Biography - HENRY BOWEN
Henry Bowen, the supervisor of the town of Serena and one of the most thrifty and prominent tillers of LaSalle county soil, was born in Kane county, Illinois, December 16, 1834. His father was one of the truly pioneer band in this state, coming to its broad and fertile domain in 1833. He hailed from Washington county. New York, reaching Illinois before the government had yet sectionized the land. He took a claim and resided on the same until the year 1845, when he came to LaSalle county and settled on a farm in Mission township. He possessed moderate means when he left his native state and was considered a well-to-do man in Illinois. He devoted his time and tact to farming, and no political or other movement attracted him in the least. The nominees of the Whig party constituted his ticket, but he never suffered his name to be up for local office.
The Bowen family originally came from Wales. Samuel Bowen. our subject's grandfather, was born in the state of New; York, of Welsh parentage. The exact advent to America is not known, but it is nearly certain that it was prior to our Revolutionary conflict. Hiram Bowen, the father of our subject, was forty-nine years of age at the time of his death, in 1854. He married Olive Niles, of Bennington, Vermont, and she departed this life in 1883. Her children were Henry, John and Thomas. The last named served as a member of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry in the army of the Tennessee, during the civil war. He participated in the heavy engagements at Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, etc., exposure during which injured his health so that he died early in life's careen.
Mr. Bowen spent his youthful days upon his father's farm, and besides obtaining a good practical knowledge of the successful management of the same he acquired, at the common district school, a somewhat limited knowledge of the common branches of learning. As he briefly puts it, "Experience has been my best teacher." He located on his present fine farm about 1850, and in its wild state began the long years of ceaseless toil, by which he has made it one of the best equipped farms in the town. He owns a fourhundred-acre tract here and a six-hundred-acre tract near Hastings, Nebraska.
Every true American citizen has his political party choice, and in the case of our subject he affiliates with the Republican party. About 1883 he was elected the supervisor of his town and has served ever since. He was a member of the board of supervisors during the time the county buildings were being constructed, - the court house, jail, and county asylum, - and his suggestions were then and are now a valuable aid in the proper conduct of the business of the public. He is the capable secretary of the Farmers' Insurance Company, capitalized at one million dollars, and it is doing a good business in LaSalle county.
The death angel visited the home of our subject in 1871, claiming Mrs. Bowen, to whom he was united in marriage in 1869. Mrs. Martha Bowen was the daughter of Jesse Davidson, who came to Illinois from Ohio. By her death she left a daughter, Harriet, now the wife of Thomas Duffy, of Serena.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 375-376.