Thornton Hardie Bowman, the son of James and Caroline (Dougherty) Bowman, was born at Clinton, Louisiana, on May 29, 1843. He was educated at Collegiate Institute in Louisiana, Southern University in Alabama, and the Lycée Impérial in Tours, France. During the Civil War he joined Company A, William Wirt Adams's regiment of Mississippi Cavalry, as a private and participated in battles in Kentucky and Tennessee, where he was taken prisoner but later exchanged. In 1866 he worked as a law student in the office of a judge in Baton Rouge. Sometime in the late 1860s he married Mary Hall; they had two children. In 1871 Bowman moved to Belton, Texas, where he taught school, practiced law, and entered politics. In January 1874 he became a clerk in the Department of State under Richard Coke and on April 21, 1874, was promoted to chief clerk in the secretary of state's office. In 1881, after the death of his first wife, he married Mollie Tibaut of Austin and, accompanied by his bride, went as representative of Texas to the Cotton Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia. The couple eventually had four children. From 1881 to 1883 Bowman was secretary of state under Governor Oran M. Roberts. He served as a member of the state printing board and the state board of education. For his health he moved to a ranch in West Texas. During the 1890s he was twice elected county judge of Howard County and once as county attorney of Howard, Glasscock, and Dawson counties. He also lectured throughout Texas emphasizing the concerns of Confederate veterans. In January 1899 he was appointed superintendent of the State Orphans' Home in Corsicana (see CORSICANA STATE HOME). Bowman was a Methodist and a Democrat. He died on November 7, 1905, and was buried in Austin.