Blood in the Earth

Richard Bowen

Male Abt 1594 - Abt 1674

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  • Born  Abt 1594  Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Died  Abt 1674  Rehoboth, Bristol, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I187  My Genealogy
    Last Modified  19 May 2012 

    Family  Ann Born,   b. Abt 1586, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1648, Rehobeth, Bristol, MA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  Abt 1621  Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Obadiah Bowen,   b. Abt 1628, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Sep 1710, Swansea, Bristol, MA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified  27 Dec 2013 
    Family ID  F98  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • The British origins of Richard Bowen have been highly contested over the years, but TAG article The Ancestry, Wives, and Children of Richard Bowen of Weymouth and Rehoboth, Massachusetts by Richard LeBaron Bowen, Jr. (2001), settles most of the arguments, namely:

      1. Richard could not have been the son of James Bowen & Ellen (some say wrongly Eleanor) Griffith for two reasons: the son named "Richard" associated with James was clearly labeled "mort" (deceased); two, James' will (proved 1626)also makes no mention of Richard who was still alive at the time of James' death.

      2. The supposed coat of arms associated with Richard Bowen did not come into documented existence until 4-5 generations later on the gravestone of descendant Jabez Brown (in the 1800s). NO gravestone of Richard Bowen survives (if there even ever was one), much less a coat of arms on it. There are no known gravestones of Richard Bowen, his children or his grandchildren.

      3. Many say Richard Bowen was brother or uncle to Griffith Bowen of Boston, both being sons of James or Owen. No documentation supports this.

      4. Others propose he was the son of Thomas Bowen of Kettle Hill, including:
      "a. Colonial Families of America, 1951, pages 153-156 has the lineage of Richard Bowen as the son of Thomas [d. 1587, and wife Jane Williams, dau of Harry Williams of Brynoch] being the [parents] of Richard. [This same source claims lineage of Richard and Thomas back to Gwraldeg, King of Brecknockshire in the first century, citing the following sources: "As shown in genealogical records compiled by Alfred R. Justice, giving the following references: History of Brecknockshire--Jones. Welsh manuscript of Llewelyn Offeiriad. Manuscript of Jesus College, Oxford; also: Morganiae et Glamorganiae, pp. 193, 204, 225, 515-- George T. Clark.] "b. Americans of Royal Descent, Charles H. Browning, 6th ed., Phil., Pa., 1905, pages 462-463 has Richard Bowen as the son of Thomas Bowen. "c. A chart from one of the Visitation books showing the connection of Thomas to Richard."
      5. No marriage record is found for Richard Bowen; no record exists for the first or last (maiden) name of his first wife. No record exists concerning when he left England or on which ship. No baptisms of his first three children (likely born in Wales) have been found.

      Add to Sources: Burke's Landed Gentry, pages 57-58.


      ? Life in New England

      The first known record of Richard Bowen in New England is described in the History of Weymouth: It describes the "earliest land record of Richard1 Bowen," dated 1642: "Tenn acres Eyght of them upland two of swampe lying in the plaine first given to Thomas White bounded on the East with the land of Martin Phillipes, of Ralph (Allin) on the west, of his owne on the south, a highway on the north."

      Almost immediately after, though, he was one of the 50 or so people who left Weymouth to settle Seaconk. Not initially attached to either Massachusetts Bay Colony or Plymouth, it became attached to the latter and was named Rehoboth. He was regularly recorded in Rehoboth town records:

      1643: Chosen, among others, as first board of Rehoboth Selectmen on Dec. 9.

      1645: Made freeman on 4 June; On Dec 20 or 29, layed out the neck of land called Wanamoyat. It is estimated that his first wife died about this time.

      1646: Appointed with several others to get fences in Rehoboth on March 16.

      1647: Elected townsman (selectman) on 26 May [R.L. Bowen, 1:28, 3:121 and 142].

