Wednesday, July 16, 2014

52 Ancestors: #28, Mysterious Mary, Part 1: Mary (Campbell) Bowlen – Unrelated Stranger?

In my post on my great-great-great-grandfather, Michael Murphy (52 Ancestors #17), I mentioned that I had gotten wind of several possible additional children – three female and one male – of Michael and his wife Magdelen, through an online tree.1

Of the four "possibles", the most mysterious is a thrice-wedded woman who may be my hitherto unsuspected great-great-grand aunt Mary A. Murphy2... or else an unrelated stranger named Mary A. (or Mary M.) Campbell. Or maybe, just maybe, there were two different Marys, one Campbell and one Murphy. But let me lay out the evidence and see what you think. To keep the length of my posts (somewhat) in check, I'm going to do this in three parts, one for each husband.

I have found no birth record on Prince Edward Island for either Mary Murphy or Mary Campbell, and this woman had left P.E.I. long before the Island's first fully nominal census in 1881. So my first glimpse of mysterious Mary is on 15 June 1853, when George Bowling and Mary Campbell married in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was 23, a shoemaker, and born in Nova Scotia to William and Eliza Bowling; she was 24, born in Georgetown, P.E.I., to George and Martha Campbell. It was the first marriage for each and both were residents of Newburyport.3

Marriage of George Bowling and Mary Campbell, 15 Jun 1853, Newburyport, Mass.
Over the next six years, George Bowling, shoemaker, appeared in the Newburyport city directory living on Merrimack Street in 1855, 1856, and 1858 (but oddly, not in 1854).4 George and Mary had four children:
  1. George William Bowling, b. 1854, parents George & Mary M. (both b. Nova Scotia)5
  2. Edward Westley Bowling, b. ca 1856 (from census records, birth record not found)
  3. Albert A. Bowling, b. 1857, parents George & Mary Bowling (b. Nova Scotia and Newburyport),6 d. 1859 of consumption7
  4. Annabelle Bowling, b. ca 1859 (from census records, birth record not found)
The only census record is from the 1855 Massachusetts state census,8 listing:
  • George Bowlen, 26, shoemaker, b. Nova Scotia
  • Mary M Bowlen, 26, b. P.E. Island
  • George Wm Bowlen, 1, b. Mass.
  • William Bowlen, 17, shoemaker, b. Nova Scotia (apparently a half-brother of George's)9
  • Mary Riley, 16, b. Ireland (unidentified; perhaps William's girlfriend?)
1855 Massachusetts state census, Newburyport, George Bowlen household
In February 1859, a George "Bolen", age not given, died of consumption in Newburyport. (His son Albert would follow him less than three months later.) While his occupation is given as "mechanic" (not shoemaker), his birthplace is Truro, Nova Scotia, and his father is given as William Bolen (no mother listed), which fits what we know about George Bowling/Bowlen.10
Death record of George Bolen, 18 Feb 1859, Newburyport, Mass.
Add in the 1860 city directory listing for "Bowlen Mary Maria widow of George" at 215 Merrimac (George was at 216 in 1858, and I think the 215 might be a typo, as a Caldwell Bowlen, apparently another of George's half-brothers, is boarding at 216), and it's pretty certain that George "Bolen" was Mary's husband.11

1860 Newburyport, Mass., city directory, listing for "Bowlen Mary Maria widow of George"
The 1860 census shows the "Bolen" household consisting of Mary Bolen, 26, b. Nova Scotia, and Geo W (7), Edward W (4), and Annabell (1), all b. Mass (plus an unidentified 9-year-old Mary G. Austin).12

1860 U.S. census, Newburyport, Mass., Mary Bolen household
The Bowlens then drop out of sight until the 1865 Massachusetts state census, where we'll catch up with them in "Mysterious Mary, Part 2: Mary (Campbell) (Bowlen) Green – Still Unrelated?".

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. "Public Member Trees," database, ( : accessed 22 Sep 2013), profiles of Michael Murphy, Margaret/Magdelen Morrison, and children, in "Dwyer Family Tree," owner "dgbishop189". This tree is partially sourced.
  2. Ibid., profile of Mary A. Murphy in "Dwyer Family Tree."
  3. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910," database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014), Newburyport, Essex, Mass., vol. 69, p. 259, marriage of George Bowling and Mary Campbell, 1853; citing “original records held by the Massachusetts Archives”. 
  4. A Directory of the City of Newburyport... for [year] and The Newburyport Directory... for [year] (Newburyport, Mass.: various printers/publishers, 1854-1857), entries for George Bowling, p. 47 (1855), p. 24 (1856-57), p. illegible but determined to be 58 (1858); database and digital images, "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989," ( : accessed 25 Apr 2014). There is no entry for Bowling or Bowlen in 1854, p. 46. 
  5. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910," (accessed 26 Apr 2014), Newburyport, vol. 81, p. 222, birth of George William "Stoonwood", 1854. This entry, originally dated April 29, 1854, clearly had no surname listed at the time, either for the child or for the parents, given only as "George & Mary M" (the other entries on the page give the father's surname). "Stoonwood" is entered as the child's surname in a different hand, and the date "29" is lined out and replaced with "30," both corrections underlined, and it is noted in the left margin, in the same hand, "(Date and name received Oct. 1, 1894)". Seven lines above (on line 55) is an original entry (with no apparent additions or corrections) dated Oct. 30, 1854, for George William Stanwood, parents William and Martha D. Stanwood. I believe that some information was received in 1894 for the already-complete George William Stanwood, and was mistakenly applied to the "George William" with no listed surname.
  6. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910," (accessed 14 Feb 2014), Newburyport, vol. 105, p. 307, birth of unnamed male Bowling, 1857.
  7. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910," (accessed 18 Feb 2014), Newburyport, vol. 129, p. 163, death of Albert A. Bowling, 1859.
  8. 1855 Massachusetts State Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Newburyport Ward 6, unpaginated, dwelling 79, family 83, George Bowlen household; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 Feb 2014). From this point on, the surname appears in records as "Bowlen" or "Bolen."
  9. "Public Member Trees," database, ( : accessed 16 Jul 2014), story "WC Bowlen Memories" attached to profile of William Caldwell Bowen, in "Huss - LeSage Family Tree," owner "LoriLesage167"; also public comments on the story, 16 July 2012, from Kenneth Bowlen.
  10. "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910," (accessed 25 Apr 2014), Newburyport, vol. 129, p. 162, death of George Bolen, 1859. 
  11. The Newburyport Directory... for 1860 (Newburyport, Mass.: Hosea T. Crofoot, 1859), entry for "Bowlen Mary Maria widow of George", p. 51; database and digital images, "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989," ( : accessed 25 Apr 2014). 
  12. 1860 U.S. Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Newburyport, p. 277, dwelling 1904, family 2080, Mary Bolen household; digital images, ( : accessed 17 Feb 2014).

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