IIHENRY EYRING BOWMAN - 1859-1933
|Website Link Index|
Orson Pratt Brown's Friend and Relation through the Mattie Romney Family
Henry Eyring Bowman
By Claudius Bowman III, great-grandson
Henry Eyring Bowman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 10, 1859. His father's name was Isaac Bowman, and was born in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, in the year on July 29, 1826. His ancesters were from Holland. Coming to America they were among the people known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Henry's mother was Bertha Odelia Louise Eyring, born in Coberg, Saxony, Germany, on June 12, 1836 to Edward Christian Eyring I of Roenhild Saxe, Meining, Hildburg, Germany, her mother, Charlotte Caroline Fernandine Von Blomberg of Minden, Westphalia, Prussia, was of French background. Bertha, at the age of seventeen came to America with her brother, Henry Carlos Ferdinand Eyring (1835-1902). Henry was baptized in March 1855 and baptized his sister on 17 June 1854. After Henry filled a mission in the Indian Territory, Henry and Bertha went to Salt Lake City.
Henry C.F. Eyring married Maria Bommeli on December 14, 1860 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had a son named Edward Christian Eyring II born on May 27, 1868 in St. George, Washington, Utah. This Edward Eyring married Caroline Cottam Romney (daughter of and Catherine Jane Cottam). Edward and Caroline are the parents of Henry Eyring born 20 February 1901 in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Bertha Eyring married Isaac Bowman on January 17, 1857 in Salt Lake City, they had a son, Henry Eyring Bowman born on February 10, 1859 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
During his boyhood years Henry Eyring Bowman had few opportunities of attending school. He was kept busy helping his father on the farm and freighting. But he had a great desire to learn and would carry along his spelling and arithmetic books. He received such harsh treatment from his father, Isaac Bowman, that as soon as he could he escaped and left his home and family to fend for himself. In the fall of 1883 he registered as a student at the Brigham Young Academy, then under direction of Karl G. Maeser. Because of his private studies, Henry was enrolled in the Normal School. He graduated in 1885. He then accepted a teaching assignment in St. George, Utah, where he met and married Mary Bertha Gubler on September 3, 1885, daughter of Heinrich "Henry" Gubler and Anna Maria Dreischweiner Hess Gubler. Mary was also a teacher there. Soon after, they moved to Kanab, Utah, in Kane County, where he taught for four years until going into cooperative merchandising business.
Henry and Mary Bertha Gubler Bowman had six children while they lived in Utah:
Henry built a large brick home, the first modern home in Kanab and took a prominent part in all community projects. As school trustee he supervised the building of the school house. He served on the Kanab Stake High Council and was county attorney. When Utah became a state he was admitted to the Utah Bar along with William M. McCarty.
In 1897, having received a call to a Church mission to Germany, he sold his home and business interests and moved his family to Provo, Utah. In 1900, two months after returning from Germany, he took a trip to the Mormon colonies in Mexico. His journal states that for years he had a great desire to go where his Uncle Henry Eyring was one of the early settlers at Colonia Juarez. Impressed with conditions there and the outlook for future development, he immediately moved his family to Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. A few months later, however, he bought an interest in the Dublan Co-operative and moved to Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico where he bought a farm and a home.
Henry and Mary Gubler Bowman had three children born in the Colonies:
At this time there were two stores in Colonia Juarez, and two in Colonia Dublan. All of them were buying and selling on credit and purchasing merchandise separately at high prices through Ketelson and Degeteau in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua. Henry put his store on a cash basis and found that by purchasing merchandise from markets in Mexico City and other places he was able to buy goods for at least twenty-five percent less than the other stores. He discontinued purchasing from Ketelson and Degeteau and made his own trips for merchandise from Colonia Dublan to Mexico City and other markets in Mexico. He advertised freely and in a few months was drawing trade away from the other stores. As a result the colony merchants consolidated and organized the Union Mercantile S. A. Ltd. with the main store at Colonia Dublan and branch stores at Colonia Juarez and Colonia Diaz. Henry was made general manager. He closed one of the two stores in each of the colonies. The business expanded rapidly, and the Dublan store soon became an up-to-date department store.
