Hon. Daniel Hampton Bowen

Dr. Daniel Hampton Bowen

The sketch of Dr. Bowen was prepared by a friend.

One of the most powerful and virile forces in republican politics in the State of Iowa, one of the most able and successful physicians and surgeons in Allamakee county and one of the biggest, most broad-minded and most generally beloved men of Waukon is, beyond question, Dr. Daniel Hampton Bowen, who for more than a third of a century has given of his best energies, powers and talents towards the promotion of state and municipal development along professional, political, social and fraternal lines. His success and prominence are only the natural reward of his many years of earnest and well directed labor.

Dr. Bowen was born on a farm near Decatur, Green county, Wisconsin, September 6, 1850, and is a son of Jared Ingersoll and Lacy Ann (Fleek) Bowen, the former of Welsh and Scotch-Irish descent and the latter of Dutch ancestry. The paternal branch of this family has been in America for many generations, its representatives having crossed the Atlantic long before the Revolutionary war. The father was born in Pennsylvania just across the Virginia line and in his youth learned the carpenter’s trade which, however, he followed only a short time, most of his life having been spent in farming. He came west in 1844, settling in that year in Wisconsin where the remainder of his life was passed. His wife, still active and hearty at the age of eighty-nine, makes her home at Brodhead in that state.

Dr. Bowen spent his childhood on his father’s Wisconsin farm and his youth was passed amid such conditions as usually fall to the lot of the farmer’s boy. In the winters he attended district school and in the summer months assisted with the work of the homestead, alternating in this way until he grew to manhood. He was ten years of age at the outbreak of the Civil war but was not too young to have some understanding of the important issues involved, which formed his political belief, in future life. After completing the course in the public schools he turned his attention to teaching, following this occupation for several terms. At the end of that time he took up the study of medicine under the tutorage of Dr. R. Broughton, to whose able teaching he owes much of his professional success. Three years in the physician’s office were followed by a course at Rush Medical College in Chicago, from which he was graduated in 1876 with the degree of M. D. Coming west in search of a suitable professional opening he settled at Rossville, Allamakee county. From the beginning he met with a gratifying degree of success, building up a large and lucrative practice and becoming well known as an able physician and surgeon. He remained in Rossville until 1880 when he moved to Waukon where through many honorable and worthy years, filled with useful achievements along professional and public lines, he has since made his home. In the beginning he practiced in partnership with Dr. Mattoon but since their association was discontinued has been alone. He is numbered among the pioneer physicians of Allamakee county, having taken up his residence here long before the railroad reached Waukon and in his practice has had the varied experience which commonly falls to the lot of the country practitioner. Dr. Bowen has been honored by his professional brethren in many ways. He served as president of the Alumni Association of Rush Medical College and also was president of the Allamakee County Medical Society. He is at present a trustee of the Iowa State Medical Society and an alternate delegate to the American Medical Association from the state society. The Doctor was honored by appointment of Governor Shaw to represent Iowa at the international congress of tuberculosis held at London, England, in 1901.

Although he has attained such distinction in professional circles it is not alone along this line that Dr. Bowen has done good work for Allamakee county and for Iowa, for since taking up his residence he has been one of the greatest individual forces in local republican politics, his activities touching and affecting the political growth of the state. In Waukon he has held many offices of trust and honor, having served as alderman and mayor of the city and as a member of the school board, holding the latter position for twenty years. In 1878 he served as county coroner, doing able and efficient work for two terms. His brilliant legislative career began with his election to the twenty-sixth general assembly and he served with credit through this session and during the special session held for the purpose of revising the code of Iowa. At this time he was chairman of the committee on public health and as such was responsible for the amending and codifying of that portion of the laws of the state dealing with questions of health and safety. So well did he accomplish this important work that but few changes, and those minor ones, have been made since that time. In recognition of the importance of his services and their effectiveness in promoting the best interests of the state, Dr. Bowen was reelected to the legislature at the end of his first term and in the twenty-seventh assembly was again made chairman of the committee on public health, displaying in the discharge of his duties an integrity, political ability and high conscientiousness which constantly deepened his popularity and gained him a place in the ranks of Iowa’s statesmen. Upon his reelection to the twenty-eighth general assembly he was one of the republican candidates for the office of speaker of the house, his opponents being such distinguished Iowans as Hon. M. L. Temple, Colonel W. G. Dows, Hon. Mahlon Head and Senator W. L. Eaton. A spirited contest ended with the member from Allamakee county the winner and it is said of him that no more broad-minded, just and liberal man ever held the gavel in the Iowa house of representatives. Always a stanch and loyal republican and popular with the rank and file of the party, Dr. Bowen became a candidate for the office of alternate at large to the national convention of 1904 and was elected. He was elected in 1908 presidential elector from the fourth district by a majority of twenty-five although the opposing faction carried the district by a majority of four thousand. Thus it will be seen that during the years he has made his home in Iowa Dr. Bowen has been prominent in the councils of his party and has become a well known figure at state and district conventions – a man held in high honor by reason of his personal integrity, his public standards, his ambitions and ideals and by reason also of the usefulness and benefit of his public service.

Dr. Bowen married in Albany, Wisconsin, in February 1877, Miss Hettie E. Burns, who has proven a worth helpmate to him on his journey through life, sharing in all his successes, joys and sorrows. They have two children. The eldest, a son, Albert Sidney Bowen was born in Rossville, July 28, 1879, and after completing the course in the public schools of Waukon attended the State University at Iowa City. He afterward studied medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago, and then spent three years as a partner with his father in the practice of his profession. He then took the civil service examination, passing with great credit, and was assigned to hospital service at Colon, Panama. After two years in this service he took examination for entrance into the regular army as a surgeon and was sent by the government to Washington, D. C., where he entered the army medical school, later receiving his appointment as army surgeon. He has served at Fort Snelling, at Fort Sam Houston and is now in the foreign service in the Philippines with the rank of captain.

The other child born to Dr. and Mrs. Bowen is a daughter, Mary Charlotte, and she has had a no less successful career than her brother. She was born in Waukon, August 14, 1885, and acquired her education in the city schools, later teaching for a time in the public schools of Worth county. She afterward attended the State University, where her splendid work won for her not only the degree of B. A. but also a scholarship providing for a year’s post-graduate work at the end of which she received her Master of Arts degree. A special course in normal training completed her preparation and she is now employed as a teacher of German and English in the State Normal School at Bellingham, Washington. In his children Dr. Bowen renews his youth, which indeed he has never lost, and rejoices in their success more than in his own.

Dr. Bowen has also taken an active part in the work of two great fraternities, the Masons and the Knights of Pythias, in which he has held the highest offices within the gift of the local lodges, representing them with credit and ability in their state conventions. He is widely known and very popular in the sections where he is known and most of all where he is best known. Many friends who love and honor him have grown to depend upon his wisdom and kindly counsel, and their opinion combines with that of the state at large that he is one of the most substantial and loyal-hearted men that Allamakee county has ever known.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Linda Earnheart

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