Thomas Bowling, the ancestor of all the Bowlings of Boarman’s Manor, came from the village of Charnock Richard in Lancashire. He was married with small children by the 1670s, so we can assume he was born a generation before then, perhaps in the range 1635-45. For more on the ancestry of Thomas and his siblings James and Elizabeth, see the English Ancestry of the Bowlings.
Of the immigrant siblings, Thomas Bowling spent the least time in Maryland, but we know about his family connections from several documents.
He was clearly well regarded by his brother James Bowling, whose 1692 will leaves Thomas five tracts of land: 100 acres of “Keet’s Rest;” 100 acres of “Miller’s Choice;” 125 acres of “Chesam;” 152 acres of “Charley,” and 150 acres of “Bowling’s Plains”. In a codicil, James further gives Thomas some land near Newport Town. To his nephew, John Bowling and heirs, he gives a certain unnamed plantation near Newport Town. By a second codicil dated July 17th, 1692, the testator orders that should his wife Mary die without issue, all lands bequesthed to her should pass to Roger and then to John, sons of brother Thomas, and their heirs.
James’ will is the first time that Thomas Bowling appears in the Maryland records and, accordingly, we may suspect that Thomas had not yet been in Maryland. But after his substantial inheritance, he probably came to Maryland, where his name soon becomes quite visible in the records.
Thomas Bowling, as a civil officer of Charles County, was a signatory of the 1696 letter congratulating the King on his escape from harm (Arch of Md 20:543) and he is listed as a creditor or debtor in various estate inventories and accounts: those of Mr. William Rosewell (1695), James Bowling and Mr. Richard Gardiner (1696, in both of which he is listed as “Mr. Thomas Bowling”), Richard Charlett of Calvert County (1696), and Henry Brawner of Charles County (1699).
Of interest is the following sale on 22 February 1696: Ignatius Wheeler and Frances, his wife, sold to Thomas Bowling, for the natural love and affection which they bore him, a parcel of land called “Indian Field”, lying along the Piscataway in Prince George’s County and laid out for 205 acres (DB A: 65). Thomas was connected to the Wheelers by marriage (his nephew John Speake had married their daughter Winifred), but it is unclear what the real motive behind the sale was, since Thomas was a newcomer who had just inherited a whole series of parcels a good distance away.
By profession Thomas was a shoemaker, as we learn from a dispute on 13 June 1699 between “Gerard Slye, Merchant vs. Thomas & John Bowling, ffather & sonne, shoe-makers” (Chas. Co. Land Rec. 1698-9, Lib. X1:157-8).
Thomas died in 1700 (where is not clear), and the inventory of his estate was filed in the Charles County court for £139.15.6 on Aug. 5, 1700 by John Bowling, with Benjamin Hall and William Boarman as appraisers. The account of his estate speaks of tobacco owed to several persons, amounting to 13796 pounds which had not been paid before because of his absence from the Province (Book 3, 1704-06:33). So altogether Thomas Bowling may have only been in Maryland for one visit of a few years.
These Maryland documents accord with the those of Leyland Parish in Lancashire which record the baptisms of John son of Thomas Bowling of Charnock (9 Nov. 1673) and Roger, son of Thomas Bowling of Euxton (20 Nov. 1677) and the burial of Ann Bowling of Euxton, widow, on 28 Sept. 1703. These English records completely fit our Thomas Bowling, his two sons, and his wife’s title as widow confirms that he had died before her death in 1703. So sometime around 1675, Thomas moved from his childhood home in Charnock Richard to Euxton 3 miles away (where these are the only Bowlings attested then).
Thomas was still recorded in Euxton when this passenger list from Liverpool was composed in 1699 (NEHGR 64) :
- Servants bound to Thomas Bowling of Exton in Lancashire, husbandman, October 14: And Went in the Elizabeth for Viginniae or Maryland, Gilbert Leivsay, Master:
- James Hall of Exton in Lancashire, age 11, term of service 12 years
- Joshua Holden of Heath Charnock in Lancashire, age 16, term 8
- Thomas Colson of Chorley, age 18, term 8
- William Dickinson of Flucton in Yorkshire, age 14, term 8
- William Conly of Ouse Walton in Lancashire, age 9, term 13
The four Lancashire villages are all within a few miles of Thomas’ home and he was likely recruiting after his trip to Maryland. It was a harsh passage and a difficult new world that not all would survive through their long indenture, but either they trusted him or felt they had no better option. Ironically, we know this ship arrived in the Chesapeake, but Thomas himself did not survive another year.
