Fayette County Genealogy Project

Bowlby, Amos Smith

Although Nelson did not completely accurately capture the Bowlby family history in America, we offer a transcription of Amos Smith Bowlby's biography as presented in Nelson's Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.; Uniontown, Pa.: SB Nelson, 1900 pgs 702-706. Please visit us at: www.bowlbyfamily.org

Amos Smith Bowlby, capitalist and retired cattle dealer, was born March 12, 1822, near Morgantown, Monongalia county, Virginia (now West Virginia). He is a son of the late Robert L. and Mary (Smith) Bowlby, the former a native of Sussex county New Jersey, the latter of Monongalia county Virginia (now West Virginia), and respectively of England and German descent. The founder of the Bowlby family of America was John Bowlby, a native of Nottingham, England, whence he came to the American colonies and located in New Jersey, being one of the twelve Quakers (one of whom was William Penn), who, in February, 1682, purchased the territory which comprises the present State of New Jersey. Among his children was James Bowlby, grandfather of the immediate subject of this sketch. James Bowlby was born September 27, 1765, and his wife, Lydia (Carhart) Bowlby, October 28, 1769. The latter was one of the historic English Carhart family of New York. James Bowlby was educated for the legal profession in New Jersey and there married. In 1797 he came with his family to the forks of the Cheat river, in Fayette county, Pa., and the following year crossed Bald Hill in the first wagon ever driven across that country, and settled on the land which he had previously bought of James Pollock at the headwaters of Robinson's run, in Monongalia county, Virginia. Of the children of James and Lydia (Carhart) Bowlby, Robert L., the father of Amos S. Bowlby, was born May 20, 1795. He married Mary Smith in March, 1816, was recognized as one of the leading agriculturists of his community, and died August 1, 1868. His wife, who was a daughter of Rev. Amos and Rebecca Smith, was born April 24, 1798, and died September 13, 1878. The Carhart family of America had its founder in the person of Thomas Carhart, wo arrived in New York August 25, 1683, holding the appointment of private secretary to His Excellency Colonel Thomas Dougan, Colonial Governor. He was a son of Anthony Carhart, of Cornwall, England. Thomas Carhart's son, Cornelius, was the father of Lydia Carhart, who married James Bowlby. Amos Smith, maternal grandfather of Amos Smith Bowlby, was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church at Uniontown, Fayette county, Pa., about 1784. The decease of Rev. Amos Smith was under peculiarly impressive circumstances, the incident being narrated in Volume I of Brunson's Western Pioneers. Before his congregation he was closing some remarks suggested by the text, "I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand." His closing words were: "And now, my friends, I leave it as my will and testament, for the comfort of my family and friends, that I would not give what I now feel in my soul, my present peace and future prospects, for a thousand such worlds as this. It is please God that I get well I am content; if it please Him that I linger along for three or four years, I am resigned, and if it please Him that I die now, amen to it; his will be done." As he spoke the last words he sank back and without a sigh or groan expired.

Amos Smith Bowlby received such education as was attainable at the date in the subscription schools of his native county and throughout his youth and early manhood assisted in the cultivation of his father's farm, latterly assuming its management. About 1850, he purchased a farm located jointly in Monongalia county, Va., and Greene county, Pa., and this he cultivated successfully until 1863, when he moved into Greene county, where he had purchased a farm upon which he continued to reside for six years. He then purchased and removed to the Samuel Hatfield farm in South Union township, Fayette county, where he resided for two years, when he located in Uniontown, which has since been his place of residence. For a period of 25 years Mr. Bowlby dealt more or less extensively in cattle, averaging annual sales of twenty six thousand dollars. In 1870 he passed through a railroad wreck on the Pennsylvania railroad at Blairsville Junction. Mr. Bowlby and other cattle dealers were in the caboose of a cattle train, which was run into by a locomotive making seventeen miles an hour. The caboose was thrown on top of the wreckage of the telescoped cattle cars and rolled over to the side of the road. Marvelous to relate none of the occupants of the caboose were seriously injured. Among these were Messrs. John Work and Justus Dunn, also of Fayette county. During all of the period of his occupation as an agriculturist, Mr. Bowlby was dealing more or less extensively in farming lands in Woodford county, Illinois, and making investments in loans on real estate. His legal adviser in these connections was Adlai E. Stevenson, of Illinois, afterward Vice-President of the United States. Mr. Bowlby was a democrat up to the second nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency of the United States, when he allied himself with the newly formed Republican party, with which he has ever since been identified. He has never been an aspirant for political preferment, although he held the Uniontown tax collectorship for ten years. Mr. Bowlby has been twice married; on December 21, 1854, to Nancy, daughter of Enoch and Ruth South, of Greene county, Pa. Mrs. Nancy (South) Bowlby died March 1, 1856, leaving one child, who died in infancy. Mr. Bowlby married July 16, 1863 Elvira, daughter of Daniel and Susan Collier, of Georges township, Fayette county, Pa. They have one child, Mary Frances Bowlby. Mrs. Elvira (Collier) Bowlby had been previously married (Sept. 9, 1856), to Samuel J. Griffin, a native of Wharton Township, and for a number of years a carpenter and merchant, of Uniontown. He died January 12, 1862. The family reside at 34 West Fayette street, and hold membership in the Central Christian church, or Uniontown, of which Mr. Bowlby has been a liberal supporter.

Source:  Nelson's Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.; Uniontown,
Pa.: SB Nelson, 1900 pgs 702-706.

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