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"Prairies of Promise"

Story County

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A Friend's Memories
Grant to David Bowen for 300 acres in Patuxent River
Bowen Descendants
Bowen Descendants From Probate Records
Letter from Annie Laurie Bowen Elder
Biography of Abraham Bowen
Bowen Genealogy by George Elbert Bowen
Letter from Ann Bowen to Annie Laurie Elder
Letter from Bernice Bowen to Mrs. Elder
Bowen Family by Mrs. F.M. Cooper Publ. 1887

A Friend's Memories

A friend wrote the following about the home of Mary Ellen and Jesse. The Bowen home in Maxwell was an ideal one and one that was made so by the loving, kind, sweet patient father and mother who were so cherished and adored by a group of fine children who were ever solicitous of their parents. This family will ever have the most delightful memories of a "real home".

And so the two families from Virginia, the Bowens and the Wills traveled half way across the continent and finally merged in the little forgotten town of Iowa Center. They braved the hardships and the dangers of the new country, they went through heart aches and loneliness to help build up our glorious country for their children and their . . . . . .

Grant to David Bowen for 300 acres in Patuxent River

Cecilius Absolute Lord and Proprietary of the Provinces of Maryland and Avalon Lord Baron of Baltimore. To all Persons to whom these Presents shall come Greeting in Our Lord God Everlasting. Know ye that Wee for and in consideration that David Bowen hath three hundred acres of Land as appeareth upon Record due unto him and upon such Conditions and Termes as are Expressed in Our Conditions of Plantation of Our said Province of Maryland Bearing Date at London the 2nd Day of July in the Year of Our Lord God 1649 with such alteration as is in them made by Our Declaration Bearing date the 26. of August 1651 and Remaining upon Record in Our said Province Do hereby Grant to him the said David Bowen All that Parcell of Land lying on the North side of Patuxent River and on the West side of a Creek in the said River called Battaill Creek Beginning at a marked Hickory Tree standing upon a Point by a little Gutt or Bight and lining for breadth up the Creek North and by East One hundred and fifty Perches to a small Bight or Branch in a Marsh bounding on the North with a line drawn West and by North from the Byte in a Marsh for the length of three hundred and twenty Perches On the West with a line drawn South and by West from the End of the West and by North line One hundred and Fifty Perches untill it intersects a Paralell drawn from the first Gutt or Byte On the South the said Paralell On the East with the said Creek Containing three hundred Acres more or less Together with all proffitt Rights and Benefitts thereunto belonging (Royal Mines excepted) To have and to hold the same unto him the said David Bowen his Heires and Assignes for Ever To be holden of us and Our Heires of Our Mannor of St. Maries in Free and Common Saccage by Treaty only for all Services Yielding and Paying therefore yearly unto Us and Our Heires at Our Receipt of St. Mary's at the two most Usuall Feasts in the Year Viz. At the Feast of the Anunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and at the Feast of St. Michael the Arch-Angell by Even and equall portions the Rent of Six Shillings Sterling in Silver or Gold or the full value thereof in such commodities as Wee and Our Heires or such Officer or Officers appointed by Us or Our Heires from time to time to Collect and Receive the same shall accept in Discharge thereof at the choice of Us and Our Heires or such Officer or Officers as aforesaid Given at St. Maries under Our Great Seal of Our said Province of Maryland the Eleventh Day of August in the 27th Year of our Dominion over the said Province Witness our Trusty Well beloved Josias Tendall Esq Our Lieut of Our said Province

Intrat in Recordo

Phillip Calvert Secret /s/ Josias Tendall

This Grant is according to Certificate

and Survey made by me

/s/ Robert Clark Surveyor

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Bowen Descendants

The Children and Grandchildren of Jesse and Priscilla Bowen of Ross Co. Ohio (born Maryland 1772, as shown by tombstone, (not 1769) and 1776 respectively, married Maryland 1792)

