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Berry Bowen and Matilda Susannah Odum


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Berry Bowen, b. 1812-3-9, d. 1883-3-18 and Matilda Susannah Odum b. 1826-01-14, d. 1909-1-14 were married on January 30, 1841 in Rutherford County. They both died in Buncombe County, NC and are buried in Wagner (Waggoner) Cemetery. They are my 3rd great-grandparents through their daughter Mary Bowen. I’ve seen the name spelled many ways (Bowen, Boin, Boen).


What follows is the Census summary I’ve compiled for various Bowens in NC (Rutherford and Buncombe Counties) and a few records from Greenville County, SC. You’ll also see some of the questions I still have, a few areas I still would like to see the original census record and some pure speculation of how to find Matilda (Susannah’s) parents. At this point in time I believe Berry to be the son of Reely (Aurelus) and Betsy, and Reely possibly a son of David Bowen Sr. from Mecklenberg Co., VA. However, a cousin researching the same branch is not convinced and suspects that Berry was Bracy’s son, not Reely’s. I don’t have definitive proof, although Allen and Matilda were living with Aurelus and Betsy in the poorhouse in the 1850 census, then by 1860, Aurelus and Betsy have passed on, Allen and Matilda have moved in (I would guess) with siblings. I think there’s a good beginning of a circumstantial case there. From the census we estimate Aurelus’ birth year to be 1780, Berry is known to have been born in 1812 and Bracy abt. 1762. Bracy and Lewis are known to be brothers from other records and the other records might hint at “an other brother” Aurelus or “Reely”. From information on David Bowen Sr., a listing of David Bowen’s children…

The 25 acres from David Bowen’s estate was sold in 1811 to Ambrose Gregory by David Bowen’s “legatees”. The land was on Little Buffalo Creek and adjoined Stephen P. Pool, Zachariah Glascock, Alan and John Noblin, and David Perkins.The deed reflected David’s children as Bracie Bowen, Elizabeth Bowen, Nelley wife of William Glascock, Lewis Bowen, Benjamin Bowen, Elijah Bowen, Nancy wife of John Sparks, and Reter/Retter/Ritter Bowen.

Originally some have interpreted the last name “Reter” as Peter, but on looking at the record, suspect it’s an R and not a P. Could it be a spelling variation on Reely/Ryly, Aurelus? So perhaps Reely is a younger brother to Bracy (Bracie) after all?

Another theory on the puzzle is that Reely was a son of Bracy (Bracie).

At this point here’s what I strongly suspect…. Berry Bowen is a descendant of David Bowen Sr. of Mecklenberg Co., VA., Aurelus Bowen is Berry’s father. Aurelus (Reely/Ryly) is either the son or grandson of David Bowen Sr. (I think son is likely). Also of interesting note, Berry Bowen’s son Walker’s full name was “Realy Walker Bowen”.

Here is what is KNOWN, my ancestry back to Berry Bowen, everything back to there is well structured and documented. David Bowen Sr. had children Bracie, Elizabeth, Nellie, Lewis, Benjamin, Elijah, Nancy and another with a peculiar and difficult to interpret name starting with Re, possibly Reter/Retter/Ritter (from one interpretation). It could be an unmarried daughter, but I suspect it’s Reely.

Another site to visit for Bowen information is The Bowen Depository. There are leads there for Bowens from areas other than Rutherford, and Buncombe Counties, NC and Mecklenberg, VA. Of course, there is some details on these Bowens as well.

Summary of Bowen’s in the census. (Mostly Rutherford and Buncombe Counties, NC) Name and page number on microfilm given where available Some entries still need to be checked. I would like to add 1790-1840 Mecklenburg Co., VA

1790 Rutherford Co., NC

Jonathan Bowen
Joseph Bowen

1800 Rutherford Co., NC

William Bowen p. 96 31001-31110-01
3 males under 10
1 male 10-16
1 male 45 and older
3 females under 10
1 female 10-16
1 female 16-26
1 female 26-45
1 slave

1810 Rutherford Co., NC

Hinson Bowen p. 88 (name ?)
Mary Bowen p. 88

1820 Rutherford Co., NC (This was entered from a transcription – need to see the source to verify names. Also there was a discrepency on page numbers, I will list both. The first comes from the census index – the second from the transcription.)

