Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I Got Another Ancestor for Christmas

The only thing that could almost top my friend and family-filled Tennessee Christmas this year was returning home to discover one of my relatives sent a photo of an ancestor I had not yet seen.

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With the addition of this photo of Lewis M. Fowler (my second-great maternal grandfather), which was sent to me by his great-grandson, William Leslie Fowler, Jr., I now have photos of all but four of my second-great grandparents.

Some people collect baseball cards, I collect family photos.

I'm still searching for a photo of George and Martha Jane Watridge Williams, Mourning Adeline Cobb Watridge and Sarah E. Patterson Fowler.

Of course, if you have a lead on anyone who may have a photo of one of these, please let me know.

Photo/William L. Fowler, Jr.

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Lewis M. Fowler around 1933

Back in October, I uploaded and blogged about some Fowler photos and a letter written by Lewis Fowler that was shared with me by a mutual Fowler ancestor, Jenny West.

I sent a copy of the photos to William Leslie Fowler, Jr., a Fowler relative I tracked down with the help of my mother. Leslie is the son of William Leslie Fowler, Sr., who was the son of Samuel Dalton Fowler, who was one of the sons of Lewis Fowler.

Samuel Dalton Fowler was a brother of my great-grandmother, Ruby Fowler Lovelace.

According to, that makes Leslie Fowler, Jr. my second cousin one times removed. I still have a hard time figuring that out so I'm glad does it for me.

Our mutual ancestor, Lewis M. Fowler, was born 14 July 1848 in McNairy County, Tenn.

His father, Oliver Fowler, died when he was just ten years old. I assume in later years he was not close to either of his parent's families because his death certificate listed the name of his parents as "unattainable."

Lewis married Sarah Elizabeth Patterson in McNairy County on March 27, 1868 when he was 19 and she was 16. It's crazy to think this was only four years after the Civil War.

Sometime between 1880 and 1890, Lewis and Sarah moved their family to the north section of District Four in Haywood County.

They were the parents of nine children:
Lula M. Fowler
1873 - 1960

Oliver Wilson Fowler (Jenny's great-grandfather)
12 Jan 1875 - 9 Jun 1951

Mollie F. Fowler 
Sep 1876 - 1931

Thomas Monroe Fowler
26 May 1880 - 19 Nov 1937

Samuel Dalton Fowler (Leslie Fowler's grandfather)
16 Jan. 1882 - 2 Oct 1913

Ruby Fowler (My great-grandmother)
12 Aug 1887 - 29 Jan 1952

Daisy Fowler 
Jun 1893 - Dec 1976

Elender M. Fowler
1884 - after 1900

Mary C. Fowler
1871 - must have died as young child

In addition to the photo, William L. Fowler was also able to share some memories of our mutual ancestor. In the letter that accompanied the photo, he wrote:
"This picture of Lewis Fowler was taken in about was taken at his old home place that backed up to old Highway 70. I don't remember the name of the road it fronted on. 
We had family reunions there for many years. As a child, I well remember Mollie's (Lewis' daughter) cakes and pies.  
There were times when Grandpa Fowler rode in the car with my Dad and I. He always kept both hands on the door as if he was ready to jump out if anything went wrong. 
I'm not sure if he ever had much faith in automobiles."
In the 1920 census, Sarah had recently died and Lewis was 68 and living with his daughter Ruby and her family. Also in the household at the time was three-year-old Guy Lovelace who would grow up, later to become my maternal grandfather.

In the 1930 census, Lewis was living with his daughter Mollie and her family.

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Lewis M. Fowler's death certificate

Lewis Fowler died on Aug. 8, 1938 at the age of 90 after a stroke. He was buried next to his wife in Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Haywood County, Tenn. Now added to my "list of things to do" is finding his obituary, which I know must exist somewhere.

Photo/William L. Fowler, Jr.

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l to r: Littie Fowler, William L. Fowler, Sr. and
Clyde Lorene Mann Fowler in the early 1950s.

Leslie Fowler also sent a photo and some additional information about his immediate family.

From a little research online, I discovered his grandfather and Lewis' son, Samuel Dalton Fowler, died Oct. 2, 1913 when he was just 31 years old. His grave can also be found at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. According to family history, he took his own life. The reasons or other details were never discussed.

In addition to three young children, Dalton left behind his wife, Clyde Lorene Mann.

I'm going to take a slight detour here...
Clyde was a daughter of Henry Allen Mann and Alice Elizabeth Hall. 
The name rang a bell since my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Castellaw Williams, had a sister (Irene) who married a guy with an unforgettable name: Bear Mann. His actual name was Bertheerus so you can see why they shortened it. 
Bear was a son of Grover Cleveland Buster Mann who was a son of Seth Henry Mann. 
Clyde was a daughter of Henry Allen Mann who was another son of Seth Henry Mann so she and Bear were first cousins.
Leslie let me know that, in addition to the two children I had already identified for Dalton Fowler and Clyde Mann Fowler -- William L. Fowler (16 Feb 1909 - Nov 1994) and Jesse Thomas Fowler (21 Oct 1906 - 19 May 1952) -- there was another daughter. Her name was Littie Fowler and she is pictured above.

She was the youngest of the three siblings.

When Dalton Fowler died in 1913, Jesse was 6, William was 4, and Little was 3 or younger.

Sometime before 1917, Clyde married Ben Hilburn. They had three sons together: Morris (8 Feb 1917 - 7 Jun 1991), Bernard (7 Feb 1919 - 1 Jun 1993) and Elvis (12 Aug 1924 - 9 Oct 1989).

In the 1940 census, the Hilburns operated a packed house with lots of family. In addition to Ben (50) and Clyde (49), living in the household in Memphis were their sons: Morris (23), Bernard (21) and his wife, Irene, and Elvis (16); Clyde's son, Leslie Fowler, Sr. (31), his wife, Mary Francie Trout Fowler (29), and their son, Leslie Jr. (11); Clyde's cousin, John Mann, Jr.; Ben's niece and nephew, J.W. and Lucille Cobb Trout (Lucille was the daughter of Harry and Bessie Mann Cobb and Bessie was Clyde Mann's sister) and their infant daughter, Johnny Sue; and finally, Leonard Trout who was Mary Francie Trout Fowler's father.

I'm used to seeing the occupation "farmer" in most of my genealogy research so it was nice to find something different for a change. They all had '40s-era "city-jobs." Ben worked in the toolroom at the railroad, Morris and Ben both worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Morris worked in the machine office and Bernard was a splicer. J.W. Trout was a pipe fitter and Leonard Trout worked for the Memphis Utility Company. Leslie Fowler, Sr. was the owner of a "Filling Station," while his wife, Mary Fowler, was a stenographer for a wholesaler. John Mann, Jr. was delivery boy for a bookstore.

It's really helpful for other researchers to be able to add photos and details like this to my ancestry research so if you have additional information about these or any other families, please let me know so I can share them here.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, like the Fowler family, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

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