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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  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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H. N. BOWMAN, Esq. In January, 1796, Nicholas Wolf and John Bowman, from the vicinity of Ephrata, Lancaster county, purchased from Tobias Hendricks a farm lying within the bounds of the present borough of Camp Hill. John Bowman was a son of Samuel Bowman, and a son-in-law of Nicholas Wolf, and he and his father-in-law had come to Cumberland county shortly prior to the time they made this purchase. The buildings belonging to the farm in question were situated on the north side of the “Great Road.” which had been officially laid out as early as 1735, and in them Tobias Hendricks had kept tavern for many years. After purchasing the property John Bowman for some time also kept tavern in the old log house in which Hendricks formerly kept, but he soon found it entirely too small for his rapidly increasing patronage and in 1799 built a large stone house, part of which is standing yet. This stone house for that time was immense. The main structure measured 57x36 feet, contained twenty-one rooms, and throughout was specially adapted to the hotel wants of that period. This tavern, by which name it was then known, had great yards for teams to put up in; also barns and stables for horses and other stock, and adjacent to it were two distilleries where grain and apples were turned into liquor and made a merchantable commodity. In its early days it was the most important stopping-place for travel generally in the lower end of Cumberland county. Up and down the “Great Road” long lines of teams with bells and covered wagons, and robust, rough-looking drivers, and swift stages heavily laden with passengers, came and went. It was before the Susquehanna river was bridged, and this great amount of travel had all to be ferried across it. When it was too high, or when the ice was going, the teams going east would be detained at Bowman’s tavern, where great numbers crowded the yards and the orchards, and lined the road, waiting for the river to become passable. This made business brisk, and the rough weather and outdoor life of the teamsters gave them appetite for good meals and thirst for something stimulating. Man and beast had to be fed, and the capacity of the popular tavern, ample as it was, and the resources of the host, were often taxed severely to meet the demand for entertainment. When the freshets went down and the river again became ferriable, there would be a struggle among the delayed and impatient teamsters to get to the ferry, and no little strategy would be practiced to get advanced positions in the line.

Among these interesting and exciting conditions of a by-gone age John Bowman, the son of Samuel, lived and reared a family. He had the following children: Samuel, John, Nicholas, Fanny, George, Henry and Susan. Nicholas, Henry and Samuel died young. Fanny married Simon Dresbaugh, and George in 1857 went West and settled at Mt. Carroll, Ill. Susan married George W. Criswell, who through seven successive commissions was justice of the peace at Camp Hill, served one term in the Legislature, and in a general way had much to do with public affairs. He was long a prominent and useful citizen.

John Bowman, the second son of John and Regina (Wolf) Bowman, was born Sept. 5, 1805, in the large stone house his father built in 1799. He grew to manhood among the scenes described and lived out a long and useful lifetime within the radius of a hundred yards of the place of his birth. In July, 1831, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Zacheus and Catherine (Hyer) Davis, of Shippensburg. Zacheus Davis was of Welsh ancestry, but came to Shippensburg when yet a young man and became a carpenter and builder. His wife, Catherine Hyer, was a daughter of Lewis Hyer, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. In the spring following his marriage John Bowman took charge of the hotel which his father before him had kept for so many years. After three years he relinquished the hotel business and went to farming on a part of the same farm which his father and grandfather Wolf had bought from Tobias Hendricks in 1796. He farmed continuously for twenty-five years, and when his brother George concluded to go West he bought from him his interest in their father’s estate, and thus acquired the whole of the original purchase from Hendricks and owned it for many years. With Rev. John Winebrenner he was instrumental in the organization of the Church of God at Camp Hill, and was a consistent member of that church until his death, which occurred Dec. 4, 1893. His wife, who preceded him to the grave, passed away Feb. 1, 1883.

To John and Elizabeth (Davis) Bowman the following children were born: John Davis, Zacheus, Anna, Henry Nicholas, George Washington and Alice. The first named studied medicine, practiced for a long time at Camp Hill, and afterward removed to Harrisburg, where he was one of the leading physicians for some years. In 1864 and 1865 he represented Cumberland county in the lower branch of the State Legislature. He died about the year 1890. Zacheus became a farmer and for years farmed at Camp Hill and vicinity. He died on Nov. 16, 1904. Anna married Dr. A. W. Nicholas. George W. studied dentistry and practiced at Mechanicsburg, where he died. Alice died unmarried.

Henry N. Bowman, the fourth child of John and Elizabeth (Davis) Bowman, and the especial subject of this sketch, was born at Camp Hill Aug. 4, 1840, in the house where he still resides. He was reared on the farm and educated in the public school and in the White Hall Academy, at Camp Hill, and lived at home until his marriage. After completing his education he engaged in mercantile pursuits, and during his early manhood was employed in the store of his cousin, S. G. Bowman, after which he went to Harrisburg, where for one year he was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Dr. A. W. Nicholas, conducting a general store. In the summer of 1862 he enlisted in the Harrisburg First City Troop, in which he served sixty days, and which participated in the battle of Antietam and rendered other service among the State border in the Antietam campaign. After being mustered out of service he returned to Camp Hill, where he was in the general store business until 1878. About a year after his marriage, in partnership with Peter Nicholas, he embarked in the general merchandise business at Camp Hill, building and stocking a store which they conducted for a few years, Mr. Bowman owning and running it alone for two years, at the end of which time he sold out to Sadler & Bowman. In 1878, with Capt. J. A. Moore, his brother-in-law, he became owner of the White Hall Soldiers’ Orphans School. In 1888 Capt. Moore retired from the partnership, and then for two years Mr. Bowman and Prof. S. B. Heiges conducted the institution, when the State took charge and Mr. Bowman was made manager until through a consolidation of the orphan schools under an act of Assembly, White Hall School was eliminated. Since then has been devoting his time and attention chiefly to his farming interests. His connection with the institution covered a period of fourteen years, and it was acknowledged to be the best of the many good schools maintained by the State for the education and care of soldiers’ orphans.

In politics Mr. Bowman is a pronounced Democrat, but was popular enough to be elected justice of the peace in a strong Republican district in 1880, and his administration of the duties of the office has been so satisfactory that he has been re-elected at the expiration of each term ever since. His majority at the first election was 28, which had increased to 71 by 1885, and his friends and neighbors have shown their confidence in his ability and integrity by supporting him at every election since. In 1882 he was a candidate for nomination to the Legislature, and on that occasion received 1,675 votes, holding second place among the seven candidates for the nomination. Mr. Eckels, the successful man, received 1,800 votes. In 1806 he was his party’s candidate for clerk of the courts and recorder of Cumberland county, and although the Republican candidate for President carried the county by almost eleven hundred plurality Mr. Bowman was defeated by only 283 votes. In 1902 he was elected register of wills of Cumberland county and is now discharging the duties of that office with the assistance of his son as deputy, having entered upon its duties Jan. 1, 1903, for a term of three years. Mr. Bowman is a member of Harrisburg Council, No. 7, Free & Accepted Masons; of Pilgrim Commandery, No. 11, Knights Templar, of Harrisburg; of Samuel C. Perkins Chapter. No. 209, Royal Arch Masons, of Mechanicsburg; is Past Master of Eureka Lodge, No. 302, of Mechanicsburg; member of Cornplanter Tribe. No. 61, Improved Order of Red Men of Harrisburg; of Robert Tippet Council, Junior Order United American Mechanics, of Harrisburg, and of Post No. 58, Grand Army of the Republic, of Harrisburg. He is an active member and elder in the Camp Hill Church of God, the church of his parents, and has served twenty-five years as superintendent of the Sunday-school.

On June 14, 1866, Henry N. Bowman married Jennie M. Kline, Rev. John Ault, pastor of the Reformed Church of Mechanicsburg, performing the ceremony. Jennie M. Kline was a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Longsdorf) Kline, the former a merchant in Lower Allen township, and the latter a daughter of Michael Longsdorf, a farmer, who lived in the vicinity of New Kingstown, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. To Henry N. and Jennie M. (Kline) Bowman the following children have been born: (1) Harry J. is at home and engaged in superintending the farm. (2) Allie married E. N. Cooper, of Camp Hill, who is proprietor of a foundry and machine works at Harrisburg, and has four children, John D., Edward N., Jr., Henry B, and Hilary. (3) Jesse L. married Helen Lamont, of Trenton, N. J., and has two children, Helen and Henry B. He is an expert in the manufacture of typewriters, being in the employ of Elliott & Hatch, and lives at Camp Hill. (4) The youngest child, Addison M., was educated in the Harrisburg Academy and the Shippensburg State Normal School, and at this writing is a student in the Dickinson School of Law at Carlisle. He is deputy register of wills of Cumberland county and burgess of Camp Hill. He has recently been married to Miss Mabel E. Huber, of Allentown. (5) Rose and (6) Lizzie are deceased.

In 1890 Mr. Bowman purchased the old homestead farm, where he has ever since resided, his father living with him until he died.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

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