ELLIS FOWLER is without a doubt, the most overlooked and misunderstood son of Henry Ellis Fowler.  The reasons for this are abundant and clear:

  • extensive use of the name Ellis within this Fowler family
  • undocumented research
  • inaccurate family research published in two or more volumes
  • widespread family trees containing misinformation
  • lack of deeds recorded in the courthouse
  • he left no Last Will and Testament

Born in Virginia circa 1770, Ellis Fowler was the second son of Henry Ellis and Catherine Puckett Fowler.   He married Mary, born in Virginia circa 1780.  It is speculation on my part that he moved into Union County, SC with his father in the 1780’s prior to his marriage to Mary.

Ellis Fowler was enumerated in the 1800 Union County census, along with his young wife, two sons and two daughters all under the age of ten.  It is perhaps safe to say that he and Mary married after 1790 and began their family soon afterward.

The census taker evidently missed the Ellis Fowler family in 1810, as my lengthy searches have uncovered no records so far.  It is a regrettable omission; the decade between 1800 and 1810 may have revealed a better understanding of the number of children born to Mary and Ellis.

The 1820 Union County census confirmed that there had been an abundance of births during the missing decade in the Ellis Fowler household.  There were no less than fifteen persons counted in the home that year.  Mary’s advanced age of 40 leads me to believe that not all of the eight children under the age of ten were born to her and Ellis.  There were two females, aged 16 – 25,  who perhaps had given birth to some of the younger children.  Some of these children under the age of ten, in my opinion, were the grandchildren of Ellis and Mary.  Of special note…..one of the males under age ten was Ellis Fowler born 1810, son of Ellis and Mary.  He was sometimes referred to as Ellis Fowler, Jr. in legal documents.

The Ellis Fowler household was considerably smaller in 1830.  There were only five persons counted in the census record that year. Sixty year old Ellis shared the home with four teens – two females and two males. Conspicuously missing from the home was Mary Fowler, wife of Ellis.

Ellis Fowler, Jr. had married and moved out of his father’s household.  In 1830,  Ellis Fowler, Jr. was head of his own household  which included a young wife, two children under the age of five, and a woman aged 40 to 49.  I have no doubt that the older woman was Mary Fowler who had temporarily moved in with her son and daughter in law to help out with her very young grandchildren.

Mary Fowler had returned to the household of her husband Ellis Fowler by 1840.  There were seven persons in the home including a male under the age of five.  It is difficult to determine the identities of the occupants whom I believe to be both children and grandchildren of Ellis and Mary.

The Union County census of 1850 firmly established that Ellis and Mary were an eldery couple, Ellis at eighty years of age, and Mary, seventy.  Their daughter Winnifred Worthy, widow of James Worthy, lived in the home of her parents with her children Mary, Julia, and James Worthy.  There was also  eleven year old William Worthy in the household, maybe a son of Winnifred, but possibly the son of Winnifred’s sister Fanny who had married William Worthy.

Ellis Fowler had been given a tract of land on which he lived when his father Henry Ellis Fowler’s will was probated in 1808.  I believe this land was part of the land granted to Henry Ellis Fowler in the Kelly-Pinckney area of Union County.  It is probable that Ellis Fowler had moved near the Pacolet River by 1850.  Most of his offspring that I have been able to trace settled near Pacolet, SC and between Jonesville and Gaffney in Cherokee County, SC.

Ellis Fowler and wife Mary were deemed paupers in the 1850 census.  Unlike his older brother Ephraim Fowler who owned numerous tracts of land and is well documented in court house records, there is very little to find regarding Ellis.  The records are almost nonexistent.

The 1850 census record was the last time Ellis Fowler was documented.  His advanced age of eighty in 1850 and his absence in the 1860 census lead me to say with certainty that Ellis died between the years 1850 to 1860.  Where he may be laid to rest, I do not know.

What follows is documentation of Ellis Fowler, son of Henry Ellis Fowler:

While it is unfortunate that Ellis Fowler is often overlooked by amateur genealogists, he was clearly mentioned in his father’s will of 1808………….

