|Birth: ||Aug. 18, 1836|
|Death: ||Mar. 1, 1927|
Sketch of the Life of Thomas Bowles retyped with minor editing into PAF notes 20 August 2002 by Kenneth Lee. Phillips, a second Great-Grandson.
A brave and valliant Pioneer
Fought the good fight many a year
But now he has gone to well earned rest
And the faithful he'll be blessed.
May his descendants honor his name,
His deeds merit renown to his fame
The memory of him we'll ever hold dear
of this tried and proven pioneer.
In the littler city of Canne, Wiltshire, England, lived Edward Bowles and his wife Anne Bolton and a family of five children. The family was supported by the father weaving different kinds of baskets and selling them. Thomas, a second son was born August 18, 1836.
He left school when he was ten years old and went to work in a button factory. While working there he met with a painful accident breaking his leg and thigh. While adjusting the belt which connected with the machinery, his foot caught, breaking the bones. The leg was set by the Doctor pulling on the leg while Thomas held to the head of the bed pulling up. Because of the lack of skilled physicians and proper atttention, the leg was shorterr, which caused lameness throughout his entire life. The effects were more pronounced during later years. Eleven weeks he suffered with the broken bones in a hospital. During his early boyhood, he narrowly escaped drowning twice.
The Bowles family was noted throughout the city for their hospitality; consequently it was not strange that Robert Nelson, Joseph Coleman and Brother Salter, missionaries of the Mormon Church should spend time at that home while in Canne. It is possible through these Misssionaries the family accepted Mormonism and prepared to emigrate to Zion,
At age ninteen years, in May 1856, Thomas, with the rest of his family, except and older brother John, who refused to leave England, started across the ocean on the sailing ship, "Thorn". They arrived in Iowa City July 4, 1856, after a six weeks journey across the ocean.
Here they were assigned to cross the plains in the James G. Willies Company. The story of the trials and hardships of these emigrants is one ot the saddest in the history of the west. The handcarts were made at Iowa City, and consisted of two wheels with a frame work extended in front with a cross-bar which was grasped by the one who pulled. The clothing and food were strapped onto the frame. Only 17 pounds of luggage was allowed to a person.
The Willies Company, one of the last two companies to attempt to cross the plaines that Fall and did not cross the Mississippi River until August. Unfortunately, an early winter set in. The company consisted of 500 souls, 120 carts, 5 wagons, 24 oxen, 25 beef cattle and cows.
The journey from Iowa City to the Mississippi River was pleasurable in every particular. The roads were good, game was plentiful, and the grass was high for the cattle. They arriving at Florence, several days ahead of scheduel, so time was spent making new carts and mending the old ones and obtaining supplies.
On the plaines, they had many experiences. At winter Quarters, they rested and prepared to resume their journey to Zion. From Winter Quarters, they traveled along Plumb Creek. At a small place called Plumb Creek, Indians drove off about 30 head of beef cattle. This was a very unfortunate occurance.
Thomas and his father pulled the cartt with the provisions. A younger brother Enoch was ill the entire journey.
When the company reached a point about 300 miles west of Florence, they barley escaped being trampled by a herd of frightened buffalo. With the loss of their cattle, travel with the added load was most difficult. The roads were very rough and much rawhide was used on the rickety carts to keep them from falling to pieces. The axles wore through before the journey was half ended. This caused much trouble and delay all along the road.
The early frosty nights made it cold for the emigrants, but they pushed on. When they reached Fort Laramie, they obtained some buffalo robes and a few more provisions.
As they traveled on, food was rationed. On October 12 food was reduced to 2 ounces to each soul. On October 14th another reduction was made. Thomas tells of mixing the four ounces with water and baking it over a bonfire made of Buffalo chips he had gathered.
This was their food for twenty-four hours. On the 19th the last of the flour was doled out. What made matters worse was, the snow was flying. There was already 18 inches deep on the level.
Just before camping at Sweet Water, Thomas became too tired from pulling the loaded handcart and walking many miles. He lay down on the ground along the side of the road. His father said to him; "You must not lie there, the wolves will eat you." The company trudged on. Thomas fell asleep from utter weariness. When he awoke, it was dark. He had to feel the dust to find the direction the company had traveled. When he began to walk. He had not gone far when he saw a light. He followed it and arrived at the Sweet Water. Nine members of the company died. While on the plains, one of the Bowles's oxen died. The company left the animal by the side of the trail. Thomas and a companion ran away from the company and walked back to the dead animal, skinned it and boiled a piece of the meat and ate it. The Captain, of course would not allow them to eat the meat of a dead animal, had he known.
