On Sunday, October 8, 1882, the old Hawkins iron bridge spanning the Little River in Cherokee County, Georgia collapsed from the weight of more than one hundred and fifty persons gathered to watch a baptism in the waters below.

Elbert Fowler was among the twenty five or so who were critically injured.  He was “badly mashed with a severe gash on the forehead; ribs broken…..will probably die.”

Did he die?  Was this “our” Elbert Fowler?  The time and place certainly fit.

B. Elbert Fowler was born circa 1830 in Union County, South Carolina, son of Ellis Fowler (1805-before 1840) and Sarah “Sallie” Mabry (1808-after 1850).  Ellis was the son of Ephraim Fowler and Nancy Moseley; and Ephraim Fowler was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1846-1808).

ELLIS FOWLER 1805-before 1840, son of Ephraim

Ellis and Sarah Mabry Fowler had four children before his early death:

  • Henry Richard Fowler 1825-1885
  • Julia Fowler 1828-1880
  • B. Elbert Fowler 1830- 1882
  • Mary Jane Fowler 1833- after 1850

Malinda Susannah Newbury (Newberry) was the daughter of Henry Newbury (1800- after 1880) and Malinda Millie Roberts (b. 1809).  The Henry Newbury family may have been living in Spartanburg County in 1830, and were in the Pinckneyville area of Union County by 1870.

B. Elbert Fowler — was “B” for Benjamin?  The name was passed on down the generations — married Malinda Susannah Newbury circa 1850/1851.  They had eight children during their marriage, four daughters, then four sons:

  • Mary Fowler 1852– before 1900
  • Texanna Jane Fowler 1856–1923
  • Susan Northa Fowler 1858– before 1900
  • Harriett Fowler 1861– before 1900
  • John Marion Fowler 1861–1909
  • Benjamin Fowler 1862–
  • Henry R Fowler 1870–1933
  • Calvin Fowler 1873– before 1900

B. Elbert Fowler and his three siblings (Henry Richard Fowler, Julia Fowler Sprouse, and Mary Jane Fowler) inherited their deceased father Ellis Fowler’s 1/8 share of the estate of Ephraim Fowler, father of Ellis.

Henry Richard Fowler bought the shares of his siblings in 1849, and shortly thereafter sold the shares to William Bevis.  This transactions took place in Union County, SC perhaps before the B. Elbert Fowler family moved to Cherokee County Georgia.  William Sprouse signed the document for his wife Julia.

The document proves beyond all doubt that these four persons were the children of Ellis Fowler, son of Ephraim Fowler.  For a detailed article regarding the estate settlement of Ephraim Fowler, I add this link: The Final Estate Settlement of EPHRAIM FOWLER: Darkas, Mahala, Dorcas, and Charlotte




Elbert and his wife Susannah moved from Union County, South Carolina to Cherokee County, Georgia before the births of their children, who were all recorded as born in Georgia on the 1860 census.

The B. Elbert Fowler family lived beside another Fowler household in 1860, that of Rebecca Fowler and her children.  I am alone — and way out on a limb — when I state that this Rebecca Fowler was the widow of Mark Fowler, son of Big Mark Fowler (son of Henry Ellis Fowler) of Union County, SC and his wife Elizabeth Moseley.

Everyone else on the planet thinks that this Mark Fowler married to Rebecca in Cherokee Georgia was the son of Moses Fowler and Rebecca Carlton.  I’ve seen no documentation to support that theory.  Admittedly, I have no documentation either, but I do know that some of Big Mark Fowler and Elizabeth Mosely’s grandchildren were born in Georgia, and Rebecca Fowler was living next door to Elbert Fowler, a documented descendant of Henry Ellis Fowler.  Until I find definite proof, I will continue to keep Mark Fowler married to Rebecca in my family tree as a son of Big Mark Fowler, and a grandson of Henry Ellis Fowler.  I do not mind being alone in my speculation.