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 8.16.07 AM

Ellis Fowler and wife Mary had several children.  Although the exact number is unknown to me, it is certain that they had the following:

  • Ellis Fowler, Jr. b. 1810 married Sarah Clark
  • Nancy Fowler b.1815
  • Winnifred Fowler b. 1822 married James Worthy
  • Fanny Fowler b. 1825 married William Worthy


1800 Union County, SC Census:  Ellis was listed in the age bracket of 26-44.  If the estimated date of his birth of 1770 is correct, this would put him at 30 years of age in 1800.  His wife Mary is listed as 16 to 25, also supporting her birth year of 1780.  Ellis and Mary had 2 sons and 2 daughters under the age of 10.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.22.27 AM

  • ELLIS FOWLER 26-44 
  • MARY FOWLER 16-25
  • MALE < 10
  • MALE < 10
  • FEMALE < 10
  • FEMALE < 10

1820 Union County, SC Census:  Although missing from 1810 census records, Ellis and wife Mary appeared again in 1820 with a greatly enlarged household, which probably included more of their own children as well as grandchildren.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.25.42 AM

  • MARY FOWLER 26-44
  • 1 MALE 16-25
  • 2 (OR 4) MALES < 10
  • 2 FEMALES 16-26
  • 2 FEMALES 10-15
  • 4 FEMALES < 10

1830 Union County, SC Census:  I believe that Ellis would have been in the 50-59 age bracket in 1830.  His wife Mary was missing from the household, and may have been living with her son Ellis, Jr. helping him with the two children under the age of 5 in his household.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.27.00 AM

  • ELLIS FOWLER 60-69
  • 1 MALE 16-19
  • 1 MALE 10-15
  • 1 FEMALE 16-19
  • 1 FEMALE 10-15

1840 Union County, SC Census:  Ellis and wife Mary were now living with a greatly reduced household of only 3 males.  The two older males may have been sons, but the male under 5 would have probably been a grandson.  Note that Ellis was recorded as Ellis Fowler, Sr.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.27.53 AM

  • ELLIS FOWLER 60-69
  • MARY FOWLER 60-69
  • 1 MALE 20-29
  • 1 MALE 16-19
  • 1 MALE < 5
  • 1 FEMALE 30-39
  • 1 FEMALE 10-15

1850 Union County, SC Census:  Ellis and wife Mary were living with their daughter Winnifred Fowler Worthy and her children. Winnifred was the widow of James Worthy.  The William Worthy in this record may not have been the son of Winnifred.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.28.30 AM


As noted near the beginning of this article, Ellis and Mary did not leave wills, nor can I find any estate settlement for them.  They were listed as “paupers” on the 1850 census, and perhaps had little to leave their offspring.

Without a doubt, Ellis and Mary Fowler had more children than I have been able to document.  My research into this family line continues with hopes of discovering more information.  In the meantime, I give to you the known and documented descendants of Mary and Ellis Fowler, son of Henry Ellis Fowler………

