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

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William Bowles of Carlow town

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William seems to have been the only one of the Bowles of Ballickmoyler, Queen's county line to have remained in Ireland when all the rest moved away, most of them emigrating to Canada.  His life may not have gone well though as he ended up in the Carlow Workhouse where he died in 1886.   That doesn't necessarily mean that he was destitute though as many seniors had to go into workhouses in their last days if they couldn't be cared for by family members.

William ran a coal dealer business on Dublin Road from the early 1830's until at least the 1860's.  The Griffith Survey notebooks tell us that William built his residence, store, offices and two coal store houses on Lot 80 on Dublin Road in 1829 but as shown below it was more likely aound 1832.  He also held 3 other lots on Dublin Road in which he had tenants.

William and Anne Byrne baptised three children in the Carlow Roman Catholic Church between 1837 and 1844 but it seems they were not married as the baptisms are all marked as 'bastard' or 'spurious'.  As they remained together as a married couple for many years the most likely explanation is that they could not marry in the Catholic Church.  Likely only one of them was Catholic and the other Protestant.  Can't be sure who was what though as there were Catholic and Protestant lines in both the Bowles and Byrne families.

Their eldest son Richard followed the Bowles of Ballickmoyler's traditional occupation as a shoemaker with a shop on Dublin Road from the early 1860's until his death in 1869 leaving his wife, Mary Donnelly, with 6 and 1 year old daughters.   Mary did not remarry but Richard's youngest brother, William Jr., seems to have taken over the shoemaker shop as there was a shoemaker named William Bowles there in 1873.  That was most likely William Jr as it would have been unlikely that William Sr would change from being a coal trader to a shoemaker in his 70's.  So far that's the only reference I have found for William Jr.

One of Richard's daughter's, Margaret, died at age two and a second, Harriet, did not marry but Richard's daughter Mary, known as Minnie, did marry and her descendants still live in Carlow today.

The third of William and Anne's sons, James, married in Dublin where one child was born in 1868.  There seems to be no sign of them after that either.  It's possible that William Jr., James and his wife emigrated from Ireland together after 1869.

For William's family see William Bowles of Carlow's Family Tree

William Bowles Sr.

We don't yet know where William fits into the Bowles of Ballickmoyler family tree but he was almost certainly from the branch that I know the least about so far, the William Bowles of Wingfield line.  It's hard to make a 'most likely' guess without being confident about his birthdate.  His death record at the Carlow Workhouse states that he died in 1886 at age 86 but there are some problems with 1800 as his year of birth.  In 1842 he told the Griffith Survey team that he had acquired his lot on Dublin Road in 1816 and built his house on it in 1829.  The first problem is that he would have had to be at least 21 years of age to acquire land but he would have only been 16 in 1816.  The second problem is that the Tithe Applotment of Carlow taken in 1829 lists all the landholders in Carlow by street name and there is no mention of a William Bowles holding any land in Carlow.  Joseph Bowles of Ballickmoyler is listed as holding 5 lots in Carlow but no William.  If William had held those lots in 1829 he would have qualified to register to vote but he actually didn't register until April 1835.

So William more likely acquired those lots on Dublin Road some time between when the Tithe Applotment was made in 1829 and when he first registered to vote in 1835.

We have several of his signed Affidavit of Oaths from when he registered to vote in Carlow elections. The first time  ref. he registered to vote was on April 4, 1835 when he stated his address as Dublin Road and his occupation as Huxter.   

In 1842 and 1849 he gave his occupation as a Dealer on Dublin Road.

   William was a coal seller with a shop on Dublin Road but it's unclear from what date.

William owned four lots on Dublin Road including Lot 81 when the Griffiths Valuation was taken in 1851.  From William's statement recorded by Griffith's assessors in their Valuation House Book of 1842 he stated that he leased his first lot with a building on it in 1816, built his house and some coal houses there in 1829 and 'got a new lease of all (of lots) 75 and 76'.  The valuators described his property as "rather substantial buildings but very much crowded and the yard steep, falling much away from the front at street level - retains all the offices at the rear as coal stores & coal houses etc. - no garden". See The Valuation Office Books re: William Bowles Property in Carlow town:

 Note: Click on any image to see it full size.


When his first child was baptized in 1837, the church register lists William Bowles and Anne Byrne as living on Bernard's Lane which crosses Dublin Road by William's lot 81.

As William is the only Bowles found to have remained in this region after the other Bowles of Ballickmoyler departed for Canada, see The Bowles of Ballickmoyler in Canada, or to Dublin, see Robert Bowles of Ballickmoyler and Dublin, he was almost certainly the William Bowles who was still holding land in Ballickmoyler after the others left.