Owing to the high tariff on imported goods, he conceived the idea of establishing factories under the direction of the Co-op Association. At Dublan a factory for making candy, and lemon and vanilla extracts was established. He also inaugurated a millinery and dressmaking shop. In the confectionary department he placed the first soda fountain in Mexico. Other projects consisted of a general blacksmith shop and a factory to build wagons and buggies. The store also installed windmills and water piping, and was soon a center for farmers supplies and various kinds of machinery. The Co-op even made an assortment of coffins, carried funeral trimming and did undertaking work. The business expanded until fifty people were on the payroll and did a business of $750,000 per annum. It drew trade from a radius of 200 miles. Ranchers from Sonora brought tobacco and other products on burros to trade for merchandise.
In later years telephones were installed in the colonies and the central switchboard was located in the Union Mercantile building. The Co-op established the first modern cash handling methods. From each department in the store (dry goods, shoe, grocery, etc.) ran a series of "Trolley Change Carriers" on wires hung from the ceiling to the main office. Money from sales was shipped to the office from clerks in small leather receptacles and change was made at a central office and returned to the customer. This outmoded the cash-boys who had been running throughout the store carrying money and change from the office. He also brought the first automobile into the colonies, a two cylinder, chain driven Buick that was indeed a "horseless carriage."
On November 27, 1902, three years after going to Mexico, he married Wilhelmina Walser (Nov 9,1880 in Payson, Utah to Aug 18, 1968 SLC), daughter of Johann Jakob Walser and Anna Elizabeth Louisa Schaerrer Walser. Wilhelmina was a popular girl of Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico who was recognized for her ability in music. Wilhelmina and Henry may have had five children. Three may have died at birth or as children. Their daughter, Maybelle Bowman (20 Jan 1905 to 14 July 1993) married Carlos Morales Rubio on December 8, 1933, divorced him; married second husband, Lyle Tucker Brady on January 15, 1959. Henry and Wilhelmina had a son, Henneth Eugene Bowman (born 18 March 1908, died 3 June 1970), married Kitty Turner on May 1939. Wilhelmina was divorced from Henry; she later married Ephraim Weston, of Payson, Utah, sometime close to 1928 when she was around 48 years old.
Henry built two modern brick homes in Dublan where his familes lived. In 1910 the Green interests began the construction of a railroad from Nuevo Casas Grandes to Chihuahua City. Many colonists signed contracts with the company to work on the railroad and were furnished with supplies by the Union Mercantile until there was a debt due to the store of $50,000. The money not forthcoming, the work was stopped and Henry took over Green's outfit consisting of 200 good mules with harnesses, tools, and camp outfits.
There were two large natural reservoirs or dry lakes southeast of Dublan. Colonists had long considered the construction of a canal, six miles long to conduct the surplus water of the Casas Grandes River into these reservoirs. The acquired Green outfits were divided among the colonists to use for deepening the reservoirs and the construction of the canal, which was finished in 1911. H. E. Bowman was made president of the Canal Company and willingly helped financially. When large deposits of caliche rock threatened to halt the work on the canal, he supplied dynamite and also hired a demolition expert to blast through the rock to allow the scrapers to continue with the channel. He also was instrumental in obtaining from the government a concession to construct the canal, which was thirty feet wide at the bottom. The large headgate, placed at the river, had adjustable gates to control the flow of water into the canal. The canal-lake and subsequent development of an irrigation system throughout the valley were responsible in developing farm lands and bringing under cultivation hundreds of acres of unused land. Water from the lake that was stored there, as a result of the canal, continues to supply the Dublan Valley through drier times of the year. The system developed in 1911 is still in use although water from pumps and other irrigation systems have displaced the lake as the major source of water. The lake has also developed into a recreation region with motor-boating, water-skiing, swimming etcetera, a major attraction in the Dublan area.
Because of the difficulty of crossing the Casas Grandes River, Henry E. Bowman promoted the idea of a bridge. He obtained from the government a concession to build a lane through the fields to the river at a place where he thought it feasible to place a bridge. He then supervised the driving of the bridge pilings and the construction of the bridge itself. Although the wooden section of the bridge has been replaced many times, the original pilings are still in use.
