“William Fowler, son of Godfrey. died a young man; he was a school-teacher and surveyor.” Godfrey B. Fowler from letter written to Glenn Dora Fowler

William Fowler was the son of Godfrey Fowler (1773- 1850) and Nannie Kelly (1775 -1857). He was the next to youngest son in a family of six (or seven) sons.

William Fowler and his younger brother Coleman Fowler were mentioned in a legal document written in 1822. The document specified that their older brother, Thomas Gillman Fowler, would take care of their needs until they reached the age of twenty-one and see that they receive more years of education. This proves that William Fowler was a minor in 1822. I believe his date of birth to have been around 1813.

It must be said, and said often, that William Fowler son of Godfrey Fowler was NOT the William Fowler who married Rhoda Moseley. If I see this glaring mistake in one more family tree, I think I shall lose my mind.

If one is to believe the letter of Godfrey B. Fowler, it must be assumed that William Fowler lived long enough to complete his education and become a teacher and surveyor. He was also old enough to marry, and I put forward, without any solid evidence, that he married a woman named Nancy and they had two children before his death.

Godfrey Fowler and Nannie Kelly had two (or three) daughters. Census records seem to support that there were only two daughters but I am still researching to prove this conclusively. It has never been proven by any research that I have seen that any of these daughters were named Nancy. I have seen the names Kiziah, Elizabeth, Betsy, Mary, and Molly thrown around in different combinations, but I have not yet seen Nancy or Nannie for a daughter’s name. Which is a little odd since Godfrey Fowler was married to Nannie Kelly AKA Nancy Kelly.

In the 1850 census, there was a Nancy Fowler living in the household with Godfrey Fowler and wife Nannie. There was also a 17 year old young man named Thomas Fowler in the household.

It is my theory that William Fowler married a woman named Nancy, had a daughter named Mary Fowler circa 1830, a son named Thomas Fowler circa 1833, then died in or about 1833, putting his age at twenty (plus or minus), making him a relatively young man at his death as per the letter from Godfrey B. Fowler.

I’ve not found Nancy Fowler in 1860. Thomas Fowler lived in the household with William B. Hames and family. William B. Hames was the brother of Susannah Hames who had married William Fowler’s older brother Thomas Gillman Fowler, making William B. Hames the brother of Thomas Fowler’s aunt Susannah Hames. I think that is a rather confusing explanation of the relationship, but the families lived near each other and were related, even if only through marriage and distant Hames connections.

In 1870, Thomas Fowler is missing. Did he fight and die in the Civil War? Nancy Fowler was in the household of Milligan Fowler, a brother to William Fowler. Rather than being in any kind of relationship with Milligan, I believe her to have been merely a sister-in-law needing a place to live. More research is needed to confirm all of the above speculation.

I cannot find the notes that led me to believe that William Fowler and Nancy Fowler had a daughter named Mary Fowler, but she is there in my family tree. As stated before, more research will be forthcoming and updates will be implemented as more information is discovered.

Facts Versus Theory

  • William Fowler, son of Godfrey, was born circa 1813
  • A legal document was signed in 1822 giving his brother guardianship
  • William Fowler was not married to Rhoda Moseley
  • William Fowler was a school teacher and surveyor
  • William Fowler died young
  • William Fowler may have married Nancy
  • William Fowler may have had a son Thomas Fowler
  • William Fowler may have had a daughter named Mary Fowler
  • It is likely that William Fowler died c. 1833

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