History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, 1887

Bowman Family - BENJAMIN CARLTON BOWMAN Biography

Benjamin Carlton Bowman, deceased, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was during an unusually long and active career one of the foremost men of his region in laying the foundation for its industrial interests. He was a pioneer in various important enterprises which developed into mammoth proportions, and was a prime factor in the upbuilding of the city of Williamsport. He was a man of most exemplary character and high capability, whose activities went far beyond merely material concerns, the institutions of religion and education being ever the objects of his solicitude and of his benefactions.

He was a native of the state of New York, born in Chenango township, Broome county, April 7, 1818, a son of Ebenezer and Sylvia Prudentia (Barnaby) Bowman. His early training and schooling were near Binghamton, New York. The death of his mother occurred when he was about thirteen years of age, and his father returned to Vermont, his native state. The son removed to Great Bend, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, where he found employment on a farm, and he remained there and was so occupied until he came to manhood. He subsequently rented a farm in the same county, upon which he remained for two years. Removing to Centre county, he there engaged in the lumber business, and this venture marks the beginning of an independent career in which he conquered fate and acquired. fortune. Purchasing an old saw mill of primitive construction, and a tract of timber land, he applied himself industriously to making the best possible use of his new acquisitions. He put the old machinery in repair, felled the trees upon his timber tract, and manufactured lumber which he rafted down the Moshannon river to market. He found a ready market for his product, and soon extended his operations, erecting a steam saw mill near Phillipsburg, Centre county, and sent his product to market by wagon to Clearfield creek, and thence down the stream in rafts. He was among the very first to float logs down the Susquehanna river to Williamsport, and soon came to be known as one of the most extensive lumber manufacturers and dealers in the counties of Centre and Clearfield. In June, 1864, Mr. Bowman took up his residence in Williamsport, and identified himself with the firm of Barrows, Bowman & Company (later Bowman, Foresman & Company), which purchased the Star Mills and operated them with great success and commensurate returns for many years. As the lumber business developed Mr. Bowman extended his operations into larger fields, effecting the organization of the Susquehanna Boom Company and the Bowman Lumber Company of West Virginia, of both of which he was president and the managerial head. That success habitually attended him may in no degree be ascribed to conditions which must necessarily lead to such results. At every step, from the day he set in operation his first old-fashioned saw mill on the Moshannon, were needed just such qualities as marked his character-unflagging industry, indomitable resolution, close attention to business details, and, besides, that business sagacity that enables the well-equipped resourceful man not only to rightly measure immediate conditions, but accurately forecast and make preparation for opportunity which the shortsighted cannot.see and which one of weak mental fibre fears to grasp. Mr. Bowman, while bearing the burdens of these large affairs, bore a full part in the advancement of other enterprises entering into the commercial life of his city. He aided in the organization of the Lycoming Rubber Company,,of which he was president and directing manager from the day it opened for business until the last of his life. He was also prominent in the institution of the Susquehanna Trust and Safe Deposit Company, of which he was president, and the Williamsport Gas Company, in which he was a director, and he was also identified with other companies and firms in a financial and advisorial way. He was vice-president of the Lumbermen's National Bank, and president of the Lycoming Rubber Company.

Mr. Bowman was deeply interested in all that enters into the higher life of the community, and freely exerted his influence and contributed of his means for every worthy cause. He was an exemplary member of Grace (Methodist Episcopal) Church, which he served for many years in the capacity of steward and president of the board of trustees. He was a cheerful and efficient aider of the Young Men's Christian Association, and gave to it his personal services as a member of its board of trustees. He was a liberal benefactor of Dickinson Seminary, and was for years one of its most efficient trustees, and was also deeply interested in the Young Women's Christian Association. His political affiliations were with the Democratic party. In his personal character he was an ideal figure-sincere, unaffected, abhorring pretense; deeply sympathetic with one in distress, and ever helpful to such; and in all things setting an example of good citizenship and christian manhood. His death occurred July 28, 1896, in his seventy-eighth year. He preserved his mental qualities unimpaired to the last, and passed away "As one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him And lies down to pleasant dreams."

Mr. Bowman married on January 8, 1840, Eliza Ann Buck, a noble christian woman, who was born in Great Bend, Pennsylvania, October 2, 1818, and died October 31, 1897. Four children were born of this marriage : Francis Carlton, further mentioned on a following page; Carrie, born in 1851, died in infancy; Harvey Rowland, born February 5, 1861, died April 20, 1882; James Walton, further written of in this work.

