower died in 1805, and was survived by his wife, one son Michael and twenty-nine grandchildren. He was interred in the old graveyard at Amityville.

The great-great-grandfather, Moses, was the third son of his father Moses. He was twice married, and was the father of nine children: Jacob. Elizabeth, Moses, George, Daniel, Samuel, David, John and Michael.

Jacob Bower, the great-grandfather, was born Oct. 16, 1781, and was the eldest child of Moses and Barbara (Frederick) Bower. He was married to Susanna Happel who died Dec. 28, 1854. They had ten chil-dren, Daniel, John, Jacob H., William, Elizabeth, m. William Updegrove, Hannah, m. Jacob Moyer, Mary Ann, m. Benjamin Rhoads, Catharine, m. David Scheetz, and Susanna and Samuel who died in early life.

Daniel Bower, his grandfather, was born Oct. 17. 1807, in Amity township, and died March 30, 1894. He married Elizabeth Matilda Lewis, of Robeson township, who died Jan. 13, 1868, aged fifty-seven years. They are buried in St. John's Church Yard, in Robeson township. There were seven children born to them as follows: Catharine, deceased, m. to John W. Hartranft; Jacob L.; Samuel L, deceased; Justina, living in Birdsboro; Lewis A., of Wilmington, Del.; Susan M.. widow of William R. Potts, Birdsboro, Pa.; and John N., Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.

Jacob L. Bower, father of Dr. Bower was born Nov. 23, 1834, in Robeson township. He resides on the old homestead. Mr. Bower for many years conducted the farm and sawmill with unusual success, but for some years he has lived retired. Some years ago, Mr. Bower served his township as school director. He is a solid substantial and progressive man, and has always endeavored to live up to his high ideals of good citizenship. On November 4, 1860. he married Sarah Babb, daughter of the late John and Mary (DeHart) Babb, of Alsace township. They had these children, and all survive: Dr. Elmer E., a dentist of Camden N. J.; Emma; Dr. John L. and Mary S.

Dr. Bower attended the public schools of his dis-trict and this was supplemented by several terms at the Amityville Seminary, following which he taught his home school, Leopard No. 4, for one term. He was graduated from the Jefferson Medical College in 1898, and became a resident physician at the Philadelphia Hospital, and remained there for a little more than fif-teen months. After this he entered the service of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. and is one of its oldest medical examiners, having been located in Reading since Oct. 15, 1892.

Dr. Bower is a member of the Berkshire Country Club, the Wyomissing Club, the Union League of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania German Society. Professionally he is a member of the Reading Medical Association, the Berks County Medical Society, the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, The American Medical Association and is a member of the Medical Staff of the Reading Hospital.


p. 539


John Newton Bower, assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Birdsboro, was born on the Bower homestead along the Monocacy creek in Amity township, Berks county, adjoining the Perkiomen turnpike, Feb. 7, 1856. He attended the township schools and the Oley Academy. In 1875 he passed a creditable examination given by the county superintendent of schools, and received from him a certificate authorizing him to teach, but he did not follow the profession.

Shortly afterward he entered the employ of the E. & G. Brooke Iron Company, at Birdsboro, Pa., as a nailer, and he continued there until 1891. The directors of the First National Bank of Birdsboro then selected him as their bookkeeper, and he filled this position until March, 1905, when he was promoted to assistant cashier. He is identified with the Birdsboro Building & Loan Association, and also with the public school affairs of the borough as a director.

Daniel Bower, his father, was a farmer on the homestead in Amity township, for upward of fifty years, having been previously employed as a forgeman at the Gibraltar forge. Besides carrying on farming, he was actively engaged in conducting a sawmill, on the prem-ises, which was run by water power, supplied by the Monocacy creek. He died in 1894, aged eighty-seven years. He married Elizabeth Matilda Lewis (daughter of Archibald and Catharine (Coulter) Lewis, of Robeson township), who was of Welsh ancestry and the descendant of a well known Quaker family. She died in 1868, aged fifty-seven years. They are both buried in the St. John's Church Yard, Robeson township. They had seven children: Catharine (1833-1889) m. John W. Hartranft; Jacob L. (1884), who lives on the homestead, m. Sarah Babb; Justina (1837) is living at Birdsboro; Samuel L. (1842-1908) m. Amanda Ludwig, and they moved to Wilmington, Del.. about 1880, where he died; Susan M. (1845) m. William R. Potts, a farmer of Amity township, who died in 1888, and after his decease, she moved to Birdsboro, where she now resides; Lewis A. (1848) m. Justina Johnson, and resides in Wilmington, Del., and John Newton. The parents were thrifty and industrious, were widely known and universally esteemed for their sterling qualities of heart and mind.

