Tuesday, October 28, 2014

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS, No. 44: Francis BOWMAN, 1630-1687, Immigrant

Following the challenge from Amy Johnson Crow to write a post weekly, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, here is my 44th installment, Francis BOWMAN, my ex-husband's 7th great-grandfather, our children's 8th great-grandfather.

Francis is the eldest child of Nathaniel Bowman and Anne/Hannah (unknown surname).  He was baptised October 24, 1630, at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, London, England.  We might assume his parents were living nearby, and therefore that he was born in the region of the Stepney church. 

Of course I can't mention the church at Stepney without reminding you all of the Oranges and Lemons bell-ringing song.  Click link for more details.

Shortly after Francis was born, the family emigrated to the early Massachusetts colony, settling in Watertown, MA.  All six of his siblings were born in Watertown, as have been described and detailed in the book by Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. They were:  Mary, b. abt 1633 (died young); Joanna, b. abt 1635 (died young);  Dorcas, b. 1639, died 1639;  Nathaniel b. 1641-1707 (did not marry);  Joanna b. 1642, married, children;  Dorcas, after 1643, married twice, children. 

What I looked at in horror was the fact that by the time Francis was about 10 years old, he'd seen three sisters die as babies or toddlers. Wow.  What must have that felt like-? I haven't done research to find out if there was an epidemic or an unusual event to have caused three deaths over several years. The next three siblings survived into adulthood.

On the 26th day of the 7th month 1661, in Watertown, at the age of 31 years, Frances married Martha SHERMAN; Martha  was the daughter of John SHERMAN and Martha PALMER. Note that her name is spelled Marthy on the register.

Francis and Martha had the following children (not all details are researched as yet):
  1.  John, b.19 Feb 1664/65
  2.  Francis (Jr), b.14 Sep 1666; d.23 Dec 1744, Lexington MA; see inscription on his headstone; buried at same cemetery as his father (see below)
  3.  Martha, b.2 Mar 1666/67; d.Dec 1667 Watertown
  4.  Nathaniel (Captain), b.9 Feb 1668/69; d.13 Jun 1748, Waltham MA
  5.  Mary [ancestor], b. Feb 1670/71, d. 2 Dec 1747 Stow MA; on 2 Dec 1692, m. Rev. John EVELETH; 6 children
  6.  Joseph, b.18 May 1674, d. 8 Apr 1762, Lexington MA
  7.  Anna?, b. 19 Sep 1676
  8.  Samuel, b. 14 Aug 1679
  9.  Jonathan, b. abt 1682, d. 1682
10.  Martha, b. 4 Apr 1685

I have not yet found Martha Sherman's death date, nor whether or not she is buried with her husband.  Several family trees have her death as 1700, but I have not found sources for verification, to date. (put on to-do list!)

Francis died 16 Dec 1687, aged 57 years.  He is buried in "The Old Burying Place", Watertown, Massachusetts, in "Plot 2".  The inscription states:
              HERE LYES THE BODY
             OF  FRANCIS  BOWMAN
                 AGED  57  YEARS
             16...  ......................1687

The headstone and details may be found here on the link to FindAGrave.  Note that the write up states he was born in Watertown (error).  He came as a very young child with his parents, so this error is not surprising.  

From Savage's Genealogical Dictionary, we find a potted history, showing he remained in Watertown until late in life, when he was known to live in what is now Lexington, about 6 or 7 miles north of Watertown. The following is copied, as printed: 
     "BOWMAN, FRANCIS, Watertown, eldest s. of Nathaniel, sw. fidel. 1652, m. 26 Sept. 1661, Martha, d. of capt. John Sherman, had  Francis, b. 14 Sept. 1662;  John, 19 Feb. 1665;  Martha, 2 Mar. 1667, d. at 9 mos.;  Nathaniel, 9 Feb. 1669;  Joseph, 18 May 1674;  Ann, 19 Sept. 1676;  Samuel, 14 Aug. 1679;  Jonathan, d. 1682; and Martha, again, 4 Apr. 1685; and he d. 16 Dec. 1687.  He rem. to Cambridge Farms, now Lexington." 

If you have information, corrections, or questions about any of the information about Francis BOWMAN & his family, please do not hesitate to contact me through the Comments below, or via calewis at telus dot net.  Thanks for stopping by.

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis