Saturday, December 29, 2012

1870s Album of Georgia M. Bowen of Newton, Massachusetts


Note: Be sure to check the comments section for the results of a reader's research into Georgia M. Bowen.

1870s autograph album that, according to the seller, belonged to a Georgia M. Bowen.  The seller, back in 2006, indicated that other items that belonged to Georgia had previously been sold, so perhaps those items gave better clues to Georgia's identity. 

The inside front cover gives the owner's name as G. M. Bowen, and one page is inscribed to "Georgie".    The album is approximately 4"x 2" and contains 47 pages signed by Georgia herself and many youngsters who may have been her students or schoolmates.  A complete list of the signers appears at the end of this post.



 I haven't yet found a paper trail for a G. M. Bowen that fits the bill.     
One intriguing possibility is Georgianna Bowen, born 1859 at Roxbury, Massachusetts, who married Dr. Charles Francis Withington.  Her parents were Stephen and Georgia Anna (Richmond) Bowen.  Dr. and Mrs. Withington were an influential couple in the Boston area.  I haven't found a record, however, that shows a middle initial at all, let alone M., except after her marriage when she used B.

See a likely prospect for Georgia M. Bowen in the comments section, with research supplied by reader Ed.

One of the signers in the album was surnamed Bowen: Harry H. Bowen, who may have been the son of Ira A. and Caroline (Howard) Bowen.  For some reason, his name shows as Harry A. Stevens in the 1880 Census of Newton, Massachusetts, but later records show Bowen.  Whether the Census was in error, or Harry was adopted by Ira A. Bowen, and used the surnames Bowen and Stevens interchangeably, I don't know.



  Ira A. Bowen was a merchant in the Boston area, who is mentioned in the snippet, below, from the 1889 Illustrated Boston, Metropolis of New England:



Whether Georgia is related to this family or not, I don't know, but it seems a possibility.

Most of the signers in the album were around the ages of 10-13.  If the signer didn't leave a date, someone, Georgie presumably, wrote the date on the page in the upper right corner.   For this reason, it appears that Georgia may have been their teacher or a fellow student.  In a few instances, Georgie included years that a signer died or was married.

One signer gave the name of her school as the Harris School at Boston.  This was Bertha A. Gould, who was age 7 in 1878 when she signed her page.



Many signers gave their residence as Newton Highlands or Newton Centre or Boston.

Included in the album is a beautiful calling card sized piece bearing the name of N. Maria Henson.



Many scraps decorate pages throughout.  Here are some examples.



If you have a theory as to the identity of G. M. Bowen, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

Alphabetical list of signers: [Note: given names within a specific surname may not be in alphabetical order.]


  • Alice Andrews
  • Hattie B., signed at Boston, Massachusetts; age 12.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1878
  • Willie F. Bedford of Concord, New Hampshire, age 8-1/2.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by album owner: 1878
  • Eddie Bent of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1877; age 12
  • Name could be Bertie Blake of Contoocook, New Hampshire, age 6.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1878
  • Anna Blethen of Newton Centre, Massachusetts.  Written in upper right corner apparently by album owner: 1878
  • G. M. Bowen of Newton, Massachusetts, 1876; album owner.  One signer inscribed her page to "Georgie"
  • Harry H. Bowen, 1878; age 10
  • Harry Clay of Dorchester, Massachusetts, age 6-1/2.  Written in  upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1878
  • Alice G. Colburn of Newton, Massachusetts, age 7.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by album owner: 1878
  • Ida F. Cowan of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, age 14 years.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1878
  • Inez P. Cowan of Newton, Massachusetts, age 9
  • Mabel G. Curtis of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, age 10.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1876 
  • Emma E. Dunbar of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 1877; age 13
  • Bertha A. Gould, signed at the Harris School, at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1878; age 7 years
  • Charlotte Graham of Fort Warren [I assume the fort that is at the entrance to the harbor of Boston, Massachusetts], age 14, written in ink.  Written in corners, apparently by the album owner: 1877 and "Died 1888"
  • Bernice Hanson of North ?, age 2
  • Fred W. Hatch of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1877; age 14
  • Mary C. Hazelton of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 1876; age 13
  • N. Marie Henson.  Not a page in the autograph album but on a card that was tucked inside.
  • Lizzie Holden of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, age 10.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1877
  • Adelle Houston of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, age 13.  Written in pencil in two corners, apparently by album owner: "Married 1883" and "1876"
  • Grace Howes of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, age 10.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1877
  • Willie H. Jepson of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 1877; age 13-1/2
  • Mabelle C. Knight of Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1878; age 7
  • Olive E. Knowles of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 1877; age 12
  • May Lapworth of Boston, Massachusetts, 1880; age 11
  • Nettie S. Lapworth of Centre St., 1879; age 13
  • Emma Linscott of North Newcastle, Maine, 1876; age 15
  • Lillie J. Manson of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts; age 11
  • Sadie E. McCormick of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1877; age 11
  • Walter Norman of Boston, Massachusetts, 1878; age 12.  Image enhanced for legibility
  • Jennie Norton of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1878; age 8.  Perhaps a sister to signer Mary Norton, also of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts
  • Mary Norton of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1878; age 9.  Perhaps sister to Jennie Norton, another signer from Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.
  • Charles C. Paul of Newton Center, Massachusetts, 1877; age 11-1/2 years
  • James Richardson of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, age 14.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner:  1877
  • Mary P. Richardson, 1877, age 11 [or 18]
  • Lydia Robertson of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1878; age 11
  • David Robertson of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, age 13.  Written in upper right corner apparently by the album owner: 1876
  • Harry A. Ross of Manchester, New Hampshire, 1876.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by album owner: Age 14 yrs
  • Willie E. Ryder of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1878; age 9 [or 7]
  • Sarah L. Smith of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 1876; age 11
  • Forrest Y. Stearns of Boston, Massachusetts, age 15
  • Bertha Stevens of Boston, Massachusetts, 1882; age 8
  • Annie H. Trowbridge of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, 1877; age 12
  • Grace A. Warren of Newton Centre, Massachusetts,  age 10 yrs, 10 mos.  Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1876
  • Clara White of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, 1878
  • Addie F. Young of Dorchester, Massachusetts, age 7.Written in upper right corner, apparently by the album owner: 1878