Screen Shot 2019-06-01 at 11.20.19 PM.png
1860 Cherokee County GA Census
  • Elbert Fowler 27
  • Susan Fowler 25
  • Mary Fowler 8
  • Texana Fowler 6
  • Susan Fowler  2                                                  
  • Rebecca Fowler  50
  • Toliver 22
  • Leland? 16
  • Martha 12
  • George 10
  • Mary 7

In 1870, Elbert Fowler and three of his children — Mary, Harriet, and Benjamin — are conspicuously missing from census records.

Susan Fowler and three children — Texanna, (Susan) Northa, and John Marion — were counted in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Where was Elbert Fowler and why was the family split in half in 1870?

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 10.36.22 AM.png
1870 Cherokee County, GA Census

Elbert Fowler was back with his family by 1880.  Two more sons had been born in the preceding decade — Henry R. Fowler circa 1870/1871, and Calvin circa 1873.

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 10.49.53 AM
1880 Cherokee County GA Census

Two years later, October 8, 1882, the Hawkins bridge collapsed, tossing an Elbert Fowler of Cherokee County, Georgia and dozens of other men, women, and children into the Little River below.  In 1888, Melinda Susannah Newbury Fowler married Benjamin Franklin Haskall in Harelson County, Georgia. Circumstantial evidence indicates that it was our B. Elbert Fowler who was thrown from the bridge.  I can find no other Elbert Fowler in Cherokee County Georgia in 1882.  (Elbert Leland Fowler, son of Mark Fowler and Rebecca died in 1873).    Susan Fowler was surely a widow when she married Mr. Haskall in 1888.

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 11.11.50 AM.png
Marriage License of B.F. Haskall and Mrs. M. S. Fowler

Malinda Susannah Newbury Fowler Haskall was a widow by 1900.  She lived with her son Henry R. Fowler and his wife Georgia in Calhoun County Alabama.  The census records indicate that she had given birth to eight children, and only four still were living.

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 11.19.47 AM.png
1900 Calhoun County Alabama Census

Malinda Susan Newbury Fowler Haskall died in Chattanooga Tennessee in April 1905, and was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee.

Screen Shot 2019-06-02 at 11.27.11 AM.png
Tennessee Death Records 1905

Now it is time to take a look at the eight children of B. Elbert Fowler and Malinda Susannah Newbury.

MARY FOWLER was born in 1852.  The only census record in which she was recorded was the 1860 census of Cherokee County, Georgia.  It is possible that she lived with her father Elbert Fowler in 1870 –the year he was missing from census records.  It is also possible that she had married and had a different surname in 1870, or that she had died before 1870.  Even though I am unsure of her fate, it is likely that Mary Fowler had died before 1900.  More research is needed and will be done.

TEXANNA JANE FOWLER was born in 1854.  Or 1855 or 1856.  Fortunately, there are several census records documenting her existence.  She married twice, to Joseph H. Jones and Charles C. Hoffman.  She had three children: Lillian Jones born 1877, Charlie Hoffman born 1893,  and one child whose name has not come across my research radar.

Texanna is found in 1860 and 1870 in the household of her parents (1860) and of her mother (1870).  She married Joseph H. Jones on November 14, 1872 and was recorded with him in 1880 along with daughter Lillian Jones in Cobb County, Georgia.

The year 1900 finds her in the household with husband Charles Hoffman (b. 1865).  Mr. Hoffman immigrated from Denmark in 1880.  Their seven year old son Charlie is also in the household.  Texanna had been married to Charles Hoffman since 1882 and had given birth three times with three children still living.  It is apparent that she had two children with Joseph Jones, and the last child with Charles Hoffman.

In 1910, Texanna Fowler Jones Hoffman lived in Atlanta, Fulton County Georgia.

Texanna lived in the John H. Sprouse household in Atlanta in 1920.  John Henry Sprouse was the son of McSwain “Doc” Sprouse, son of William Sprouse and Julia Fowler, sister of B. Elbert Fowler. Julia Fowler Sprouse was Texanna’s aunt; Texanna and John H. Sprouse were first cousins once removed.

Texanna Fowler Jones Hoffman died in Chambers County Alabama in May 1923.  She is buried in Langdale, Alabama.