AT Rocky Ridge, thirteen members of the company died. While they were preparing to bury them, two more died. They were burried with their clothes on in the same snowy grave.
After the company started again, Thomas's father became so tired, and said, "I can not pull the cart any further." Thomas said, "So I pulled the cart until we came to Fort Bridger. Then I dumped it into a hollow." At this point of the journey, Thomas tells of roasting buffalo hooves and eating them.
Beyond South Pass, the Willies Company were met by a rescue party sent by President Yound. They had nothing to eat for forty-eight hours. They were freezing and starving to death. Wood was drawn to the camp from the neighboring hill & bonfires were made. Food was doled out and the emigrants took new courage. Yet nine died the night relief came.
William H. Kimball started for Salt Lake City with the Willies Company. It continued to snow and nights were bitter cold. The women and children huddled at night around the fires while the men did all they could to make it comfortable. They gathered wood and tried to keep the clothing dry. At Green River they were met by supply wagons. In November, the men at Fort Bridger welcomed. them.
After arriving in Salt Lake City, Thomas tell of when his mother gave them a small piece of bread, they would look at it and she would say, "You needn't look at it, it is all that you will get."
For two years, Thomas worked in Salt Lake City for Bishop Brown, bishop of the Fourth Ward. He hauled timber from the nearby hills and did many other jobs for the Bishop. They moved to Nephi to settle a few years later.
When Thomas was twenty-three years old, he hired a donkey for $5.00 and traveled to Manti. He was married to Susanna Washburn (age 16) by Welcome Chapman, on January 27, 1856. His wife rode with him on a donkey.
Their home was a log cabin with a dirt floor on the corner of Third North and Second East. As the cabin was located outside of the old Fort Wall, it was more dangerous to live there. They had no furniture. A hole in the dirt floor for the hearth served as a table and chairs. They could sit with there feet in the hole. A small piece of homemade carpet hung in the doorway serving as a door. He left his young wife many nights with only the carpet hanging to the door when he went on guard in the Black Hawk War.
He had a narrow escape once when he drove a pair of wild steers hitched to a wagon from Sanpete County through the canyon to Nephi. He was also riding through the canyon the day the small company, for whom the monument is erected in the canyon, were killed. He did not know of the massacre until he reached home. His wife and friends were waiting, fearing that he too had been killed.
Samuel Gilson, an early pioneer owed Charles Foote a debt which he paid in horses. Mr Foote took the horses and bought tools for a butcher shop. Thomas Bowles run the shop and later was given the tools by Mr. Foote. Thomas entered into the butcher business for himself. He was an excellent butcher and made may friends while in the shop.
He was also one of the largest land owners in Nepni at that time. He also was a freighter to Salt Lake City, carrying merchandise, grain, ect between the two places. He was known throughout this terretory until his death for his briaded whips and lariat ropes. He hauled loads of logs for the Juab Stake Tabernacle. He has the distinction of buying possibly the first cook stove in Nephi, paying $150.00. He was an excellent gardener and made some money truck gardening. He was possibly the best grafter Nephi has ever known. He was called to all parts of the country to graft trees.
He was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age ten by Richard Pratter in 1846 in England. He was always an active member. While in England he was a Deacon, Teacher and an Elder. President Wilford Woodruff ordained him a High Oriest. In Nephi he was a counselor to Bishop David Udall and counselor to David Cazier in the High Priest Quorm. He was a member of the first Old Folks Committee, He carved the meat for their banquets until his death. he played the drum and clappers in the first band organized in Nephi. He was always a friend to the Indians & they were in his home many times. His home was always open to freighters and to those who needed help.
He died at his home in Nephi at age 91 on March 1, 1927. The following children survived him; Thomas Edward, William Abraham and Martha Ann. Two children had died. An adoped daughter, Mary J. J. also survived him. He had 22 grandchildren, 100 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren.
Edward Bowles (1805 - 1894)
Ann Bolton Bowles (1802 - 1882)
Susannah Washburn Bowles (1843 - 1917)
Susannah Washburn (1843 - 1917)*
William Abraham Bowles (1863 - 1944)*
Nephi City Cemetery
Created by: Ken Phillips
Record added: Nov 14, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 22902871