Bowles DNA Project
Michael Bowles and Sons of Ontario co.
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Michael Bowles' father, Michael Sr., was born in Queen's county (now co. Laois) in about 1744 probably at or near the town of Ballickmoyler. As a young man he left Ireland to find work in England and served in the British Army from 1770 to 1797, married twice and raised a family. He moved his family back to Ballickmoyler just after the United Irish Rebellion of 1798 in which the two Bowles homes in Ballickmoyler had been burned by their United Irish neighbours. I would imagine that in the heightened tensions between the two religions after the rebellion, his Protestant family back in Ballickmoyler may have needed his help. See Michael Bowles of Ballickmoyler's Story
Michael Jr. had been born in Manchester in 1778 and would have been about 22 when he returned to Ireland with his father. The Michael Bowles listed in the 1824 Tithe Applotment of Queen's County as owning land in Ballickmoyler, Killabban civil parish, Barony of Slievemargy on the estate of William and Gregory Cooper would have been Michael Jr. See The Bowles of Ballickmoyler.
In Ireland he raised a family of 4 sons and at least two daughters. Michael was from a Protestant background and his first two children, John (b. 1806) and Sarah (b. 1807), were Protestant but four more children, born after a gap of about 14 years, were all Catholic. It's very likely that Michael married twice in Ireland, first to a fellow Protestant who died after Sarah's birth and then later to a Catholic woman. Her name was likely Rebecca as all four of their children named a daughter Rebecca and that name is unknown otherwise in this family. A Protestant/Catholic marriage at that time in Ireland may have made life quite difficult for them. While there was still a Protestant community in the area, all of Michael's other Bowles family members had left Ballickmoyler, mostly having emigrated to Canada and settled in Quebec City, by this time.
Michael's son John was the first to follow the other family members to Canada. This was possibly due to his father starting a new family, possibly there was a difference of opinion between them regarding the Catholic marriage.
His descendant's tradition is that John arrived in Canada from Ireland in 1825, married an Elizabeth Green somewhere and settled in Whitby, Ontario co. but there are no references for him in Ontario prior to the birth of his son, William, in 1834. We haven't found a record in Ontario for his marriage to Elizabeth Green before that. However, there was a John Bowles from Ireland who did marry an Elizabeth Green in Quebec City in June, 1832.
Elizabeth and John are pretty common names but there are other reasons for thinking that the marriage in Quebec was John Bowles of Whitby's marriage. The bride's surname Green, the timing of the marriage, considering the birth of their son William in 1834, and the lack of any further references for John and Elizabeth in Quebec City after the marriage are all consistent. John and Elizabeth's signatures on the marriage registry in Quebec City are also very similar to their signatures on documents in Whitby later. See a Comparison of Their Signatures. Most of his Bowles relations from Ballickmoyler has already settled in Quebec City. The church register shows that Joseph Bowles was a witness at the marriage. Joseph was John Sr. and Michael Bowles' brother from Carlow (the market town near Ballickmoyler) who had arrived in Quebec in 1831. John was also involved in a court case at the time. The papers from this case include a character reference for "my nephew John Bowles" from another John Bowles, another of Michael Bowles' brothers who had settled there in 1818. See The Bowles of Ballickmoyler's Family Tree to sort that out. Brothers John, Joseph and Michael are 1.1.4, 1.1.6 and 1.1.7 in the tree. Michael's son John is 220.127.116.11 in the tree. Also see The Bowles Family of Quebec City
Please see the details of John Bowles Court Case in 1832
I believe John Bowles of Whitby to be the same John Bowles who arrived in Quebec City in 1825, settled first with his Uncle John Bowles there and married there in 1833. He moved to Whitby soon after, raised a family and became a leader of the Methodist community. In the 1840's three Catholic brothers, Michael, Robert and Joseph Bowles with their Methodist father Michael Bowles arrived first in Whitby and then settled in the neighbouring township of Reach.
Michael and his other three sons, Robert, Michael and Joseph, probably emigrated to Canada in 1846 (the 1911 Census entry for his son Joseph gives 1846 as his year of immigration) although his obituary in 1872 states he had been living in Canada "for upwards of 36 years". Michael is officially first on record in Ontario co. in the 1851 Census of Whitby where he is listed as working as a Labourer at age 71. His son, Joseph, is also working as a labourer in Whitby while Robert and Michael Jr. have not yet been found in the 1851 Census but were in Reach twp. by the 1861 Census. Also, by the 1861 Census, Michael has moved from Whitby to Reach twp. where he is living with his son Joseph. In 1871 when his son, John, passed away, Michael moved back Whitby to live with John's widow, Elizabeth and her family. He passed away in 1872 at the age of 95.