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Below is a family biography included in The History of Phelps County, Missouri 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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Hon. James R. Bowman. Prominent among the ex-judges of Phelps County, Mo., is found the name of Mr. Bowman, who is a retired farmer and stock dealer, and one of the county’s wealthy and enterprising citizens. He is the eighth of twelve children, six of whom are living, and was born in Overton County, Tenn., in December, 1826, being reared among the mountains of that State. He only received the advantages of the common schools while residing with his parents, and after the death of his mother, about 1836, the family became scattered, and he found a home with a neighbor, with whom he lived until he became grown, being obliged to work very hard, and receiving but little schooling. October 14, 1845, he was married to Livona C. Yeagor, who was also born and reared in White County, and a daughter of James and Sarah Yeagor, who were born in Tennessee and Ohio, respectively. To Mr. Bowman and wife eleven children were born, only six of whom are living at the present time. They resided in their native State until 1851, when they came to Wright County, Mo., and eight years later located in Laclede County. During the war and until 1866 they resided in Jacksonville, Ill., and at the latter date came to Phelps County, where he has since resided. He was engaged in selling goods in St. James for five years, but since that time has been occupied in farming and stock raising, his real estate consisting of 1,500 acres in Phelps County, 1,000 acres in Wright County, and about that amount in Texas County. The place on which he resides is beautifully located,, and is one of the most valuable farms in Missouri. He has a beautiful residence, and all his property has been acquired by his own industry and judicious management. He was postmaster of Hartsville, Mo., for four years, and was also assessor of a portion of Wright County for two years. In 1860 he was elected associate judge of the county court of Laclede County, which office he held until the provisional government of Missouri deposed him. He was then appointed associate judge of Phelps County by Gov. Brown, being twice re-elected, and then served four years as probate judge, and at the same time was ex-officio chairman of the county court. In 1878 he was elected to the State Legislature, and served one term. He was reared a Whig in politics, but is now a supporter of Democratic principles. He is a Knights Templar in the Masonic fraternity, of which order he has been a member since 1864, and is a member of the Commandery at Lebanon and the Chapter at Rolla. He served about six months in the State Guards of Missouri during the late war, and operated in Arkansas and Missouri. He and family attend the Christian Church, his wife having been a member of that denomination since her youth. His parents, James and Rachel (McKorkle) Bowman, were born in Virginia and East Tennessee, respectively, and after their marriage resided for some time in Overton County, and then removed to White County, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The father was an industrious and moderately successful farmer, and died during the war. The grandfather, John Bowman, was of English descent, a farmer by occupation, a native of Virginia, and a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He died in Roanoke County, Tenn., in 1841, aged about ninety years. Grandfather Robert McKorkle died in Warren County, Tenn.

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This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in The History of Phelps County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Phelps County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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To view a map of Phelps County, Missouri: Phelps County, Missouri Map

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