ENS Rees Bowen

ENS Rees Bowen

Rockingham County, Virginia, USA
Death 7 Oct 1780 (aged 51)
North Carolina, USA
Burial Blacksburg, Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 90242808 · View Source
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Husband of Margaret Louisa Smith — married 1756 in Rockingham Co, Virginia

Father of:
• John Bowen
• Margaret Lavisa Gillespie
• Rebecca Smith
• Lily Bowen
• Rees Bowen Jr
• Col Henry Bowen
• Arthur Bowen
• Louisa "Levisa" Thompson
• Nancy Ward

Son of John Bowen and Lillian McIlhaney

Brother of Nancy Ann Buchanan, Agnes Buchanan, John Bowen Jr, Henry Bowen, Jean Jane Looney, Captain Robert Pickens Bowen, Rebecca Schmidt, Captain William Bowen, Captain Arthur Bowen, Mary Porter, Charles Bowen and Moses Bowen

A History of The Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory. By David E. Johnston (1906)

The Bowens, of Tazewell. This family is of Welch extraction, and the immediate ancestors of those that came hither were, long prior to the American Revolution, located and settled about Fredericktown, in western Maryland. Restive in disposition and fond of adventure, like all of their blood, they sought, fairly early after the first white settlements were made in the Valley of Virginia, to look for homes in that direction. How early, or the exact date, that Reece Bowen, the progenitor of the Tazewell family of that name, came in to the Virginia Valley from his western Maryland home, cannot be named with certainty; doubtless he came as early as 1765, for it is known that for a few years prior to 1772, when he located at Maiden Spring, he was living on the Roanoke River, close by where the city of Roanoke is now situated, then in Augusta County, he married Miss Louisa Smith, who proved to him not only a loving and faithful wife, but a great helpmeet in his border life. She was evidently a woman of more than ordinary intelligence and cultivation for one of her day and opportunity. She was a small, neat and trim woman, weighing only about one hundred pounds, while her husband was a giant in size and strength. It is told as a fact that she could step into her husband's hand and that he could stand and extend his arm, holding her at right angle to his body.

Prize fighting was quite common in the early days of the settlements, by which men tested their manhood and prowess. The man who could demolish all who chose to undertake him was the champion, and wore the belt until some man flogged him, and then he had to surrender it. At some period after Reece Bowen had settled on the Roanoke, and after the first child came into the home, Mrs. Bowen desiring to pay a visit to her people in the Valley, she and her babe and husband set out on horse-back along the narrow bridle way that then led through the valley, and on the way they met a man clad in the usual garb of the day--that is , buck-skin trousers, moccasins, and hunting shirt, or wampus. The stranger inquired of Mr. Bowen his name, which he gave him; proposed a fight for the belt. Bowen tried to beg off, stating that he was taking his wife and child, the latter then in his arms, to her people. The man would take no excuse; finally Mrs. Bowen said to her husband; "Reece, give me the child and get down and slap that man's jaws." Mr. Bowen alighted from his horse, took the man by the lapel of his hunting shirt, gave him a few quick, heavy jerks, when the man called out to let him go, he had enough.

It is also related of Mr. Bowen, that in a later prize fight, at Maiden Spring, with a celebrated prize fighter who had, with his seconds, come from South Carolina to fight Bowen, and when he reached Bowen's home and made known to him his business, he, Mr. Bowen, did what he could in an honorable way to excuse himself from engaging in a fight; but the man was persistent and Bowen concluded to accommodate him and sent for his seconds--a Mr. Smith and a Mr. Clendenin. The fight took place and the gentleman from South Carolina came off second best.

Notes for Rees Bowen:

Source: Pendleton's History of Tazewell County, Virginia (pages 407 - 410):

Rees married Louisa Smith, whose parents then lived in that section of Augusta now known as Rockingham County. It is said that, after his marriage, he took up his abode on the Roanoke River close to where the city of Roanoke is now situated.

In some way Rees Bowen learned of the fertile lands and abundance of game that could be found in the Upper Clinch Valley; and he concluded to abandon his home on the Roanoke River and settle in this region, where he could locate and occupy, without cost, a large boundary of fine unoccupied land. It is known from tradition that when he arrived with his family in the vicinity of the great spring, to which he gave a peculiar name, he had not then selected the boundary of land upon which he would settle. After they went into camp, on the evening of the day he reached the place that has since been the home of the Bowens, he went out to find and kill a deer to get a supply of fresh meat. While thus engaged he discovered the spring. Bickley thus tells of the discovery of the immense fountain and what followed:

"When Mr. Bowen first saw the spring, he discovered a fine young female deer, feeding on the moss within the orifice from which gushes the spring. He shot it, and when he went to get his deer, saw a pair of elk horns standing on their points, and leaning against the rocks. Mr. Bowen was a very large and tall man, yet he had no difficulty in walking upright under the horns. He chose this place for his, and the spring and river have since been known as Maiden Spring and Fork."