Abraham Y. BowenGeorge I. BowenIsaac Bowen
(Marion Co. IN)(Ross Co., OH)(Marion Co. IN & Johnson Co. IA)
Ephraim BowenunmarriedSusan Zerilda (Bowen) Westenhaver
Jesse BowenGeorge Elmer Bowen
Peter BowenIsaac Newton Bowen
George BowenMary Elizabeth Bowen Westcott
Andrew J. BowenWilliam Jesse Bowen
Abraham Bowen Jr. Maria Josephine Bowen Bradley
James BowenEllen Elizabeth Bowen Strahl
Jesse Bowen Jr.William BowenBenjamin Bowen
(Iowa City, IA)(Marion Co. IN)(Tippecanoe Co., IN)
Mary Ann Bowen HowellLouiza M. BowenCelestia Bowen
Humphrey C. BowenSarah Ann BowenWilliam T. Bowen
Eliza M. Bowen Wells (1)Priscilla E. Bowen ShirtsJames O. Bowen
Cadwallader (2)Mary Jane BowenEllen Bowen Deeds
Ellen Zeralda Bowen BeachJohn F. Bowen(Julia Ann Bowen Smith?)
Woodstock (2)Drucilla Bowen
Margaret J. Bowen Sterling
Emeline E. Bowen (d. infant)
Hortense E. Bowen Pendelton
(marriage 2)
W. Jesse Bowen
Leonard Bowen
Parker BowenYoung BowenEllenor Bowen Browning
(Hamilton Co., IN?)(Montgomery Co., IN)(Henry Co. IA)
Sarah Ann BowenAnna BowenJohn Browning (IN)
Priscilla BowenChristina Bowen StrainJesse Browning (IA)
Isaac BowenWilliam BowenMaria L. Browning Thompson
Ruth J. BowenJohn P. Bowen
Elizabeth Bowen Meek
Elizabeth Bowen TeterGeorge Bowen
(Ross Co., OH)Isaac Bowen
Mary Jane Teter TrimbleAmanda Bowen
Elizabeth Ellen Teter Stone


Ruth J. Bowen (of Parker) married John F. Bowen (of William).
Abraham Y. Bowen married Ruth Smith (of Ephraim) in Ross Co., OH.
Isaac Bowen (of Jesse and Priscilla) married Susan Priscilla Williams.
Elizabeth Bowen married John Teter in Ross Co., OH.
Ellenor Bowen (records give Bourne) married Greenberry Browning in Ross Co., OH.
Young Bowen married Catherine Clowser in Ross Co., OH
Jesse Bowen Jr., married Mary (?)m born 1804 IN, died 1871 IA
remarried Roslea (Leonard) Blair in IA.
Elizabeth E. Teter (b. 3-9-1843, d. 7-29-1871) married Charles M. Stone in Ross Co.,OH.
Mary Jane Teter (b. 9-11-1840, d. 9-25-1872) married J.W. Trimble in Ross Co., OH.

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Bowen Descendants from Probate Records

Descendents of Jesse and Priscilla Bowen of Ross Co., Ohio from Probate Records
1. Abraham Bowen
2. George Bowen
3. Isaac Bowen
4. Jesse Bowen
5. Drucilla Boyer, granddau of Jesse, dau. of William, husband of William Boyer
6. John F. Bowen, grandson of Jesse, son of William
7. Mary Jane Bowen, granddau of Jesse, dau of William
8. Ruth J. Bowen, granddau of Jesse, dau of Parker, wife of John F. Bowen 9. Isaac Bowen, son of Parker Bowen
10. Priscilla E. Shirts, dau of William Bowen, wife of Hiram Shirts
11. Ellen Bowen Deeds, dau of Benjamin, wife of Samuel Deeds
12. Sarah Ann Bowen, dau of William
13. James O. Bowen, son of Benjamin, husband of Sarah J. (?)
14. William T. Bowen, son of Benjamin
15. Celestia Bowen, dau of Benjamin
16. Julia Ann Bowen Smith, dau of (?), wife of Henry E. Smith
17. Amanda Bowen, dau of Young Bowen and wife Catherine Clowser
18. Isaac Bowen, son of Young Bowen and wife Catherine
19. George Bowen, sone of Young Bowen and Catherine
20. Elizabeth Bowen Meek, dau of Young Bowen and Catherine
21. John P. Bowen, son of Young Bowen and Catherine
22. William Bowen, son of Young
23. Christina Bowen Strain, dau of Young Bowen, wife of Nicholas Strain
24. Priscilla Bowen Edwards, dau of Parker
25. James Edwards, son of Priscilla
26. Anna Bowen Wyant, dau of Young
27. William Wyant, son of Anna.
28. Sarah Ann Ribble, dau of Parker, wife of George Ribble
29. Louiza M. Bowen, dau of William
30. Ellenor Bowen Browning, dau of Jesse and Priscilla, wife of Greenberry
31. Elizabeth Bowen Teter, dau of Jesse and Priscilla, wife of John

