Monday, September 24, 2012

Back in the saddle again...

Last Friday was the first time I've been in the records room of a courthouse in a long time, and it was good to handle the dusty volumes and smell the mustiness of pages that haven't been touched in a long time.  By the time the day ended, I had been on all three floors of the Pontotoc courthouse plus the unused and dank basement.   Three record books of the first federal court of Northern Mississippi - held initially in the courthouse at Pontotoc - were uncovered, in varying degrees of condition and each on separate floors of the building.  

I had previously come across a published transcription of the will of James D. "Jimmy Dee" Bowen (read more about him in this previous post), but on this trip I found the will recorded in Will Book 21, Page 20.   The will, dated August 10, 1885, is pretty standard.  Jimmy Dee left his personal and real estate to his much younger widow, Catherine, for use during her lifetime.  If Catherine died or remarried, then Jimmy Dee indicated that his "son D. L. Bowen" was to receive 45 acres of land and the remainder of the estate of to "son F. W. Bowen."

The above is interesting because family history indicates that Jimmy Dee's son "Lane" Bowen died during the Civil War.  Lane was enumerated in the 1860 census as "D. L. Bowen" in his father's household, and there is a record of  an "L Bowen" enlisting on February 20, 1863.   I think that perhaps "Lane" may have been Dulaney or Delaney Bowen because the "Dee" in Jimmy Dee supposedly stood for his middle name Dulaney (or Delaney).

So, the question is... what really happened to D. L. "Lane" Bowen?  I've been unable to find a record of him since the 1860 census, other than the possible enlistment record from 1863.  Either way, the 1870 and 1880 censuses have not turned up a D. L. or Lane Bowen, and I've done a pretty thorough search.  Did Jimmy Dee make the bequest to his son D. L. Bowen, perhaps never believing that he died during the war? 

Another question... is there a connection to the Dulaney family back in South Carolina?  Jimmy Dee Bowen came from Newberry District, South Carolina.  Interesting that his son, William Elisha Bowen, moved to Itawamba County from Pontotoc, around or after the Civil War.  Probably a coincidence but still something that would be neat to figure out. 

It was good to be back in a courthouse record room, and I hope to get back again soon.

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