RUFUS MARION FOWLER died gallantly on May 5, 1864 after the Battle of the Wilderness in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. His was the death of a hero, far from home, far from family, fighting for a cause which would, itself, die on the last battlefield of the war between the states.

Rufus Marion Fowler

(I must state that Rufus Marion Fowler did NOT perish September 2, 1867 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and he is NOT buried in the Chalmette National Cemetery, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. This misinformation is spreading like wildfire on family trees. Please document everything when you research or ask for help.)

Rufus Marion Fowler was one of fourteen children born to Womack Fowler and Susannah Moseley. He was born April 16, 1825 in Union County, South Carolina.

Rufus Fowler was appointed as one of the executors in his father’s Last Will and Testament which Womack Fowler signed on August 8, 1849. The U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules lists his date of death as August 1849, after suffering for six days with dyspepsia which is another name for indigestion. The symptoms sometimes were not that of heart burn, but of a heart attack.

From the Last Will and Testament of Womack Fowler

After the death of his father in 1849, Rufus Fowler became the oldest male in his mother’s household. He likely assumed many of the duties and farm chores that his father had done. In 1850, the Susannah Fowler household was adjacent to the family of William Eison. There were connections between the Fowlers and the EisonsRufus would later name a son Eison; and William Eison’s son John Worthy Eison would marry Nannie P. Fowler, daughter of Ellis Fowler and Sarah Clark.

1850 Union County SC Census

After 1850 but before 1860, Rufus Fowler married his first cousin Dorothy “Dorcus” Moseley, daughter of James Moseley, Jr. and Lydia Crocker. James Moseley, Jr. and Susannah Moseley Fowler were siblings, both the children of James “High Key” Moseley.

In 1860, the census recorded thirty-five year old Rufus Fowler as head of household with his 31 year-old wife Dorcus, four year old son Joseph Fowler, one year old son Eison Fowler, and his sixty-seven year old mother-in-law Lydia Moseley.

1860 Union County SC Census

On August 29, 1861, Rufus Marion Fowler traveled to the Union Court House. Once there, he enlisted in Company F, South Carolina Fifteenth Regiment Infantry. His younger brother Wymac Fowler enlisted in the same Regiment. Five sons of Womack and Susannah Fowler went to fight in the Civil War; only one returned home.

The boys of Company F fought in many battles: Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and endless others before arriving in Spotslyvania County, Virginia. The Battle of the Wilderness was the last battle for the courageous Rufus Marion Fowler. He died after the battle was over on May 6, 1864 when a gun in the hands of James Spencer accidentally exploded. I do not know if he lies in an unmarked grave or rests among his people. His younger brother Wymac Fowler had died two years earlier on May 18, 1862 at Camp Elliott in Beaufort County, SC of Typhoid Fever.

The war was hard on the soldiers. It was also hard on the ones back home. Dorcas Moseley Fowler had two young sons and a mother to take care of and no man at home to help her. There was a daughter, Maretta, born in 1866. Was she the daughter of Dorcas or a war orphan child taken in by a kind-hearted Dorcas? Lydia Moseley was missing in the 1870 census and presumably did not survive the hardships of the years of war.

1870 Union County SC Census

Dorcas Fowler was friendly with Edy Fowler, wife of Felix Fowler — another brother of Rufus Fowler who had gone to war, died at war, and left a wife and children back home to survive without him. Dorcus Fowler and her sister-in-law Edy Fowler went to get food at the Freedman’s Office after the war. Dorcus was given food once but told not to return because “she was able to work.” Edy was also told not to come back.

1880 Union County SC Census

Both women were also left out of the estate settlement of Womack Fowler in the 1880s. Looking back, it seems that they were treated very unfairly by their Fowler in-laws and the government.

Edy Fowler died relatively young. Dorcus Moseley Fowler died at age seventy on Februrary 28, 1900 of la grippe, also known as influenza. She was buried at Gilead Church Cemetery in Jonesville, SC.

Rufus Marion Fowler was a war hero, a son of Womack, husband of Dorcus, and father of two sons. I hope that his descendants of present day know that they came from a man of integrity and honor … a man of courage and valor. May he never be forgotten.

  • Henry Ellis Fowler
    • Womack Fowler
      • RUFUS MARION FOWLER 1825-1864
        1. Joseph E. Fowler 1856-1928 m. Isabella Fowler 1872–1938 (daughter of William Earle Fowler)
          • Eva Fowler 1891–1966 m. Thomas Holcomb
          • Clara B Fowler 1899–1909
          • Susan Esther Fowler 1902–1982 m. James Rufus Allen 1902–
            • France Allen 1925–
            • Gracie Mae Allen 1928–
          • Louise L Fowler 1907–
          • Charles Brady Fowler 1909–1976
        2. Eison A. Fowler 1859-1899
          • Rufus Marion Fowler 1890-1962 m. Mollie Susie Sisk 1896–
            • Clyde Marion Fowler 1916–1996 m. Lena Ellen Waddell 1920–2015
            • Ralph David Fowler 1920–2004 m. Marjorie Jean LNU 1930–2005
            • Henry Franklin Fowler 1923–1980 m. Kathleen Bernice Shaw 1925–2016
          • Eugene Fowler 1896-1975 m. Mattie Rowland 1910–
            • daughter Fowler 1939–
            • son Fowler
            • son Fowler

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