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Letter from Annie Laurie Bowen Elder
(to other family members)

          Marshalltown, Iowa
          March 21, 1943

Dear Folks:

I am enclosing copies of material that was sent to me by our cousin George E. Bowen of Indianapolis. I have been walking on air since it came because it gives me exactly what I have been searching for. I have had a hunch all along that the Bowens and the Wills did not live so very far apart in Virginia and now I know that I was right.

This material is written in the most beautiful old fashioned hand writing that you would ever want to see and it must have taken him several days to get it completed. Now my one ambition is to visit the country where our great, great grandparents and their children settled. I am also crazy to see the original biography of our great grandfather Bowen. Well, I guess the Bowens really came from Kings and Queens etc., if that really makes a great deal of difference.

You will notice in the copy of the genealogy that it speaks of Ephram and Hannah-Hale Bowen. I think that these two people are our ancestors and I am going to write this company about this book. If it does hook up with their statistics I surely can give them plenty of material to tack onto it, so get your pencils sharpened as I may be writing for dates of births etc.

I am going to write to Arkansas just to see if I can find any track of Grandpa Bowen's brother George's descendents.

"Prairies of Promise" is coming along famously and I have it all lined up ready for the real writing and composition, at which I am not really very good. However, I will peg away and perhaps someday, I will have it finished in good shape, and someone will get rich in the years to come.

When I started searching for this material about the Bowen family I had two clues. One was the name Broad Ripple, Indiana which Uncle Bill had given me. The other was an old post card that had been written to Uncle Bill many years ago by Aunt Ruth Bowen. On it she said "Just received cards from two of Uncle Jess Bowen's girls from Zionsville, Indiana." I wrote a little note to the Postmaster at Zionsville, Ind. and this is the reward I received. I have often wondered why I kept that old birthday card of Uncle Bill's and now I know.

          Annie Laurie

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Biography of Abraham Bowen
August 19, 1873

I was born June 7, 1794 in Jefferson County, State of Virginia, Charleston [Charles'Town] County Seat. My father's name was Jesse Bowen, mother's name Priscilla and I was the first heir. My father migrated to Ohio, Ross County in the year 1802 [1812?]. My mother had in all 10 sons and 2 daughters, 5 yet living, 3 sons, 2 daughters. I was married in the year 1817, August 6 to Ephriam Smith's daughter, Ruth, and in the year 1820 I and my father-in-law and his family moved to Indiana, settled on Blue River where New Castle now is. There was a few families settled there, G. Jamison, S. Woodward, J. Whitinger, H. Whitinger, and D. Ray and a quantity of Delaware Indians all friendly and in the winter of 1821, J.Whitinger, H. Whitinger, D. Ray and myself came over to where Indianapolis now is and there we saw three logg cabins, one family lived in each cabin composed of buckeye logs-and on March the 20th, 1822, I moved to where I now live, 9 miles north of Indianapolis. J. Whitinger, H.Whitinger, and D. Ray moved the same spring and we were close neighbors and lived in peace and harmony. When we came here there were three families on the opposite side of White River by the name of Coats, one man by the name of Brewet. Frenchman lived 3 miles up White River from us--at that time considered pretty close neighbors. Now I will name some persons I got aquainted at the first settling of Indianapolis and vicinity, D.Yandes, J. Wilkins, Tanery Fletcher, Nolands Rogers, Willson Patisons. West also my acquaintance on Big Eagle, Barnhills, McCurdys, P. Sullivan.

The above biograph of Abraham Bowen was taken from the original as written by him, August 19, 1873 in his own hand writing, now in the hands of the undersigned.