Jacob Bower, or Bauer, as the name was then spelled, the grandfather, was a farmer of Amity township having inherited his farm of ninety acres from his grandfather, Moses Bower. He died in 1867, aged eighty-six years. He married Susanna Happel, who died Dec. 28, 1854. They had ten children: Daniel, m. to Elizabeth Maltilda Lewis; John, m. to Anna Bush; Jacob H., m. to Matilda Bush; William, m. to Catharine Boyer, Elizabeth, m. to William U degrove; Hannah, m. to Jacob moyer; Mary Ann, m. to Benjamin Rhoads; Catharine, m. to Savid Scheetz; Susanna; and Samuel, who died young.

Moses Bower, the great-grandfather, when a child emigrated from Germany with his parents. He was twice married, and was the father of nine children, as follows: Jacob, Elizabeth, Moses, George, Daniel, Samuel David, John and Michael.

Moses Bower, the great-great-grandfaather, and his wife Catherine and four children, Michael, John, Moses and Labright, were the first settlers of this family in America. They arrived in Philadelphia, Sept. 10, 1753. In 1772, he purchased 137 1/4 acres of land in Amity township, a large part of which constitutes the present Bower homestead. He died in 1805, and was survived by his widow, one son Michael and twenty-nine grandchildren. He provided amply for his widow, and to the subject of this sketch, he bequeather his farm to be divided in equal portions subject to certain cash payments on the part of said son Michael and grandson Jacob, to his grandchildren. He was buried at Amityville in the old burying ground connected with the Lutheran and Reformed Church.


p. 1453


William L. Bower, a resident of Robeson township, was born in Allegheny City, Pa., March 23, 1863, son of Charles C. and Anna (Parks) Bower, and grandson of David Bower.

Charles C. Bower was born in Washington county, Pa., in 1828, and learned the business of potter at Geneva, in Crawford county, Pa. He located at Reading in 1869 and established a pottery plant at the foot of Washington street, which he operated for seven years. He was then connected with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for four years, and then was with the Boyd Directory Company for twenty years, when he retired. He married Anna Parks, of Geneva, a daughter of David Parks, and by her had seven children: Edward, who died unmarried; Charles F., who married a Miss Miller; William L.; Andrew P.; Edward; Anna; and one who died in infancy.

William L. Bower moved to Reading with his father when but six years old, and in that city he received his education, attending school until he was sixteen years of age. He then learned the trade of potter in his father's pottery, which then stood at the foot of Washington street, between the West Reading Rolling Mills and the sawmill of Foos & Bingaman. He served an apprenticeship of but two years, when he was sufficiently qualified to take charge of the Klahr Pottery at Bernville, and he managed the plant for two years.

Mr. Bower then turned his attention to bar-keeping, starting the "Eagle Hotel" in Bernville, and after remaining there two years went to Flying Hill Park, then a very popular resort along the Schuylkill river, several miles below Reading, to assist the proprietor during the summer season of 1885. He then took charge of the bar at the "Hotel Penn" in Reading, and here he continued for eight years. When the proprietor of the Sheetz saloon, on Penn street above Eighth, died, he purchased the place from the widow. He carried it on less than a year when he sold out to remove to Pittsburg, to take charge of the Baily Cafe, opposite the post office, and recognized as the finest saloon in that prosperous city. He remained there two years, but preferring the eastern part of Pennsylvania, he returned to Berks county, and purchased the "Centre House" at Grill, in Cumru township. He carried on this place for five years in a most successful manner, making it a very popular resort by first-class catering, and furnishing superior meals to many of the best people of Reading. The large and finely equipped "Lebanon Valley House" at Wernersville having then been offered for sale, he purchased it and took possession in 1901. He operated this also in a very successful manner for five years, when he retired, after having been continually engaged in the business of catering to the public for upward of twenty years. He has recently removed to a large farm in Robeson township, which he purchased.