The first four years after he and his family located at Maiden Spring were free from any hostile demonstrations by the Indians against the Clinch settlements. He was possessed of great physical strength and was very industrious, and in the four years he erected a large and strong log house, extended his clearings into the forests and added considerably to the number of horses and cattle he brought with him from his home on the Roanoke. Then came trouble with the Ohio Indians, in 1773, when the whole frontier of Virginia was threatened by the red men; and Rees Bowen built a heavy stockade around his dwelling, converting it into an excellent neighborhood fort.

In the meantime, his four brothers, John, Arthur, William and Moses had moved out from Augusta to find homes in the country west of New River. When Dunmore's War came on the three brothers, Rees, William and Moses, went with Captain William Russell's company on the Lewis expedition to the mouth of the Kanawha River; and were prominent figures in the eventful battle at Point Pleasant. Moses Bowen was then only twenty years old; and on the return march from the Kanawha he was stricken with smallpox, from which frightful malady he died in the wilderness.

After his return from Point Pleasant, for two years Rees Bowen, like all the pioneer settlers, was actively engaged in clearing up fields from the forest and increasing the comforts of his new home. While thus occupied the war between the colonies and Great Britain began; and the British Government turned the Western Indians loose on the Virginia frontiers. This caused the organization of a company of militia, expert Indian fighters, in the Clinch Valley. The two Bowen brothers were members of the company, William being captain, and Rees, Lieutenant. This company, composed of pioneers, did effective service for the protection of the settlers in the Clinch and the Holston valleys.

Rees was killed at the Battle of Kings Mountain, North Carolina/South Caroline border

When it was known that Lord Cornwallis' Army was marching northward through the Carolinas, and that Colonel Ferguson, who commanded the left wing of his Army, had sent a threat to the "Over Mountain Men" that if they did not cross the mountains and take the oath of allegiance to the King, that he would cross over and destroy with fire and sword, Evan Shelby, John Sevier, and William Campbell determined to checkmate Colonel Ferguson by crossing the mountains and destroying him and his army. Colonel Campbell commanded the Washington County Military Force, and William Bowen a company that belonged to Campbell's Command, though a part of his company lived on the Montgomery County side of the line. In this company Rees Bowen was a First Lieutenant, his son John a Private, and James Moore a Junior Lieutenant. When the order came for Bowen's company to join the regiment it found its Captain, William Bowen, sick of a fever, and this situation devolved the command of the company upon Lieutenant Rees Bowen, who led it into the battle of King's Mountain, and there, together with several of his men, was killed and buried on the field. His remains were never removed, for the reason that when opportunity was offered for their removal the spot in which he was buried could not be identified. Campbell's Regiment lost in this battle 35 killed and wounded; among the killed, other than Lieutenant Rees Bowen, were Captain William Edmondson, Robert Edmondson, Andrew Edmondson, and Henry Henninger, and among the wounded, Charles Kilgore and John Peery, the two latter and Henninger from the Upper Clinch Waters.

Scouts on the Clinch River

William Bowen, James Fowler, Thomas Maxwell, Rees Bowen, David Ward, John Kingkeid, William Priest, John Sharp, William Crabtree, Samuel Hays, Robert Davis, Robert Moffett
By Poundgirl on Ancestry: Reese Bowen who died in 1780 at Kings Mountain is not Rees "Tate" Bowen. The middle name Tate belongs to Rees born 1845. The other info listed under the findagrave is correct for Rees Bowen born circa 1737-1750. Rees Tate Bowen was the second son of General Rees Tate & Louisa Bowen. Same family; different person. After the death of their first child, Rees, they renamed their second son, who was originally named John, to Rees. Source: Annals of Tazewell County, Virginia from 1800 to 1922 in two volumes.

Middle name "Hugh" is from "Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775"
Contributor: Becky Byrns (46823195) •


Rees Bowen
VA Militia
Rev War
Oct 7, 1780

  • Created by: Marie Ward Mills
  • Added: 16 May 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 90242808
  • AABerger
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for ENS Rees Bowen (10 Apr 1729–7 Oct 1780), Find a Grave Memorial no. 90242808, citing Kings Mountain Battleground Cemetery, Blacksburg, Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Marie Ward Mills (contributor 47707594) .