“He sleeps his last sleep; he has fought his last battle.  No sound can awake him to glory again.”          Heath, Lyman, “Grave of Bonaparte” (1843). Historic Sheet Music Collection.

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W.G. Fowler died 14 March 1899 of grippe.  He was a member of Foster’s Chapel Methodist Church, where he was buried.  Bill and his son (just a lad) fought from the beginning of the Civil War until General Lee surrendered at Appomatox.  His oldest son, George, was also with him at the surrender.  They both belonged to Colonel I.G. McKissick’s Company.  He had been staying at his two sons the last 2 weeks of his life (being unable to do any hard labor).  His wife has been dead for several years.  He was buried at Foster’s Chapel.   (from the March 31, 1899 issue of the Union Times)

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By the time you get to the end of this article, you are going to realize that I know very little about William G. Fowler — because I frankly do not know who William G. Fowler was, whence he came, or from what Fowler family he descends.  I do, however,  know much about the Bevis family that he married into and I hope that one day this knowledge will lead to a better understanding of William G. Fowler.

The life of William Bevis was interwoven with the Henry Ellis Fowler family in many ways.  I have analyzed historical records and documents over and over in order to determine the Fowler line from which William G. Fowler descends.  My theory places him in the Henry Ellis Fowler family, and speculation on my part that he may have been a son of Mark Fowler, son of John Fowler the Elder and Fannie.  He may also have been part of the Ephraim Fowler branch of the family. 

It must be pointed out that William G. Fowler was NOT the son of Thomas G. Fowler and his wife Susannah Hames.  I have seen this mistake in many family trees on-line.  I’m not sure where this error began but the Thomas Gillman Fowler Family Bible does not have a William G. Fowler recorded in the births, marriages or deaths of the family.  Other records and documents also do not give evidence of this relationship.

William G. Fowler was born circa 1825, and he married Salina Bevis  circa 1844.  Salena Bevis was the daughter of  William Bevis, born in 1807 in Union County, SC and the son of Zachariah Bevis and Phebe Perkinson (1781-1875).

William Bevis was married three times: first to Hannah Gault (1808-1826) on March 8, 1824; he wed second wife Zillah Hames (1812-1876) at the home of her father John Hames on May 5, 1829; and his third wife was Letta Spencer whom he married on March 8, 1877, and divorced before June 1880.

Hannah Gault gave birth to two daughters during her brief marriage to William BevisSalena Bevis was the first daughter born on June 24, 1824.  Her sister, Rebecca Bevis, was born December 13, 1825 and died a little less than two months later on February 3, 1826.  Hannah Gault Bevis followed her youngest daughter to the grave fifteen days later on February 18.

Zillah Hames was the daughter of John Hames and Sarah Fowler, daughter of Ephraim Fowler and Nancy Moseley.  William Bevis and Zillah had many children as well as a long life together until her death in 1876.

William G. Fowler and Salena Bevis had two sons and two daughters.  The naming pattern (George, Vesta Ann, Isaac, and Dora) does not offer any clues to the origins of William G. Fowler.  It will take yDNA testing to positively identify William G. Fowler’s paternal line.

In 1850, William G. Fowler, wife Salena, son George, and daughter Vesta Ann lived adjacent to the William Bevis family.  In addition to William, wife Zillah Hames and all of their Bevis children, William’s mother Phebe Perkinson Bevis Gault, a free black man named John Johnson, and a shoemaker named Henry Tucker were included in the household.

It should be noted that William Bevis owned a tanning yard, and John Johnson listed “tanner” as his occupation.

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1850 Union County SC Census

William G. Fowler and Salena Bevis had added two more children to their family before 1860: son George was now 12, daughter Vesta Ann was 10, son Isaac was 8, and an infant daughter, Dora, was 8 months.

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1860 Union County Census

Isaac Going McKissick (b. 1825 in Union County SC) was the son of Joseph and Rhoda Palmer McKissick.  Isaac McKissick enlisted on January 12, 1861, and rose through the ranks from private to Captain of his own Company D, Cavalry Battalion, Holcombe Legion to Lieutenant Colonel of the Holcombe Legion cavalry battalion  Company C, 7th Regiment of SC Cavalry.   Although wounded in May 1864 and sent back to Unionville to recover, Isaac McKissick had returned to the war in time for the surrender with his regiment on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House.  Isaac McKissick married at the end of the war, raised a family and became involved in politics.  He died in 1896 and was buried at the Old Presbyterian Cemetery in Union.

