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The Robert Bowles Family of Ballickmoyler and Dublin

A Quaker Branch of the Bowles of Ballickmoyler

The Bowles family of Ballickmoyler were strong supporters of the Church of Ireland as is shown by the Castletown Church Vestry Minutes from 1801 to 1816 and their mention in the Castletown parish registry until 1846.  However, one branch of this family moved to Dublin and adopted the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) faith.
See also The Robert Bowles Family of Ballickmoyler and Dublin's Family Tree
Robert Bowles, the son of William Bowles and Sarah Moore, was born in Ballickmoyler in 1774 and was baptized twice.  Once at the St. Mary's church (Church of Ireland) in nearby Carlow town, co. Carlow and then 5 days later at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Carlow.  Since we know that William Bowles was Protestant, the assumption would be that Sarah Moore was Catholic.  Robert appears to have followed the family trade as a shoemaker in Ballickmoyler and was possibly (see note below) unmarried until 1810 when, at the age of 36, he married Ann Waring, the widow of Thomas Baker of Ballickmoyler who had died there in 1809 leaving Anne with four children under the age of 10.  Ann had been a member of the Quaker faith but her marriage to Robert was against the rules of that faith. At the Women Friends Meeting held at Carlow on April 12, 1811 it was reported that "Anne Baker, a member of Carlow particular meeting, acknowledges to have been some time since married by a Priest to a man of a different religious persuasion".  They referred the matter to the Carlow Men's Meeting.  At that Meeting on July 12, 1811, having shown Anne a copy of the meeting's 'Testimony of Disunity' against her, to which she showed no objection, Anne was formally disowned from the Society of Friends.
Robert and Ann then had three children of their own who were baptized at the Castletown church between 1811 and 1816. 

The Baker Children

Ann's four Baker children, Robert's step-children, all left Ballickmoyler by 1823.  The eldest, William, took an apprenticeship in Wexford at age 16 in 1817.  In June 1821 he moved from Enniscorthy to Dublin.  Three months later Ann's daughter, Abigail, moved to Dublin, probably to join her brother. Her second son, John, had emigrated to Canada with his Uncle Samuel Baker in 1819.  Her youngest son, Samuel, moved from Ballickmoyler to Dublin in 1823.  (per Carlow Meeting Migration records)
Soon after William Baker arrived in Dublin he opened a shop on Dorset Street.  The Commercial Directory of Ireland (etc.) for 1821-22 & 23 and the Pigot Dublin Directory of 1824 both have a William Baker, Esq. at 65 Lower Dorset Street.  Possibly this entry should have read 'Upper' as there is a bit of an issue with the terms 'Upper' and 'Lower' on a street which also appears sometimes as just Dorset Street.  Lower Dorset is the portion of Dorset Street north of Eccles while Upper Dorset is the portion south of Eccles.  So on a map, Lower Dorset is above Upper Dorset.  Various Dublin directories have put the same business at the same street number on Upper, Lower and simply Dorset over the years.

As an example of this confusion, according to the Just Eat website Benny's Chicken is at 65 Dorset Street Upper while Sweet n Spice right next door is incorrectly listed at 64 Dorset Street Lower.  The actual building at 65 Dorset Street Lower today is the St Francis Xavier National School built about 1890. 
 In The Pettigrew & Oulton Dublin Almanac of 1834 has Samuel Baker, linen draper, at 65 Upper Dorset.  The Quakers recorded their member's 'sufferings', the penalties charged to their members for not supporting the state religion.  These fees to the Church of Ireland by all living within a particular parish regardless of their own religion was required by law but the Quakers refused to pay them believing in the right of all people to practice and support their own religion.  In 1841 the St George's parish cess (fees) collector demanded £3 6s 6d from William Baker and, when William declined to pay, seized 3 pieces of cashmere from him valued at £6 19s 6d.  Note: this same list also shows Robert Bowles Jr. at his shoe shop on Dorset Street having 3 pairs of men's boots seized from her for his refusal to pay the parish's demands. Dorset Street is just 2 blocks from the St George's church.

