Bowles DNA Project
The Bowles in LouisianaBack to The Bowles in The US I started looking for Bowles in Louisiana after learning that a branch of my own Bowles family from Ireland had moved down from Quebec City to New Orleans in 1835. See The Bowles of co. Laois, Ireland in New Orleans Why would my Bowles in Quebec City suddenly get up and move all the way to New Orleans just to ply their trade as shoemakers back when such a move would have been very difficult? Perhaps there was someone they knew there already? I soon found that this area was just full of Bowles including several who were there when my Bowles first arrived. Could any of them have been connected to my family? The earliest record I have found for a Bowles in Louisiana would be Evan Bowles of St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana who appears to have arrived in Louisiana from Washington county, Maryland some time before 1806. The United States had just recently bought this area from the Emperor Napoleon under The Louisiana Purchase of 1803. One of the first steps would have been to send in surveyors to map and verify every individual land ownership claim by the previous occupants of this territory who would now be in the process of becoming American citizens. In 1806 Evan Bowles was referred to in a legal document as the surveyor of some disputed land on the Bayou Teche (which flows right through St. Mary parish) and in a later legal case the evidence included a survey marked 'Evan Bowles, deputy surveyor, dated 8th August 1808'.
Evan settled down, acquired some land and raised a family. By the 1830 census he was the owner of a good sized plantation. Evan died in 1832 and the papers filed with the settlement of his estate allow us to identify him as being from the Bowles of Washington county, Maryland family. A little later, Evan's nephew, John W. Bowles, would also arrive from Maryland and build up an extensive fleet of steam boats trading on the Mississippi River and on the coastal routes.
Also from this family, a Major Flavius Josephus Bowles, from Washington county, Maryland married Florence Elmore, the daughter of Judge Elmore of New Orleans, in Canada in 1871. They settled down in my hometown, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where Flavius built up a very successful building and railroad contracting business. The Winnipeg newspapers document that Judge Elmore visited his daughter in Winnipeg several times and one of Florence's brothers from New Orleans joined the Bowles construction firm in Winnipeg for a time. One reference in a Winnipeg paper mentioned that Flavius had happened to meet a visitor from New Orleans walking in the street in Winnipeg one day whom he had met on previous trips to New Orleans to visit his family there.
There was another Bowles plantation in Rapides parish near Alexandria further north in Louisiana. The first reference for this Bowles family is a Matthew Bowles who was there in 1820 but they disappear shortly after the Civil War.
There are also many Bowles references in New Orleans who did not or do not appear to have had any connection to my own Bowles there. Please see Other Bowles in New Orleans.
Finally I found some Boles in Catahoula and Opelousas, both communities are about 50 miles west of Baton Rouge. I don't have enough information yet to propose whether the Boles in the two centers are connected.
As on all these Bowles in Louisiana pages, I would like to express my appreciation to Kay Emery, a descendant of 5.3 Henry Belmont Bowles. Kay has done most of the research on this branch and has kindly allowed me to publish it here.