“My father’s name was Joseph. He moved to Texas in 1852 and died the same year, and was buried at Rusk Court House, Cherokee County. I was then about twelve years old. My mother moved back to South Carolina the same year.” ~~ Godfrey Butler Fowler

Joseph Fowler was born in Union County, SC in 1800, the third son born to Godfrey Fowler (1773-1850) and Nannie Kelly (1775-1857). Godfrey Fowler was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

Joseph Fowler married Delilah McWhirter (b. 1802) in the early 1820s. Delilah was the daughter of James Robert McWhirter (1760–1842) and Winifred Hames (1762–1828).

The McWhirter and Hames families are well documented and well respected family lines, and there were several marriages between them and the Fowler family descendants.

Delilah gave birth to Joesph Fowler’s son Hampton O. Fowler on August 22, 1823. There was also a daughter born between 1821 to 1825. Delilah died before 1830.

Joseph Fowler married Clarissa Foster (born c. 1814) after the death of his Delilah. Census records indicate that this second marriage took place before 1830.

Clarissa Foster was the daughter of Nathaniel Foster (1793– before 1860). (These Fosters married into both the Hames family and the Fowler family).

Delilah would have been age 28 in 1820; Clarissa would have been 16. The adult female (wife) in the 1830 census was between the ages of 15 to 19, leading me to believe that Clarissa was the female in the home.

In 1830, Joseph Fowler lived in the household beside his father Godfrey Fowler. In addition to Joseph and his 15 to 19 year old wife, there were two children in the household: a son aged 5 to 9 (Hampton) and a daughter aged 5 to 9 (name unknown as of this writing).

1830 Union County SC Census

In 1831, James R. McWhirter, father of Delilah McWhirter Fowler, penned his Last Will and Testament. He left his son-in-law Joseph Fowler one bed and bedclothing, and one cow and calf. The two children of Delilah and Joseph were mentioned in the will, not by their names but as “my two grandchildren by Joseph Fowler”. Delilah was not mentioned at all, lending more proof that she had died by this time.

“I have given to my son-in-law Joseph Fowler, one bed and bed clothing at $10, one cow and calf at $10, making the whole amount against Fowler $20. Else it is my will that my two grandchildren by Joseph Fowler should receive their part and to remain in the guardians possession until they come of age or marry and then their guardians to pay them equal.”  ~~ The Last Will and Testament of James McWhirter ~~ 7th May 1831

More children had been born in the decade 1830 to 1840. The two older children were the son and daughter of Delilah; the younger four were the children of Clarissa.

  • Joseph Fowler (40 to 49)
  • Clarissa McWhirter Fowler (20 to 29)
  • Hampton O. Fowler (20 to 29)
  • daughter (15 to 19)
  • Adolphus J. Fowler (15 to 19)
  • Joseph Fowler (5 to 9)
  • Cansady Fowler (5 to 9)
  • Godfrey Butler Fowler (< 5)
1840 Union County SC Census

Son John Hudson Fowler was the last child to be born to Joseph and Clarissa Foster Fowler. He was born in 1846. The large gap (nine years) in-between Godfrey Butler Fowler and John Hudson Fowler sends my mind racing. There are several reasons that could explain this, but I shall refrain from going into wild speculation.

The 1850 census reflects 50 year old Joseph, 36 year old Clarissa, 26 year old Hampton, 15 year old Cansady, 12 year old Godfrey, and 3 year old John.

Sons Adolphus and Joseph were not in the household, and I have had zero luck in finding them in subsequent years. The daughter for whom I have no name was also out of the Joseph Fowler household. She was old enough to have been married by this time. I am hoping that I will “find” all three of these children in future research.

1850 Union County SC Census

Glenn Dora Fowler Arthur published her book The Annals of the Fowler Family in 1901. She was descended from John Fowler the First who immigrated from England to Virginia in the 1600s. This is the family from which the Union County South Carolina Henry Ellis Fowler family descends.

In writing her book, Mrs. Arthur contacted Fowler descendants from all over the south, midwest, and southwest for family information. Godfrey Butler Fowler, son of Joseph and Clarissa, wrote a letter to Mrs. Arthur in 1900

The Godfrey B. Fowler letter is a treasure. From what he wrote, we learn that the Joseph Fowler family headed west to Texas in 1852. It is certain that Joseph, Clarissa, and son Godfrey traveled to Texas, as they were mentioned in the letter. It is almost certain that young John would have gone on the trip, and likely that seventeen year old Cansady as well.

I have to wonder what motivated this family to leave their South Carolina home and move to Texas? Did other families travel with them? It was no easy task to move a family — hearth and home — 900 miles across unknown lands. Whatever their reasons, they undertook the long, hard journey.

Godfrey B. Fowler stated in his letter that his father Joseph died the same year, 1852. Clarissa Fowler buried her husband and began the long, hard journey back to South Carolina. A great sadness and an unwelcoming despair must have hung over the family every step of the way home.

I noted that Joseph Fowler was buried at “the Rusk Courthouse, Cherokee County” and I searched for his grave.

I did not find a grave for him, and there is some uncertainty as to the exact location.

Cherokee County Texas was founded in 1846. There is a “court house” in the town of Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas, but the nearest graveyard is 0.7 miles away. There is no record of Joseph Fowler in this graveyard, the Cedar Hill Cemetery, but it is possible that he was buried with no engraved headstone.

