“I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.” “The answer was staring me in the face.” “He was hiding in plain sight.”

There was his headstone — in the graveyard at Bethlehem Methodist Church. The stone marking the grave of E. Jack Fowler stands tall. It almost feels as if it is guarding the final resting places of other members of his family buried only steps away.

E J “Jack” Fowler was born March 15, 1854, and died July 29, 1893.

E.J. Fowler (1854-1893)

The graveyard at Bethlehem is familiar to me. I have been there many times, walking among the dead.

Mark Fowler (1785-1862) is there, the son of John Fowler the Elder.

Zillah Hames, daughter of Sarah Fowler, daughter of Ephraim Fowler lies beside her husband William Bevis. There are Bevis children, and the mother of William Bevis.

The names of the long ago departed at Bethlehem are as familiar to me as my own. Many are my family. But this E. Jack Fowler amongst my Fowlers — who was he?

And then, there was the obituary. Printed in the Union Times on August 4, 1893, it gave few clues about E. Jack Fowler. He had been ill with consumption and he lived and died on T.F Gault’s place. (John T.F Gault 1829-1906?)

Unfortunate — but not unusual for the times– the names of his father and mother were not mentioned.

“A wife and several children” are all we get — no names but we at least know he had a family.

In past years, I had been contacted by some of E Jack Fowler’s descendants asking if I knew anything about their ancestor: Who was his father? Who was his mother? Who was E. Jack Fowler?

There is one thing I could tell them:

Do not copy and paste the Family Tree of E. Jack Fowler that shows his parents as Andrew Jackson Fowler Sr (1818–1904) and Holly Helms (1821–1893)!!

These were NOT the parents of E. Jack Fowler.

Andrew Fowler and his wife Holly Helms lived in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. They had many children, including a son born in 1851, named Andrew Jackson Fowler after his father.

Jackson Fowler of Monroe, NC was recorded in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina census records in 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920.

Jackson Fowler of Monroe, NC married a woman named Emeline and they had many children. Jackson Fowler died in 1926 and was buried in Monroe, NC.

I shall say this again:

Andrew and Holly Fowler were the parents of Andrew Jackson Fowler who was born in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina, lived his entire life in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina, and died in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina.

Andrew Jackson Fowler of Monroe, Union County, North Carolina was NOT the E. Jack Fowler who lived in Union County, South Carolina.

For many years, I searched for E. Jack Fowler The questions of this man’s origins occupied my thoughts. Of course I had theories. I always do. But I had no proof.

There were direct male descendants who could DNA test to answer questions but I had no takers.

And then, while searching for another, I found a name in a newspaper from 1879 that rang a bell in my head … or actually, the name clanged a brass gong that shook me head to toe –to my very core.


I immediately recognized this brief mention in the Union Times as a reference to the estate settlement of Womack Fowler and his wife Susannah Moseley.

Every single one of the names from the newspaper is known to me. I have examined the lives of each one, as they were one and all descendants of Womack and Susannah Moseley Fowler.

In the legal documents of the Womack Fowler estate settlement, of which I have copies and transcripts, there was a son of Jane Hodge named in legal-speak as…

  • Elias J. Fowler,
  • Ellis J. Fowler
  • E.J. Fowler

… all in the same document!

I spent years looking for this man. I knew that he was alive in 1879 since he was named in the document as an heir in the estate of his great grandfather Womack Fowler.

Jane’s mother was Martha Patsey Fowler, eldest daughter of Womack Fowler and Susannah Moseley.

Womack Fowler was a son of Union County, South Carolina Fowler Patriarch, Henry Ellis Fowler.

Martha Patsey Fowler, mother of Jane, married John Jackson Hodge, a man if not born in Ireland, then certainly of Irish descent.

Jane was the firstborn child of this union, with six brothers and three sisters to follow in the ensuing years. Jane’s birth in or about 1826 and marriage prior to 1850 to her cousin Ellis Fowler (son of Mark and Elizabeth Moseley Fowler) prevented her name from ever being listed in a census record with her parents. Subsequently, the origins of her birth and surname lay undiscovered by many researchers.

Jane Hodge had married her cousin Ellis Fowler before 1850, and they had two children, Martha Fowler born in 1846, and Mark Fowler born in 1849.

Daughter Martha may have been named after Jane’s mother, Martha Patsey Fowler Hodge, and perhaps son Mark named after Mark Fowler, father of Ellis.

In 1850, Ellis Fowler, wife Jane, daughter Martha and son Mark lived next to Mark Fowler and Elizabeth Moseley Fowler.

Jane Hodge Fowler gave birth to a daughter, Susan, in 1854, and a son, John, in 1856. These two children were likely fathered by Ellis Fowler.

Susan Fowler was named after Jane’s grandmother Susannah Moseley Fowler,

John Fowler was Ellis Jackson Fowler — “Ellis” after his father and “Jackson” after Jane’s father, John Jackson Hodge.

It is known that Ellis Fowler was out of the household before 1860, whether by desertion or death as Jane Hodge Fowler was married to Simeon Fowler (son of William Fowler and Rhoda Mosely).

In 1860, Jane and her second husband Simeon Fowler and children Martha, Mark, Susan, John, and Samuel lived in the household next to Simeon’s widowed mother, Rhoda Moseley Fowler. .

Jane and Simeon Fowler had at least three children: Samuel born in 1860; Franklin born in 1861; and Elma (or Elvira) born in 1866.

Jane and Simeon’s 1870 household included children Martha, Susan, Samuel, Franklin, and Elma.

Sons Mark and John Fowler were conspicuously missing from the home. I shall concern myself with John for the time being.

Where was John Fowler in 1870? He worked as a clerk in Unionville, SC and he lived with merchant Alfred Foster, a wealthy man of military renown and whose descendants would have future Fowler ties. Alfred Foster is another story for another day.

Note the Napoleon Eison at the top of the census in the image below.

Napoleon Bonaparte “N.B.” Eison (1839-1908) and his family lived adjacent to Susannah Moseley Fowler in 1850. This fact lends support that N. B. Eison and John Fowler, great grandson of Susannah Moseley Fowler would have been acquainted with each other, perhaps friends, thus making it possible that they entered into business together.

1870 Union County SC Census

There are many quotes made by wise men that business and friendship don’t mix. It was again in the Union Times that I found an article mentioning a lawsuit brought against E.J. Fowler by the N.B. Eison & Company. Property owned by E.J. Fowler was being sold at the home of Thaddeus Lemuel Hames in order to settle a lien held by N.B Eison.

E. Jack Fowler married Ellen Woolbright (1859–1935). The marriage took place around 1878/79, the same time that E. Jack Fowler ceased working in the Unionville mercantile business and instead became a Pinckney farmer

Ellen Woolbright (1859-1935)

Ellen was the daughter of Seaborn Woolbright (1835–1862) and Louisa Eliza Comer (1839–1900). The story of the 1862 brutal murder of Mastin Comer by his son-in-law Seaborn Woolbright deserves to be told and will be done so in my next post.

The 1880 Union County SC Census confirmed that E. Jackson Fowler lived in Pinckney with his young wife Ellen and one-year old son Arthur. More children would follow.