Mr. Bower has been twice married. His first wife was Rebecca Goodhart, of Adamstown, a daughter of John Goodhart, who was a soldier in the Civil war, and a prisoner at Libby Prison, where he was starved to death. After her decease, Mr. Bower married Ella Freeman, of Cumru township, a daughter of Peter R. Freeman and Dora Rathje, his wife, and they have a daughter, Anna.


p. 1283


Bowman Family. Among the prominent and successful farmers of Brecknock township, Berks county, who worthily bear a name that for generations has stood for industry and integrity, may be mentioned John M. Bowman and Israel M. Bowman, both descendants of sturdy Mennonite ancestry.

(I) The Bowman family was planted in America by Wendell Bowman, the great-great-grandfather of John M. and Israel M. He was born in Switzerland, and was one of the founders of the Mennonite faith in Brecknock township, coming into the Allegheny Valley prior to 1750. He owned considerable land, and was rated among the well-to-do pioneers. He was twice married, but his children were all by his first marriage, these were: Christian; Wendell and Joseph, who both settled in Canada; Susanna, who married a Bechtol, and also went to Canada; Elizabeth who married Daniel Gehman; and Esther (born July 31, 1790, died Sept 11, 1827), who married Henry Weber (born June 7, 1794, died Jan. 16, 1873).

(II) Christian Bowman, son of Wendell, was a well known farmer in the Allegheny Valley, making his home in Brecknock township. In 1777 he built the Bowman Mill, which is still in the family, being now owned and operated by Noah M. Bowman, the great grandson of the builder. Christian Bowman adhered to the faith of his fathers, and was active in the Mennonite Church. He is buried at the Allegheny Meeting House, and his grave is marked by a sandstone, whose inscription has long since been effaced by the elements. He married Nancy Huber (or Hoover), and their children were: Joseph; Lizzie, born Nov. 20, 1785, who married Jacob Good, and died July 6, 1866 aged eighty years, seven months, sixteen days; Samuel: mentioned below; Daniel, who settled near Bowmansville, Pa.; Maricha, who married Samuel Weaver; Mary, who married Jonas Good; and Sallie, who married Jonathan Weaver.

(III) Joseph Bowman, son of Christian, was born Jan. 22, 1784, and he died Jan. 9, 1841, aged fifty-six years, eleven months, seventeen days. He was a well known miller, owning and operating the Bowman Mill in Brecknock township. He also cultivated the fifty acres of land belonging to the mill property. He was strictly honest in all his dealings, and was a successful man in business. He was buried at the Allegheny Meeting House. He married Nancy Hoover, and they became the parents of three sons and three daughters, Elizabeth, who married Samuel Bowman, of County Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Isaac, who married Judith Gehman; Benjamin; Esther, who married Joseph Gehman; Nancy, who married Jacob Mosser; and Jacob.

(IV) Benjamin Bowman, son of Joseph and father of Israel M. and Noah M., was born Dec. 16, 1816, and he passed his entire life engaged at farming and milling, owning the Bowman Mill in Brecknock township, and becoming very well-to-do. He died Nov. 13, 1861, and was buried at the Allegheny Meeting House. He was a consistent follower of the Mennonite teachings. He married Lovina Mosser, who was born Jan. 29, 1819, daughter of John Mosser. She died Oct. 8, 1881, aged sixty-two years, eight months, nine days, the mother of nine children, namely: Eliza, born Jan. 29, 1842; Susanna, Sept. 22, 1843; Lydia, June 29, 1845; Anna, Nov. 5, 1848; Israel M., Sept. 6, 1850; Noah M., Oct. 7, 1852; Leah, Nov. 26, 1854; Lovina, Feb. 1, 1858 (died Feb. 22, 1858); and Benjamin, April 8, 1859 (died June 18, 1860).

