William Clark Bowker 1830-1896

May 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Posted in BARBARA BOWKER, Bowker, Watts | 5 Comments

Today’s blog post is about my grandmother’s grandfather, William Clark Bowker.  Surnames mentioned:  Bowker, Crane, James, Rankin, Schoppee, Stetson, Stickney, Watts, Whitney.  Locations mentioned:  Brookline, MA; Machias, ME; Washington Co, ME; Nova Scotia, Canada; Whitneyville, ME.

I’m going to follow along a family group sheet printout, so this should be mostly chronological.  Oh, and a geography note:  When we discuss Chandlers River, Englishmans River, Jonesboro, Whitneyville – these are generally the same area just south and west of Machias, between U.S. Route 1 and the Atlantic Ocean.  They were all part of the original Plantation 22 from the 1760-70’s.

In 1830 William Clark Bowker was born in  Washington County, Maine.  His father was Watts Bowker, eldest son of Major Levi B Bowker, Sr and Elizabeth “Betsey” Watts.  His mother was Lydia Lockwood Stickney, daughter of Samuel Stickney and Elizabeth James.

In 1850 the census finds Wm. C. Bowker in Machias, Washington Co, ME, in the same household as his mother and brother, Winslow Bowker.  He is listed age 19. His occupation is Joiner, which is the same thing as a rough carpenter. His father had moved to Nova Scotia, where he died in the mid-1860’s.

In 1860 the census shows Wm. C. Bowker still in Machias, still single, living with his brother, Winslow’s family, and their mother.  He is listed age 30, occupation is still Joiner.

Now we get to the military service.  From the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System site we find this listing:

William C. Bowker (First_Last)
Regiment Name: 6 Maine Infantry
Side: Union
Company: F&S
Soldier’s Rank_In: Musician
Soldier’s Rank_Out: 1 Cl. Musician

I like that he improved from just a musician to First Class Musician.  He played a brass horn that looked like a euphonium, or baritone tuba.  His brother, Watts Henry Bowker, also played a horn, but only got so far as Third Class Musician.  One, or maybe both, horn(s) was donated by my grandmother, Barbara Bowker Messer, to the Burnham Tavern Museum in Machias, ME.  I saw it there on a visit in 1973.  It was in the attic.  Since they are a Colonial / Revolutionary War museum, a Civil War era horn didn’t match their decor.

More about Wm. C. Bowker’s Civil War unit from the previous link:

6th Regiment, Maine Infantry

Organized at Portland and mustered in July 15, 1861. Left State Washington, D. C., July 17. Attached to W. F. Smith’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1861. 2nd Brigade, Smith’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to May, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 6tb Army Corps, to February, 1863. Light Division, 6th Army Corps, to May, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division 6th Corps, to August, 1864.

SERVICE.-Duty in the defences of Washington, D. C., till March 1862. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15, 1862. Ordered to the Peninsula March 16. Advance toward Yorktown April 4-5. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Reconnoissance toward Yorktown April 6. Reconnoissance toward Lee’s Mills April 28. Battle of Williamsburg May 5. Duty at White House till May 18. Duty near Richmond till June 6 and picket on the Chickahominy till June 25. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Gaines’ Mill June 26. Golding’s Farm June 27. Savage Station June 29. White Oak Swamp Bridge June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. Duty at Harrison Landing till August 15. Retreat from the Peninsula and movement to Centreville August 15-27. In works at Centreville August 27-31. Assist in checking Pope’s rout at Bull Run August 30, and cover retreat to Fairfax C. H. September 1. Maryland Campaign September-October. Sugar Loaf Mountain, Md., September 11-12. Crampton’s Pass, South Mountain, September 14. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. Duty in Maryland till October 29. Movement to, Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15. “Mud March” January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth till April. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin’s Crossing April 29-May 2. Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks’ Ford May 4. Operations about Franklin’s Crossing or Deep Run Ravine June 5-13. Brandy Station and Beverly Ford June 9. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4. Near Funkstown, Md., July 10-13. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Mine Run November 28-30. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River May 3 to June 15, 1864. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania C. H. May 12-21. “Bloody Angle,” assault on the Salient, May 12. North Anna May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 17-July 10. Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23. Destruction of Weldon Railroad June 30. Ordered to rear for muster out July 10. Volunteered for 30 days’ service in defence of Washington. Repulse of Early’s attack on Washington July 12-13. Mustered out August 15, 1864, expiration of term. Veterans and Recruits transferred to 7th Maine.