1880 Union County SC Census

The 1880 census was the last one in which we find E. Jack Fowler. He became ill with consumption, known today as pulmonary tuberculosis, and he died on July 29, 1893.

Ellen Woolbright Fowler would outlive her husband, and even marry again.

Now, I shall examine arguments for and against my very strong theory that E. Jack Fowler was one and the same as Ellis Jackson Fowler.

  • E. Jack Fowler was born in 1854 as per his headstone. Ellis Jackson Fowler was born between 1851 to 1856 if one goes by his age in census records.
  • Ellis Jackson Fowler was often known as John Fowler. His name was a combination of his father Ellis Fowler and his grandfather John Jackson Hodge.
  • The names “Jack” and “John” were often used interchangeably in the 1800s, even well into the 1900s (i.e. John F. Kennedy known as Jack Kennedy)
  • John Fowler or E. Jack Fowler — but not bothare found in one census record each decade, 1860 1870, and 1880.
  • The naming pattern for most of the children of E. Jack Fowler does not fit the typical names used for descendants of the Henry Ellis Fowler line.

It is my opinion that the son named Ellis Jackson Fowler born ca. 1854 to Jane Hodge and Ellis Fowler is the man lying in Bethlehem Cemetery, asleep under the headstone engraved with the name E.J. Fowler.

Am I right? Only yDNA testing will answer this question. Testing will also confirm which husband of Jane Hodge was the genetic father of Ellis Jackson Fowler

Ellis Fowler, son of Mark (probable)


Simeon Fowler, son of William (possible but not likely).

Ellis Jackson Fowler (1854-1893) m. Ellen Woolbright Bullock (1859–1935)

  • Arthur Fowler (1879–1895)
  • Robert Smith Fowler (1881–1938) m. Ida Inez Garner (1884–1938)
    • Mahala “Haley” Fowler (1905–1940) m. Paul Bevis (1901–1987)
      • Robert Jackson Bevis (1920–2005)
      • James E. Bevis (1925–1980)
      • Paul William Bevis (1934-2004)
    • Arthur J. Fowler (1908–1931)
    • Annie Belle Fowler (1909–1972)
    • Pauline Fowler (1914–1951)
    • Pearl Lee Fowler (1915–1964)
    • Lonnie Woodrow Fuzz Fowler (1920–1988)
  • Walter Alonzo Fowler (1883–1920) m. Beulah Adelaid Bagwell (1880–1931)
    • Sidney Hiram Fowler (1903–1972)
    • Ruth M Fowler (1904–)
    • Arthur Edgar Fowler (1904–1936)
    • Richard Roy Fowler (1905–1908)
    • Claude Lee Fowler (1908–1991)
    • Culpernia Jane “Pennie” Fowler (1908–1992)
    • Mamie Ellen Fowler (1913–2002)
    • John Fowler (1917–)
  • Eliza Fowler (1885–1964) m. Esley Edwards (1881–1932); m. Julius Modd Ducker (1878-1949)
    • Louise Virginia Edwards (1908–1966)
    • Frank Wilton Edwards (1913–2000)
    • Lonnie Esly Edwards (1921–1991)
  • Letha Fowler (1888–)
  • Anna Amberzine Fowler (1890–1968) m. George Edward Rogers (1880–1936)
    • Helen Louise Rogers (1904–1973)
    • Grace Auteen Rogers (1908–1991)
    • Jessie Lee Rogers (1912–2010)
    • Nettie Bell Rogers (1916–1994)
    • Willie Mae Rogers (1920–1985)
    • George Edward Rogers Jr. (1928–1981)
  • Beulah Fowler (1892–1970) m. Charles Jackson Gibson (1889–1969)
    • Lillie Mae Gibson (1909–1988)
    • Margaret Elizabeth Gibson(1916-2007)
    • James Gilbert “Pete” Gibson (1919–1983)
  • Beatrice Fowler (1895-1900)

JOSEPH FOWLER (1800-1852) Son of Godfrey

“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

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

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

WRIGHT FOWLER (1856-before 1900) & MARTHA JANE JOHNSON (1856-1934)

Martha Jane Johnson. Born December 12, 1856. Died January 8, 1934.

Martha Jane Johnson is the center of the mystery which surrounds her three children born before her 1883 marriage to Wright Fowler.

Who was Martha Jane Johnson?

She was the daughter of William Johnson and Mary Carothers.(or Weathers). She was the wife of Wright Fowler. She was the mother of Fernando, Elijah Lionel, and Lilly. She was the mother of Magnolia, Corrie Melissa, Charles Manuel, and William Wright Fowler.

Every family tree that I find for Martha Jane Johnson has her mother as Mary (or May) Heathers. I feel that this is a misinterpretation of her mother’s name as written on the death certificate of Martha Jane Johnson. For many reason which I will go into below, I believe the name of her mother to be MARY CAROTHERS.

Please note that an excellent researcher has weighed in with the opinion that surname of Mary could have also been Weathers. There were Weathers in Union County SC and I am going to look at this in-depth in the very near future.

The name of her father is clearly William Johnson.  The name of the informant is also clear: E.L. Fowler (her son Elijah Lionel Fowler)

The name of her mother is not as easy to read.  Some think the first name is May; some think Mary.  All think the surname is Heathers.  

What follows are the reasons I believe the surname to be Carothers.

William Johnson is found in the 1850 household of McClure.  All five men in the home — including William Johnson — were merchants or clerks.  The names of the families surrounding the McClure household (my great great grandparents Thomas Foster and wife Mahala were adjacent) indicate that the location was at Grindal Shoals near the Pacolet River in Union County. 

Grindal Shoals was a thriving community in the 1850s before floods destroyed almost everything.  When one sees the land now, abandoned and ravaged by time, it is hard to envision that there were stores, mills, attorney offices, and other businesses abound.

There were two Johnson families living very near to the McClure household in which William Johnson lived —  a father, David Johnson and his son, David Johnson, and their families. 

I do not think that William Johnson was descended from this David Johnson family.  It would take DNA testing to be sure, and I will admit that it is possible that all of these Johnsons were related, but, for many reasons, it does not seem to be a good family fit for William Johnson..

I do believe that William Johnson was descended from William Hermann Johnson  (1760-1835) and his wife LoisWilliam Hermann Johnson was born in Lunenburg, Virginia and settled in Union County, South Carolina.  The Jhnsn offspringmarried into the Fowler family and other families in .

William Hermann Johnson had owned land on the north side of the Pacolet River near Grindal Shoals.  Although I do not have the documentation on hand, I believe that John Carothers was involved in the estate settlement of William Hermann Johnson

John Carothers was married to Rachel Burrows.  Their daughter Elizabeth Carothers married Dr. Wade Fowler (1828-1886).  Wade Fowler was the son of James Fowler (1793-1858), son of Godfrey Fowler (1773-1850), son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

Dr. Wade Fowler and his wife Elizabeth Carothers (b. 1828) lived 12 households away from the McClure household containing William Johnson in 1850.  It is likely that William Johnson knew the John Carothers family.  It is more than possible that he married Mary Carothers.

