Monday, March 5, 2018

Thank You, Henry Bowles! ... Sort of

As I was transcribing the Virginia Chancery Court case 1806-003, heard in Powhatan County, I began to wonder about the relationships between several of the witnesses for the defendant, Benjamin Jennings, Jr., my fourth great uncle and their relationship to each other.

Initially, as I wrote the post entitled A Horse Tale: Pankey v. Jennings, I though Mary Gates and Susanna Bowman were sisters and somehow related to Joseph Roper, another witness, because Mary Gates said in her affidavit that she had seen the horse at her father's. Another witness, Joseph Roper, said he purchased the horse from Duke McGary and then sold it to Benjamin, making it possible for daughters to have seen the horse. Two other witnesses for Benjamin Jennings, Jr., were Arthur and Henry Bowles. Benjamin's second wife was Sarah "Sally" Bowles and their marriage record indicated Sally's father was Henry.

Marriage index record for Benjamin Jennings, Jr., and Sarah "Sally" Bowles;
courtesy of

So I went looking for Henry...and learned more than I expected and yet, less.

Henry Bowles served in the French and Indian War between Great Britain and France as part of Col Byrd's Regiment of Regulars. He received a bounty land certificate on 5 May 1780 and lived in Chesterfield County, Virginia, at the time. This made sense as Arthur and Henry Bowles, Mary Gates, and Susanna Bowman were all deposed in Chesterfield County.

Will of Henry Bowles (died 1821) of Chesterfield County, Virginia; courtesy

Henry married Rachel Bailey on 1 September 1783 in Chesterfield County, and according to his will, which he wrote on 21 March 1821, he had at least six children:
  • Rebecca Bowles
  • Nancy Bowles
  • Mary (Bowles) Gates
  • Arthur Bowles
  • Henry Bowles
  • Susanna (Bowles) Bowman
And then there is this tantalizing sentence:

"Having heretofore given to my other children not herein named as much as I intend, they are herein omitted."

Thank you, Henry!

That sentence makes it entirely possible that Sarah "Sally" (Bowles) Jennings was his daughter but not named in his will because he had already provided for her in his lifetime. This was less than totally rewarding because Benjamin's wife was not explicitly mentioned so Arthur, Henry, Mary Gates and Susanna Bowman being siblings is only a strong likelihood.

But the more than expected was what I found when I researched the other possible siblings of Sally (Bowles) Jennings. Her brother, Henry, married Susan Fuqua, and had at least one daughter -- Susan A. Bowles. She married Daniel Oscar Jennings on 27 July 1837.

Bible record transcription for Daniel Oscar Jennings; courtesy of

Daniel Oscar Jennings was the son of John Jennings (c1774-1845), who married Lucy Duvall. John is supposedly the son of Thomas Jennings, whose will was probated in Louisa County in 1818. Is it possible that Thomas Jennings and "my" Benjamin Jennings, Sr., are brothers?

A Horse Tale: Pankey v. Jennings
Daniel Oscar Jennings, Are You Related to Benjamin?

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