Alexander Bowen p. 347 (or p. 352)
2 males 0-10 b. bet 1810-1820
1 male 10-16 b. bet 1804-1810
1 male over 45 b. bef 1775
1 female 0-10 b. bet 1810-1820
1 female over 45 b. bef 1775

Eulius Bowen p. 379 (or p. 347) (Arelius?) (transcription labelled this one Julius – look for original)
2 males 0-10 b. bet 1810-1820
1 male 10-16 b. bet 1804-1810
1 male over 45 b. bef 1775
1 female 10-16 b. bet 1804-1810
1 female 26-45 b. bet 1775-1794

Lewis Bowen p. 379 (p. 379 – sources agree)
1 male 10-16 b. bet 1804-1810
2 males 16-18 b. bet 1802-1804
3 males 16-26 b. bet 1794-1804
1 male over 45 b. bef 1775
1 female 10-16 b. bet. 1804-1810
1 female over 45 b. bef 1775

Maberry Bowen p. 345 (p. 345 –sources agree) (Mabry in transcription)
5 males 0-10 b. bet 1810-1820
1 male 16-26 b. bet 1794-1804
1 male 26-45 b. bet 1775-1794
1 female 26-45 b. bet 1775-1794

Mary Bowen p. 384
Sarah Bowen p. 356

1830 Rutherford co., NC

?Bicky? Bowen p.491 (Reely?)
1 male 5-10 b. bet. 1820-1825
2 males 10-15 b. bet 1815-1820
1 male 50-60 b. bet 1770-1780
1 female 15-20 b. bet 1810-1815
1 female 40-50 b. bet 1780-1790

?Brahur? Bowen p. 498 (Probably Bracy)
1 male 60-70 b. bet 1760-1770
1 female 70-80 b. bet 1750-1760

Lewis Bowen p. 494 (Probably Bracy’s brother Lewis)
1 male 20-30 b. bet 1800-1810
1 male 60-70 b. bet 1760-1770
1 female 15-20 b. bet 1810-1815
1 female 50-60 b. bet 1770-1780

Maberry Bowen p. 504
3 males 0-5 b. bet 1825-1830
2 males 5-10 b. bet 1820-1825
2 males 10-15 b. bet 1815-1820
1 male 15-20 b. bet 1810-1815
1 male 20-30 b. bet 1800-1810
1 male 30-40 b. bet 1790-1800
1 female 30-40 b. bet 1790-1800

1840 Rutherford Co., NC

John Bowen p. 263
1 male 10-15 b. bet 1825-1830
1 male 40-50 b. bet 1790-1800
1 female 10-15 b. bet 1825-1830
1 female 15-20 b. bet 1820-1825
1 female 80-90 b. bet 1750-1760

Thomas Bowen p. 278
1 male 0-5 b. bet 1835-1840
1 male 20-30 b. bet 1810-1820
1 female 0-5 b. bet 1835-1840
1 female 20-30 b. bet 1810-1820

William Bowen p. 284 (spelling?)
1 male 10-15 b. bet 1825-1830
2 males 15-20 b. bet 1820-1825
1 male 40-50 b. bet 1790-1800
1 female 15-20 b. bet 1820-1825
1 female 40-50 b. bet 1790-1800

Ryly Bowen p. 300
2 males 20-30 b. bet 1810-1820
1 male 50-60 b. bet 1780-1790
1 female 20-30 b. bet 1810-1820
1 female 50-60- b. bet 1780-1790
(there was a mark for 1 male over 100 – but appeared to be marked out.)

1850 Rutherford Co., NC

p. 277 High Shoals District
Th. Bowen 33 male b. ~1817

William Bowen p. 300 Fox Shoals District

William Bowen p. 273 High Shoals District

John p. 146 (these in Cleveland Co?)
John p. 164
Martha Bowen p. 147

David Bowen 73m b. ~1777 (After reviewing the original this could be David Bean or Beam)
Rachel 72 f b. ~1778 (There was a Beam family in Rutherford County.)
Sarah ?Goosey? 46 f
Bidda? Crowder 53f
Amelia 9? F
Sarah B 2 f
Landrum Phillips 27 m

p. 254 Polk District
Berry Bowen 35 m
Susannah 26 f
William 8 m
Walker 5 m
Elizabeth 3 f
John 1 m

