A Guide to the Bowman Family Papers, 1765-1998

Collection Number SC 4019

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano

Revised by: Alicia Henneberry, August 2013


Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Bowman Family Papers, 1765-1998

Collection No.: SC 4019

Creator: John Bowman, David Bowman, Joseph Bowman, Alpheus Bowman, Sam Bowman, Solon Bowman, miscellaneous

Extent: 3 folders

Language: English

Abstract: The Bowman Family Papers, 1765-1998, consist of one Hollinger Box and one flat folder, containing various documents related to John Bowman, and his descendants David, Joseph, Alpheus, Solon, and others. These documents include deeds and indentures pertaining to land granted to John Bowman, as well as wills and financial records, and records pertaining to the construction of a new Rader’s Church, 1878-1879.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: A Guide to the Bowman Family Papers, 1765-1998, SC 4019, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information: Deposited by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society in April, 1999

Other Formats Available: N/A


Bio/Historical Note: John Bowman Jr. was born on July 1st, 1750 in Greenwich Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Magdalene Surface, most likely in1777. They had six children: Elizabeth, George, John, Barbara, Catherine, and Mary. George and John Bowman were the eldest and only sons of John and Mary. John Bowman, Jr. died on March 7th, 1816, three days after compiling his last will and testament. There are financial records in the collection indicating the sale of a significant tract of land to David Bowman (son of Solon Bowman) from the heirs of the prominent Isaac Bowman (son of George Bowman). One such heir from the deed, Mattie S. Bowman, also penned a letter to David Bowman, found in the second series of the collection, confirming that she was his niece and that the Bowmans of this collection were related to the prominent Bowman family of the area. Another such heir mentioned was Alpheus M. Bowman, a very prominent and successful statesman and businessman in Virginia. Solon Bowman, to which some of the wills relate to, was born July 11, 1844 and was said to have been an active and pleasant man in the Rader’s Lutheran Church Community. He was also a soldier in the Civil War, where he had been “gallant and brave.”

Scope and Content: This collection consists of three folders of deeds, indentures, financial records, wills and a few other miscellaneous documents from 1765-[1850-1990]-1998, relevant to John Bowman and his descendants David, Joseph, Alpheus, Solon, and others. The wills contained in the collection belong to John Bowman, Jr. and his son John Bowman, as well as several others. The land treaties and financial records belong mostly to David Bowman, grandson of John Bowman, Jr. John Bowman was issued a Land Office Exchange Treasury Warrant for 374 acres in a section of Rockingham County, VA called "the forest" in 1811. Some documents indicate connections with George Keezel and Charles E. Long. Six rolls of names and amounts record subscriptions for erecting a new Rader's Church in 1878-79. Most of the financial records correspond to sales of lands and deeds made to David and John Bowman, as well as records of money and notes given by various family members and acquaintances.

Series I: Deeds and Indentures, 1765-1893, (and undated ) includes deeds and indentures relating to John and David Bowman, regarding mostly land sales throughout Rockingham County. Includes naturalization document for George Bauman.

Series II: Financial Records, 1871-1926, (and undated) includes lists of household property, 1888-1900 as well as notes, letters, and records on money exchanges and sales.

Series III: Wills and Estate Records, contain wills and records pertaining to the settlement of Bowman and Long estates, 1816-1998, and undated.

Arrangement: This collection is arranged in three series:


  • Deeds and Indentures
  • Financial Records
  • Wills and Estate Records


Bibliography: Tyler, Lyon Gardner. Men of Mark in Virginia: Ideals of American Life; a Collection of Biographies of the Leading Men of the State. Virginia, Men of Mark Publishing Company, 1906.

Wayland, John W. A History of Shenandoah County, Virginia. Baltimore, Regional Publishing Company, 1980.

Stirewalt, Jerome Paul. A Brief History of Rader’s Lutheran Church Near Timberville, Virginia from May 20, 1765 to April 11, 1921. Henkel’s Lutheran Publication Establishment, 1922.


Related Material:

Henkel Family Papers, 1783-1969, SC 1783-1969

Same Bowman Papers, 1845-1967, SC 3092




Box: Folder

Series I: Deeds and Indentures


Series II: Financial Records


Series III: Wills and Estate Records