My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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.

* * * *

Hon. Sherman W. Bowen, attorney-at-law, and resident of Rock Township, three miles north of Kimmswick, was born in Oneida County, N. Y., in 1823, and is the youngest of nine children born to Simon and Nancy (Waterman) Bowen, natives of Berkshire County, Mass., where they were reared and married. They afterward removed to Onieda County, N. Y., where the mother died when Sherman was but three years old. The father removed to Joliet, Ill., in May, 1835, where he made his home, but in February, 1836, while making a tour through Western Illinois, he was overtaken by a blizzard, and found forty miles from any habitation, frozen to death. He was an enterprising and influential farmer. Both parents were of Welsh descent. He was a descendant of the old Quaker stock of New England, and his father, Nathan Bowen, served in the War for Independence. Sherman received a good common-school education, mostly before his coming West, and after the death of his father spent about two years clerking in his brother’s store at Savannah, Ill., after which he was in a store at Joliet for five years, when the firm disbanded and he was thrown out of work. He then began the study of law with Judges Henderson and Wilson, then of Joliet, and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-one. He was quite successful as a lawyer, his practice extending over the counties of Will, DuPage, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee and adjoining counties. After holding numerous school and city offices, he served seven years as State’s attorney of the Eleventh Circuit in Illinois, from 1849 to 1856, the first time to fill a vacancy. He was also active and rendered valuable assistance in establishing the penitentiary at Joliet, and the iron works and other improvements in that town. In 1860 he married Miss Julia A. Howard, daughter of Alexander and Martha (Sabin) Howard, natives of Attica, N. Y., but who removed to Illinois in 1833, and settled thirty miles west of Chicago, where the father died in 1850. The mother is still living, and is residing with our subject. Mr. Howard was a prominent merchant, was postmaster at Naperville for twelve years, and was one time deputy sheriff of what was then Cook County, Ill. His father was a native of England. To Mr. and Mrs. Bowen were born three children, only one now living, named Sherman W., Jr. In 1861 he was elected mayor of Joliet, re-elected in 1862 and again in 1865. He was also largely engaged in the real estate and insurance business, rendered important service to that town in building the Cut-off Railroad, an important branch of the Michigan Central Railroad. Mr. Bowen remained in Joliet until 1873, when he came to Jefferson County, Mo., and located on his present residence, which consists of sixty acres of land or thereabout. For some years he has been afflicted with paralysis, which prevents further law practice. He has always been an earnest worker for the cause of education, and assisted largely in establishing a good school in the neighborhood where he resides, and in Joliet. Politically, he is a Democrat; his first vote was cast for J. K. Polk in 1844. He was a personal friend of S. A. Douglas, and used every effort to secure his election, in 1860. He has often been a delegate to State conventions, and was a delegate to the convention that nominated or endorsed Horace Greeley for the presidency, in 1872. He was a member of the I. O. O. F., also a member of the Universalist Association at Joliet, and is a liberal supporter of all churches. His first marriage, in 1846, was to Miss Sarah M. Kinney, who died in 1851, leaving one son, Albert, a civil engineer in St. Louis. During the war he was offered the position of lieutenant colonel of the One Hundredth Illinois, but declined it. He was actively engaged in the recruiting service, and did good work for the Union cause in his State. Col. Bowen, as he is familiarly known, is a man of fine talent and culture. He has one of the largest and most carefully selected libraries in the State, comprising a choice selection of 700 or 800 volumes.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Jefferson County, Missouri family biographies, click here

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.