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Bowen Genealogy by George Elbert Bowen

          Lafayette, Indiana
          February 27, 1943

There was born to Abraham Bowen and Ruth Bowen, seven sons, namely: Jesse, Ephram, Jack, Peter, George, Abraham Jr. and James, all of whom lived to ripe old ages, except Jack who died in early manhood. James Bowen, the father of the undersigned spent his entire life near the farm of Abraham Bowen, his father settled in 1822. The farm of Abraham Bowen also the farm of James Bowen adjoining still remain in the immediate family being owned by the heirs of Albert Newby who intermarried with Angeline F. Bowen, daughter of James Bowen.

The children of James Bowen still living are:

Rebecca Bowen Jackson who is now 88 years old
resides at R.R. 16, Indianapolis.
Augustus G. Bowen, 78 years old
resides at R.R. 14, Indianapolis
George Elbert Bowen, 75 years old
resides at R.R. 16, Box 339, Indianapolis, Ind.

Of a family of 13, the 3 of us are all that is left.

The heirs of Abraham Bowen Sr.

Jesse Bowen, Born January 14, 1820 died Oct. 29, 1904--84 years
Ephram Bowen
Peter Bowen, Born 1823 died 1901--78 years
George Bowen
Jack (or Andrew J.)
Abraham Bowen, Jr. January 20, 1829 died Jan. 16, 1908--79 years.
James Bowen 1830 died 1908--78 years.

I think my Grandfather Abraham Bowen, Sr. was about 80 when he died and Grandmother Ruth Bowen about 92. I think this is a remarkable history for longevity of one family.

My sister, Rebecca Bowen Jackson has one son living,
    Dr. James W. Jackson
    32nd St., Indianapolis, Ind.

My brother Augustus G. Bowen has 3 sons namely:

    James Bowen, R.F.D. Sheridan, Ind
    Clinton Bowen, R.F.D., Sheridan, Ind.
    Cornelius Bowen, R.R. 16, Indianapolis, Ind.

My brother Augustus Bowen also has 3 daughters namely:

    Edith Dawson
    Glennie Pratt all reside near Nora, Indiana
    Junie Stahl

The writer, George Elbert Bowen, has 2 sons and one daughter living, namely:

    Gracie Bowen Sawyer, 418 Northridge St., Greensboro, N.C.
    George A. Bowen, President Wanamaker State Bank Wanamaker, Indiana
    Carl T. Bowen, Manager of Provost Hotel, Indianapolis, Ind.

The children of Angeline Bowen Newby (deceased) are namely:

    A.G. Newby, Nora, Indiana.
    Minnie Pearl Newby
       6025 Carrollton Ave., Indianapolis, Ind.
    Ina Newby,
       6025 Carrollton Ave., Indianapolis, Ind.
    Lora Newby,
       6025 Carrollton Ave., Indianapolis, Ind.


                Geo. E. Bowen (75 years old)
                R.R. 16, Box 339,
                Indianapolis, Ind.

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Letter from Ann Bowen to Mrs. Elder

Dear Mrs. Elder:-

Dad received your letter some time ago, and it is my fault that it hasn't been answered sooner. He has arthritis and is unable to use his hands for writing, so asked me to write for him. Following is what he dictated to me concerning the Bowen family;

"Abraham Bowen was my grandfather. I know practically nothing about his life previous to coming to Indiana. He worked as a distiller in Ohio in order to raise the money to come to Indiana and purchase an 80 acre tract of school land (at $1.25 per acre) north of Indianapolis. He cleared the land and built a log house for himself and his wife, Ruth Smith Bowen. Seven sons were born to them, namely Jasper, or Jap, who died very young, Ephriam, George, Jesse, Pete, Abraham Jr. (my father) and James. Ephriam was the oldest. All of these sons with the exception of Ephriam and George settled on farms near Indianapolis--George going to Missouri and thence to Arkansas, and Ephriam (your grandfather) settling in Iowa. Abraham had a brother Young Bowen, who came to Indiana from Ohio about the same time he did, and settled near Rossville, Indiana. It is my understanding, a recollection though that these two brothers did not keep in touch with one another, and my family did not know Young Bowen nor any of his descendents. James Bowen, the youngest son of Abraham and Ruth Bowen was the father of several children, among them being Angeline, who married Al Newby. Abraham's wife Ruth lived in the old homestead until her death, and when the estate was settled, Al Newby purchased the farm and lived there with his wife Angeline. It is my understanding Angeline Bowen Newby is still living in Nora, Indiana, close to Indianapolis, and it may be that she would have the old family bible in her possession, which no doubt would contain some of the records you are seeking. Ruth Smith Bowen had a brother who settled in or near Crawfordsville, Indiana. His name was Enoch Smith. It may be that this Smith family would know something of the Bowens before they migrated to Indiana. I remember your grandfather Ephriam coming to visit at our house in Zionsville."