See also William Bowles of Wingfield regarding the Bowles land in Ballickmoyler

The Tithe Applotment of Ballickmoyler in 1824 shows a William Bowles holding just over 3 acres in Ballickmoyler with an assessed annual value of 5£ 9s 10d.

The 1850 Griffiths Valuation of Queen's county shows that William Bowles land in Ballickmoyler has been improved by developing 6 rental properties on it.  He then held just the 6 houses on 4 gardens (in Canadian terms, the yards around the houses) under William Cooper, all of which were occupied by tenants.  The gardens were valuated at 10s but the 6 houses were valuated at over 4£ income per year.

Deed memorial 1854/8/77  Patrick to William Bowles of Carlow and co. Carlow


William Bowles' Children

Although it seems that William and Anne Byrne did not marry in the Catholic Church they baptized their first child, Anne, at the Carlow Cathedral (RC) on July 8, 1837 followed by James on Nov. 14, 1841 and William Jr. on Oct. 15, 1844.  The baptisms of all three were registered as 'bastard' or 'spurious'.  There was also a son Richard whose death registration in 1869 states that he died at age 31 giving a year of birth of 1838 although I cannot find his baptism in the Carlow register.  The registration of his marriage to Mary Donnelly in 1863 states his parents to be William and Anne Bowles of Dublin Road.
I cannot find any further references to their daughter Anne after her baptism.  Possibly she died as an infant or child or she married elsewhere.
The only indication I can find that William Jr. survived to adulthood in Carlow is a Carlow Petty Session hearing in 1873 which refers to a William Bowles, bootmaker in Carlow.  It also mentions that he had not made a pair of boots for the defendant in the last 7 years.  That would place William in the shoe shop in 1866 when Richard was still there.  That must have been William Jr as William Sr would have been in his 70's then, a bit too old to have been the bootmaker who cuffed the drunk who came into his shop and created a disturbance and it's unlikely that he changed his occupation from coal trader to shoemaker at that age.
Richard also left little trace in Carlow.  In 1863 he married Mary Donnelly and had three daughters.  Two died unmarried and the third married William Ellis and raised a large family with descendants in Carlow today.  He followed the family trade as a shoemaker and raised his family on Dublin Road either in his father's house or on one of his properties.  Richard died in 1869 at age 31 seemingly bringing an end to the Bowles line in Carlow. Although as mentioned above, William Jr could have worked in the shoe shop on Dublin Road with Richard and taken it over after Richard's death. 
The youngest brother, James, registered Richard's death with civic authorities and would have been 28 in 1869.  James had married Gertrude Clyne (or Cloyne)  on Apr. 29, 1866 at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin and they baptized one daughter, Mary born on July 8, 1868 in North Dublin, there on July 17, 1868.  I can find no further trace of William Jr., James or his wife Gertrude in Carlow or in Dublin after 1869.  It's possible that they were part of the Irish Diaspora and followed the others who had emigrated to Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and elsewhere.
William Sr. died in the Carlow Workhouse in 1886.  His passing marked the last Bowles in Carlow although Richard's widow, Mary Donnelly, was listed in the 1901 Carlow Census as Mary Bowles, living with her daughter Mary Ellis and family.
 See William Bowles of Carlow's Family Tree

Richard Bowles of Carlow and the Donnellys

Richard Bowles married Mary Donnelly in 1863.  Her father is John on their marriage registration and we can see from the following that her mother was Margaret. 
The Carlow Old Graves Cemetery includes one stone marked:
John Donnelly 13th August 1849 aged 39 years
Patrick Donnelly 11th July 1871 aged 36
Harriet Bowles 11th October 1886 aged 22
Margaret Donnelly 6th January 1889 aged 84 years
Mary Bowles 15 Nov 1906 aged 68 years
This is John Donnelly and wife Margaret with son Patrick and daughter Mary (Richard Bowles' wife) and Mary's daughter Harriet. 
We know that Richard Bowles was a shoemaker.  There was a John Donnelly, shoemaker, who married an Elizabeth Costigan at Ballinakill RC Church, Queen's county in 1826 and then ran a shoemaker shop in Carlow from about 1830 to 1848 .  Joseph Bowles sold his shoe shop in Carlow in 1831.  While there may have been several shoe shops in Carlow probably not too many changed hands so close to that time.  Perhaps Joseph Bowles sold his shop to Donnelly.  They were both shoemakers from fairly close together in Queen's county so they probably did know each other. 
Another indication of a connection is John Donnelly wife Elizabeth Costigan.  A Costigan line in New York trace their ancestry through Canada and back to a John Costigan married to an Eliza Bowles, both born in Ireland.  Both Costigan and Bowles appear elsewhere in Ireland but neither are common surnames so paired together it would be quite likely they are from this Queen's county/Carlow line.
There is a lot of conjecture in this and it is far from proven, further research is ongoing.

This site was last updated 06/02/22