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Isaac Going McKissick

William G. Fowler and his oldest son George enlisted in the Holcombe Legion Cavalry Battalion under the leadership of Lt. Col. Isaac G. McKissick.  They were with him at the beginning of the war as well as when the last shot of the Civil War was fired.  They had managed to stay alive on the battlefield until the very end, and they were at the Appomattox Court House surrender.  William G. Fowler was not a young man when the war started and surely felt his years when it was over.  George Fowler was not much more than a child when the war began; no doubt, he had become a man by its conclusion.

In 1870, William G. Fowler and Salena Bevis, in their mid-forties, had twenty-three year old George, eighteen-year old Isaac, and ten-year old Dora in the household.  Vesta Ann Fowler was also in the home,  known in 1870 as Vesty Porter, aged twenty.  During the last decade, she had married Jedithan Porter, and given birth to sons John Little Porter (1866-1914) and William Edward Porter (1868-1900).

Vesta Ann Fowler Porter and her two sons were in the household with her parents William G. Fowler and Salena, but her husband was missing.  Was she a widow?  No.  In 1870, Jedithan Porter lived alone in a household adjacent to his son by his first wife,  Hezekiah Sylvanus Porter and family.

Who was Jedithan Porter?  He was born in 1813, a son of Hezekiah Porter (1775-1830) and Sarah Clark (1790-1865).  He was first married to Margaret McKissick (1819-1861), a daughter of Joseph McKissick and Rhoda Palmer.  If you have been paying attention, then you know that Margaret McKissick was a sister to Lt. Col Isaac Going McKissick, Civil War commander of William G. Fowler and George Fowler.

So… William G. Fowler’s daughter Vesta Ann Fowler married  Jedithan Porter, widower of Margaret McKissick, brother of Isaac McKissick., commander of William G. Fowler.  

Vesta Ann and Jedithan Porter had another son, Landrum Vernon Porter, born in 1872.  Jedithan Porter died in 1874.

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1870 Union County SC Census

With the death of Jedithan Porter, Vesta Ann Fowler Porter was truly a widow.  She was free to marry again; and so she did.  Vesta Ann Fowler Porter married John M. Bevis (1845- 1883), son of William Bevis and Zillah Hames.  Her mother Selena Bevis Fowler’s half-brother.  Her half-uncle.  

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John M. Bevis had been married before — to Eliza Disor Holcombe (b. 1842).  Eliza had given birth to two sons, Charles Bevis (1867-1900) and Joseph Crawford Bevis (1869-1958).

John M. Bevis and Vesta Ann had three children together: James E. Bevis (1876-1900), Anderson Bell Bevis (1878-1900), and Nora B. Bevis (1879-1904).

Never mind that Nora B. Bevis later married William Lyles, whose mother Lettie Gregory Lyles Spencer became the third wife of William Bevis.  That’s a story for another day.

In 1880, Vesta Ann Fowler Porter Bevis and second husband (and half-uncle) John M. Bevis were living a Brady Bunch existence.  Although everyone in the household was assigned the surname of Bevis, three of the children were fathered by Jedithan Porter, five were fathered by John Bevis, two were the children of Eliza Holcombe, and six were the children of Vesta Ann Fowler.  

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  • John M. Bevis 34
  • Vesta Ann Fowler Porter Bevis 30
  • John L. Porter 14 (son of Jedithan Porter and Vesta Ann Fowler)
  • Charles Bevis 12 (son of John M. Bevis and Eliza Holcombe)
  • William Edward Porter 11 (son of Jedithan Porter and Vesta Ann Fowler)
  • Joseph Crawford Bevis 10 (son of John M. Bevis and Eliza Holcombe)
  • Landrum Vernon Porter 9 (son of Jedithan Porter and Vesta Ann Fowler)
  • James E. Bevis 5 (son of John M. Bevis and Vesta Ann Fowler)
  • Anderson Bell Bevis 3 (son of John M. Bevis and Vesta Ann Fowler)
  • Nora B. Bevis 8 months (daughter of John M. Bevis and Vesta Ann Fowler)

You can see in the 1880 census clip below that William G. Fowler and Salena Bevis lived next door to son George Fowler and his family, and next door to Caroline Bevis (half sister of Salena) and her three children.