When John Carothers died, his estate was settled  by Israel FowlerMartha Jane Johnson (daughter of William Johnson and Mary Carothers) married Wright Fowler — a descendant from the Israel Fowler line.

To summarize the above: 

  • William Johnson was likely descended from William Hermann Johnson
  • William Hermann Johnson’s estate was settle by John Carothers
  • John Carother’s estate was settled by Israel Fowler
  • William Johnson lived near Dr. Wade Fowler and Elizabeth Carothers in 1850
  • William Johnson likely married Mary Carothers after 1850
  • William Johnson had a daughter named Martha Jane Johnson in 1856
  • Martha Jane Johnson married Wright Fowler, a descendant of Israel Fowler

I have not written about the Israel Fowler line very much, although I have researched it throughly.   It is not my Fowler line, and I have so very much to write regarding my own Henry Ellis Fowler relatives.  But now, it is necessary to jump into the Israel Fowler family.

The Israel Fowler line has been traced back to a John Fowler (b. 1720) who lived in Isle of Wight, Virginia.  There are many excellent researchers working on this line but it hits a brick wall with John Fowler and there it ends.

Israel Fowler and his descendants were in Union County, SC the same time as the Henry Ellis Fowler descendants — 1700s until present day.  Thanks to extensive yDNA testing, we know that they are two totally different Fowler lines. 

These Fowlers from both lines lived next to each other, witnessed legal documents for each other, and married each other.  Consequently, there are more than a few people walking around today who descend from both the Israel Fowler line and the Henry Ellis Fowler line.

Israel Fowler II had a son named William G. Fowler, who in turn had a son named William E. Fowler.

Information on William E. Fowler:

Born circa 1827. Recorded in 1850 York SC census with parents William G. Fowler and Nancy; siblings Israel, Hillard, Leonard, Daniel, Everline, and Elizabeth.

William E. Fowler married Susan Wright, (b. 1833), the daughter of Joseph WrightSusan had a sister named Lucinda Wright b. 1821 who married Henry Fowler, son of Stephen Fowler and his first wife Sarah. Stephen was the son of Ephraim Fowler.

Susan Wright also had a brother named John W. Wright (1824-1905). John Wright was the father of Minnie Wright (1873-1951) who married Landy J. Bevis, son of Caroline Bevis and an unknown father.

Caroline Bevis was the daughter of William Bevis and his second wife Zillah Hames — the daughter of John Hames and Sarah Fowler who was the daughter of Ephraim Fowler.

William E. Fowler and Susan Wright  had two sons — William Wright Fowler born in 1856, and Adolphus Fowler born in 1858.

William Wright Fowler was known as Wright Fowler in most documents, and I shall refer to him as Wright Fowler.  A rare exception is below in the 1860 Union County SC Census.   Son William Wright Fowler was listed as William, and son Adolphus was listed as Dolphus.  

Sarah Wright, and Thomas and Nancy Jefferson also lived in the household.

1860 Union County SC Census

Susan Wright Fowler was a widow in 1870, and she lived in the household with her sons, fourteen year old Wright and 12 year old Adolphus. (The Lucinda Fowler in the home is a story for another day. She and her daughter Clementine deserve their own forthcoming article)

1870 Union County SC Census

In 1880, Martha Jane Johnson lived in the White Plains Section of Spartanburg County. As the crow flies, White Plains is not too terribly far from Grindal Shoals.

Martha Jane Johnson had three children in her household:

  • Fernando Johnson aged 11
  • Elijah Lionel Johnson aged 7
  • Lilly Johnson aged 3

Adolphus Fowler also lived in the household. His brother Wright Fowler would soon marry Martha Jane Johnson.

Where was Wright Fowler in 1880? I do not know. There was a William Fowler who lived alone in Jonesville SC in 1880, but there is not enough evidence to say if this was William Wright Fowler or one of the other many William Fowlers.

Before I jump into the marriage of Wright Fowler and Martha Jane Johnson and the children resulting from the marriage, I need to interject a fact:

The two sons of Martha Jane Johnson, Fernando and Elijah Lionel, were not fathered by William Wright Fowler. Genetic testing of multiple descendants of the two boys has proven beyond all doubt that the two sons had the same father, and that father was most likely a Brown.

This is no doubt why they were recorded as Johnson children in the 1880 census. The took the surname of their unmarried mother.

When I began my research, I was told that family stories handed down through the generations suggested that the first three children born to Martha Jane Johnson were not the children of William Wright Fowler.

I did not want to believe these stories — not for any moral reasons, but just the fact that my research would be more tidy and done if all of the children born to Martha Jane Johnson had the same father.

I do not know whom the father of daughter Lilly Johnson was as I have not DNA tested any of her descendants.

Fernando Johnson was born on February 16, 1870. Not much is known about the first ten years of his life. He would have a stepfather when his mother married Wright Fowler in 1883. Afterwards, Fernando Johnson would forever be known as Fernando Fowler.

Fernando Fowler married Missouri Zue Sizemore (b.1872) and a son was born in 1888, Charlie Lee Fowler.

Zue Sizemore Fowler, daughter of William Sizemore and Mary Thompson must have died young, as her sister Laura Sizemore Shavers took her nephew Charlie into her home.

Charlie Lee Fowler married Bonnie Vehorn (1888–1976) and they had daughter Hazel Christine Fowler (1924–2012).

Hazel Fowler married Jack Walker. They were the parents of Jack Donald Walker (1944-2009) and two daughters.

Fernando Fowler married Lola Fowler in the late 1890s. Lola Fowler (1882-1966) was the daughter of Marion Fowler (1847–1900) and Frances Horn (1845–1928).

Marion Fowler was the son of Stephen Fowler, son of Ephraim Fowler, son of Henry Ellis Fowler. Marion Fowler served time in a prison in New York state for his KKK activities in the 1870s.

Fernando and Lola Fowler became parents together in 1898 when son Jesse Peter Fowler was born.

Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler

Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler was born in Spartanburg, SC on October 30, 1898. As did many young men who worked in the cotton mills down south, Pete Fowler played baseball in the textile leagues. He played for the Converse, Clifton, and Chester mill teams before making the upward move to the Major League. He began his pro career as a left-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1924.

Pete Fowler married Estelle Johnson (1901–1955). Their son Walter Lee “Pete” Fowler was born in 1919.

Jesse Peter Fowler died on September 23, 1973 in Columbia, SC. HIs son Walter Lee Fowler died in 1988.

Fernando and Lola Fowler had ten children together. Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler was the oldest, and John Arthur “Art” Fowler was the youngest.

John Arthur Fowler was born July 3, 1922.

These brothers hold the record for the largest age difference for brothers in Major League baseball — Pete was almost 24 years older.

John Arthur Fowler was born on July 3, 1922 in Converse, South Carolina. I do not know much about baseball, so I will list only the most basic sports information. Art Fowler was a right-hander pitcher for the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, and worked as a pitching coach with New York Yankee’s manager Billy Martin.

Art Fowler married Virginia Ruth Burch (1923–2012). They had two sons. Art Fowler died on January 29, 2007.

