Randolph  County,  Indiana

Charles  Eugene  Bowen

            Few men of a past generation in Randolph county were held in higher esteem than the late Charles Eugene Bowen, who, now that life's fitful fever is over, is sleeping serenely "in the windowless palace of rest." His memory will long be revered by the vast host of people who knew him and admired him, for he was a man in whom all took a delight, owing to his sterling honesty, his charitable nature and his readiness to help in the furtherance of any movement looking to the general upbuilding of the community. He was a scion of one of our sterling pioneer families to whom we owe so much, for his grandfather came here when this country was a veritable wilderness, and, working long and hard, redeemed, with others, the fertile fields and the fine farms which we of today enjoy and which are now so valuable: We can never say too much regarding these brave and courageous pioneers, who literally took their own lives in their hands and, not counting the cost, cast their lots in the new country, away from the pleasant hearthstones of their childhood and the advantages of civilization. Both our subject and his father helped complete the work begun by the frontiersmen here a century ago, and to all much credit is due. 
            Mr. Bowen was born at Spartanburg, Greensfork township, this county, December 6, 1858. He was a son of James D, and Mary E. (Chenoweth) Bowen. James Dwiggins Bowen was a son of Squire and Elizabeth (Dwiggins) Bowen, and was born in Randolph county, Indiana, in 1832, and died August 20, 1899, in his sixty-seventh year. The scene of his birth and death was his farm in Greensfork township, which was entered in 1814 by the first Bowen who came to this section of Indiana. On September 13, 1855, James D. Bowen married Mary E. Chenoweth of Carroll county, Maryland, and to them three sons and six daughters were born. He united with the Methodist church in 1859 and remained a faithful member of the same until his death. During the Civil war he was appointed enrolling officer for his township, during which time he was actively engaged in looking after the sick and wounded soldiers of his district, besides aiding their families. He was always very attentive to the welfare of his neighbors and friends, and was honest and courteous to all, carrying his religion into his every-day life. March 31, 1866, he joined the Free and Accepted Masons, Bethel Lodge No. 250, and later became a Master Mason. He also belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows when a young man. He passed all the chairs in the order and was Past Grand. He was said to be a man absolutely without enemies, having lived so exemplary a life. His wife, Mary Etta Bowen, was a daughter of John Baxter Chenoweth and Sarah (Murray) Chenoweth. She was born in Baltimore county, Maryland, in 1836, and died August 3, 1902. She united with the Methodist church early in life and remained a constant member until the end. She bore her sufferings with rare fortitude and enjoyed the friendship of all who knew her well.
             Charles E. Bowen grew to manhood on the old homestead in his native community and he received a common school education, later spending one year in the Valparaiso Normal. Early in life, he took up merchandising and for over twenty years he conducted general stores at Crete, Carlos City and Spartanburg, building up a large and lucrative business with the surrounding country, owing to his honesty and thrift. At the time of his death he owned the farm which his grandfather settled in 1814, a century ago. This place has never been out of the possession of the family and is now owned by our subject's widow and children. It has been well cultivated and kept highly improved so that it has not lost its original strength of soil, the Bowens having always been noted as skilful agriculturists.
             Mr. Bowen was married on the anniversary of his birth, December 6, 1890, to Josie Nelson, who was born in Virginia in May, 1871. She is a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Nossette) Nelson. The father was born in Virginia and died January 18, 1875. The mother was also a native of Virginia and her death occurred March 16, 1874. To our subject and wife two children were born, namely: Ephraim M., born in 1891, was graduated from the Spartanhurg high school in 1907, then spent one term at the State Normal at Terre Haute, then a year in Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, specializing in history; he is now teaching history in the Spartanburg high school with much success. John M., second child of our subject, was born in 1897 and is now attending the Lynn high school.
             Charles E. Bowen was a faithful member of the Christian church. He was entering upon his second year as county commissioner and had fulfilled his duties in such a manner in this important office as to be honored with the nomination to succeed himself for a second term. He had all the qualities which combine to make a worthy citizen, a neighborly gentleman, a true friend and devoted husband, a gentle and indulgent father.
            The death of Mr. Bowen occurred suddenly and without warning on June 10, 1910, at the age of fifty-one years, six months and four days. His fellow commissioners, William Mills and John E. Cheesman, and Mack Pohue, county auditor, passed the following resolutions of respect on his death, at Winchester, Indiana, June 13, 1910.
"It is with profound sorrow that the board of commissioners of Randolph county, State of Indiana, record the loss of one of its members- Charles E. Bowen, commissioner of the eastern district, who passed away at his home in Greensfork township last Friday, in the prime of his usefulness as a servant of the people of this county, as a member of this board. During his year and almost a half as such official we found him to be a conscientious, careful, punctual, efficient and honest official and as such we learned to admire him, as a man and companion we learned to love him.
Quiet, modest, unassuming, but never shirking, ever ready to bear his portion of the responsibilities and burdens of this board, we feel that it is no fulsome praise, but his just merits, when we record that in his death the people of Randolph county have lost the service and counsel of a faithful servant, one who always did his duty as he saw it, and always for the greatest good for the greatest number. We feel that we can speak no greater eulogy to him than to recommend to his successor and to all other public officials the emulation of his official life.
While we sorrow in our personal loss of the benefit of his counsel and companionship, we realize that the public has lost a faithful servant, but the greatest loss is to those he loved best, his wife and sons, and to them we express our sympathy and with it the assurance that to us, as well as to them, his clean, upright life will be an inspiration.
Be it therefore Resolved, That the auditor of the county be authorized to spread this memento of record, in the proceedings of this day's business and that he furnish the family with a careful copy thereof."
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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