H. E. Bowman was prominent in advancing many enterprises for the betterment of the community. He also gave freely of his time to church service. He was a member of the Stake High Council, a Sunday School teacher, and held a position in the Mutual Improvement Association. He was also intensely interested in sports and athletics, both to encourage all to participate and to excel. He always had an interest in the young men and boys of the community and helped them organize a basketball team. While he worked as their coach, he gained their respect and cooperation. From the personnel of the Union Mercantile he formed basketball and baseball teams which competed successfully in tournaments in Mexico City and the Southwest of the United States. Through his promotion of sports, the feeling of friendly competition existed among the teams of the Colonies and those in other cities of Mexico. It was his Union Mercantile team that was the first to defeat the Juarez Stake Academy team in baseball, which up until this time had not been challenged by local teams.
In 1910 revolutionary unrest commenced in Mexico. As conditions became more uncertain, the Stake authorities decided that it would be best for the colonists to surrender their [old and broken arms, while hiding the new imported weapons] arms as demanded by the rebels and [made the decision to] move their families to the United States [until the revolution ended]. Henry and were appointed to go to El Paso and arrange for transportation. In El Paso Orson and Henry found A. W. Ivins who had been sent from Salt Lake City to advise the colonists. After consultation they awoke the railroad officials and after they reported conditions, the officials placed their entire equipment at their disposal. The service furnished by the railroad consisted mostly of box cars and the colonists were able to bring only a very small part of their personal belongings. In three days, 2500 women, children and old men arrived in El Paso, Texas. The personal losses of Henry E. Bowman were tremendous. Orson lost not only his property but one of his sons was killed during the exodus and while detained with his responsibilities his four wives left for Utah. In hopes of possible indemnity, Henry and Orson later, in El Paso, were appointed as members of a committee to collect affidavits and evidence to be used against the Mexican Government in claiming reimbursement for their lost property.
In the fall of 1911, Henry Eyring Bowman had formed a partnership with Niels Larson, and contracted to build a railroad from the lumber town of Pearson thirteen miles into the mountains toward Colonia Pacheco. This was heavy mountain work and equipment for it amounted to about $1,000,000 pesos ($500,000 dollars). By July 1912 three fourths of the work had been completed and since the rainy season was approaching he laid in supplies to finish the job. His equipment consisted of 135 mules with harnesses, wagons, carts, scrapers, etc.; also tents and tools for the men. He also had on hand $10,000 pesos worth of powder, $25,000 pesos in commissary supplies and hay and grain for the animals for three months. The rebels took possession of all this, and used the mules and outfits to haul it away into the mountains. He owned in Colonia Dublan a splendid, well-furnished, ten-room two-story modern brick home, a full block of orchard, a vineyard, a barn, garage, automobile, all easily worth $25,000 dollars and his family walked out with what they could carry in a suitcase.
"A story is told that Henry Bowman Jr. was captured by a band of Pancho Villa's soldiers during this revolution and had been backed against a wall to be shot. As a last resort, Bowman pleaded with the officer in charge to allow him to speak with his friend Butch Cassidy, before he was executed. Cassidy had been a resident of those parts for many years and was well known to the officer, so the request was granted. A messenger was sent and Cassidy arrived in haste. When he saw Bowman he protested on behalf of the boy's innocence of any connection with the Mexican Federal soldiers, vouched for his honesty, and agreed to be responsible for his future actions. The officer was convinced and Bowman was freed, returning to Cedar City, Utah shortly afterward. The incident is undoubtedly true. But, according to Jim Marshall, an old-timer who knew both, the man who saved Bowman's life was Mike Cassidy, the old southern Utah bandit whose name was taken by George LeRoy Parker." 1
After the families had left, the men and older boys remained in the colonies to protect their property. They sadly watched the revolutionaries run a train of box cars down the tracks in front of the Union Mercantile, and with 500 men for protection, carry out merchandise to fill the cars. The revolutionaries then ran the train south and, stopping at every town, switched off a car and told the people to help themselves. All the merchandise of the Union Mercantile was lost and was never recovered. After this incident, the colonists took their horses into the mountains for protection. Thinking the colonists unarmed, the soldiers became more and more offensive, so within two weeks after the families had gone, the men and boys decided to go also. Following instructions, they met at the "Stairs," a place in the mountains, with 1000 head of horses, and began traveling overland to Hachita, New Mexico.