Dad said he is sorry he cannot give you more of the information you want. I, too, feel that if any record at all was kept that Angeline Bowen Newby would have it, since she lived in the old homestead, and no doubt many of the things came into her possession. This, however, is only an assumption, but perhaps it would be worth your while to contact her.

Dad did a great deal of reminiscing after receiving your letter, telling many interesting little stories about things that happened during his childhood. Incidentally, I wonder if you have read "Bowen's Court" by Elizabeth Bowen. I do not know, of course, whether we are descendents of these Bowens, but found the book very interesting nevertheless. I was always under the impression that the Bowens were of Dutch stock, and was surprised to learn from this book that the Bowens came from Wales to Ireland (County Cork) as early as 1659. if you have any other questions which you think dad might be able to answer, please feel free to write me.


                     Ann Bowen
                     425 Asher Street
                     Lafayette, Indiana

We too have pictures of dad's grandparents, Abraham and Ruth Bowen. They are photographs retouched with pen and ink. Dad thinks these pictures were taken about the time your grandfather visited Indiana, and are probably the same you have.

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Letter from Bernice Bowen to Mrs. Elder

(Letter written to Annie Laurie Bowen Elder in response to her queries in search of Ephraim Bowen's family in Indiana.)

                     Rossville, Indiana

Dear Mrs. Elder:-

Since I am a Bowen and the only one living in Rossville the Postmaster gave me your letter.

I am sorry that I can not give you the information you would like to know. My grandfather and my father both lived in Rossville all their lives. My father passed away in 1939.

My father has seven brothers and sisters living and when they come for a visit I will ask them. If I get any information I will be glad to write and tell you.

I called a Mr. Bowen who lives near here and he himself did not remember but he said, he felt sure if it was a Bowen who settled here we are related. I feel sure that if I talk to my one uncle he might give me some information.

All I can tell you is our family tree come from Penn, then to Hamilton, Ohio and then to Rossville. My grandfather's name was Alfred and he was a civil war veteran.

I do hope I can find more to write you

In the meantime, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I would like to know if your people were from here.

I, myself, have only one twin brother and he lives in Indianapolis.

                     Very sincerely,

                     Bernice Bowen

(Response to a query from Annie Laurie Bowen Elder probably written about 1943. I suspect that she was trying to track down Young Bowen's side of the family after receiving the letter from Ann Bowen in Lafayette, IN. In reality, Young Bowen died in 1851, so he might have already been forgotten by others. Bernice Bowen, above, is clearly not a descendent of Jesse and Priscilla Bowen of Maryland and Ross County, Ohio, but this information might help someone else.)

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Bowen Family by Mrs. F.M. Cooper Publ. 1887

(The following is an excerpt from Heiss, Willard, ed., (1981) Indiana Source Book, Genealogical Material from the Hoosier Genealogist, 1967-1972, Vol. 2, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, p. 53)


The following letter written by Mrs. F.M. Cooper, which appeared in the Indiana Farmer published at Indianapolis, November 26, 1887, reveals an early interest in family history and the type of information that should be included in such a history.

"On Easter Sunday my grandmother, Ruth Bowen, died. In one more month she would have been 88 years of age, having been born in Pennsylvania in 1799. Grandfather died twelve years ago. He was a Virginian by birth, but his ancestors were English and Welsh, but I can get hold of but little of their history. It would be interesting to trace it back for several generations and know how they lived across the ocean that long ago; but there is nothing but verbal transmission, and much of that is soon forgotten.