(V) Israel M. Bowman, son of Benjamin, was born on the old Bowman homestead Sept. 6, 1850. In 1874 he began farming on the property where he now makes his home. He has forty-three acres of good land, which he purchased in 1884, and this he devotes to farming and trucking. He attends Reading market every week, and has a stand at the Deppen market, Tenth and Chestnut streets, and is well known for his fine produce, his stand being one of the most popular in the market. He is courteous and obliging, and is of strict honesty and integrity.

On Oct. 21, 1873, Israel M. Bowman was married to Annie Burkhart, born Nov. 25, 1850, daughter of Isaac and Susan (Zimmerman) Burkhart. They have eight children, as follows: (1) Noah, born Sept. 22, 1874 is a minister in the Mennonite Church, and lives near Bowmansville, Lancaster county; he married Tilly Geigley. (2) Benjamin, born Aug. 27, 1877, is a farmer near Terre Hill, Lancaster county; he married Alice Good. (3) Lydia Ann (born Nov. 24, 1879), (4) Lizzie (Jan. 16, 1882), (5) Katie (Sept. 26, 1883), (6) Susanna (March 31, 1886), (7) Israel (Jan. 23, 1888) and (8) Martin (May 23, 1891) are all at home.

(V) Noah M. Bowman, son of Benjamin, and present owner of the Bowman Mill, on Allegheny Creek, Brecknock township, was born where he now resides, Oct. 7, 1852. He attended the township schools, and later was given the advantage of private instruction. In 1870 he went to Adamstown. Pa., and there for fifteen months worked for Henry Mohn, thoroughly learning the miller's trade. He then returned home and began for himself in the Bowman Mill, continuing for two years, when he sold out to Jonathan Good. Thirty-three years later he re-purchased it from the Cooper estate, and since 1904 he has again been the owner and operator. He and his family are members of the Allegheny Meeting House, in which he has been a deacon since 1880.

On March 17, 1872, Noah M. Bowman married Susanna Good, who was born June 11, 1852, daughter of Jonathan and Lydia (Gehman) Good, farming people of Cumru township. Fourteen children were born of this marriage, namely: Lydia, born Oct. 28, 1873, married Phares Good, of Lancaster county; Annie, born Feb. 10, 1875, married Samuel Weber, of Lancaster county; Lovina, born Sept. 5, 1876, married Benjamin Martin, of Lancaster county; Joseph, born Feb. 17, 1878, married Isabella Mosser, and lives on his fathers farm; Susanna, born Oct. 14, 1879, married Harry Horning, of Lancaster county; Jacob, born March 24, 1881, married Annie M. Stauffer, and lives in Lancaster county; John, born March 5, 1883, died Nov. 11, 1887; Samuel, born Dec. 31, 1884, died Jan. 13, 1887; Noah, born Oct. 25, 1886; Henry, born Aug. 13, 1889; William, born Dec. 18, 1891; Enos, born July 29, 1893; Abel, born March 26, 1896, died April 3, 1896; and Sally, born Feb. 22, 1898.

(IV) Jacob Bowman, son of Joseph and brother of Benjamin, was born in Brecknock township, April 19, 1823, and he died July 10, 1860, aged thirty-seven years two months, twenty-one days. His life was devoted to agricultural pursuits. Both he and his wife were members of the Mennonite Church, and both are buried at the Allegheny Meeting House. He married Catharine Moore, born March 10, 1826, and she died Jan. 7, 1901, aged seventy-four years, nine months, twenty-seven days. This marriage was blessed with three sons: Joseph, who died aged eleven years, and Jacob, who died aged nine, both of diphtheria in two weeks time; and John M.

(V) John M. Bowman, son of Jacob, was born in the Allegheny Valley, in Brecknock township, Aug. 21, 1859. He was reared upon his father's farm, and there became thoroughly familiar with everything that pertains to the up-to-date and successful management of a farm. In 1885 he began for himself on his own farm, which he acquired after his mother's death. This is the old Bowman homestead, which has been in the family name since 1751. The present house was built in 1863, and in 1891 Mr. Bowman built his substantial barn 100x40 feet. There are 124 acres in the farm, all under a high state of cultivation. Mr. Bowman attends the Reading market twice a week in summer and once in winter. He has a stand in the Deppens market, where he disposes of all his produce.