SUSAN NORTHA FOWLER was born circa 1858.  She was living with Elbert and Susan Fowler in 1860, and with Susan Fowler in 1870.  I do not know if she married but she probably died before 1900.  I can find nothing else about her life.

HARRIET FOWLER was born in 1861.  She must have been off somewhere with her father as she was not in the 1870 census record with her mother Susan Fowler.  Harriet was recorded in 1880 with Elbert and Susan Fowler and she was listed as a daughter, age 19.  Was she the twin sister of John Marion Fowler?  I have not found any further records and unsure if she married.  I believe that she died before 1900.

JOHN MARION FOWLER was born in 1861.  He was in the household with his mother Susan Fowler in 1870, and in the household with both parents in 1880.  He married Nora Louise Strozier in 1886.  They had twelve children.  John Marion Fowler was recorded in the 1900 census in Wilkinson County Georgia.  He died in 1909.

BENJAMIN FOWLER was born circa 1862.  He was one of the children missing in the 1870 census records and must have been with his father that year.  He was recorded in 1880 living in the household with both Elbert and Susan Fowler.

HENRY R. FOWLER is recorded in documentation as having been born on October 16, 1869.  He was not recorded with his mother Susan Fowler in the 1870 census and I have a difficult time believing that he was one of the children missing with Elbert Fowler that year.  I do believe that his date of birth may have been in 1870 or even 1871.

Henry R Fowler married Georgia Harris circa 1889.  They did not have children which is probably fortunate: they moved around a lot.

Henry was recorded in 1880 in Cherokee County Georgia with his parents.  He was in Alabama in 1900 with wife Georgia and his mother Malinda Susan.  He must have lived briefly in Chattanooga Tennessee for that is where his mother died in 1905.

Henry and Georgia, still childless, lived in Los Angeles California in 1910.  By 1920, they were back in Georgia…… Atlanta to be precise.  In 1930, they lived in Houston Texas.

Henry R. Fowler must have been a jack-of-all trades as well as having a dose of wander lust.  He died in Harris County Texas on February 3, 1933.

CALVIN FOWLER was the last child born to Elbert and Susan Fowler.  He was born circa 1873.  He was recorded in the 1880 census with his parents.  That is all I know.

  • Henry Ellis Fowler 1746-1808 m. Catherine Puckett
    • Ephraim Fowler 1765-1822 m. Nancy Moseley
      • Ellis Fowler 1805-before 1840 m. Sarah Mary
        • B. Elbert Fowler 1830-1882 m. Malinda Susannah Newbury 1833-1905
          • Mary Fowler 1852–
          • Texanna Jane Fowler 1856–1923 m. Joseph H. Jones; m. Charles Hoffman
            • Lillian Jones
            • unknown Jones
            • Charlie Hoffman
          • Susan Northa Fowler 1858–
          • Harriett Fowler 1861–
          • John Marion Fowler 1861–1909
            • Bennie L. Fowler 1888-
            • Wilson S. Fowler 1893-1968
            • Herbert F. Fowler 1895-1915
            • Walter Godard Fowler 1899-1984
              • Walter Godard Fowler, Jr. 1939-1999
            • Johnny Clemons Fowler 1901-1965
            • James Earl Fowler 1902-1985
            • Edward Jefferson Fowler 1904-1967
              • Jefferson Edward Fowler 1941-2007
            • Charles D. Fowler 1906-1925
          • Benjamin Fowler 1862–
          • Henry R Fowler 1870–1933
          • Calvin Fowler 1873- 

I leave for last, the newspaper articles from the Atlanta Constitution reporting the tragic collapse of the Hawkins bridge in 1882.  Elbert Fowler is mentioned in both articles.  Perhaps someday I will find the documentation to determine if this man was one and the same as B. Elbert Fowler, son of Ellis, son of Ephraim.

elbert bridge 1.jpg
The Atlanta Constitution October 10, 1882
elbert bridge 2.jpg
The Atlanta constitution October 11, 1882

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