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The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and Great Britain

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The Bowles of Springhill, co. Tipperary

Back to The Bowles of Tipperary or The Bowles of Killenaule
Queries that were made in the 1990's by Dominic Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec in various family history forums online claim that his ancestor John Bowles had come to Canada from The Commons, co. Tipperary and that his parents were Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey of Springhill, an estate just west of Killenaule, co. Tipperary. 
I have been unable to contact Dominic but I have largely confirmed his findings.
The Killenaule (RC) parish register has an entry for John Bowles being baptized on Sept. 14, 1790 to parents Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey of Springhill.

John's baptism gives his parents as Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey but it also states that John was illegitimate.  Considering that Joseph and Ellen apparently had at least eight children together, a likely explanation for that would be that Joseph and Ellen were not both Catholics and therefore when John was baptized their union was not recognized by the Catholic church.  Mackey (or other Anglicized versions of the Irish MacAodha: McCee, McCay etc.) is an old Irish Catholic name, so if one of them was Protestant, it was likely Joseph.

Dominic also left us his list of Joseph Bowles' children:

John, George, Charles, Thomas, Margaret, Rose, Ann and Catherine

We don't know if he meant that to represent the actual birth order or if he just started the list with his ancestor, John, and then added John's brothers and sisters. 

From parish records we know that John married Mary Pollard at Gortnahoe RC Church in 1814, in a double ceremony with a James Pollard of Ballingarry, when they were living at The Commons in Kilcooly parish.  Mary was also likely from Ballingarry.  While still living at The Commons John baptized children at Gortnahoe in 1816, 1817, 1819 and 1821.  Note: the baptismal entry for 1817 actually has John living at Williamstown which is about 1 mile north of The Commons.  In 1822 they travelled to Ballingarry to baptize their last child on record that I can find.  The witnesses were Thomas and Ellen Pollard.

If they are not in birth order then George could have been older than John.  We have John's baptism in 1790 so George could have been born about 1785 and so would have been old enough to have been the George Bowles who baptized a son at Gortnahoe RC church in Dec. 1807 and a daughter there in 1812 at which time he was also living in The Commons.  A witness at the second baptism was a Rose Bowles.

Looking next at Charles we find that a Charles Bowles of The Commons married an Anne Ryan in Ballingarry, co. Tipperary in 1822 with a J. Pollard as a witness at the wedding.  A James Pollard of Ballingarry had been married on the same day and in the same church when John Bowles and Mary Pollard were married in 1814.

The next in the list, Thomas, doesn't seem to have left any trace.

Then considering the women in the list, who traditionally would have been married at their home churches, we find marriages for a Margaret (1812), Rose (1813) and Ann Bowles (1817) in the Killenaule RC register as we would expect to find them.  Margaret married James Cummins, a labourer of Mooglas (Moyglas), co. Tipperary in 1812 but I can't find anything further on them.  Rose married John Simple in 1813 and they baptized three children at Killenaule between 1814 and 1819 but then there are no further entries.  The 1817 and 1819 baptismal entries give the Simples home to be at Foulkstown and at Glangoole respectively.  These two townlands are close to Cummins' home at Moyglas.  This is one of the connections which brings up the possibility of some distant link between our Bowles of Killenaule and some unidentified descendant of the very prominent Quaker, John Bowles of Woodhouse (d. 1731).  See The Bowles of Killenaule's Possible Connection to John Bowles of Woodhouse

Rose's husband may have died after their third child was baptized in 1819 as we find a Widow Simple in The Commons next to John Bowles in 1826 (see below).  A Rose Bowles married a Thomas McGrath at Gortnahoe in 1828.  That may have been a second marriage for Rose or it could have been a, so far unknown, Rose of the next generation.

Daughter Anne's marriage to Peter Perry in Nov. 1817 is entered in the Killenaule RC church register as having taken place at Springhill.  I don't believe there was a church or even an RC chapel in Springhill so the marriage was probably celebrated right in the Bowles house.  They were living in Hellenpark, the townland neighbouring Springhill to the west, when their daughter Mary was baptized in Killenaule in 1817.

Finally, their daughter Catherine seems to have also settled in The Commons as there is an entry in the Gortnahoe register for a Catherine Bowles marriage to a Laurence Shea on Nov. 30, 1825.

Dominic Bowles' information does seem to be largely confirmed by parish records or at least nothing that I've found would contradict any of it.
It seems likely that: Joseph and Ellen's sons George, John and Charles and daughter Catherine settled in The Commons where their sister Rose joined them after her husband died while their daughter Anne settled near them in Hellen Park.  Thomas may have died young and we only know that Margaret married a James Cummins from Moyglas.
However that brings up an interesting possibility as Moyglas was one of John Boles of Woodhouse's holdings.  After Margaret's sister Rose's marriage she lived at Foulkstown which was another of John Boles' holdings.  There are other connections too which might add up to something.  See The Bowles of Killenaule and Kilcooly's Possible Connections to John Bowles of Woodhouse
Another potential link has been found between this Bowles family and The Bowles of Oola, Limerick which was also a Catholic Bowles line with possibly a Protestant ancestor.  See The Bowles of Kilcooly's Possible Connection to the Bowles of Oola, Limerick
See Sorting Out The Bowles of Killenaule and Kilcooly
See The Bowles of the Commons for more on this family including a proposed family tree.
See The Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec for their descendants in Canada.

This site was last updated 10/11/19