Newton, Massachusetts


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Thanks for stopping by!

2 comments:

  1. We're both recovering from the flu here and about to be snowed in, so thanks for the puzzle for this week!:

    There is a picture of the Harris School in Needham, MA, at the bottom of the page here:
    http://needhamhistory.org/online-galleries/needhams-schools/

    The location would fit the number of students attending who lived in Newton Highlands and Newton Centre, which are just up the road, northeast direction.

    If I read the two sites correctly, it was a one-room school house which was knocked down and replaced by Perry Park, then rebuilt [elsewhere?] in 1938 as a multi-room school.

    http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/eliot/technology/lessons/History_Needham/hist_need/schools.htm

    BTW, three cheers for the Needham Library which let me use their local history room once for researching somebody or other.

    ----------------
    As for Georgia, she might be this person:

    Georgia M Bowen, Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910, familysearch.org
    groom's name: George Emerson
    groom's birth date: 1864
    bride's name: Georgia M Bowen
    bride's age: 23
    marriage date: 10 Feb 1886
    marriage place: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts
    groom's father's name: Joseph H
    groom's mother's name: Amelia G
    bride's father's name: Charles F
    bride's mother's name: Adelaide

    ---------------
    This Georgia died in California, and her mother's maiden was Edmonds:

    California, Death Index, 1940-1997 about Georgia M Emerson
    Name: Georgia M Emerson
    Birth Date: 23 Jul 1862
    Birth Place: California
    Death Date: 6 Feb 1952
    Death Place: Santa Barbara
    Mother's Maiden Name: Edmonds
    Father's Surname: Bowen

    --------------
    Adalaide Edmunds married Charles T Bowen 1 Dec 1857 in New Hampshire
    New Hampshire, Marriages, 1720-1920, familysearch.org.
    They probably read an "F" for a "T" as the middle initial. There is no image.

    --------------
    Apparently Adelaide died and Georgia's father Charles F Bowen remarried:
    Charles F Bowen and Sarah E Thomas, marrying 29 May 1873, New Bedford, MA
    Massachusetts, Marriages, 1695-1910, familysearch.org

    -------------
    1880 Census, ancestry.com
    at 206 Centre St, Boston, Ward 24
    [Ward 24 was in Dorchester a bit later, and there is a Centre St in Dorchester]

    Charles F. Bowen 45, born in NH, parents' birthplaces missing, occupation: Neckties? [maybe a salesman]
    Sarah Bowen 32, born in MA, father in MA, mother in NH
    Georgia Bowen 17, born in California, father in NH, mother in MA
    Charles F. Bowen 16, born in California, father in NH, mother in MA
    Louis B. Bowen 3, born in MA, father in NH, mother in MA

    -------------
    Her mother's death explains why Georgia is living with an Edmunds family in NH in 1870:
    1870; Census Place: Weare, Hillsborough, New Hampshire; Roll: M593_844; Page: 301A; Image: 608

    John Edmunds 67, farmer, born in NH
    Diantha Edmunds 65, keeping house
    Medora Edmunds 25, school teacher,
    Charles Bowen 6, born in California
    Georgia Bowen 7, born in California
    Sidney Eaton 14,

    --------------------
    This is Georgia Bowen's mother Adelaide's family, as seen by the 1850 Census:
    1850 Census, Manchester NH, nara publication number: M432, nara roll number: 432 at familysearch.org

    John Edmunds, 46, New Hampshire
    Diantha Edmunds, 44
    Hellen Edmunds, 14
    Henry Edmunds M 17 New Hampshire
    Adilaide Edmunds F 14 New Hampshire
    Medora Edmunds F 8 New Hampshire

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  2. Thanks, Ed! I had thought about her, but the seller's comment that she thought Georgia was the kids' teacher threw me in another direction. But, then again, I couldn't find anyone that fit. So you probably have the right person, and she was one of the students, not the teacher.

    Maybe Harry H. Bowen was a cousin, as his father, Ira A. Bowen, was also born in New Hampshire [or Vermont, according to one record] and who apparently moved back to New Hampshire after 1800. Ira's parents were Archibald and Sarah [Eastman or Earleman] Bowen.


    Can't tell you how much I appreciate your research!

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