George Fowler had taken a wife in the decade between 1870 to 1880.  He married his cousin Ida Johnson (b. 1860), a daughter of William Johnson (b. 1834) and Frances Fowler (b. 1840).

William Johnson was a son of Wyatt Johnson, and a grandson of the William and Lois Johnson clan whose descendants intermarried often with the Henry Ellis Fowler descendants.

Frances Fowler was the daughter of Lemuel H. Fowler (1808-1865) and Milly Mitchell, a descendant of the Rev. Elias Mitchell.  Lemuel H. Fowler was the son of John Fowler the Hatter (d. 1833).

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1880 Union County SC Census

George Fowler and Ida Johnson had five children:

  • Hessie Fowler 1879–1901
  • Urphie Bell Fowler 1884–1979
  • William Audry Fowler 1888–1979
  • George Leonard Fowler 1891–1933
  • Anthony Wade Fowler 1895–1950

Hessie Fowler married her cousin Robert Newton O’Shields (1881–1950).  Robert was the son of William Franklin O’Shields (1857-1935) and Jannie Dunnaway (1862-1911).  Jannie was the daughter of Abraham Dunnaway (1830-1864) and Mary Hames (1836-1908).  Mary was the daughter of Lydia Fowler (d. after 1850) and Charles HamesLydia was the daughter of Ephraim Fowler (1765-1822), son of Patriarch Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

As did many women of that era, Hessie Fowler died shortly after childbirth, leaving husband Robert O’Shields with a babe in arms.  I do not know if the child survived.  Hessie’s obituary was reported in the local newspapers:

Mrs. Robert O’Shields died at her home on factory hill last Sunday (21 April 1901).  The remains were interred at Foster’s Chapel Monday. (from the April 26, 1901 Union Times)

Mrs. Hessie O’Shields, daughter of George Fowler and wife of Robert O’Shields, died Sunday, 21 April 1901.  She leaves a little babe one week old, a husband, father, mother, sisters and brothers.  (from the April 24, 1901 issue of the Progress)

After the death of Hessie, Robert O’Shields married Mattie Sims (1886-1932), and they had three sons.  Mattie was related to the Charles Sims family which had many ties to the Henry Ellis Fowler family.  Sadly, Mattie was committed to the South Carolina State Hospital for the Insane in 1929, and died there in 1932.

Urphie Bell Fowler was the second daughter of George Fowler and Ida Johnson.  She married twice — first to Henry Harrison “Hal” Hicks (1883–1915); they had a son, Herman, and daughters Louise Imogene, Vera, and Evelyn.  After the death of Hal, Urphie Bell married Fred Samuel Miller (1901–1970).  Fred Samuel Miller Jr. (1928–2015) was born from this second union.

William Audrey Fowler (1888-1979) married Jennie May Waldrip (1892–1974) and the couple had two sons:  Elliott Earl Fowler Sr (1916–1999) and Donald Audry Fowler (1932–2009).

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Donald A. Fowler

Named after his father George, George Leonard Fowler married a distant cousin —Ella Lane Kelly (1894–1982).  Ella was the daughter of Abraham Silas Kelly (1859-1911) and Leila Fowler (1862-1947), a daughter of Gazzaway Fowler (1825-1887) and Elmira Smith (1839-1911).  Gazzaway Fowler was a son of Thomas Gillman Fowler (1798-1880), son of Godfrey Fowler (1773-1850), son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

George Leonard Fowler and Ella Lane Kelly had a son, George Harold Fowler 1917–1943.

Anthony Wade Fowler (1895–1950) was the last child born to George and Ida Johnson Fowler.  He was in the military, and did not have a family.  He died in Dade County Florida on May 18, 1950.

George, son of William G. Fowler and Salena Bevis died in 1913.  HIs obituary below:

George Fowler died at 6 o’clock PM, 16 June, 1913.  He leaves a wife and several children.  He was a native of Union county, having been born in 1847.  He was a soldier in the Confederate Army, and was buried at Foster’s chapel Wednesday.  He was a son of William G. Fowler.  (from the June 20, 1913 issue of the Union Times)



