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The Bowles of Rapides Parish

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A Robert Bowles of Louisiana served in the War of 1812.  This was likely Robert Bowles of Rapides parish.

Robert and Matthew Bowles (likely siblings) were running a plantation in Rapides Parish by 1820. 

The 30 mile stretch along the Red River from Boyce (originally called Cotile Landing) to Alexandria, an area called The Island, was developed as a string of plantations in the early 1800's.  Early plantation owners listed in Sue Eakin's book 'The Rapides Parish History' included Thomas H. Jones Bowles, Joseph Hoy, Carey Hansford Blanchard etc.  In 'Early Settlers' Patsy Barber states that "The Bowles-Jones family was on Bayou Jean de Jean about 1820" when referring to a Matthew Jenkins Jones who came to Rapides Parish from Sumner county, Tennessee.  We don't know in which context the Bowles and Jones families were linked in that sentence but it leaves open the possibility that these Bowles arrived here with the Jones family and that both are from Sumner county.  That calls for a bit more research yet. 

The location of the Bowles plantation at Bayou Jean de Jean is confirmed though by a Rapides Parish Police Jury Minute published in the Louisiana Democrat on Sept. 5 1865 which spells out exactly which person was responsible for each stretch of Bayou Robert Road which ran from Bayou Rapides to 'the Cockburn Place' and from Alexandria to General Bailey's.  Generally, the people responsible for each stretch would be the people whose land it crossed.  They were termed 'syndics' which means a member of a syndicate, in this case the syndicate of people who joined together to maintain the road.  The person responsible for the section of road "from Mouth of Cotile to Cotile Landing, Road District # 2, Syndic: T. H. J. Bowles." ref.  Cotile Landing, now called Boyce, is at the south end of Bayou Jean de Jean.  The mouth of Cotile Creek would be a short ways further along the Red River.  Cotile Landing and Cotile Creek were probably the boundaries of the Bowles plantation.

The census records are particularly useful at telling us a bit about this family's history.

1820 Heads of Household Census Louisiana, Rapides parish
Robert Bowles
white males 18 to under 26    2  (this would likely be Robert and Matthew)
white males 16 to under 18    1   
white males 10 to under 16    2
white males under 10            2
white female under 10           1
slaves                                14
We also know that Matthew was there in 1820 as there was a 'left letter' notice for him at the nearby Alexandria Post Office. (ref: Louisiana Herald 7-8-1820)
1830 Heads of Household Census Louisiana, Rapides parish
Matthew J. Bowles
white males 30 and under 40      1  (Matthew)
white females 20 and under 30   1  (his wife Julia)
white females under 5               2   (two daughters, one of whom would be Cordelia who was born about 1830)
slaves                                    49
Apparently Matthew died between 1830 and 1840
1840 Heads of Household Census Louisiana, Rapides parish
Julia Bowles
white females 30 and under 40    1  (Julia)
some lines cannot be read              (there may be more children listed)
white females 5 and under 10      1  (?)
slaves                                     48
1850 Census Louisiana, Rapides parish
Julia Bowles        age 45  born Louisiana
Cordelia Bowles   age 20  born Louisiana
Thomas Bowles    age 19  born Louisiana
Property value listed at $15,000
41 Slaves in the Federal Slave Census listed with slave owner Julia Bowles
Julia died in 1853, Cordelia married in 1855, leaving only Thomas on the plantation.
1860 Census Louisiana, Rapides parish
THJ Bowles         age 34  farmer
land value $96,300
personal property $10,760
41 Slaves in the Federal Slave Census listed with slave owner THJ Bowles
Thomas served as a conscripted Private in the Confederate Army in the Civil War (1861-65) and shared the loss of fortune experienced throughout the South following the war. ref.
1870 Census Louisiana, Rapides parish, Cotille Rapids
Thomas H.J. Bowles  age 45  male  white  planter  b. Louisiana 
real estate value $1,000
Personal property $2,000
There is no sign of Thomas in the 1880 Census and no indication that he ever married.
There are also:
George L. Bowles, d. & bur. July 20, 1864, Plot B 0 787, Alexandria National Cemetery, Pineville, Rapides parish
J. R. Bowles Jr. buried in the Old Rapides cemetery; dates on his memorial stone: 7 July 1860 to 24 Aug 1900 
but there are no other signs so far to tell us how they fit in.

The Bowles of Rapides Family Tree

Robert Bowles b. ~ 1795 (under 26 in 1820 census)
Matthew J. Bowles b. ~ 1797 (30 or older in 1830 Census)
m. Julia (b. Oct. 1, 1806, LA) ~ 1825
(lived Rapides parish)
1.  daughter b. bef. 1830 and d. bef. 1840
2.  Mary Cordelia Bowles b. ~ 1830 LA
m. Joseph Hoy Nov. 22, 1855 (of Ohio)  ref.
2.1  Julia Bowles Hoy b. June 24, 1857   ref.
m. Dr. W. T. Sanford 1878 (living in Rapides Parish in 1881)
2.2  Josephine Hoy b. Oct. 8, 1859 (not mentioned in 1881 document)   ref.
2.3  Cordelia Hoy b. ~ Jan. 1862
m. Christopher Lewis Ransdell (b. June 1, 1855; John Hickman, Amanda Louisa Terrell) Dec. 1887 New Orleans ref.
(Deputy Clerk of Rapides Parish; Ransdells originally from Frankfort, Kentucky; living in Rapides Parish in 1881)
2.4  Almira b. ~ Apr. 1863 d. ~ Oct. 1863 (age 6 months) (per 1881 document)
Cordelia d. August 1863 (per 1881 document)
3.  Thomas H. Jones Bowles b. ~ 1831 LA (served in the Civil War)
1850 Census
Matthew d. bet. 1830 and 1840
Julia d. Feb. 13, 1853 bur. Cypress Grove Cemetery  ref.


The 1881 document referred to in the above:

This was kindly provided by Tony Abruscato, a volunteer at the Lamar co. TX Genealogical Society.  It is a page from a deposition made in 1881 by Cordelia's daughter Julia Sandford (nee Hoy) as part of a court case between Cordelia's daughters, Julia and Cordelia, and a W. B. Kimball.  Most importantly it documents Cordelia's death in 1863 following the birth of a 4th daughter.


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This site was last updated 10/19/18