Regiment lost during service 12 Officers and 141 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 100 Enlisted men by disease. Total 255.

You’ll note in the above narrative that in 1863, after a “Mud March” in January, they were in Falmouth, VA until April.

From Ellsworth Herald (1851-1865):

“APRIL 10, 1863
Machias, Apr. 6, at the residence of Thomas Boynton, Esq., by the Rev. P. Bond of Cherryfield, Mr. William C. BOWKER to Miss Ruth H., daughter of Capt. Samuel WATTS of Englishman’s River.”

I’m planning to do a separate blog about which Samuel Watts was Ruth’s dad.  Her mother was Esther Whitney, daughter of Reuben Whitney and Hannah Stetson.   Ruth Hall Watts Bowker was a registered member of the DAR from her grandfather, Joel Whitney, who served during the Revolutionary War.

Next came four children:

Laura Esther Bowker was born in 1864.  She married Frank Schoppee in 1895.  I do not know if they had any children.

Herbert A Bowker was born in 1866.  He married Sarah Frances Crane in 1892.  They had a son, Francis L, in 1893.  I don’t know if they had more children.

Samuel Watts Bowker was born in 1868.  He married Amy Lauretta Rankin in 1893.  See blog from April 20 for their details.  Their daughter, Barbara, was my mother’s mother.

Eugene Bowker was born in July, 1871 and died in March, 1872.

From 1869 through 1875, William Clark Bowker is noted as the builder of the Whitneyville Congregational Church in Whitneyville, Washington Co, Maine.  On my 1973 visit, Grandma pointed out this church and told me her grandfather had built it.  I though she meant he was a preacher and had started a congregation.  No, she meant he physically built the building himself (I’m sure he had some help).  What I don’t remember her telling me is that it is on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of Italianate architecture.

Here’s a picture of the church, courtesy of Mr Bob Kiem.

Whitneyville Congregational Church (1869-1875) photo by Bob Kiem

In 1870 census, Wm C Bowker is head of household in Machias, age 40, occupation Carpenter.

In the 1880 census, Wm C Bowker is head of household in Machias, age 49, occupation House Carpenter.

In the 1890’s he and some of his siblings and children can be found in Brookline, Massachusetts. The 3 brothers, Winslow, William and Watts Henry, were all in the building trades there at various times.

William Clark Bowker died July 10, 1896 in Brookline, MA and was buried in the Court Street Cemetery, Machias, ME. A transcription of his death certificate is on the April 20th blog. Ruth H Watts Bowker was listed still active in the DAR, living in Machias as late as 1911.  She died in 1917.  Here’s her Find-a-Grave entry.

I hope you found this blog interesting and informative. I had a lot of fun researching and writing it.

– Barb



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  1. […] from Samuel and Elsie. My maternal great grandfather, Samuel Watts Bowker‘s parents, William Clark Bowker and Ruth Hall Watts, were grandchildren of Betsey Watts Bowker and David Watts, respectively. I feel it is only […]

  2. […] Ruth H Watts (1839-1917) married her second cousin, William Clark Bowker (1830-1896), a carpenter.  They lived in Machias and also in Brookline, MA.  They are buried in Machias.  These were my great-great grandparents. […]

  3. […] is a listing at 109 Harvard Street for Mrs SA Rankin, which is next to a listing at #107 for Wm C Bowker, who was Amy’s […]

  4. […] Watts Bowker was born October 31, 1868 in Machias, Washington Co, Maine.  His father was William Clark Bowker (1830-1896), son of Watts Bowker (1790-1870) of Machias and Lydia Lockwood Stickney (1794-1886) born in […]

  5. […] 7, 1900 in Brookline, Norfolk Co, MA.  Her father was Samuel Watts Bowker(1868-1955), son of William Clark Bowker and Ruth Hall Watts from Machias, Washington Co, ME.  Her mother was Amy Lauratta Rankin (1867-1948), whose parents […]

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