"I have often wondered at the carelessness of our fore-parents in keeping trace of their ancestry. Some of the old pioneers do not even know their ages. Lack of facilities for early education accounts for this, in the first place, and later the hard work necessary to make a living left but little time for anything else. People used to hinder the education of girls, saying that a woman had no business to know anything but reading and spelling; but if they had been better educated perhaps they would have done much good in keeping accounts and dates.

"Grandfather and grandmother were married in Ohio, where they had been taken by their parents in youth. I have heard grandmother say that she walked from Pennsylvania, a distance of 500 miles. Of course she was not alone but with the teams. Why she walked I do not know; perhaps because she wanted to. There was nothing too hard for her to do in her younger days. Grandfather came to Indiana between 1820 and 1822, and I have heard him say that when he came there was but one log cabin where Indianapolis now is. All was dense forest. He located 10 miles north of Indianapolis, 'entering land'. They put up a tent until they could build a log hut out of native forest trees, but before they got done the horses strayed away, and one day grandfather started to find them, and grandmother did not see him again for six weeks. . . He found them back at the old home in Ohio.

"The one-room log house was succeeded by another of more pretensions: that is the logs were hewed and there were two rooms, with a large 'entry' between them, and a porch on the west side of the entire length, making it 50 or 60 feet long. The entry was used for a granary, and when cooking stoves came into use one end of the porch was boarded up and used for a kitchen. Before that, cooking was done in the fireplace of one room. There was a fireplace in each room. The clothing was all manufactured at home. At first it was made of flax which was grown on the place, gathered at the proper time. It had to lie on the ground a certain length of time to 'rot' as they called it. Then it was brought in and 'broke' ready for the hackle. . . The flax was hackled and spun on the 'little wheel' which she turned with one foot while sitting on a chair, and then was woven into 'linen' which was used for towels, tablecloths, sheets, shirts, pantaloons, and in fact almost every article of wearing apparel. As soon as enough sheep could be raised, linsey, flannel and jeans took the place of linen for winter apparel. The woolen goods were also manufactured at home. . . After the material was woven, those who had large families sometimes employed a tailor to go to the house and make the mens' and boys' clothing. . .

"Grandmother was the last survivor of the pioneer settlers of that part of Marion County. Of three families who were neighbors, the women lived longer than their husbands. The last to die before grandmother was 'Aunt Susie' Whitinger, who survived her husband by many years and was the mother of 17 children. Previous to her, Nancy Ray died at an advanced age.

"Grandfather gave each of his boys 40 acres of land, or its equivalent in money, and kept 80 acres for himself. He put out fruit trees early in his farming life and always had plenty of apples. About 20 acres are in sugar trees. . . He made a will before his death securing the place to grandmother for life-time. . .

"Some enterprising publishing company ought to secure as many accounts of early home life in Indiana as possible before it is too late, and put them in book form, with pictures of the primitive tools used, the old sickles, spinning wheels, etc."

[Abraham and Ruth Bowen settled in the area now known as Nora, Washington Township, Marion County, in 1821. Mrs. Cooper, the writer of the letter, was the former America F. Bowen.]

Note: Abraham Bowen was the eldest son of Jesse (1772) and Priscilla Bowen, originally of Calvert County, Maryland, who were married in 1792 in Maryland and moved to near Charles'Town, Jefferson County, Virginia [now WVA]. Abraham was born near Harpers Ferry in 1794 as were most of his siblings. Jesse Bowen purchased land in Ross County, Ohio in 1811 and moved the family there. Ruth was the daughter of Ephraim Smith (1775) and Ann Charity Farnsworth (1776). Abraham and Ruth migrated from Ohio to Indiana with her father in 1820 and to the Nora, Indiana location in 1822. The site of the Bowen family farm mentioned above was located in the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 17, North, Range, 3, East. It is presently the site of the Nora high school and middle school. Before becoming Nora, the town was also known as Broad Ripple and this is the name referred to in the fragmentary family records that Annie Laurie Bowen Elder began collecting in the 1940's. Abraham Bowen was the father of Ephraim Bowen and grandfather of Jesse Bowen. He was the great grandfather of Ulysses Fred Bowen and the great, great, grandfather of Leora Maude Bowen Larsen. By coincidence, my mother, Leora Larsen passed away on Easter Sunday, 1998 at age 98. [Curt Larsen]

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Copyright © - 1999 Curt Larsen

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