There were other men from this family who played baseball, if not on the same scale as brothers Pete and Art Fowler.

I will revise this article to include more detail about the lives of these descendants of Martha Jane Johnson. This research is a work in progress and new discoveries are being made weekly.

Martha Jane Johnson (1855-1934) m. William Wright Fowler (b. 1856)

  • Fernando Johnson/Fowler (1870-) m. Missouri Zue Sizemore
    • Charlie Lee Fowler
      • Walter Lee Fowler
        • Hazel Christine Fowler
          • Jack Donald Walker
    • Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler m. Estelle Johnson (1901-1955)
      • Walter Lee “Pete” Fowler (1919-)
    • Lillie Mae Fowler (1904-) m. James Walter Brown (1898-1986)
      • Beulah Mae Brown (1920–1996)
      • Dorothy Elizabeth Brown (1927–1992)
      • Charles Walter Brown (1935–2002)
    • Clarence Fowler (1909 – 1963) m. Daisy Belle Cannon (1906–1983)
      • Helen Marie Fowler (1927–2006)
      • Lola Belle Fowler (1930–1931)
      • Ted Fowler (1930–2000)
      • Clyde Julian Fowler (1932–2002)
      • Bobby Dean Fowler (1940–1994)
    • Franklin Fowler (1910–1966) m. Ida May Johnson (b. 1911)
      • Margaret Louise Fowler (1928–1991)
      • William Fowler ( b. 1934)
    • Ruby Fowler (1913–1984) m. Manciel Collins Adair (1894–1966)
      • Manciel Collins Adair Jr (1930–2013)
      • Bennie L Adair (1933–2010)
    • Jack Fowler (b. 1915)
    • George Fowler (1916–1997)
    • Nellie Fowler (1918–2001)
    • Ruth Fowler (1920–2015)
    • John Arthur Fowler (1922–2007)
  • Elijah Lionel Johnson/Fowler (1872–1957) m. Carrie Chapman (1878–1945)
    • Pearl Fowler Russell (1896–1971)
    • Gertrude Fowler Burgess (1899–1949)
    • Vivian Glenell Fowler (1904–1985)
    • James William Fowler Sr. (1906–1984)
    • John Henry Fowler (1906–1982)
    • Paul Fowler (1909–)
    • Charles Dupree/Dewey Fowler (1909–1935)
    • Mary Louise Fowler (1913–1977)
    • George Washington Fowler (1917–1958)
  • Lilly Johnson/Fowler (1879–1956) m. Charles Bridges; m. Belton O’Neil Prince (1875–1956)
    • Charles Joseph Carl Bridges (1900-1962)
    • Carl P Prince (1909–2006)
    • Mildred L. Prince Littell (1911–1992)
    • Grover Tillman Prince (1913–1987)
    • Mary Prince (1916–1993)
    • Roy Prince (1920–2004)
  • Magnolia Maggie Fowler (1884–1974) m. Elias Govan McDade (1883–1967)
    • Ila R McDade (1905–)
    • Sarles R McDade (1907–1976)
    • Margaret A McDade (1912–)
    • Luke McDade (1913–)
    • Ewell G. McDade (1915–1989)
    • Beulah McDade (1917–)
    • Olin Van McDade (1925–)
    • Otis Ray McDade (1925–1968)
    • Roy Dale McDade (1930–2010)
  • Corrie Melissa Fowler (1887–1972) m. Franklin Elbert Moore (1886–1912); m. James Pinkney Gosnell (1874-1938)
    • Maggie Lee Moore (1906–1995)
  • Charles Manuel Fowler (1887–1973) m. Rosa Clarentine Nabors (1902–1972)
  • William Wright Fowler (1889–1930) m. Veta Alice Burnett (1894–1984)
    • Opal Fowler (1910–1911)
    • Leslie Fowler (1912–1913)
    • Clifford E Fowler (1914–1956)
    • Paul Sterling Fowler (1915–1978)
    • James Albert Fowler (1917–1968)
    • Edna Jannette Fowler (1919–2003)
    • Leonard Fowler (1920–1920)
    • Fred Fowler (1921–1922)
    • Floyd Fowler (1923–1924)
    • Bonnie Louise Fowler (1925–)
    • Ralph Fowler (1926–1926)
    • Bobby Lee Fowler (1929–1965)

Mahala Rebecca Worthy (1845-1925)

Henry Ellis Fowler (d. 1808) was the great grandfather of Mahala Rebecca Worthy.

Henry Ellis Fowler was the grandfather of her husband, Walter Gaines Fowler.

Husband and wife were first cousins once removed. This was only one of many marriages between “kissing cousins” in Union County, South Carolina in the 1800s. It was an accepted practice, being both convenient and practical.

Mahala Rebecca Worthy was born in Union County on November 22, 1845 to parents William Worthy and Fanny Fowler. She was mostly known as Rebecca in census records and legal documents, and sometimes as Mahala, but her family called her Becky. I shall do the same.

William Worthy (1813– after 1870) was the son of James Worthy (1760- before 1850) and wife Jane (b. 1773). James and Jane Worthy likely had many children, but I have only researched William and his brother James (1809- before 1850).

James Worthy (the son) married Winnifred Fowler (b. 1822), daughter of Ellis Fowler (1770-after 1850) and wife Mary. If you are a frequent reader of my work, you know that this Ellis Fowler was a son of Henry Ellis Fowler.

William Worthy (the other son) married Fanny Fowler (1825-1852), daughter of Ellis Fowler and Mary.

Two Worthy brothers married two Fowler sisters.

James Worthy and his Fowler wife Winnifred had four children:

  • Mary Worthy (b. 1838)
  • William Columbus Worthy (1841–1914)
  • Julia Worthy (b. 1842)
  • James F. Worthy (1842–1921)

William Worthy and his Fowler wife Fanny had four children:

  • William Columbus Worthy (b. 1843)
  • Mahala Rebecca “Becky” Worthy (1845–1925)
  • Mary “Polly” Worthy (b. 1847)
  • Nancy Elizabeth Worthy (1850–1895)

For the purposes of this article, I am going to examine the life of Becky Worthy.

From what I know about the families of 1800s Union County, SC — and I know a lot — the William Worthy family lived in the Kelly area of the county around the time Becky was born. She was the second child and the first daughter of William and Fanny. Her mother would not live much longer after the 1850 census was taken. Perhaps she died in childbirth; perhaps some other illness took her from her family.

1850 Union County SC Census

William Worthy married again after the 1852 death of Fanny. A man with four small children could not remain a widower for long. His second wife was Sarah Floyd (b. 1833). She was stepmother to Fanny’s children and had given birth to three daughters of her own before 1860. More children would follow in the coming decade.

Becky was fifteen years old when the census was taken and probably helped with household chores and the younger children, which included twin girls.

1860 Union County SC Census

Becky Worthy married her cousin Walter Gaines Fowler and had given birth to three children before 1870: Alpha Ethel Fowler, Bettie Fowler, and Walter Fowler.

Walter Gaines Fowler was the son of Big Mark Fowler (1780-1853) and Elizabeth Moseley (1782-1883). Mark Fowler was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler, and Elizabeth “Betty” Moseley was the daughter of James “High-Key” Moseley.