The Rusk Court House in Cherokee County fits the “name” description, no doubt. It is also possible that there was another graveyard near the court house that is not longer marked.

maps from google.com/maps

Now for the confusing part. RUSK County is adjacent to Cherokee County. Rusk County was founded in 1843. Henderson is the county seat. There is a real court house there. In fact, there have been four court houses built on the same spot beginning with the log court house built in 1843, another in 1850, a third in 1878/79, and the one still standing today in 1928.

And…….. there is a graveyard. Right. Beside. The. Court. House.

It is the Old City Cemetery. There is no marker for Joseph Fowler there either, but perhaps there was no money for an engraved headstone.

maps from google.com/maps

There is a Fowler buried there. The Reverend Littleton Fowler (1841-1917). Son of THE Reverend Littleton Fowler(1802-1846) who brought religion to Texas and who accomplished so much in a life cut too short. Close relative of Glenn Dora Fowler Arthur. Distant relative of Joseph Fowler.

So where was Joseph Fowler buried?

Court House, town of Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas with a graveyard almost a mile away?

~~ OR~~

Rusk Court House, town of Henderson, Rusk County, Texas with a graveyard only a stone’s throw away?

What follows are the descendants of Joseph Fowler and wives Delilah McWhirter and Clarissa Foster —

Joseph Fowler (1800-1852) m. Delilah McWhirter (1802-bef 1830); m. Clarissa Foster (1814- aft 1870)

  • Hampton O. Fowler m. Amanda Permelia Bailey 1835–1902
    • Octavia Fowler 1856–1932 m. William P Willis 1840– ; m. James Pinkney Holland 1852–1895
      • Laura Holland 1878–1950
      • Frances Holland 1880–
      • Charles Adolphus Holland 1887–1985
    • Gasena Fowler 1859–1910 m. Charles Jamison Fowler 1856–1915
      • Whiteford Hoyle Fowler 1878–1961
      • Hattie Fowler 1879–1941
      • Myrtle Nannie Fowler 1892–1977
    • Hagar Hortense Fowler 1861–1942 m. Andrew Walker Thompson McBride 1855–1929
      • Ida McBride 1867–
      • Kimuel Franklin McBride 1874–1934
      • Clara Eugenia McBride 1879–1976
      • Luna Venora McBride 1888–1973
      • Boyd Hampton McBride 1890–1952
      • Nannie Amanda McBride 1891–1962
      • Bertie Louise McBride 1893–1984
      • Thomas Clifford McBride 1895–1962
      • Joseph Bernard McBride 1897–1962
      • Bessie McBride 1899–1977
      • Evie Irene McBride 1901–1951
    • Joseph James Fowler 1863–1958 m. Julie Jane Reaves 1864–1916
      • Daniel Fowler 1886–
      • Doris Edison Fowler 1888–1967
      • Brady Hampton Fowler 1893–1969
      • General Harley Fowler 1896–1969
      • Cyrus Barham Fowler 1899–1972
      • Joseph Bryan Fowler 1903–1980
      • Jane Marie Fowler 1907–1999
    • Agnes “Aggie” Fowler 1868–1949 m. George Washington Warren 1852–1903; m. C. Jasper Harris 1854-1919; m. Alexander Jerome Harrison 1952-1925
      • Amanda ‘Mandy’ Warren 1893–1972
      • Dane Warren 1894–1986
      • James Dewey Warren 1899–1923
      • Ella Ruth Warren 1904–
    • Nancy “Nannie” Kelly Fowler 1869–1917
    • Facima Fowler 1873–
    • Hillard Sewial Fowler 1875–1960 m. Bessie Warren 1879–1954
      • George Hampton Fowler Sr 1899–1981
      • Ella Fowler 1907–1982
      • Mary Ruth Fowler 1909–1999
      • Martin McLane Fowler 1889–
  • Daughter Fowler (b. 1821/1825)
  • Adolphus J. Fowler 1833–
  • Joseph Fowler 1835–
  • Godfrey Butler Fowler 1837–1906 m. Louisa Jane Mitchell 1844–1921
    • Nathan Steadman Fowler 1867–1924
    • Cansady Fowler 1838-1904 m. William G. Holmes 1829–1899
      • Margaret Ann Holmes 1867–1910
      • Joseph Zephaniah Holmes 1870–1934
      • Mary Adeline “Addie” Holmes 1871–1953
      • Luther Davenport Holmes 1875–1944
      • Adolphus Gaston Holmes 1876–1944
      • Benjamin Franklin Holmes 1877–1944
    • John Hudson Fowler 1845-1892 m. Martha B Scott 1856–
      • William Arthur Fowler 1875–1933
      • Mary “Minnie” Clarissa Fowler 1878–1946
      • Imogene Fowler 1881–1946

4 thoughts on “JOSEPH FOWLER (1800-1852) Son of Godfrey

  1. Interesting read. Just letting you know there is a typo in the year of birth listed for Henry Ellis Fowler in the 2nd paragraph. It’s listed as “Henry Ellis Fowler (1846-1808). I’m assuming it was meant to be 1746-1808.


  2. Interested to know the relation to my Whitlocks…John Fowler hatter’s daughter Delilah Jane, married my 3rd Ggrandfather William Whitlock in Union, SC.


    1. (I visited William Whitlock’s grave today.) Joseph Fowler was the son of Godfrey, son of Henry Ellis Fowler. Delilah Jane Fowler (Whitlock) was the daughter of John Fowler the Hatter, probable son of Henry Ellis Fowler. Joseph Fowler and Delilah Fowler would have been first cousins. This is not written in stone — still waiting for DNA to prove the relationship between John Fowler the Hatter and Henry Ellis Fowler. I think you (K.W.) and I have communicated by email in the past. debfowler@aol.com


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