Eliza Ann (Buck) Bowman, the mother of the children above named, came of the following line of ancestry reaching to the earliest colonial period

I. Thomas Munson, born about 1612, was known in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1637, as a resident who performed military service in the Pequot war. Forty-two of the ninety men of Mason's renowned little army were at Hartford, and he among them. He was one of the twenty-five who settled at New Haven and founded that colony, and was captain commanding the force there in King Philip's war, 1675. He was a man of marked character and genuine courage, yet peaceable and kindly disposed toward all. He was a carpenter by trade. He held civil as well as military offices, and was a Congregationalist in religion. He died in 1685, aged about seventy-three years. About 1640 he married Joanna - , who died in 1678, aged sixty-eight years. Their children were: Elizabeth; Samuel, baptized August, 1643; Hannah, baptized June, 1648.

II. Samuel, son of Thomas Munson, was born about 1643. Like his father he resided at New Haven and Wallingford, and adhered to the same religion. He was a shoemaker and tanner. He died in the winter of 1692-3. In October, 1665, he married Martha, daughter of William and Alice (Pritchard) Bradley, and their children were: Martha, Samuel, Thomas, John Theophilus, Joseph, Stephen, Caleb, Joshua and Israel.

III. Ensign Joseph Munson, son of Samuel (2) was born November 6, 1677, and died October 30, 1725. In March, 1700, he married Margery Hitchcock. Their children were : 1, Abel, born January 10, 1701; 2, Abigail, April 2, 1704; 3, Joseph, December 25, 1705; 4, Desire, February, 1707; 5, Thankful, January 17, 1710; 6, Ephraim, November 5, 1714; 7, Margery, October 10, 1717; 8, Jemima, March 27, 1720; 9, Agur, born April 7, 1725, died 1726.

IV. Abel, son of Ensign Joseph Munson (3), resided at Wallingford, Connecticut, a farmer, a member of the Congregational church. November 7, 1728, he married Sarah Peck; he died February 13, 1779. His children were: 1, Mehitable (Mabel), born June 2, 1730; 2, Mary, May 2, 1732; 3, Titus, July 5, 1734; 4, Lud, May 5, 1736; 5, Levi, August 29'1, 1748; 6, Sarah, born September 6, 1740, married, October 11, 1759; 7, Nathaniel, October 20, 1742; 8, Abigail, September 2, 1744; 9, Margery, November 3, 1746; 10, Lydia, October 1, 1748; 11, Abel, January 3, 1749; 12, Joseph, November 16, 1751; 13, Lydia, October 12, 1751; 14, Adah, November 19, 1738.

V. Levi, son of Abel Munson (4) resided at Wallingford, and was an Episcopalian. The "History of Harwinton" mentions Lieutenant Levi as one of five "prominent individuals" in an Episcopal society formed about 1784. According to "Connecticut Men in the Revolution" Sergeant Levi was among those who surrendered with Colonel Ethan Allen near Montreal, September 25, 1775, was sent to England, returned to Halifax June 21, 1776, and was later exchanged. Levi was commissioned lieutenant January 1, 1777, of the Sixth Regiment Connecticut Line, commanded by Colonel Douglass, and afterward by Colonel Meigs. He died in 1815. November 27, 1760, he married Mary Cooley. Their children were :,, Almond, born October 3, 1761; 2, Orange, November 19, 1763; 3, Mary, February 14, 1766; 4, Lent, March 3, 1768; 5, Ephraim, September 22, 1770; 6, Levi, August 23, 1772; 7, Abel, July 22, 1774; 8, Elisha; 9, Lud Augustus, born August 21, 1781.

VI. Almond, son of Levi Munson (5) served in the Revolutionary war five years. It is recorded of him that he was "one of the Spartan band who spent the winter with Washington at Valley Forge," and is described as having the rank of musician. His thigh was fractured by a musket ball which left him a cripple. October 3, 1761, he married Esther Peck, who died in 1812, and he died in 1831. Their children were: 1, Ashbel; 2, Almond, born in Connecticut in 1790; 3, Phila, born in Plymouth, Connecticut, May 8, 1792; 4, Lent; 5, Samuel Sheldon, born August 31, 1799; 6, Levi, March 18, 1801; 7, Benajah, June 10, 1805; 8, Amanda.

VII. Phila, daughter of Almond Munson (6) married, November 27, 1814, Silas, son of Rev. Daniel Buck, who was the first pastor of the Presbyterian church in Great Bend, Pennsylvania. She was remarkable for her strength of character. She was Episcopally christened at an early age at Plymouth, Connecticut. She often spoke to her children of her father having service every Sunday in their home, and teaching his children the catechism. She died February 24, 1881. Her children were: 1, Julius, born November 20, 1816, in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania; 2, Eliza Ann, who became the wife of Benjamin C. Bowman, and who is heretofore further referred to; 3, Emeline, married M. H. Griggs, of Great Bend, Pennsylvania, and died in 1897; 4, Lucien, married Mary Wilmot, of Windsor, New York; 5, Sandoval, unmarried, of Great Bend, Pennsylvania; 6, Georgianna, married S. S. Carpenter and resided in Great Bend, Pennsylvania.

Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Lycoming County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1906.

Bowman Genealogy Resources

Bowman Ancestry Resources