He was the son of David & Elizabeth Martin Bowles. He came to Missouri in 1825 with his widowed mother & brothers & sisters. He was married first to Jemima Shobe & had one son Eli Thomas b.1833. He married second to Bertha Tyler, they had 12 children: Margery E.-b.1835; Mary A.-b.1836; Benjamin B.-b.1838; John James-b.1839; Susannah M.-b.1841; William Henry-b.1842; Dabney Martin-b.1844; Joseph H.-b.1847; Narcissus Wilson-b.1848; Franklin A.-b.1851; Stephen Douglas-b.1853; Alice May-b.1859.
Brothers John James, William Henry and Dabney Martin served in the Civil War - CSA.