The Walter Gaines Fowler family is “hidden” in the 1870 census. The name Walter looks like Wallace, or Walter only if you squint. The twenty-eight year old Sarah in the household is Becky Worthy Fowler.

Four year old Susan is Alpha Ethel Fowler, two year old Caty is Bettie Fowler, and one year old Hamlet is son Walter Fowler. These are the three children of Walter Gaines Fowler and Becky Worthy.

Martha, age forty-two and deaf and dumb, is Selina Fowler–the older sister of Walter Gaines Fowler.

The only one whose name was recorded correctly was ninety-five year old Elizabeth (Moseley) Fowler, mother of Walter Gaines Fowler and Selina Fowler.

I do not know why this family used pseudonyms in the 1870 census rather than their given names. It took a while for me to figure this out.

Becky Worthy Fowler would lose both of her Walters. Her babe-in-arms would not survive infancy, and her husband would soon be in his grave. There would be no more children. Becky Worthy Fowler never remarried.

1870 Union County SC Census

In 1880, Becky Worthy Fowler lived with her two daughters Alpha and Bettie, her mother-in-law Elizabeth Moseley Fowler, and her sister-in-law Salina Fowler.

1880 Union County SC Census

I am going to take a small detour in order to add a personal note about Becky, and one of her daughter Alpha. So much of genealogy is the compilation of documented facts and not enough of the little stories that fade to dark as each generation passes on.

Minnie Lee Leonard (1884-1987) was the daughter of Robert Norris Leonard (1847–1904) and Nancy Elizabeth Worthy (1850–1895).

Robert Norris Leonard was the son of (Michael) Alex Leonard and Hulda Fowler (1813-1852). Hulda was the daughter of Big Mark Fowler and Elizabeth Moseley. Hulda was the older sister of Walter Gaines Fowler.

Nancy Elizabeth Worthy was the daughter of William Worthy and Fanny FowlerNancy was the sister of Becky Worthy Fowler.

Much of my research time is spent figuring out the complex family relationships in my Fowler family!

Minnie Lee Leonard was a family historian who wrote much about her family. She was born in 1884 and knew many of these people of whom I write about now. Minnie Lee Leonard is a treasure, and I only wish my path had crossed hers.

A letter that she wrote in 1965 contained two “snapshots” in time that related to Becky Worthy Fowler and her daughter Alpha:

Becky Worthy Fowler’s daughter Alpha had attended the 1888 unveiling of the monument dedicated to the memory of Sergeant William Jasper in Madison Square in Savannah, Georgia.

Elizabeth Moseley Fowler was related to William Jasper through her mother, Nancy Anna Jasper (1756–1832). This fact is mentioned often in research papers and was obviously a source of great pride in the family.

William Jasper is often said to be of Irish origins, but some claim that he was a German immigrant who made his way south from Philadelphia.

Regardless, William Jasper was a hero in the American Revolutionary War. His claim to valor and fame in 1776 was the act of attaching his regiment’s flag, which had fallen, to a sponge staff and raising it back into the air while under enemy fire. He was highly honored for his actions on that day in battle.

William Jasper lived to tell the tale, but he was later killed in action in 1779; ironically, he was again rescuing the flag when he was mortally wounded.

Alpha Fowler was in fine company the on the second of February, 1888 when she attended the unveiling in Savannah. President Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances were in attendance, as were the Georgia Governor John Brown Gordon, the mayor and other prominent politicians.

The statue is of William Jasper in battle holding the flag that he rescued. It is worth a drive to Savannah to see this memorial to a brave soldier. The dedication reads as follows:

To the memory of Sergeant William Jasper, who, though mortally wounded, rescued the colors of his regiment, in the assault on the British lines about the city, October 9, 1779. A century has not dimmed the glory of the Irish-American soldier whose last tribute to civil liberty was his life. 1779–1879.

The second “snapshot” is a simple one. Minnie Lee Leonard writes of her memory of hearing her mother Nancy Elizabeth Worthy Leonard and her aunt Becky Worthy Fowler singing a ballad about Sergeant William Jasper.

I have been unable to find any source for music or lyrics for a song honoring William Jasper. I can almost hear the sweet voices of the Worthy girls singing, softly and clearly, a tune reminiscing the heroic actions of their famous relative from the war of which our great country was born.

Thank you, Minnie Lee Leonard for sharing your memories of yesteryear with us of today.

The years between 1880 and 1900 brought many changes to the life of Becky Worthy Fowler.

Her mother-in-law Elizabeth Moseley Fowler died in 1883,

Her daughter Alpha Ethel Fowler married Thomas Samuel Garner (b. 1864) and gave birth to ten children over the years, many of whom did not survive.

Her younger daughter Bettie Fowler married a Mr. Jackson and had a son named Jesse in October of1893. Bettie died six months later, and her son would be raised by his grandmother Becky Worthy Fowler.

Thomas Samuel Garner, his wife Alpha Ethel Fowler Garner, their four young sons, Becky Worthy Fowler, and Bettie’s son Jesse Jackson lived in a household in Fulton County, Georgia.

1900 Fulton County GA Census

In 1910, Thomas Samuel Garner was out of the household, and the family was headed by Alpha Fowler Garner. They lived in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Becky Worthy Fowler was sixty-four years old. There were three Garner sons in the home and five others listed as boarders and a servant.

It should be noted that Alpha’s husband had moved to Mississippi and married another woman, Lillian S. Cubley (1872–1963).

1910 Fulton County GA Census

Alpha Fowler Garner married John Joab Crawford (1868–1954) between the years 1910 to 1920 for they were counted in a 1920 household together with a Garner son and seventy-four year old Becky Worthy Fowler.

1920 DeKalb County GA Census

Becky Worthy Fowler died on March 9, 1925 in Scottdale, Georgia.

In 1925, Scottdale would have been a little drive out of the town of Atlanta. A hundred years of an expanding city, Scottdale is now a suburb slightly northeast of Atlanta, well within the perimeter interstate that surrounds the largest city in the south.

Becky Worthy Fowler was seventy-nine years old when she departed this world. Her death was reported by Mrs. J.J. Crawford — Alpha Ethel Fowler Garner Crawford.

Becky Worthy Fowler made one more trip. Her remains were returned to her home state of South Carolina, and she was laid to rest at Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery in Jonesville. She is among her family, for many of the Fowlers and Worthys lie there — most final resting places marked with engraved stones, but some lost to us with only a field stone, or no stone at all.

Rebecca M. Fowler

And I think of her sometimes, and I listen for her sweet voice, singing of times long past and ancestors who won battles, and sometimes I think I hear the notes floating in the breeze…….

The Confederate Greyback

I have had this Confederate money in my possession since 1968. I did not know the historical significance of the bills when they fell into my hands. I took them to my seventh grade history class in 1971 and the teacher passed them around to all of my classmates.

I did not go out of my way to protect the bills, and it is truly a miracle that they survived 54 years in my care — not only surviving, but still in excellent shape — and that through all of my moves across the country, I still had them packed away in a box of treasures.

