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Below is a family biography from the book,  The History of Crawford County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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Capt. William Bowlin, retired citizen of Van Buren, is a native of Knox County, Tenn., a son of Noble and Catherine (Clift) Bowlin, and was born in 1832. After the death of Noble Bowlin in Tennessee, in 1835, the mother married John Barnes, who also died in Tennessee. In the fall of 1843 Mrs. Barnes, with her seven children, in company with her brother-in-law, Robert McCurry, floated down the Tennessee River, on the Mississippi, to the mouth of the Arkansas River, in a flat-boat, and then travelled to Van Buren by steamboat, landing March 10, 1844. The mother made Van Buren her home, then, until her death, in 1868, aged sixty-two. Four of her children are now living: James, of Little Rock, captain of a steamboat; Catherine, wife of William Johnson, of California; Sarah, wife of Jasper Culvert, residing near Troy, Kas., and William. The latter was about twelve when brought to Van Buren, and when eighteen began to work in a printing office, as apprentice, and for about eight years worked on the Arkansas Intelligence, which was published by Absalom Clark. In 1859 he established a family liquor and grocery store, and continued in that business until 1863. He then gave up the mercantile business, and entered the Federal army, Gen. Pleasanton’s division of the Department of the Missouri, and Gen. Sanborn’s brigade, and Col. John E. Phelp’s regiment, which drove the Confederate Gen. Price from Missouri in the fall of 1864, and received his discharge at Memphis, Tenn. He then resumed his business, in connection with which, for the past ten years, he has also engaged in farming. He now has 1,000 acres of land, 700 being well cultivated. Capt. Bowlin amassed a fortune, which places him among the first ranks of Crawford County’s business men. He is a director and stockholder in the Citizen’s Bank, and a man who always lends a helping hand to public enterprises and charities. In 1852 he married Samantha Neal, a native of Missouri, who became the mother of the following children: Rebecca, wife of John Clark; Elizabeth, wife of James Lowery; Noble; Lillie, wife of LaFayette Wright; John, and Fanny, wife of John O’Brien. Mrs. Bowlin died in 1866, and in November of that year Capt. Bowlin married Miss Julia Barnes, of this place, of whose seven children but two are living: Gertrude and Troy James. In politics the Captain is a Republican, and in 1860 served as city marshal one year, afterward holding the position three years in succession. After the war he was appointed by the governor on the board of registration, and served until the completion of the work. Himself and wife hold to the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and he has been a member of the I. O. O. F. since 1857.

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This family biography is one of 222 biographies included in The History of Crawford County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Crawford County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Crawford County, Arkansas family biographies here: Crawford County, Arkansas

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