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The Bowles of Canada and their Roots in Ireland and Great Britain

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The Bowles of Springhill, co. Tipperary

Back to The Bowles of Tipperary or The Bowles of Killenaule
Note: DNA testing has proven that descendants of the Springhill Bowles and the Bawnlea Bowles, both of whom emigrated to Canada from Kilcooly parish, share a close connection to a common ancestor.  As the Bowles of Bawnlea were closely connected to the Bowles of Crohane which is also very close to Killenaule and the Bowles of Crohane seem to have been connected to the Bowles of Fethard there is a very good possibility that the Bowles of Springhill, Bawnlea, Crohane, Killenaule and Fethard were all closely related.  See Sorting Out The Bowles of Killenaule and Kilcooly
Queries that were made in the 1990's by Dominic Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec in various family history forums online claim that his ancestor John Bowles had come to Canada from The Commons, co. Tipperary and that his parents were Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey of Springhill, an estate just west of Killenaule, co. Tipperary. 
I have been unable to contact Dominic but I have largely confirmed his findings.
The Killenaule (RC) parish register has an entry for John Bowles being baptized on Sept. 14, 1790 to parents Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey of Springhill.

John's baptism gives his parents as Joseph Bowles and Ellen Mackey but it also states that John was illegitimate.  Considering that Joseph and Ellen apparently had at least eight children together, a likely explanation for that would be that Joseph and Ellen were not both Catholics and therefore when John was baptized their union was not recognized by the Catholic church.  Mackey (or other Anglicized versions of the Irish MacAodha: McCee, McCay etc.) is an old Irish Catholic name, so if one of them was Protestant, it was likely Joseph.

Dominic also left us his list of Joseph Bowles' children:

John, George, Charles, Thomas, Margaret, Rose, Ann and Catherine

We don't know if he meant that to represent the actual birth order or if he just started the list with his ancestor, John, and then added John's brothers and sisters. 

From parish records we know that John married Mary Pollard at Gortnahoe RC Church in 1814, in a double ceremony with a James Pollard of Ballingarry, when they were both living at The Commons in Kilcooly parish.  Mary was also likely from Ballingarry.  While still living at The Commons John baptized children at Gortnahoe in 1816, 1817, 1819 and 1821.  Note: the baptismal entry for 1817 actually has John living at Williamstown which is about 1 mile north of The Commons.  In 1822 they travelled to Ballingarry to baptize their last child on record that I can find.  The witnesses were Thomas and Ellen Pollard.  In April 1826 John and Mary emigrated to Canada and settled at Valcartier, Quebec.

In that same time period a George Bowles baptized a son at Gortnahoe RC church in Dec. 1807 and a daughter there in 1812 at which time he was also living in The Commons, the same small community at John Bowles.  A witness at the second baptism was a Rose Bowles.  George and Rose are both consistent with Dominic's list of John Bowles' siblings.  As we know John was baptized in 1790, for George to have baptized a child in 1807 he would have been slightly older than John.

Looking next at Charles we find that a Charles Bowles, also of The Commons, married an Anne Ryan in Ballingarry, co. Tipperary in 1822 with a J. Pollard as a witness at the wedding.  A James Pollard of Ballingarry had been married on the same day and in the same church when John Bowles and Mary Pollard were married in 1814.

The next in the list, Thomas, doesn't seem to have left any trace.

Then considering the women in the list, who traditionally would have been married at their home churches, we find marriages for a Margaret (1812), Rose (1813) and Ann Bowles (1817) in the Killenaule RC register as we would expect to find them.  Margaret married James Cummins, a labourer of Mooglas (Moyglas), co. Tipperary in 1812 but I can't find anything further on them.  Rose married John Simple (probably Semple) in 1813 and they baptized three children at Killenaule between 1814 and 1819 but then there are no further entries.  The 1817 and 1819 baptismal entries give the Simples home to be at Foulkstown and at Glangoole respectively.  These two townlands are close to Cummins' home at Moyglas. 

Rose's husband may have died after their third child was baptized in 1819 as we find a Widow Simple in The Commons next to John Bowles in 1826 (see below).  A Rose Bowles married a Thomas McGrath at Gortnahoe in 1828.  That may have been a second marriage for Rose or it could have been a, so far unknown, Rose of the next generation.

Daughter Anne's marriage to Peter Perry in Nov. 1817 is entered in the Killenaule RC church register as having taken place at Springhill.  I don't believe there was a church or even an RC chapel in Springhill so the marriage was probably celebrated right in the Bowles house.  They were living in Hellenpark, the townland neighbouring Springhill to the west, when their daughter Mary was baptized in Killenaule in 1817.

Finally Catherine, the last in Dominic's list of John Bowles' siblings, seems to have also settled in The Commons as there is an entry in the Gortnahoe register for a Catherine Bowles marriage to a Laurence Shea on Nov. 30, 1825.

Dominic Bowles' information does seem to be largely confirmed by parish records.  Certainly nothing that I've found would contradict any of it.
It seems likely that: Joseph and Ellen's sons George, John and Charles and daughter Catherine settled in The Commons where their sister Rose joined them after her husband died while their daughter Anne settled near them in Hellen Park.  Thomas may have died young and we only know that Margaret married a James Cummins from Moyglas.
However that brings up an interesting possibility of some distant link between our Bowles of Killenaule and some unidentified relation of the prominent Quaker John Boles of Woodhouse (d. 1731), a descendant of The Boles of Cork, as Moyglas was one of John Boles of Woodhouse's holdings.  After Margaret's sister Rose's marriage she lived at Foulkstown which was another of John Boles' holdings.  There are other connections too which might add up to something.  As noted above, the Bowles of Springhill, Bawnlea, Crohane, Killenaule and Fethard seem to have been all closely related so those lines may also have had a connection to The Boles of Cork.  See The Bowles of Killenaule and Kilcooly's Possible Connections to John Boles of Woodhouse  Note: this is being suggested as a possibility only and is far from proven.
Another potential link has been found between this Bowles family and The Bowles of Oola, Limerick which was also a Catholic Bowles line with likely a Protestant ancestor.  See The Bowles of Kilcooly's Possible Connection to the Bowles of Oola, Limerick
See The Bowles of the Commons for more on this family including a proposed family tree.
See The Bowles of Valcartier, Quebec for their descendants in Canada.

This site was last updated 10/30/21