A brief history of this money……

The Confederacy began issuing paper money in March 1861. The Confederate dollar was known as the “greyback” named so after the color of the grey uniforms that the Southern soldiers wore on the battlefield.

With few exceptions, Confederate money was not backed by gold or anything of value. The greybacks were actually promissory notes that pledged to give the holder of the currency silver or gold after the Confederates won the war.

Confederate money greatly depreciated as inflation soared, counterfeit bills were printed, and the South’s inevitable victory over the Northern army became less likely as the war dragged on and on.

In 1864, the year before the war ended, a Confederate dollar was worth only 3 cents, and by the war’s end in 1865, it was worthless.

As a historian and genealogist, I spend a lot of my time thinking about the people and the places and events of the past.

These sepia-colored, slightly aged-textured pieces of paper with faded words and images — which once held great monetary value, and then no value — intrigue me.

Who were the people in the 1860’s who held this money in weathered hands?

For what did they exchange this ancient currency to make their lives better? Did they buy seed to plant, or a wagon to take them into town, or did their women buy sacks of flour, and then use the sacks to make new dresses for their daughters?

Who kept this money for years after it was deemed worthless ? How many hands did it go through in the more than one hundred years before it came into my hands?

When I hold these greybacks, I do not think of the reasons for the war, or who won the war, or any of the politics of the 1800s.

When I gently shuffle through the money, I think only of the suffering of the enslaved, the hardships of the poor white farmers, the arrogance of the white slaveowners.

I think of the people — all of them.

They know not that I think of them, those who have held this money in their own hands. Perhaps their fingerprints are still faintly on the surface.

I treasure this link to the past.

The LEMUEL FOWLER Men of Early 1800 Union County, SC

This article is for all of the confused researchers who find Lemuel Fowler in Union County, South Carolina and proceed to mix him up with the other Lemuel Fowlers who lived in the same county in the same decades.

There were three — and possibly four — men named Lemuel Fowler who were born in the first half of the 1800s.

They are as follows:



Son of John Fowler, Hatter

Lemuel Holter Fowler was the son of John H. Fowler, the Hatter.

Lemuel H. Fowler was born in 1808, and died in 1865.

He married Permilly Mitchell (daughter of Elias Mitchell and Hannah Smith). Lemuel and Milly had two sons and two daughters.

Lemuel is buried in a small family graveyard in the Kelton area of Union County.

Lemuel Holter Fowler (1808-1865)

It has not been proven yet by yDNA testing, but I feel certain that Lemuel H. Fowler, son of John Fowler, will be Haplogroup I- Lineage IV, making him a descendant of the Henry Ellis Fowler line.

1840 Union County Census
1850 Union County Census
1860 Union County Census
  • Lemuel Holter Fowler (1808-1865) m. Permilly “Milly” Mitchell (1811– after 1880)
    • Ebenezer Fowler (1834–1863)
    • Elias Fowler (1836–1908)
    • Frances Fowler (1840–)
    • Sarah Fowler (1846–)



Son of Israel Fowler II

Lemuel K. Fowler was the son of Israel Fowler II and his wife Polly. Lemuel’s middle name may have been Kelly.

Lemuel K. Fowler was born in 1815, and died in 1895.

His grave is in the Flat Rock Cemetery on land that was donated to the church in the very early 1800s by his family.

Lemuel K. Fowler (1815-1895)

He married Elizabeth White and they had many daughters and only one, or two, sons.

Lemuel K. Fowler, son of Israel Fowler II, represents Haplogroup R1b – Linieage IV, making this a totally different Fowler family from the Henry Ellis Fowler line.

This family has been well documented and DNA tested back to Isle of Wight County, Virginia. There are several excellent researchers working to take this Fowler line back to European origins.

1850 Union County Census
1860 Union County Census
1870 Union County Census
1880 Union County Census
  • Lemuel K. Fowler (1815-1895) m. Elizabeth White (1816–1896)
    • Mary Jane Fowler (1836–1910)
    • Nancy Paulina Fowler (1839–1923)
    • Louisa Fowler (1841–)
    • Sarah Fowler (1844–1895)
    • Ellen Elizabeth Fowler (1848–1924)
    • Susan Fowler(1849–1914)
    • Ramonth Rena Fowler (1851–)
    • Josephine Fowler (1853–)
    • Charles Jamison Fowler (1856–1915)
    • Thomas Fowler (1857–)


(1815-after 1850)

Probable son of Jasper Fowler

This Lemuel Fowler is found in only one census record in Union County, South Carolina. He is recorded in the 1850 census with 47 year old Zachariah Fowler, 29 year old Mary Fowler, and 23 year old Susan Fowler.

There is a possibility that Zachariah Fowler was a son of John Fowler (d. 1833) and Fannie.

Zachariah and Mary Fowler were listed as “idiotic” in the 1850 census.

Susan Fowler was the daughter of Jasper Fowler (son of Ephraim Fowler) and the only child of Jasper to have a share in the estate of Ephraim Fowler when it was settled in 1849.

For this reason, I have to wonder if Lemuel was a son of Jasper. Why did he not share in the estate settlement of Ephraim Fowler?

Were Lemuel, Zachariah, and Mary only cousins to Susan Fowler and not siblings?

The 1850 Census counted three Lemuel Fowler households:

1). Lemuel Holter Fowler

2). Lemuel K. Fowler

3). Lemuel Fowler who shared a home with Zachariah, Mary, and Susan Fowler

Was this Lemuel Fowler the son of Jasper Fowler? Was he a son of John Fowler and Fannie? Was he the son of Andrew Fowler? Or was he the son of another Fowler?

The answer is….. I just don’t know..

1850 Union County Census


(b. 1830)

Possible son of Andrew Fowler

There is no documentation for this Lemuel Fowler. In fact, I am not even sure where I found evidence to even include him. But, somewhere in the past, I ran across something that made me believe that Andrew Fowler (b. 1804) and his first wife Nancy Hames had a son named Lemuel. If this Lemuel Fowler — son of Andrew — did exist, he would have been born in the 1830s.

As I can find no documentation for this Lemuel Fowler, it is possible that he did not exist at all. It is also possible that he was the Lemuel Fowler in the 1850 census with Zachariah, Mary, and Susan Fowler.

I have struggled with Andrew Fowler. I do not know what Fowler family from which he descends, although I suspect that his parents may have been John Fowler d. 1833 married to Fanny, or Mark Fowler b. 1785 (son of John Fowler and Fanny). The problem with the Andrew Fowler branch is that I can find no living male descendants to yDNA test. The entire family seems to have just vanished into thin air.

LEMUEL HOLTER FOWLER (1808-1865) Son of John Fowler, Hatter

His grave lay undisturbed for one hundred and fifty-seven years. The headstone marking the final resting place of Lemuel Holter Fowler was buried in the ground — not as deeply as the bones over which it stood guard — but deep enough that it had perhaps been unseen by decades of descendants.

Lemuel Fowler

John H. Fowler was born in the latter part of the eighteenth century, probably between the years of 1775 to 1780. His father was likely Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808) but this still has not been determined beyond all reasonable doubt.

