"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Bowman, James W. a prominent resident of the town of Merrill, Lincoln County, who has been long established on a farm here, and has taken part from time to time, at the wish of his fellow citizens, in local government affairs, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1856, son of David and Martha BOWMAN. The parents were natives of the adjoining state of Pennsylvania, from which they moved to Ohio, the father, David, being engaged in the saw mill business. In 1865, when their son James was nine years old, they moved the mill to Canada, where they resided for a while. Their next removal was to Saginaw, Mich., but after a short stay there, they returned to Canada in which province they spent the remainder of their lives. Their family numbered seven children, two of whom, George and William, are now deceased. Those living are: Elmer, Joseph, James W., Fannie and Tillie. Fannie is now the widow of George PORTER and a resident of Toronto. Tillie is the wife of Joe BRENNAN of Ottawo, Can. James W. BOWMAN passed a considerable part of his boyhood in Canada and attended school there, residing with his parents, whom he accompanied to Saginaw, Mich. He has previously been occupied chiefly with farming but in Michigan became connected with the lumbering and logging industry. A little later he spent two summers as fireman on a Lake Michigan boat, being engaged in logging in the winter. He also followed logging at Crystal Falls and Iron River. Then coming to Wood County, Wisconsin, he worked in stave and other mills and was associated with Lawrence WARD of Pittsville. From there in 1889 he came to Merrill, Lincoln County, where he found work in the mills, sometimes going out into the woods, and also working for A. H. STANGE on the river. He then did some logging for himself, his next move being to buy 40 acres of cut-over land in Sec. 6, town of Merrill, which he began to improve by clearing the land, and erecting a house and barn and other buildings. This was done in his spare time, as during that period he was working in town to earn money for living expenses. In 1893 he bought 40 acres adjoining his original place, thus increasing the area of his farm to 80 acres. On this he now has 50 under cultivation, and is doing general farming and dairying successfully, keeping a herd of 24 grade Guernsey cattle with a pure-bred sire. For 14 years Mr. BOWMAN served as assessor of the town of Merrill, and he has also rendered useful service as a member of the school board. His public duties, as well as his private business, have brought him into contact with all the prominent citizens of his town, and few men in this part of the county are better known or more respected. Mr. BOWMAN was married at Waupaca, Wis., in 1886 to Augusta HAAS, who parents are now deceased. The children of his union have been five in number, but one, Frank is now dead. The four living are Fannie, Laura, Irma and Eleanor, all daughters. Fannie resides in Chicago; Laura is the wife of Gordon GASPILL of Merrill; Irma is in Chicago, and Eleanor is residing at home studying to become a teacher.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 595; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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