HENRY ELLIS FOWLER 1746-1808 m. Catherine Puckett

  • Ellis Fowler 1770- after 1850 m. Mary LNU 1780– after 1850
    • Ellis Fowler 1810–1880 m. Sarah “Sallie” Clark 1825–1880
      • Elizabeth Augilar Fowler 1841–1924 m. Robert Henry Petty Sr 1828–1892
        • Thomas M. Petty 1857–1917 m. Elizabeth  Thompson 1864–1914
          • Ella Florence Petty 1883–1966 m. Charles Herald b. 1879;  m. John R Petty 1885–
            • Lizzie Elizabeth Petty 1907–
            • James Petty 1914–1942
            • Landy Sizemore Petty 1922–1975
          • John Thomas Petty 1889–1958 m. Sallie Texana Jennings 1892–1915; m. Lockie Penley
            • Albert Mayfield Petty 1912–1967 m. Annie Izora Fisher 1916–2005
              • Joe Medwick Petty 1937–1993
              • William Albert Petty 1942–2009
          • Claude Monroe Petty 1893-1932
          • Landan Sizemore “Landy” Petty 1895–1970
          • Lawrence P. Petty 1902–1918
        • Jessie Davis Petty 1861–1913
        • Edna Parmella “Ella” Petty 1864–1935
        • Robert Henry Petty Jr 1866–1941
        • John Lawson Petty 1869–1948
        • Margaret Petty 1870–1955
        • Junius Colombus Petty 1873–
        • James Alexander Petty 1878–1957
        • Samuel Petty 1883–1904
      • Martha Fowler 1844–
      • Julia Fowler 1847–
      • Jesse Fowler 1849–
      • Nancy “Nannie” P. Fowler 1854–1939 m. John Worthy Eison 1849–1913
        • Sallie Hester Eison 1878–1949
        • Esther Eison 1887–1967 
        • John Edward Eison 1895–1921 m. Lola Ethel Lavender 1895–1986
          • Elsie Melvinia Lavender 1914–2002
          • Crawford Coyle Lavender 1918–1995
        • Nannie Eison 1896–
        • Harry Eison 1900–
      • Thomas Fowler 1859–
      • Sarah Purchase Fowler 1860–1933 m. John Andrew Johns 1848–1926
        • Steadman William Fowler 1882-1930 m. Nannie Phillips  1883–1944
          • Beulah Fowler 1903–
          • Buford Paul Fowler 1906–1975 m. Ruby Satterfield 1909–1996
            • Peggy Jean Fowler 1928–1999
            • Carl Hewitt Fowler Sr 1934–2012
            • Delores Fowler 1937–2010 m. Troy Roe
            • Cheryl Jane Fowler 1943–2009 m. Lawson
          • Cecil Fowler 1909–
          • Ruth Fowler 1913–1995
          • Gladys Fowler 1916–
          • Warren Fowler 1918–
        • Nellie Fowler 1890-
        • John Grover Fowler 1890-1952 m. Pearl Thomas 1887-1948; m. Margaret Clippard
        • Fred Mark Fowler 1895–1956 m. Bessie Norris 1901–1990
          • Louise Cornelia Fowler 1921–1981 m. Furman F Tomberlin 1922–2009
          • Sarah M Fowler 1923–2012
          • Marie Fowler 1925– m. James Muriel McCormick 1926–2000
          • Fred Mark Fowler Jr. 1929– m. Marie Georgette Legrand
          • Betty Jean Fowler 1930–2006 m. Robert Evans Goodwin 1931–
          • Phyllis Ann Fowler 1933– m. William Edward Crump Jr 1930
          • Sylvia Grovene Fowler 1939– m. Larry Joel Graham
      • Lotty Fowler 1862-
    • Nancy Fowler 1815–1880
    • Winnifred Fowler 1822– m. James Worthy 1809–1850
      • Mary Worthy 1838–
      • William Columbus Worthy 1841–1914
      • Julia Worthy 1842–
      • James F. Worthy 1842–1921
    • Fanny Fowler 1825–1852 m. William Worthy 1813–1880
      • William Columbus Worthy 1843–
      • Mahala Rebecca Worthy 1845–1925 m. Walter Gaines Fowler 1828–1870
        • Alpha Ethel Fowler 1868–1929 m. Thomas Samuel Garner b. 1864; m. John Joab Crawford 1868–1954
          • William Hoyt Garner 1884–1957
          • Arthur Duboy Garner 1886–1963
          • Eathan Guy Garner 1888–1969
          • Grace L Garner 1890–1891
          • Hugh Garner 1893–1894
          • Walter E. Garner 1895–1896
          • Gary McKinley Garner Sr 1897–1993
          • Roy Garner 1901–
          • Thomas Garner 1903–1903
        • Bettie Fowler 1870–1894 m. Jackson
          • Jesse C. Jackson 1893-
      • Mary “Polly” Worthy 1847–
      • Nancy Elizabeth Worthy 1850–1895 m. Robert Norris Leonard 1847–1904
        • Anna Victoria Leonard 1872–1946
        • Fannie Leonard 1875–1961
        • James Hood Leonard 1878–1949
        • Robert Norris Leonard Jr 1883–1959
        • Minnie Lee Leonard 1884–1987
        • Mae Leonard 1888–1969
        • Bernice Leonard 1893–1894
        • Emma Leonard