John H. Fowler was a hatter and a trapper. He may have been married to a woman named Sarah, but like the uncertainty surrounding his actual date of birth and his ancestral beginnings, the name of his wife is also unknown to us.

John H. Fowler, the Hatter, penned his will in 1832, and he was in his grave by 1833. His estate settlement included payments to two doctors — Dr. William B. Nott and Dr. Thomas Hancock. Both were practicing physicians in Union County, South Carolina in the 1830s, and both undoubtably tried — and failed — to save the life of John H. Fowler.

John H. Fowler left a family behind. His Last Will and Testament did not include the name of a wife, but it did give us the name of a son, and daughters, and their husbands.

Lemuel Holter Fowler was the only son of John Fowler the Hatter — at least, the only son who survived to adulthood. John Fowler fathered four daughters (Delila, Desina, Catherine, and Omey), and Lemuel. There may have been more children counted in census records, but they remain nameless to us.

Lemuel Fowler was born circa 1808 in Union County, South Carolina. In, or around, 1833, he married Permilly Mitchell who was born around 1811. Milly was the daughter of Elias Mitchell and Hannah Smith. Elias Mitchell was the son of the Reverend Elias Mitchell of whom much has been written.

Lemuel and Milly had two sons, followed by two daughters. There were fairly large gaps in between the births of some of these children, so it is likely that there were others born who did not survive infancy. Such were the times before the nature of disease was understood.

It is doubtful that Lemuel H. Fowler served in the Civil War because of his advanced age in the 1860s. The lack of any military records seems to support the possibility that Lemuel stayed home during the war. He sent his two sons to war– one returned home; one did not.

Lemuel H. Fowler died on May 23, 1865. His estate was probated on December 20, 1865. His widow Milly Mitchell Fowler and her father Elias Mitchell were mentioned in the estate documents.

Lemuel H. Fowler was laid to rest in a small family graveyard. Elias and Hannah Smith Mitchell would be buried nearby in years to follow. There are Smith, Mitchell, Faucett, and Fowler souls, all related by blood and marriage, in the graveyard. Some are marked by engraved headstones, and some by simple field stones.

The graveyard has been taken over by nature, and has returned almost entirely to its original state. Only the recent, dedicated work by two researchers have revealed the grave and headstone of Lemuel H. Fowler. More work will follow and more discoveries are yet to be made. A part of the past that has been hidden from sight for many, many years has come to light, and the memory of Lemuel H. Fowler and his family will continue to live in our hearts.

  • Lemuel Holter Fowler (1808-1865) m. Permilly “Milly” Mitchell (1811– after 1880 )
    • Ebenezer Fowler (1834–1863) m. Miriam Sharp (1835–1876)
      • Knight Edward “K.E.N.” Fowler (1857–1935)
      • Julius Noah Fowler (1859–1945)
      • Ida Fowler (1860–1870)
    • Elias Fowler (1836–1908)
    • Frances Fowler (1840–)
    • Sarah Fowler (1846–)

Samuel Hodge (1766-1854) Father-In-Law of Martha Patsey Fowler

Samuel Hodge lived a long life. It is thought that he was born in Ireland before his family immigrated to the Americas. Born in Ireland, or born in 1766 in Reading, York County, Pennsylvania, he made his way south to Union County, South Carolina and settled on the Pacolet River near Grindal Shoals. He was one of the more prosperous men of his time and was surrounded by influential and powerful neighbors at the Shoals.

Samuel Hodge married Martha Wright, a Virginia lass born in 1775. They raised a family of eight daughters and three sons on the banks of the Pacolet River. One of their sons, John Jackson Hodge, married Martha Patsey Fowler, daughter of Womack Fowler — thus uniting the Hodge and Fowler families.

Because of the proximity of these families, there was much intermarriage between the Hodge, Moseley, James, Mabry, and Fowler families. It is a tangled web that will make you shake your head in disbelief at the circuitous ancestral route these people of the 1800s took to get here today.

  • Samuel Hodge 1766-1854 m. Martha Wright (or Fowler) 1775–1850
    • Jane Hodge 1794–1838 m. Mr. Coleman
    • Benjamin Hodge b. 1797
    • Susannah Hodge 1798–1850 m. Jesse James 1786-1877
    • John Jackson Hodge 1802–1882 m. Martha Patsey Fowler 1809-1872
    • Sallie Hodge 1804–1835 m. Henry Mabry 1805- after 1770
    • Mary “Polly” Hodge 1806–1880 m. William Mabry 1810- before 1880
    • Elizabeth Hodge 1809–after 1860
    • Moses “Moke” Hodge 1813–1885 m. Mary Elizabeth James 1825–1860; m. Julia Ann McDaniel
    • Martha Hodge

Wife Martha Hodge was mentioned in the Last Will and Testament of Samuel Hodge. (I have seen her maiden name as Wright and Fowler).

Daughters Jane, Susannah, Sallie, Mary, Elizabeth, and Martha were mentioned in the will, as were sons John and Moses.

There was also a mention of a Nancy Hamilton in the will. Was she a daughter?

There is no mention of son Benjamin Hodge. There are conflicting reports. Did he die as an infant, or was he the Benjamin Hodge who married Dorcas Moseley?? According to the Reverend J.D. Bailey, author of History of Grindal Shoals, Benjamin Hodge died as an infant.

Last Will and Testament of Samuel Hodge:

The Shaderick Sherrod James family had also come to Grindal Shoals from Virginia, and, in 1815, Susannah Hodge married Jesse “Buck” James (1886-1877), son of Revolutionary War soldier Shaderick Sherrod James (1744–1852).

From a document found within the estate settlement of Samuel Hodge, it appears that Jesse James continued to live on the land of his father-in-law after the death of his wife Susannah. I found the document written by Samuel Hodge to be a little unusual in its vitriol narrative of his son-in-law Jesse James. Obviously, there was no love lost between the two men.

The document and the transcription are below:

Samuel Hodge intersects my Fowler family through the marriage of his son John Jackson Hodge who married Martha Patsey Fowler.

John Jackson Hodge was born in 1802, and died in 1882. His wife, Martha Patsey Fowler, was born in 1809 and died in 1872. She was the daughter of Womack Fowler (1785-1849) and Susannah Moseley (1792-1878).

  • John Jackson Hodge (1802-1882) m. Martha Patsy Fowler (1809–1872)
    • Jane Hodge (1826–1870)
    • Henry S. Hodge (1828–1885)
    • Caroline Hodge (1830–1912)
    • Catherine Hodge (1833–1880)
    • Minerva Hodge (1834–)
    • William Franklin Hodge (1837–1909)
    • Gasaway Hodge (1841–1916)
    • Neland Hodge (1843–1911)
    • John Wright Hodge (1849–1916)
    • Calvin Wister Hodge (1850–1928)

WALTER GAINES FOWLER (1828–1871) Son of Mark Fowler

Walter Gaines Fowler was born in Union County, South Carolina, the youngest of three sons of Big Mark Fowler (1780-1853) and Elizabeth Moseley ((1782-1883).