David Bowen p. 317 High Shoals District
David Bowen 48 M
Arta 42 F
Susan 24 F
Malinda 19 F
Madison 17 M
David 15 M
Jane 9 F
James 7 M
John 2 M
Drury 1 M
Drusilla Dobins 63 F
Next house
William Bowen 22 M
Nancy 16 F

p. 273 High Shoals district
Richard Bowen 49m
Anna 29
??? 8 f
Mary 7 f
??? 6 f
Margarett 5 f
??? 2 f
Margarret Arwood or Harwood 19? F
??? “ 18f
William Bowens 22m
Richard Bowens 14 m

William Bowen 39 m
Caroline 31 f
Nancy ?Christmas? 26f

Benjamin Bowen p. 159

(The following family was listed as being in the poor house – poorhouse was kept by James Young. The ages are probably estimates – the family of James Young had fairly precise ages – most everyone else had an age ending in 0 or 5 (35, 40, 80 for example.)

p. 353
Aurelus Bowen 80m
Betsey 80f
Matilda 30 f
Allen 35 m

1850 Cleveland Co., NC

Maberry Bowen 60 M VA
Hannah 69 F VA
Harrison 27 M NC
Samuel C. 21 M NC
Richard L 18 M NC
Mary A. 16 F NC
Hannah 13 F NC

1860 Rutherford Co., NC (House number follows the head of households name, age and birthplace.)

Bowen, Anderson 21 NC (435)
Cinda 20
James 1

Bowen, David 58 VA (4)
Arty 53 NC
Melinda 26 NC
David 24
Nancy 22
Jane 19
James 17
John 15
Drury 12

Bowen, Mat 28 NC (310)
Rossa 26
Semantha 3
Lawson 2

Bowen, Thomas 35 NC (1402) Listed in household of Wilkins, John

1860 Rutherford Co., NC Mortality Census

Keely (Reely?) Bowen 80 M widowed VA April, Pauper, old age (The transcriber made the question over the interpretation of his name.)

1860 Buncombe Co., NC

William Bowan 40 VA
Sarah 35 NC
Julia 6 NC
Rufus 2 NC
Allen 48 VA

Berry Bowan 50 VA
Susan 35 SC
William 16
Walker 15
Elizabeth 13
John 11 NC
Mary 9
Sarah 7
Jesse 2
Matilda 55 VA

1870 Buncombe Co., NC

Berry Bowen 58 VA
Susanna 44 SC
Elizabeth 18
John 16
Mary 14
Sarah 13
Jesse 10
Adaline 8
Charles 4

1880 Buncombe Co., NC

Berry Boin 68
Susannah 52
Elizabeth 29
Adline 17
Charles 14

Notes: I’ve seen a Thomas and John listed as sons of Mayberry (1840 census there are Thomas, John, William and Ryly) I’m wondering if William was a brother to Ryly and Mayberry. – Or is Mayberry Lewis’ son?

So there would be 1 child missing out of the Ryly Bowen 1840 household – Berry??? I’ve looked in SC
1840 Greenville SC
David Bowen p. 206
2 males 5-10 b. bet 1830-1835
1 male 10-15 b. bet 1825-1830
1 male 30-40 b. bet 1800-1810
1 female 5-10 b. bet 1830-1835
1 female 10-15 b. bet 1825-1830
1 female 30-40 b. bet 1800-1810
1 female 40-50 b. bet 1790-1800

Lewis Bowen p. 206
1 male 30-40 b. bet 1800-1810
1 male 60-70 b. bet 1770-1780
1 female 30-40 b. bet 1800-1810
1 female 60-70 b. bet 1770-1780

Susanah Bowun p. 205

BTW no Bowen’s in 1830 in Greenville Co., SC
1850 Greenville Co., SC

Elizabeth Bowen p. 428

(So could it be that Lewis relocated to SC – David for a a time – before moving back to Ruth. Co., NC – what of Berry? – gone to live with Lewis for a time? Could this be how he met Susannah Odum?) (She was supposed to be from Cowpens, that is in Spartanburg County – no Bowens in Spart. Co., 1840….) (No 1840 Spartanburg Co., SC Odums……)

(The following Odum Families are also in Greenville Co., SC 1840:
John Odum p. 259
Madison Odum p. 259
Terry Odum p. 259)

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