  • William G. Fowler (1825-1899) m. Salena Bevis (1824–1897)
    • George A. Fowler (1845–1926) m. Ida Johnson (1860- after 1930)
      • Hessie Fowler (1879-1901) m. Robert Newton O’Shields (1881–1950)
      • Urphie Bell Fowler (1884-1979) m. Henry Harrison “Hal” Hicks (1883–1915); m. Fred Samuel Miller (1901-1970)
        • Herman Hicks (1904–1904)
        • Louise Imogene Hicks (1905–1985) m. Obie F. Hill (1899–1975)
          • Evelyn Imogene Hill (1922–1983)
          • Frances Hill  (b. 1924)
        • Vera Hicks (1908–1985) m. Walter Jackson Surrett (1906–1964)
          • Walter Jackson Surrett Jr. (1926–1927)
        • Evelyn Hicks (1910–1915)
        • Fred Samuel Miller Jr. (1928–2015) 
      • William Audrie Fowler (b. 1888) m. Jennie May Waldrip (1892–1974)
        • Elliott Earl Fowler Sr (1916–1998) m. Gertrude Mary Ann Oshenska (1920–2009)
        • Donald Audry Fowler (1932–2009) m Janie Sue Stepp (1939–2012)
      • George Leonard Fowler (1891–1933) m. Ella Lane Kelly (1894–1982)
          • George Harold Fowler (1917–1943) m. Eva Lee Owens (1918–2008)
      • Anthony Wade Fowler (1895–1950)
    • Vesta Ann Fowler (b. 1849) m. Jedithan P. “Gid” Porter (1813–1874;) m. John M. Bevis (1845- 1883)
      • John Little Porter (1866–1914) m. Missouri Elizabeth Moore (1869–1937)
        • James Vernon Porter (1890–1966) m. Bessie Gertrude Ringstaff (1892–1928); m.Vera Otheda Spivey (1908-1998)
          • Frank Edward Porter (1908–1984)
          • Edna Carolyn Porter (1912–2009)
          • John Vernon Porter (1914–1972)
          • Fred Stanley Porter (1930–1955)
          • Glenn Porter (1935–1984)
      • William Edward “Eddie” Porter (1868–1900 )m. Mary Della Knox (1868–1900)
        • Betty Lee “Bessie” Porter (1888–1970)
        • Jesse Thomas Porter (1894–1979)
        • Hester Mae “Hessie” Porter (Stevens) (1898–1974)
      • Landrum Vernon Porter (1872–1950) m. Ida Virginia Smith (1875–1967)
        • George L Porter (b. 1902)
        • Ada P Porter (b. 1904)
        • Vernon Smith Porter (1907–1973)
        • James E. Bevis (1876–1900)
        • Anderson Bell Bevis (1878–1900) m. Cynthia Brewington (1880–1904)
        • Nora B. Bevis (1879–1904) m. William Lyles (1862–1937)
          • Benjamin Anderson Lyles (1897–1923)
          • John Lyles (b. 1899)
          • Egbert A. Lyles (1904–1905)
    • Isaac Fowler (1852– after 1880)
    • Dora Gilliam Fowler (1859–1885) m. John Robert Gault (1852–1928)
      • Ora Anna Gault (1880–1943) m. William Logan Gibbs (1868–1949)
        • Willie Eugene Gibbs (1905–1967)
      • Walter Gillam Gault (1881–1966) m. Sallie Leona Willard (1882–1961)
        • Conway Jackson Gault (1904–1978)
        • Evelyn Gault (1908–1991)
        • Paul Cleon Gault (1912–1975)
        • Ruby Lucille Gault (1916–2006)
      • Conway Jackson Gault Sr (1883–1960) m. Mary Dovie Buff (1888–1982)
        • Annie Louise Gault (1907–2000)
        • Boyce Haywood Gault Sr (1909–1984)
        • Conway Jackson Gault Jr. (1911–1995)
        • Mary Elizabeth Gault (1915–2016)
        • Virginia Helen Gault (1917–1975)
        • Wilma Nelline Gault 1(920–1991)
        • Robert Eugene Gault (1924–2001)
        • Wilburn Vaughn Gault (1927–1987)

2 thoughts on “WILLIAM G. FOWLER (1825-1899) married to Salena Bevis

    1. Good question… but… John Fowler the Hatter only had one son — Lemuel H. Fowler (b. 1808). Lemuel Fowler had two sons, Ebenezer Fowler (b. 1834) and Elias Fowler (b. 1836). I do have a list of all of the Fowler Heads of Household in Union County in 1830 with male children born around 1825. Hopefully one day I will find evidence that will tie into the census records and confirm the parentage of William G. Fowler.
      Thanks so much for your comment!


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