Bowman, John J. (1807–1890)

By: Frost Bowman

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 25, 2019

John J. Bowman, a member of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on August 15, 1807, the eldest of four children of Joseph and Mary (Richmon) Bowman. The family moved to New Madrid, Missouri, and lived there until their home was destroyed by an earthquake in 1811. From there they moved to Natchez, Mississippi. In the spring of 1822, Bowman and his father arrived in the Matagorda Bay area of Texas with the Austin colonists. He and Henry Williams, both single men, were paired together and granted a league of land on the east bank of the Colorado River about five miles above its mouth. Due to the hardships of the country, Joseph Bowman returned to his home in Natchez.

On October 3, 1835, John Bowman joined a company commanded by George M. Collinsworth in Matagorda County. They marched to Goliad and assisted in its capture (see GOLIAD CAMPAIGN OF 1835). Bowman remained there three months under the command of Philip Dimmitt and was later appointed a first lieutenant in the artillery under the command of James W. Fannin, Jr. While stationed at Goliad, Bowman signed the Goliad Declaration of Independence. At the end of the revolution, he was honorably discharged from the army and awarded 320 acres of land for his services.

He was married before 1831 to Amanda Eliza Rawls, a daughter of Amos Rawls. After she died he married her cousin Eliza, a daughter of Daniel Rawls, on September 13, 1840, in Nacogdoches. The couple moved to Tensas Parish, Louisiana, in the mid-1840s and purchased a 2,800-acre plantation, where they raised ten children and remained until the Civil War. After the fall of Vicksburg, Bowman burned his cotton, left with his family and slaves, and eventually moved to Cherokee County, Texas. He died on March 30, 1890; his wife died on December 23 of the same year. Both were buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, near Wells, Texas. Bowman was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was instrumental in building the first church building in southern Cherokee County.

DeWitt Clinton Baker, comp., A Texas Scrap-Book (New York: Barnes, 1875; rpt. 1887; facsimile rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Harvey Frost Bowman, The Joseph Bowman Family (MS, Genealogy Department, Texas State Library, Austin, 1976). Original Land Grant Collection, Texas General Land Office, Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Frost Bowman, “Bowman, John J.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 25, 2019

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