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William Harrison Bowen

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

WILLIAM HARRISON BOWEN is successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising in Raritan Township, Henderson County. He lives on section 18, where he owns and operates one hundred and fifty acres of good land. His farm is well tilled, and its neat and thrifty appearance indicates the enterprise and careful supervision of the owner, who is regarded as one of the leading agriculturists of the community. In stock-raising he is quite successful, and upon his farm is a good grade of horses and cattle.

Mr. Bowen was born in Ohio, January 22, 1832, and is a son of John and Mary (Burton) Bowen. The father was born in Virginia, was of German descent, and by occupation was a farmer. In an early day he went to the Buckeye State, but in the Old Dominion was married. He continued his residence in Ohio until 1836, when with teams he started westward. Several families located in Michigan, and Mr. Bowen took up land from the Government. Indians still lived in the neighborhood, and the family went through all the experiences of life on the frontier. With ox-teams, Mr. Bowen removed his family to Iowa in 1840. but after a short time purchased a tract of unimproved land near Blandinsville, McDonough County, Ill., upon which he built a log cabin, 16x18 feet. There he made his home for eight years, and after one other purchase and removal, went to Hancock County, where he bought three hundred and twenty acres of land, and continued its cultivation until 1854. His next purchase made him the owner of eight hundred acres in Raritan Township, Henderson County, and upon that farm he spent his remaining days, his death occurring March 29, 1890, at the age of ninety years. He was laid to rest in Terre Haute Cemetery. He took part in the Mormon War, was a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Masonic fraternity. He started out in life a poor boy, but won success and became one of the substantial citizens of the community. His wife passed away July 1, 1877.

Upon the farm our subject was reared to manhood. He began his education in a log schoolhouse, and has often walked two and a half miles to school. His advantages in that direction were not of the best, but by business experience, reading and observation he has made himself a well-informed man and keeps abreast with the times. At the age of twenty he left the parental roof to earn his own livelihood, and began working on a farm by the month, breaking prairie with ox-teams. Since 1853, he has been a resident of Henderson County, and in 1855 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 7, Raritan Township, a wild and unimproved tract of prairie. It was soon placed under the plow, however, and as the result of his care and cultivation was made to yield to him good harvests. There he lived until 1865, when he purchased an eighty-acre farm, on which he spent three years. On the expiration of that period he bought a quarter-section of land in Terre Haute Township, and upon that farm resided until 1878, when he became the owner of his present farm. He has altogether three hundred and ten acres of rich land.

On the 6th of November, 1851, Mr. Bowen was united in marriage with Miss Mary Coon, a daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Moody) Coon, a native of Greene County, Ill., born March 22, 1835. Six children blessed this union: Amanda E., who died November 14, 1886; Elizabeth, wife of J. W. Shawgo; Germanicus, who is living in Terre Haute; Clarinda, wife of Albert Brewer; Lewis C, who died December 14, 1892: and John H., who died February 27, 1891.

Mr. Bowen takes quite an active interest in political affairs, and is a supporter of the Democracy. His wife is a member of the Baptist Church. Both are highly respected people, and in the community where they live have a large circle of warm friends.