Friday, September 4, 2015

Beeks line: Henry Bowen 1678-1755

It's hard to find information about Henry Bowen.  It's even harder to find accurate information about him.  The dates I have used here are in dispute, but I believe they are close.  It is believed that he was born in Wales, possibly Carmarthen, but I'm not aware of any documentation to that.  His parents were Evan ap Owen and Mary McMillan, and he had a much more famous brother, Moses, or Moses John.

It's believed the ap Owen family, hereafter referred to as the Bowen family, came to Pennsylvania before 1700, and possibly as early as 1681 as there is record of a Moses Bowen's arrival in 1681.  the family is thought to have been Quaker, and came to Pennsylvania at William Penn's inducement if not in his actual fleet.  Nothing more is known of Henry until about 1703, when he married Jane Carter, daughter of Robert Carter and Margaret, at the Brick Meeting House in Bucks County, Pa.  (I have found both the 1703 and 1704 dates, which could be calendar confusion, or perhaps one date was the date of their intentions and the other was the date of their marriage.)

Henry and Jane's children appear to have been born in Pennsylvania.  Their known children include Henry, William, Jane, Priscilla, Margaret, and Catherine.  Henry doesn't seem to have been as successful financially as his brother Moses, who at one time owned 10,000 acres.  In fact, I've yet to find evidence of land ownership, although I hope to locate records someday.

We don't know when Henry and Jane moved to Frederick County, Virginia but we know they were there for some years before Henry's death in 1755, and we know he was in New Garden for the wedding of a daughter in 1726.  Frederick County would have been somewhere in the northern tip of Virginia, or on west into what is now West Virginia.  This was a common location for Quaker families, and was very much frontier country.

We know that he died in 1755, shortly after the outbreak of the French and Indian War.  As a Quaker, Henry would not have fought in these or any other battles, but it is interesting to wonder where the family went when battles broke out.  Did they ever see George Washington or General Braddock as they were on their way to what turned out to be disasters, fighting the Indians?  Or did they see the President as an even younger man, as he was doing land surveys in that part of the country?

Much more research needs to be one about Henry, to locate land records and to locate his will, if any.  My tentative picture of him is as a hard working, brave, and peaceful man.  I'd like to know more than that!

The line of descent is:

Henry Bowen-Jane Carter
Margaret Bowen-Thomas Rees
Thomas Rees-Hannah Rees
Solomon Rees-Anna
Owen T. Reese-Margaret Ellen Moon
Eliza  Reese-Samuel G Dunham
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Fun fact:  Henry's parents were the ancestors of former Vice President of the US, Richard Cheney.  It's fun to find that the Beeks family has both Republican and Democratic VIPs in their lines.