      1648: In November, he married in either Hingham or Weymouth Elizabeth Rey, widow of George Marsh who d. Hingham, 2 Jul 1647.

      1651: Elected to serve Rehoboth as deputy to Plymouth Colony's general court.

      1653: On May 13, "Richard Bowen & James Ridwaye" were chosen "for overseers of the wayes," and a list of "the Subscriptions of the Inhabitants" of Rehoboth empowering Richard Bowen, Stephen Paine, Thomas Cooper and William Sabin to represent them in settling the status of Rehoboth lands lying within the bounds of the new Sowams purchase was drawn up on 28 June 1653 [R.L. Bowen, 1:18 and 126].

      1654: In the spring it was found necessary to appoint William Carpenter, Richard Bowen and John Allen as arbitrators in a dispute between Richard Titus and Nicholas Ide over a parcel of salt meadow [R.L. Bowen, 2:138].

      1671: recorded as having been assessed 3/7 in taxes, a figure somewhat below the median

      1672: 28 May: recorded as having sold his one-half share in the 1666 North Purchase distribution to Thomas Ormsbee [R.L. Bowen, 1:39 and 41].

      1675: Second wife of Richard Bowen buried in Rehoboth (Rehoboth VR, volume I, #53, p. 800)

      His twelve acre home lot was adjacent to the "Ring of Green" of Rehoboth, which was a common pasture for the town, as well as the location of the first meeting house. This area faces Pleasant Avenue and is just south of Newman Avenue in present East Providence, Rhode Island.

      Leonard Bliss, in his History of Rehoboth [45], stated that Richard Bowen served as town clerk. Richard LeBaron Bowen, Jr. pointed out in a letter of 16 May 1994 that the records [1:108] of the Rehoboth town meetings make it clear that it was Richard Bullock who was chosen town clerk on 14 Seventh Month 1654.


      ? Legacy

      Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 3, pp 148-149, exhibited at court 4 Jun 1675; describes him as Richard Bowen senior of Rehoboth in the Colony of New Plymouth. Mentioned beloved wife Elizabeth, son William, son Obadiah, son Richard (who he makes sole executor), daughters Allice Wheaton, Sarah Fuller, Ruth Kenericke.

      Text of Richard Bowen's last will and testament:


      (see also:

      Note that although the will refers twice to the date "above written", the date the will was written is not included in the court record. The will was presented at court 4 Jun 1675, 4 months after Richard's burial in Feb 1674/5.

      SOURCE: Plymouth Colony Wills, Vol. 3, pp.148-149, #P241.


      The Last will and Testament of Richard Bowin, Sr.

      Exhibited at court June 4, 1675

      The last Will and Testament of Richard Bowin senir of Rehoboth in the Collonie of Plymouth in New England exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth aforsaid the fouth of June Anno: Dom 1675 on the oath of Mr John Pecke as followeth

      Be it Knowne unto all men by these prsents that I Richard Bowin senir: of Rehoboth in the Collonie of New Plymouth in New England Doe the Day and Date above written ordaine and make this my last will and Testament being in my Good and prfect Memory and understanding as followeth;

      Item I Give to my beloved wife Elizabeth two Cowes and one heiffer a yeer old and a Mare 5 yeer old and a Mare Colt two yeer old and one Colt that followeth the Mare;

      Item I Give unto my wife my best bed; with all that belonges to it; and all my linnine two Pewter platters; with som other small peeces of pewter; both the bras kettles I Iron pott I skillett one frying pan all my poultry and halfe my swine younge and old alsoe I Give to my wife one Coffer; and halfe my provisions after my buriall; halfe of my Corne; halfe my hay that is Gathered in or may be Growing att my Decease; halfe my butter Cheese Bacon and porke; one hake with the eke belonging to it; one Cherne one brewing tubb one powdering tubb one beer barrell and my milk vessells; Cushens one Candlesticke; all these foremensioned prticulars; I Give to my beloved wife to Dispose of att her Death unto whom shee will; moreover I Give unto my wife my bible my warming pan; halfe my house that prte of the Leanto, nearest unto the Chimney; as alsoe halfe my orchyard; and halfe my home lott; excepting that prte I sould unto Stephen Paine senir: being an acre more or lesse; all these I say I Give unto my beloved wife, the full tearme of her life; moreover my wife shall have libertie to mow two load of hay on my meddow att Palmers River and three load more on my meddow on the New meddow necke, every yeer soe longe as shee liveth;