more to come……………………


18 thoughts on “ELLIS FOWLER 1770-after 1850, son of Henry Ellis Fowler

  1. HELP! I believe strongly that my ancestor WILLIAM FOWLER was the son of Ellis. I have no proof but here are the clues. However please clarify was the ELLIS in this report actually HENRY ELLIS JR?
    1-My ancestor William was born 1790-1800. He was on the 1840 Census of Henderson County, NC listed as being born in South Carolina. His first 3 sons were also born in SC.
    2-I have found no record of William or these sons or his wife in South Carolina. Of course first names were not listed of children. But I have no record of a William in SC that fits the description.
    3-William of course was one of the most common names. But my story is complicated further by the wife’s name. He married ELIZABETH (unknown) about 1817-18. How easy is that name to find!
    William was born Abt. 1800 in South Carolina, and died Abt. 1857. He married (1) Elizabeth Unknown Abt. 1817. She was born Abt. 1798 in South Carolina, and died Abt. 1850. He married (2) Jane McCarson 11 Jan 1856, daughter of James McCarson and Martha Richardson. She was born Abt. 1814.
    Children of William Fowler and Elizabeth Unknown are:
    i. Lemuel B. Fowler, born Abt. 1818 in South Carolina; died Abt. 1884 in Transylvania Co. North Carolina. He married (1) Mariah Margaret Galloway Abt. 1837; born Abt. 1820; died Abt. 1866 in Transylvania Co. North Carolina. He married (2) Nancy Kimley McGaha Abt. 1870; born Abt. 1848.
    ii. George Washington Fowler, born Abt. 1820 in South Carolina. He married Elizabeth Elmira Guice Abt. 1842; born Abt. 1825.
    iii. Martin Fowler, born Abt. 1821 in South Carolina; died 03 Nov 1895 in Mills River, NC. He married Mary Phoebe Corn; born 1826 in North Carolina; died Oct 1904 in Henderson County, NC.
    iv. Berry Benjamin Fowler, born 05 Jan 1822 in South Carolina; died 13 Feb 1914. He married Sarah Sallie McCarson Abt. 1840; born Abt. 1822; died 06 Jan 1884.
    v. James Tinsley Fowler, born Abt. 1825 in South Carolina; died Abt. 1885. He married (1) Mattie Lee Martin; born Abt. 1830; died Abt. 1869. He married (2) Eliza Gallion Abt. 1842; born Abt. 1828 in North Carolina; died Abt. 1874. He married (3) Louisa Unknown Abt. 1876; born Abt. 1839.
    vi. John Jackson Fowler, born Abt. 1830; died Apr 1902 in Henderson County, NC. He married Arminta Priscilla Hulda Bradley 16 Aug 1858 in Henderson County, NC; born Sep 1844.
    vii. Dorothy Fowler, born Abt. 1832. She married Jason Brown; born Abt. 1826
    5-It may be coincidental, but Union County, SC is the only one which also listed that year a MARTIN FOWLER and a LEMUEL FOWLER. They are not the same, but this may indicate someone in the same family.
    6-My ancestor is MARTIN who married Phoebe Corn. He named a son, my great grandfather PINCKNEY. I know that Pinckney was a common SC name, for the governor, but it MIGHT be that Martin was naming him for PINCKNEY TOWNSHIP in UNION COUNTY. As you know, Pinckneyville was going to be the capital of the Upstate until the railroad passed through Union. Now it is a ghost “town” on the Broad.
    7- A statement by the recorder of Ellis Fowler’s history in the House Of Fowler Book says that Lt. Ellis Fowler was the ancestor of all the Fowler families of the Piedmont area of SC at that time. I question this, but have found a fairly reliable common origin for Ellis, Richard of Newberry, Josiah of Laurens, and William of Greenville. (John Fowler, father of Godfrey in Virginia)
    8- Ellis died about 1808, and his holdings were divided among his sons. This was about the time people were leaving Union for other areas, to Greenville, to NC, and to GA. A grandson might be tempted to sell his small inheritance to seek better chances elsewhere. Ellis had several sons, but only 3 had descendants who remained in Union. (To my knowledge)
    9- The Fowlers of Union beginning with Ellis Fowler’s grant lived in PINCKNEY TOWNSHIP, and I can see the naming of Pinckney more in memory of that than of the famous governor and his family.
    10- The Honorable Godfrey Fowler in 1897 (member of the SC House) recalled visiting as a child a cousin Fowler in NC, who ran a store. (This may mean nothing, other than there was proof that some of the family relocated in NC. No county mentioned.)
    11- It would not have been difficult or an arduous journey for a family at that time to move up the Green River Road from Grindle Shoals in Union County to Island Ford between Spartanburg and Rutherford, and then on up to Henderson County. That is not a long distance. Or it is entirely possible that a Fowler family moved to Greenville County, as did the McJunkin family, from Union, and then on to the area now in Henderson County, adjacent to Henderson, in search of work or cheap land.