The Bowles Children

Robert Bowles of Ballickmoyler died some time before 1830 although I cannot find any record for his death other than that his wife and children were on their own.    A divorce or abandonment by Robert is unlikely as either would have resulted in much more commentary and discussion in the Carlow and Dublin Meeting minutes.  For Anne to leave Ballickmoyler for Dublin with Robert's three young children, considering the wording in both the Carlow and Dublin Meeting minutes, Robert must have been no longer alive.  Certainly not by August 1833 when Robert Jr's marriage certificate states that he was the "son of Robert Bowles, formerly of Ballickmoyler in the Queen's County, deceased, and Anne his wife".  When Anne requested re-admission to the Friends they looked into her situation and found  in December 1833 that "she appears to be clear of any marriage engagement".
By 1830 Anne and her three Bowles children (Robert 19, Lucy 17 and Thomas 14 in 1830) had moved to Dublin where Robert Jr. opened a  shoemaker shop at 62 Upper Dorset Street. The Pettigrew & Oulton Dublin Almanac of 1834 lists Robert Bowles, shoemaker, at 62 Upper Dorset and Samuel Baker, linen draper at 65 Upper Dorset.  In 1839 Robert's brother Thomas announced that he had taken over the 'old established' drapers  shop at 65 Upper Dorset Street known as Baker & Co.  At about that same time a Baker Brothers & Co., grocers, opened at 66 & 67 Upper Dorset Street.  That was probably Robert Jr.'s step-brothers, William and John Baker's shop. 
Their rapid establishment on Upper Dorset Street in Dublin, at such a young age, was likely enabled by their family connection to the long established Baker family, merchants and attorneys, of Dublin.  The Merchants and Traders section of Watson's Almanack published in Dublin by Samuel Watson in 1783 lists a Samuel Baker, Merchant, on nearby N. Great George's Street.  and a Henry Baker, Esq., Treasurer, co. Dublin at 5 N. Great Georges Street.
Robert's three Baker step-brothers had apparently maintained their unity with the Society of Friends after their mother was disowned in 1811 as they are listed as being admitted to the Dublin Meeting under their own rights by birth as certified by the Carlow Meeting.  As another indication that this family was being helped to get established in Dublin by members of the Friends community, in September 1832, just after his 21st birthday, Robert Jr requested and was granted admission to the Friends.  The report on Robert stated that "it appears he was born of parents one of whom had been a member of our society, has been brought up in profession with Friends (i.e. he had been brought up in close association and according to the customs of Friends) and has been accustomed for several years to attend our religious meetings".  The Friend's Subscription Book for Dublin shows that Robert made his first contribution (5s) 'For the use of the Monthly Mens Meeting of Dublin' in January 1833.
In January 1833 Anne also applied for reinstatement based on her past unity with the Carlow meeting, her own expression of regret and condemnation of her actions which led to her disownment.  ref.  After receiving a report from the Carlow Meeting that they were willing to re-instate Anne into the Carlow Meeting and informed the Dublin Meeting that "she appears to be clear of any marriage engagement", she was reinstated in April 1833.  Ref: Dublin and Carlow Meeting minutes:
The minutes of the Dublin Mens Meeting of Aug. 13, 1833 state: "Robert Bowles of this city son of Robert Bowles deceased formerly of Ballickmoyler in the Queen's county and Anne his wife; Hannah Wardell daughter of Jonas Wardell, deceased, formerly of Ashmount in the county of Antrim and Anne his wife appeared here and declared their intentions of taking each other in marriage."  They married on Sept. 13, 1833 in the Friends Meeting House on Sycamore Alley, Dublin.  Witnesses to the marriage included John Wardell, Provisions Merchant, and Robert's step brothers Samuel and John Baker, linen drapers.
In 1839 his advertisements describe his shop as a Waterproof Boot and Shoe Manufactory.  He had his shoemaker business at 62 Dorset Street in Dublin until at least 1842.  ref.   
Robert Jr.'s name appears connected to that address for the last time in 1844 by which time the business was in his brother Thomas' name. ref.   It's likely that both brothers started their working lives in this shop but the younger brother Thomas took it over upon Robert Jr. establishing himself at another shop in Leixlip. 
Robert Jr. first definitely appears in the 1850's operating his own agricultural implement business but he must have been doing a lot of related work in the 1840s to get himself established.   This was probably made much easier through the family's close connections in the Quaker community in Dublin who were very involved in the retail and manufacturing industry.  See The Robert Bowles Agricultural Equipment Company.
Thomas had taken over the shoe shop business by 1844.  Later, Henry Shaw's Dublin City Directory of 1850 lists Boles & Co., Wholesale Tea and Coffee, at the same address, 62 Lower Dorset Street.  That would have been a logical development as one of the most prominent tea and coffee wholesalers in Dublin was Thomas and Robert Jr.'s half-brother, Samuel Baker.  The close tie between them is evidenced by Thomas Bowles naming his eldest son Samuel Baker Bowles in 1841.  Samuel Baker's partner in the grocery business was James Wardell and both Robert Jr. and his sister Lucy had married into the Wardell family.
Note: Roberts marriage at 36 to Anne Waring was rather late in life and leaves room for a first marriage.  There are very few Catholic registers surviving from that period to prove this either way.  He is also the only Catholic Bowles that I know of in Carlow before the 1800's.  However, there was a William Bowles, born about 1800, living in Carlow, who was Catholic and one of his children was a shoemaker.  If Robert did marry first at a more usual age in his low-20's (around 1796 to 1798) this William born in 1800 would be a very good candidate for his son.  See William Bowles of Carlow
Note: It may just be a coincidence of names but there was another shoemaker named George Boles in Dublin during this same period.  I haven't found any connection between them yet though.
See Robert Bowles of Ballickmoyler and Dublin's Family Tree