      Item I Give to my son Willam one hundred pounds Comonage; my lott on the East syde of the plaine my lott in the second Devision; my prte of ffresh meddow lying and being neare the mile run; my ffresh meddow at Palmers River all my meddow that I have mowed att my meddow on the New meddow necke The other pte of this meddow, I have Given unto my son Obadiah; and my son Richard, as will appeer by a Deed of Gift under my hand; Moreover I Give unto my son Willam; halfe my house halfe my barn; halfe my orchyard halfe my home lott except that I sould to Steven Paine senir: and it is my Will that that after my wifes Decease that my son Willam shall have all my housing and barnes orchyard homlott with all those lands and meddowes before mensioned unto him and his heires forever;

      Item I Give unto my son Willam halfe my swine halfe my Corne halfe my hay; Ingathered or may be Growing and halfe my provisions; butter Cheese bacon Porke;

      Item I Give to my son Willam halfe my Cart and wheeles my Cart Rope with my plow and plowirons belonging to it 2 Chaires two hogsheads, and all other Corne vessell my wife Can spare; my hake with the Ringe; on it; my Great brasse pott an Iron pott and my Great brasse pan; and alsoe it is my will that hee shall have the land which is to be Devided according to the Devision of 20 acrees to the hundred pound estate; and alsoe my lott lately layed out on the necke Called Wachamaquat necke; and all such lands as shalbe Devided after the Date hereof; according to the proportion of a hundred pound estate; I alsoe Give unto my son Willam; my Chest in the hall my Coffer in the seller loft my Chaine my hay knife Dung forke Pikes Rakes hand saw augers 2 beetle ringes and all my Iron wedges; as alsoe that oxe Called Duke; and my bible after my Wifes Decease;

      Item I alsoe Give unto my son Willam the bed hee now lyeth on and the furniture belonging to it; and one bed sheet and my winnow sheet; and all my boards about my house, and all my wearing apparrell;

      Item I Give unto my son Obadiah halfe a hundred pounds of Comonage; my plow Irons of my breakeing plow and my thawrtcutt saw and halfe my logg Chaine; and the other halfe I Give to my son Willam;

      Item I Give to my Daughter Allice Wheaton my Daughter Sarah ffuller and my Daughter Ruth Kenericke my old mare and a Colt that suckes on her;

      Item I Give to my Daughter Allice Wheaton my fflagon and two pewter platters;

      Item I Give to my Daughter Sarah ffuller my warming pan after my wifes Decease; and a pewter platter when the will is proved;

      Item I Give to my Daughter Ruth Kenericke one pewter platter;

      It is alsoe my will that if any of these fornamed beasts: viz: neat beasts or horses given Doe Die or come to any lose, the lose shalbe to the pticular prson or prsons unto whom they were Given; my executor shalbe free hee shall not make it Good to him or them; Item all the Rest of my Goods lands Chattles or whatsoever I have not Given in this my Will and Testament; I Give to my son Richard whom I make and ordaine my sole executor to pay my Debts and to Discharge my legacyes and to see my body buried; witnes my hand the Day and yeer above written

      The marke R of Richard

      Bowin senir:


      Stephen Paine Junr:

      John Pecke;

      From The Plymouth Colony Archive Project Index to Plymouth Colony Wills & Inventories, 1670-1685:

      Bowen Richard Sr. Rehoboth Will 6/4/1675; Inventory6/4/1675