Thomas Hutson Bowen was the tenth of eleven children born to Corbly Bowen and Jo Anna Garrison Bowen. He had three brothers and seven sisters. Thomas Hutson was born May 17, 1835, near Davistown, Greene County, Pennsylvania, on a farm a few miles up what was then called the left branch of Meadow Run. It was later known as Bowen Fork and is now known as Bell Run.
At the age of nineteen (almost twenty), Thomas Hutson Bowen married Mary Lynch March 12, 1855. She was the daughter of Phillip Lynch and Joanna Jimison Lynch. Phillip Lynch had migrated to this country from Germany.
Thomas Hutson Bowen and Mary lived on a farm on Glady Fork over the hill from Meadow Run in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
Thomas Hutson had hired hands working for him on the farm. One day when the big dinner bell sounded the ding dong call for dinner Thomas Hutson told the men to go on to dinner, not to wait on him.When he didn’t come, one of the family went out to ring the bell again.Thomas Hutson was sitting on his horse at the top of the hill above the house. When they saw him, he waved good-bye, turned, and rode off through the woods. He went to New Brighton, Pennsylvania, and enlisted in the Calvary to fight in the Civil War. (The above was told to me by my uncle, Pierce Bowen.)
Thomas Hutson Bowen enlisted in Company “E”, 14th Regiment of Pennsylvania Calvary Volunteers on the 30th day of March 1864.
Thomas Hutson was shot off his horse when he was in the Civil War. His foot caught in the stirrup and he was dragged for some distance. He was left on the battlefield for dead. A man who was helping get the wounded to the hospital recognized him and saw that he was still breathing. He had the print of the horse’s hoof in his chest the day he died. As I remember hearing this story told, it happened near Morefield, Virginia.
Oral Bowen, my cousin, told me that he had heard it said that Thomas Hutson was back home once during his enlistment. After a battle he got scattered from the other soldiers. He came home, traveling by night, and stayed three days.After the war, he was discharged August 2, 1865, at Grafton, West Virginia.
Uncle Pierce Bowen told me the following concerning Thomas Hutson Bowen’s war experiences: Thomas Hutson had lost his horse and was on foot. He saw an enemy officer. Thomas Hutson hid behind a tree. The officer had stopped and was gazing over the country side.
Thomas Hutson got the drop on him. He took his horse and left the officer on foot. Thomas Hutson kept that horse the remainder of the time he was in the war. He had to turn the horse in when he was discharged at Grafton, West Virginia. After he was living in West Virginia he was at New Milton and saw a horse tied in front of a store. The horse looked like the horse he had turned in at Grafton. He went over to the horse and called him by name. By the horse’s actions, he knew that it was the same horse.
Eight of the nine children of Thomas Hutson Bowen and his wife Mary were born in Greene County, Pennsylvania. They moved to Doddridge County, West Virginia, sometime between 1874 and 1877 as their youngest child Jessie Lee Bowen was born in Doddridge County, West Virginia, April 5, 1877. They bought a farm on Indian Run in Doddridge County, which was later known as the Pharr farm.
In about 1880 Thomas Hutson moved with his family to Kansas. The family went by train except for the oldest son, Pierce. He, with a hired hand, Dick Murphy, drove a team of horses with a covered wagon. Pierce was about nineteen years old. They settled in Howard City (according to Uncle Pierce) or Coffeyville (according to Uncle Milton). We have not been able to ascertain whether either or both is correct. Jessie Lee was only four or five years old. He had caught a rabbit in a rock pile. Some Indians appeared and said “me rabbit, me rabbit.” Jessie Lee threw the rabbit down and ran. Thomas Hutson Bowen and family only stayed in Kansas about one year before returning to West Virginia. Leaving Kansas they traveled about 500 miles by team and wagon to the river. There they boarded a boat and came up the river to Parkers-burg, West Virginia. Thence by train to Avon. While traveling by boat, Aunt Jo and Aunt Em told that one day they saw five year old Jessie Lee swinging on a railing out over the water. They were so frightened that he would fall into the water that they couldn’t utter a word. All of the family returned to West Virginia except Louise Dell. There in Kansas she had met a young man who became her husband. Again Pierce and Dick Murphy drove the team and wagon on the return trip.
When Thomas Hutson Bowen returned from Kansas, he bought a farm on Standing Stone in Doddridge County, West Virginia.
Thomas Hutson was quite a horseman. Up until the time he died he could lay his hat on the ground, run his horse, reach down, and pick up the hat.
He also played the organ. He liked to play hymns and sacred songs. He wasn’t a tall man. He was about five feet, seven inches, and as straight as a ramrod as long as he lived.
He knew how to make medicine from herbs, roots, and bark. He was often called on to doctor the sick.
One time my father, Jessie Lee Bowen, had a bone felon on his little finger. He was suffering very much with it. His father, Thomas Hutson, dreamed one night that Dad was sick. He dreamed the same dream two more times that night. On the third dream, he got out of bed and started for Dad’s home in Calhoun County. He arrived that evening. He went straight to the woods and got herbs, roots, etc., and made medicine out of them. Some to take by mouth and some to soak his hand in. Mother said that Dad slept and rested good that night. It was the first sleep he had had for over a week.
I was four years old when my Grandfather Thomas Hutson Bowen died, but I can remember that he would ride me behind him on the horse. I also remember that before he died he called all of the members of the family into his room and told each of us good-by.
He died at his home on Standing Stone of pneumonia March 26, 1909, at the age of seventy-four years. He and his wife are laid to rest in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Doddridge County, West Virginia.