Robert and Anne's Children

Robert's eldest, Robert Jr., likely followed the family's traditional occupation of shoemaking in his father's shop.   That same year, Robert Jr. married Hannah Wardell, their marriage is recorded in the Quaker Dublin Monthly Meeting Minutes. It was probably this connection to the Quaker community of  businessmen and manufacturers which resulted in Robert stepping up from his father's shoemaker trade and getting involved in the farm equipment industry in the 1850's, first the renting equipment used on his own farm but later getting into the manufacture of farm equipment of his own design.
In 1861 Robert Jr. requested permission for his daughter Margaret, born April 5, 1847 to attend the Friends School at Mountmellick and the Minutes of the Dublin Monthly Meeting of July 1862 records that they recommended Margaret, daughter of Robert and Hannah Bowles, to attend the school.  A list of students attending the Friend's School in  Mountmellick, Queen's county since 1857 includes a Margaret Bowles.     
See Robert Bowles and his Agricultural Implement Company.
In 1843 daughter Lucy married Jonas Wardell in Dublin.  Jonas died six years later and so it was Lucy who became involved in business.  She operated as Lucy Wardell & Co, Drapers at 89 Lower George's Street in Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) just south of Dublin from about 1862 to 1873 when it was sold to other family members who ran the shop as Penrose, Bowles and Co.
See The Bowles Draper Shops in Dublin
Their third child, Thomas, married Ellen Alexander in Dublin in about 1839.  Their 10 children were all registered in the Quaker minute books although I have not yet found the record of his marriage.  Two of their children had the middle name Waring, probably named after his mother, Anne Waring.  Thomas, seems to have taken over his father's business as the 1844 Jury List for the City of Dublin lists a Thomas Boles, shoemaker, at 62 Dorset Street. ref. There is a Boles and Co., Wholesale Tea and Coffee Dealers, operating at 62 Upper Dorset Street in the 1850 Dublin City Directory.  The change from shoemaking to tea and coffee sales would have been influenced by his half-brother Samuel Baker who had a large tea, coffee and spice wholesale business in Dublin.  Later, Thomas would open a small print shop on Eustace Street close to the Friend's Dublin Meeting House.  This is the only line which I know has survived to present day in Ireland.  One of Thomas' sons, 3.2  Samuel Baker Bowles in the family tree, settled in Cork City in the late 1800's where he worked as a Commissioned Agent or Commercial Traveller (i.e. a Travelling Salesman) until his death in 1907.  His son, Charles Arnold Bowles, born there in 1887, became an Engineer, moved to Castlebar, county Mayo and later back to Dublin where there are descendants living today. 
See Thomas Bowles, Printer of Dublin

Robert's Stepchildren

Samuel Baker (1808-1862) married Margaret O'Brien.  There were a lot of Samuel Baker's around by then which makes this hard to sort out but he seems to have become the principal at Baker, Wardell and Co., a very successful tea, coffee and spice store in Dublin which still operates to this day as Robert Roberts.  See some notes on the Related Quaker Families in Dublin.
John Baker (1805-1878) married Eliza Wardell, the sister of Lucy Bowles' husband Jonas Wardell.  I haven't followed up this line yet but I do know that they emigrated to Canada and three of their children, Jacob George, Susan and Eliza, settled at Melgund, Manitoba (near Deloraine, MB) which is not that far from my own home in Winnipeg.  In the 1901 census of Cameron, MB they were still unmarried and living together.
Abigail Baker (1803-1881)  (I haven't found any further record yet)
William Baker (1801-1865) married Lucinda Coury and had sons Thomas, Jonathan, John, Joshua and Samuel but I have not yet tried to follow this line.

This site was last updated 10/19/18