In 1889 John M. Bowman was married to Sallie C. Reifsnyder, born Aug. 19, 1865, daughter of Samuel and Caroline (Becker) Reifsnyder. Samuel Reifsnyder was a farmer and butcher near Center Church, Lancaster county. Mrs. Bowman was the second born of his six children, the others being: Charles, of Lancaster county; Isaac, who lives on the homestead; William, near Churchtown; Irwin, near the homestead; and Minnie, who married John Troop, a farmer of Cumru township.

(VI) Samuel Bowman, mentioned above as son of Christian, was born Dec. 1, 1789, and he died Jan. 19, 1857, aged sixty-seven years, one month, eighteen days. From John B. Good, who knew him intimately, it is learned that in his childhood his mother noticed that he was different from her other children, and was much concerned about him. When he entered school he evinced a natural fondness for learning. The only language used was Pennsylvania German, but he determined to learn English, and with the aid of the dictionary applied himself and made wonderful progress. After he had attended the township school until he had learned there all that he could, he went to Churchtown Academy, and there learned to converse in English. He also studied surveying at the Academy, and in this attained much skill, practicing it successfully many years. "His clear head and logical mind were eminently fitted for practical geometry. His love of justice and equity and his high character for honesty and uprightness of purpose all combined to make him afterward a most successful surveyor. In his library were found some of the best classical authors in the English language. From 1815 to 1820 he was, during the winter months, engaged in school teaching. Surveying, scrivening and ordinary labor took up the rest of his time. As a teacher he acquired a wonderful reputation among his neighbors for the great amount of knowledge he possessed, and was especially famous for his success in keeping good order and governing his school. Some of his pupils are still living, and acquainted as they are with modern school discipline, say, 'It was not so in Sam Bowman's school.' His life was one of constant and unremitting toil of mind and body. He had a laudable ambition to be esteemed as a correct and competent business man, and all who knew him and had any business transactions with him can bear testimony to the ability and honesty with which his affairs were conducted. He was a man of great power and worth, the ideal leader and adviser around whom his neighbors flocked for advice; the center of a community which he founded; the father any settlement may be proud of. Like the mighty oak in a great forest, he was the giant among those who gathered around him. I am digressing from my subject but no sketch of any place is complete unless something is known of the founder. It is true, most admirable biographical sketches of this marvelous man appear in several of our county histories, but his noble rugged character is deserving of a wider acquaintance, and for that reason I have at some length referred to him. In 1820 Mr. Bowman built a house on the southeast corner where the road leading from Reamstown to the Plow Tavern crossed the State road. The house was arranged for keeping a country store. Here he commenced the mercantile business immediately after the building was finished, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, J. B. Musselman. This was the first house in the now thriving village and from, whence the name of the place was derived. . . . . Now the village of Bowmansville contains over an hundred houses, many of beautiful modern design, four churches, two Mennonite, one Lutheran and Reformed, and an Evangelical Methodist, and a handsome substantial two story school house. In 1840, just twenty years after the first house was erected, a post office was established at Bowman's store, and named Bowmansville. Mr. Bowman was appointed postmaster, the only office, outside of justice of the peace, he would accept, the latter only for the convenience of acknowledging his official papers." [From a paper read by A. G. Seyfert before the Lancaster County Historical Society.]

The Allegheny Meeting House, so frequently mentioned in the above sketch of the Bowman family, is one of the landmarks of Berks county. The following families have been represented in each generation among its most active members: Gehman, Good, Horning, Bowman, Moseman, Eshelman, Messner, Redcay and Musser. The ministers who have officiated there in the order given, were: Christian Gehman, Samuel Good, Bishop Jacob Moseman (a native of Germany); Peter Musser, Benjamin Horning, Abraham Gehman, Henry Good, Abraham Gehman and Noah Bowman.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:52:42 EDT

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