    1. Hi Richard,
      Thanks for you comments.

      You absolutely need to yDNA test if you want to find your Fowler origins.

      The subject of the article posted is Ellis Fowler b. 1770, son of Henry Ellis Fowler and Catherine Puckett.

      It can be confusing to researchers as there were five Ellis Fowlers in Union County as the 19th century dawned:

      1. Henry Ellis Fowler b.1746
      2. Ellis Fowler b.1770
      3. Ellis Fowler b. 1810

      The above men were father, son, and grandson respectively.

      1. Henry Ellis Fowler was married to Catherine Puckett.


      1. 2. Ellis Fowler b. 1770 was married to Mary. He was also known as Ellis Fowler Sr. on legal documents.

        3. Ellis Fowler b. 1810 was married to Sarah Clark. He was referred to as Ellis Fowler Jr. in legal records.

        There were also two additional Ellis Fowlers:

        4. Ellis Fowler (son of Ephraim ) married to Sarah Mabry

        5. Ellis Fowler (son of Mark) married to Jane Hodge


      2. Henry Ellis Fowler did have a son named William. William died in Union County in 1812 and could not have been your ancestor.

        Henry Ellis Fowler was NOT the ancestor of all Fowlers in the Piedmont. DNA testing has revealed at least 3 different Fowler lines in Union County SC:
        The Henry Ellis Fowler line
        The Israel Fowler line
        The Coleman Fowler line

        Regarding your comments about the coincidence of the names Martin and Lemuel:

        The Martin Fowler in Union County SC was a descendant of the Coleman Fowler line.

        The Henry Ellis Fowler line has several descendants who were named Coleman.

        Lemuel Fowler was a name used by both the Henry Ellis Fowler and Israel Fowler lines.


      3. Yes I already did all the research on Henry Ellis Fowler married to Catherine Puckett and his son William, I already researched him. I have been to the area of the grant to Henry Ellis Fowler, know the story of his commanding officer Wymack and the safe journey of his wife with Henry Ellis etc. My feeling is that his son ELLIS or HENRY ELLIS JR born about 1770 whichever it is could easily be the father of my William born about 1790-1800.I never believed the story that Henry Ellis was the ancestor of all the piedmont Fowlers, because my MOTHER (maiden name Teague) was connected distantly to Fowler lines in Laurens County that were not descendants of Henry Ellis Fowler. There are also at least two lines that came to future Greenville County directly from Virginia. Your response is appreciated, sorry that I may not have been totally clear about the possible father of my ancestor William. Richard


      4. Hi Richard,

        The only son of Ellis Fowler b.1770 that I have been able to document is Ellis Fowler b. 1810 who married Sarah Clark.

        The 1800 Union County Census shows that there were two sons born to Ellis and Mary Fowler between 1790 to 1800. I HAVE NOT YET BEEN ABLE TO DETERMINE THE NAMES OF THE TWO SONS. It is possible that your ancestor was one of these sons. Since Ellis and Mary Fowler were not counted in the 1810 census, it makes research a little difficult following their offspring.

        Please keep me updated on your research and especially if you do yDNA test!


      5. yes thank you I had the Sarah Clark, but your listing of further descendants was very helpful. It may be that someone in that line is aware of the other brother. I cast my vote for my ancestor William but WITH NO PROOF except for the note that he was born in SC on the census. I think I eliminated every other William (based on census and some family histories) born about this same time born in SC as not eligible. As far as I can see the UNKNOWN son of Ellis is very likely to be William. Another clue to his wife ELIZABETH may be found in the names of the sons if the trend that so many families of this time was followed (to name a son for the wife’s father, or a daughter for her mother, etc.)


