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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOSEPH BOWMAN. Although a number of years have passed away since Mr. Bowman departed this life, he still lives in the hearts of many friends to whom he was endeared. Not only in Benton Harbor, of which he was a resident, but throughout the entire county of Berrien, he had a reputation for probity, honor and industry equalled by few and excelled by none. The record of his life, of his patient perseverance in spite of obstacles and his unwearied energy in his chosen vocation, may serve to stimulate those to whom the path of life has presented more thorns than roses.

Canada has contributed its quota to the intelligent citizenship of our nation, and among the natives of the Queen’s Dominion who have sought homes in the United States may be mentioned the subject of this sketch, who was born in Ontario in 1811. His father. Christian Bowman, was a native of Pennsylvania, who in early life removed to Canada and married a Miss Weaver. Joseph Bowman was reared in Ontario, receiving a common-school education and gaining a practical knowledge of the duties of agricultural life. When choosing a trade, he decided upon carpentry, and served an apprenticeship at that trade, which he followed with success.

In 1860 Mr. Bowman came to Benton Harbor and erected a number of the first buildings in the village, some of which still stand. He did an extensive business in contracting and building, and, being successful, accumulated a considerable amount of this world’s goods. Nor was his success merely a financial one, for in addition to money he gained the good-will of his associates and won a high place in the regard of his large circle of acquaintances. Politically, he was a Republican, outspoken in his views, but he was not solicitous for official honors, preferring the quietude of domestic life, unharassed by public duties. Socially, he was identified with Benton Lodge No. 132, I. O. O. F. The marriage of Mr. Bowman to Miss Sarah Richmond took place April 18, 1849. Mrs. Bowman is the daughter of Charles and Lavina (Marselle) Richmond, natives of New York, where she was also born. The union was blessed by the birth of one son and one daughter, Charles E. and Addie L., both of whom reside in Benton Harbor. The family was deeply bereaved by the death of the husband and father, which occurred at the home on Brittain Avenue on July 18, 1884.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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