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Benton County, IAGenWeb Project
The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 447-449

ROMANZO E. BOWE, now living retired in Vinton, has achieved his principal material success in life from the vocation of agriculture, which he has followed throughout his active career. He was a farmer in Benton county when that occupation was subject to the pioneer limitations. He came to Benton county in 1854, with his parents, being then eight years old.

He was born in Geauga county, Ohio, in July, 1846. His parents were Russell and Rachel (Hollister) Bowe, natives of Ohio and New York states, respectively. Russell Bowe was a local preacher of the Methodist church, and followed farming as a means of livelihood. He traded a store, which he owned in Ohio, for a farm in Canton township, this county, and lived there a number of years and improved the place with good farm buildings. He afterwards moved to Beatrice, Nebraska, where he acquired a large tract of land and where he died. He is buried at Shellsburg in this county. For many years he was one of the most active local preachers in Benton county. He gave the timbers for the first Methodist church built in Vinton, and his son, Romanza hauled these timbers to town by ox team. Mrs. Rachel Bowe, the mother, died some years before her husband, and also rests in the cemetery at Shellsburg. Romanzo B. was the fourth of their seven children, and the surviving are: Silas Abner, of South Dakota; Romanzo E., Cordelia and Sarah Boles, of Shellsburg, Iowa. Those deceased are: Lavant, Daniel Filmore and Emory.

When the Bowe family came to Iowa the men started from Ohio in a covered wagon. Romanzo made the entire trip on horseback, his father giving him the horse for riding it through. His mother and his two sisters made as much of the trip as they could by rail and water. Several years after coming to Benton county he traded the horse which he rode through for a team of oxen and with the latter broke over seven hundred and eighty acres of wild prairie land in Benton county. There were no railroads in Benton county at this time, Vinton and Shellsburg being then only small villages, and the county practically all wild land and unfenced.

Romanzo E. Bowe was reared in Benton county, receiving most of his education in its country schools, and when about seventeen years old went to the war. He enlisted in Company D, Twenty-eighth Iowa Infantry, in Captain H. M. Wilson's company, and participated in all the service of that command during the last eighteen months of the war. He participated in the following engagements: Sabine Cross Roads, Winchester and minor engagements and skirmishes. At Winchester he was taken sick and sent to the field hospital and later to the convalescant camp at Annapolis. While at Annapolis he was detailed as guard for paroled Union soldiers for three months and then joined his own regiment. Mr. Bowe's brother, Daniel Filmore, was a member of the same company and regiment, and was wounded at Winchester. He took part in thirteen battles. After the close of the war he returned to the farm in Benton county, where he died nine days after reaching home, from sickness, the result of over work after his return. Romanzo E. Bowe returned home in August, 1865, and engaged actively and prosperously in farming. He has recently sold his farm of two hundred and four acres in Canton township. Mr. Bowe is a member of the G. A. R. post at Shellsburg and in politics is a Republican.

He married Miss Eliza Gates. She was born in New York state in 1849, a daughter of Josiah and Syvilla (Thompkins) Gates, Her father died in New York and her mother in Nebraska. Mrs. Bowe spent twelve years of her early life in Canada, and received her education there. She is a Methodist. Mr. and Mrs. Bowe have six children: Mina, is the wife of Sherman Bobbins, of Canton township, and their daughter graduated in 1909 from the Shellsburg schools; Charles, a farmer of Bremer county, Iowa, married Emma Olson of Waverly; Mrs. Myrtle Beatty, of Vinton; Orra is the wife of Charles Grubb of Portland, Oregon, and has two children; Delia is the wife of Charles Hatfield of Canton township, and has two children; Edwin, at home.

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