      6. Your next step should be to order a yDNA test. If your results show Haplogroup I -Lineage IV, then you are descended from the Henry Ellis Fowler line. It is possible that your ancestor William was a son of Ellis and Mary Fowler. There are also other Fowler men born in the late 1790s who lived in Union County that could have been sons of Ellis and Mary. (Reuben Fowler. Andrew Fowler. Thomas Fowler of Pacolet SC) There are also possibilities that your ancestor William was descended from a son of John Fowler d. 1818. If you get your DNA results, I will help you research.

        Also, I have atDNA tested several Henry Ellis Fowler descendants using FTDNA. Have you uploaded your results from ancestry to either FTDNA or GEDmatch? It would be interesting and helpful to see if you match these descendants.


      7. Pinckney was a name used in the Israel Fowler line.

        Richard Fowler or Newberry, Josiah Fowler of Laurens, and
        William Fowler of Greenville….. unless there is yDNA testing of descendants, I would not jump to any conclusions that these men were descended from the John Fowler line from Virginia.

        DNA testing has proven that the yDNA haplogroup for the John Fowler of Virginia line is Haplogroup I – Lineage IV.

        If you are using House of Fowler as a primary source of information please use caution and document. There are many mistakes on the book and yDNA testing has proven that the author himself was not descended from the Fowler family that he wrote about.

        The sons of Henry Ellis Fowler were as follows:

        All of these sons remained in Union County SC until their deaths. Most of the Union County Fowler families today are descendants of the Henry Ellis Fowler line. There are a few living descendants who carry the DNA of both the Henry Ellis Fowler and Israel Fowler lines.

        I believe that I have located the original land granted to Henry Ellis Fowler. This land is not in the Pinckney township.

        If you have exhausted your paper trail research, the next logical step is yDNA testing. I suggest FTDNA.com and please join the Fowler Surname Project.


      8. Be assured that I am not using House of Fowler as an authority because I too have found numerous errors in it. Thanks Very much Richard


      9. I did the DNA with Ancestry, but that is probably not enough. Yes I have all three of the Ellis Fowler’s that you listed and feel that #2 would be in line to be the logical parent of my ancestor William born 1790-1800.
        Tell me how to do the DNA if Ancestry’s is not suitable.
        Thanks for your reply


      10. Hi Richard,
        Family Tree DNA will have a Father’s Day sale. You should order a test of at least 37 markers and join the Fowler Surname Project. We have excellent researchers working on the project and I feel that this will greatly help you find your ancestor.


  2. I have same interest in the William Fowler who is the father of Martin, who is the father of Davis Fowler my great grandfather. Have you secured further information about William? Fred


  3. Richard Fowler, after reading this, I hope you get this message. If you are the Richard Lee Fowler searching for William Fowler, I want to tell you that we are cousins through the results of FTDNA. We are Gen Dist 1 on your 32 markers. My fathers DNA was done to the distance of the Big Y 500 and his line is I M 253, Y32356I 1a1b1a and i have documented my Fowler line through documentation to Aaron Fowler b abt 1796 SC and died 1844 in GA. If you have ancestry, I have my family tree there.


  4. This might be completely out of the picture, but I have a feeling that Mary might be the origin of my mother’s West African DNA. It could be why there are so few records for the family. Or one of her parents, making her mixed race. I might be completely wrong, however I know it comes from SC, and I only have one close ancestor who came from there. It could also explain their status as paupers. I have no evidence though, so who knows.


    1. Hi Olivia, You and I may be able to solve a genetic mystery. Your feeling about the West African DNA may be correct. I have long suspected that Andrew Fowler (b. ca. 1804) was a son of Ellis Fowler (b. 1770) and his wife Mary (b. 1880). Andrew Fowler had a son named Richard Fowler (b. 1842) who was recorded in different census records as white sometimes, and mulatto sometimes. Have you DNA tested? I would love to discuss by email or phone what you know and tell you what I have found out. Please email me at debfowler@aol.com. Thanks so much for your comments. Deb


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