In 1850, Walter Fowler resided in the household with his father, mother, sisters, and several nephews. His older brother Ellis Fowler and his family lived next door. It is possible that the William Fowler in the Littlejohn household was also a brother.

1850 Union County SC Census

By the time 1860 rolled around, things had changed drastically for the Big Mark Fowler family. For one thing, Mark had died February 10, 1853. The family moved from the Pacolet River closer to Jonesville after the death of the family patriarch. Most of the adult children and the nephews had left the nest, leaving a greatly reduced household.

It is most likely that the family had moved onto property belonging to Elizabeth Moseley Fowler’s nephew, Milligan Fowler (son of Godfrey Fowler and Nannie Kelly). Milligan Fowler owned 1500 acres in and around the town of Jonesville, and he left his Aunt Betty (Elizabeth Moseley Fowler) “the tract of land on which she now lives” in his Last Will and Testament dated in 1870.

From the 1870 Last Will and Testament of Milligan Fowler

The 1860 household of Walter Gaines Fowler included his mother Elizabeth, and his sisters Salena and Mary. Salena Fowler was a deaf mute and never left the household of her mother. It is through mention of her handicap in records that I am able to accurately follow the Mark Fowler family from the very early years of his marriage to Elizabeth Moseley until the deaths of both Mark and Elizabeth. Salena and her sister Melissa Fowler Leonard were the only two children out of nine to survive their mother.

1860 Union County SC Census

My best guess is that, in 1865 or thereabouts, Walter Gaines Fowler married his first cousin once removed: Mahala Rebecca “Becky” Worthy (1845-1925). Becky Worthy was the daughter of William Worthy and Fanny Fowler, daughter of Ellis Fowler and Mary. Ellis Fowler was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler. Thus, Henry Ellis Fowler was the grandfather of Walter Gaines Fowler, and the great grandfather of Becky Worthy.

Walter Gaines Fowler and Becky Worthy welcomed daughter Alpha Ethel Fowler into the world circa 1866, although her birthdate is shown in some records as the eighteenth of September, 1868.

A second daughter followed — Bettie — in 1868. A son named Walter Gaines Fowler was born in 1870 and died in 1870. Alpha Ethel Fowler would later name one of her own sons Walter, but alas, that Walter would live less than a year as well.

The elder Walter Gaines Fowler was alive and well — well, perhaps not well — at the end of 1870 when his cousin Milligan Fowler mentioned him in the Will.

For a very long time, I was unable to find the Walter Gaines Fowler family in the 1870 census. I could not understand this, but it is not uncommon for a family to be missed once or twice during a lifetime. I don’t like to admit this, but it took many years before I realized that the family was there all along — hiding in plain sight. Now, I definitely do not understand the reasons, and I am sure that they must have had good ones……

The Walter Gaines Fowler family used the Fowler surname in the 1870 census, but the first names for the family make absolutely no sense to me. Please continue reading….

Fowler Walter (age 35) is transcribed as Fowler Wallace. It looks more like Walter to me, but it is not perfectly clear. Regardless, this is Walter Gaines Fowler.

Fowler Sarah (age 28) is Mahala Rebecca “Becky” Fowler. Why did she use Sarah in this record?

Fowler Susan (age 4) is Alpha Ethel Fowler.

Fowler Caty (age 2) is Bettie Fowler. Was her name Catherine Elizabeth, Catherine Betty, Caty Elizabeth, or was the name Caty meant to be a joke on us, one hundred and fifty years later?

Fowler Hamlet (age 1) was Walter Gaines Fowler, the son. Did he start off his life as Hamlet and a name change came about to honor his father, or is this just to confuse and misdirect?

Fowler Martha (age 42) was listed as a deaf mute in this record, (although it does not show in the screenshot). This was Selina Fowler. Was her name Martha Selina, or Selina Martha, or was “Martha” a pseudonym? I have never seen her name as anything other than Selina in other records.

Now for the kicker. Fowler Elizabeth (age 95) is Elizabeth Fowler. Go figure.

I left two names on the bottom of the screenshot: Mary Catherine and Edward. Could not decide if this was last name Menz, Catherine and her son Edward, or Fowler, Mary Catherine and her son Edward. I will investigate this at a later date.

1870 Union County SC Census

The absence of Walter Gaines Fowler and the absence of any additional children in the 1880 household headed by Rebecca Fowler indicate that Walter Gaines Fowler had died. Further proof is the Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth Moseley Fowler who left her estate to her unfortunate daughter Selina Fowler and the two daughters, Alpha and Bettie, of her deceased son Walter Gaines Fowler. The Will was signed and dated March 27, 1873.

1880 Union County SC Census

Daughter Bettie married a Mr. Jackson and had a son in 1893 whom she named Jesse. Bettie died in April of 1894 and did not live to see the boy Jesse grow into manhood.

Alpha Ethel Fowler married Mr. Garner and birthed ten children, although half of her brood died when still babes in arms. In her later life, she moved to Georgia and married Mr. Crawford. Alpha Ethel Fowler Garner Crawford died in Georgia in 1929, and was laid to rest in the red Georgia clay.

Becky Worthy spent her last days living with her daughter in Georgia. She died in Georgia in 1925, but unlike her daughter’s, her remains were returned to South Carolina and she was buried at Gilead, probably near her husband of years long gone. I can find no record of the burial of Walter Gaines Fowler, but I have to believe that he lies near his father Big Mark Fowler — and perhaps not too far away from his dear Becky — in the graveyard at Gilead.

The Freedman Bureau: An Analysis of the Union County SC FOWLER Men and Women Who Received Rations

After four years of bloody battles, the loss of hundreds of thousands of fathers, brothers, sons, and the maiming of countless more, the American Civil War finally came to an end. General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 8, 1865, and, as the news spread throughout the south, confederate soldiers began slowly making their way back home to their starving wives and children, and what was left of their farms.

The Freedman’s Bureau — officially the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands — was established in 1865 by an act of Congress. The Bureau’s purpose was to give structure to the chaos and crumbled society of the south, to provide food and clothing to freed slaves and poor whites, to execute labor contracts between former slaves and former slave owners, and to manage lands seized or abandoned during the war. There were additional activities of the Bureau — the establishment and running of schools, dispensing medical supplies, resolving disputes, many other social and civil services to maintain order and help get a broken people back on their feet.

The document which inspired this article is called the Register of Rations Issued May- September (no year). In 1865, shortly after the Bureau came into existence, almost nine thousand souls in South Carolina towns and backwoods shell-shocked by the aftermath of a senseless war received food rations, clothing, and medical supplies. The next year, 1866, a decision was made to issue rations only to the needy in hospitals and orphanages. Based on this information, we must assume that the document was a record of May to September of 1865.

The debate over whether The Freedman’s Bureau was a success or a failure continues today. While great strides were made in education for the formerly enslaved people, little was done to ensure economic independence. The relief program ended in South Carolina by 1870.

This article will focus on the Fowler men and women of Union County, South Carolina who applied for and received food rations from the Freedman’s Bureau. This document is an invaluable tool to use with census records and other research papers to prove and document the lives of our Fowler family who lived before, during, and after the Civil War.

“South Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872.” Images. FamilySearch. : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

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