Henry Eyring Bowman remained along the border for four years hoping for conditions to improve and permit him to return to Mexico, to salvage his property. With his seven sons, he rented a forty-acre pear farm eight miles south of El Paso and an eleven hundred-acre alfalfa ranch in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, near Las Cruces. His family continued playing basketball for diversion and formed the "Bowman Brothers" team. Through their association with the YMCA of El Paso, they won the Tournament of the Southwest.
In 1915, after making a trip to Utah to investigate conditions, he decided to return to Kanab. He moved there in January of 1916 with his family. There he bought back his interest in the Bowman Company which he had sold nineteen years before.
Since the settling of Kane County, fifteen miles of sand separated Kanab, the county seat, and Long Valley, which was the chief agricultural part of the county. This sand was so heavy it was impossible to cross it with a car or empty wagon. Travelers had to take a round-about route of fifty miles over roads in bad condition. Agriculturists demanded that a road be built from Long Valley to Kanab. An engineer estimated it would cost $400,000 to build a good gravel surfaced road along the proposed sandy route. Kane county had but $30,000 with which to build the road. Henry Eyring Bowman proposed a type of contruction that would make a good road across the sands, the cost of which could be made within the $30,000 available. The commissioners approved his plan, made him state road agent and authorized construction.
He used a working force no larger than he could personally supervise and he worked right along with his men to make sure they did a full day's work. The construction consisted of fifteen miles of sand road, three miles of dugway, a fifty-foot bridge across the Long Valley stream and another bridge across the Kanab Creek. It took a year to complete the road, but when it was completed and all types of traffic were using it, there were still $23,000 of the $30,000 left for further improvement. He predicted that the thin coat of two or three inches of capping on the sand would be able to sustain all types of traffic, and become even firmer with time. This theory was not accepted at the time, but in later years the Long Valley road convinced all that such was true. This type of construction has been used on sand roads throughout the state since that time.
Henry E. Bowman's son, Henry Eyring Bowman Jr. (1886-1933), had become established in business in Milford, Utah in 1922. After leaving his business in Kanab to his son Othello Conrad Bowman (1888-1986), he moved to Milford with the rest of his family where he bought a home. In 1926, after a visit to Logan, he and his wife decided to move there permanently. In June of 1927, he was set apart as an ordinance worker in the Logan Temple. Because of a serious illness he went to Provo, Utah to the home of his son, Henry E. Bowman, Jr.
Around May 1932 when Maybeth Eyring returned home from teaching summer school in Wayne, Nebraska, she found her father, Henry Eyring Bowman, was quite ill and uncomfortable with prostate trouble. He was waiting for her to take him to Salt Lake to go see Dr. Wooley there, who was a son of his long time partner in Bowman and Co. in Kanab. They went to Salt Lake and Dr. Wooley had him make arrangements to go to the hospital for an operation. He used a spinal anesthetic which did not take effect. However, Henry told him to go ahead and operate that he wanted it over with. He had gone to surgery at about seven-thirty a.m. and when Dr. Wooley finished it was nearly twelve. What an ordeal that had been for both of them. The operation was much worse than had been anticipated as they found indications of cancer under the gland necessitating cutting much deeper.
When Maybeth saw her Father he was trembling from head to foot. His lips quivered when he tried to talk, his hands trembled visibly. She knew that he would never get really well again, which he never did. He was at the home with his wife for a few months, but finally had to give in and go back to Salt Lake to Harold's, then the hospital, then for some time in Hugh Hurst's home where his lovely wife and Hugh did for him as his own children would do.
Later he went back to the hospital and finally to Henry's home in Provo. I arrived home from teaching in Wayne, Nebraska the evening before he passed away. He was in a coma and his mouth was very dry. Maybeth sat with a medicine dropper and dropped water a drop at a time on his tongue. Finally he turned to her, seemed to recognize her partially and said: "Oh! you are an angel from heaven." Smiled, squeezed her hand and lapsed into the coma again. The next morning early he was gone, May 30, 1933. A noble man who had lived an active and noble life. He was loved and admired by many. What more could one desire from life.
PAF - Archer files
www.dublan.net, webmaster Troy Bowman
1. Henry Bowman Jr. story taken from "The Outlaw Trail: The Story of Butch Cassidy and the 'Wild Bunch'" by Charles Kelly. Page 317, and re-stated in "In Search of Butch Cassidy" by Larry Pointer, page 217.
Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org