Children of Thomas Bowling and Ann —
3.1) John Bowling (1673 – 1711) marr. Mary Langworth
3.2) Roger Bowling (1677 – ?) — never came to Maryland. His subsequent history in England is not easy to identify because there were also two contemporaries of the same name in Charnock Richard: Roger (b. 1666) son of Roger Bowling, and Roger (b. 1670) son of John Bowling.
3.1) John Bowling (1673 – 1711) marr. Mary Langworth
John Bowling was baptized on 9 Nov. 1673 in Leyland parish in Lancashire. It is not clear when he came to Maryland, perhaps with his father in the 1690’s, perhaps earlier. Because there were two John Bowlings in Maryland at this time (this John son of Thomas and his cousin John son of John of Calvert County), one must be careful with assigning actions to persons. But generally, it is assumed that events in Calvert Country belong to John son of John and those in Charles and St. Mary’s County belong to John son of Thomas.
John Bowling moved in the same Catholic circle of Boarmans and Edelens as his father and uncle had. When Richard Edelen’s will was witnessed and proved in 1695 in St. Mary’s Co., the witnesses were John Bowling, James Hagan, and Bowling Speake. In 1709, John Bowling and Richard Edelen were the appraisers of the large inventory of Maj. William Boarman.
In fact, John was even one of the witnesses of the 1698 will of the Franciscan priest Richard Hobart and was trusted to appraise his inventory with Richard Edelen (with William Boarman and John Higdon as approvers). In his own will, John later left a bequest for another Franciscan, James Haddock.
In 1700 or 1701, he married Mary Langworth, daughter of William Langworth. William’s siblings had been killed in an Indian raid in 1666 and he left three daughters, but the Langworth name was later carried down as a middle name in the Bowling family. On the quit rent rolls (year unclear), John Bowling of Charles County was in possession of 300 acres of Engsbatch and 140 acres of Engsbatch Addition, both of which were surveyed for William Rosewell but which John had acquired by his marriage with William Langsworth’s daughter (Wm. Rosewell was Wm. Langworth’s uncle).
Progressively, John began to dispose of land. On 18 Aug 1703, “John Bowling, planter” sold the 150 acres of “Bowling Plains” which he had inherited from his father (originally from Capt. James Bowling) to Oliver Burch. His wife acknowledged and the witnesses were Benjamin Hall, Philip Briscoe. In July 1704, he and his wife Mary sold to John Winn for 7000 pounds of tobacco the property “Indian Field” which his father had bought a few years before from the Wheatleys. On 24 Oct 1706, John Bowling, Gent. deeded to Benjamin Hall, Gent., for £25, a parcel of land bounded by Westwood Manor and John Wathen’s land, laid out for 68 acre from a tract called St. Thomas granted to Thomas Simpson in 1671.
John Bowling fell ill in 1711 and wrote his will on 30 April that year, dying a month or so later, naming his wife Mary as executrix and leaving behind minor children Mary, William, Thomas, and John. Each child was to receive land, as well as two cows and calves each, when they became adults.
- His wife Mary was bequeathed the lifetime use of Charley and Chessham and Charley Addition “which my now dwelling plantation stands on”, as well as a negro man called John Maccusse and the remainder of the estate.
- Son Thomas would receive the above properties after the life of his mother. He also received “a negro man called James Mancusso”, and “a good feather bed, boulster, Rugg and blanketts”
- Sons William and John would receive “all my land or rights of lands” lying in St. Mary’s County. Each received a colt, William’s being that mare colt branded WB.
- Daughter Mary would receive “all that tract of land called Keet’s Rest being one hundred acres lying in Charles County”. She was also bequeathed a bay mare and a young bay horse, each branded ExB.
- Mr. James Martin was bequeathed “the one half of a certain tract of land called High Park lying in St. Mary’s County”. This tract of 240 acres had been patented by William Langworth, who devised it to his daughter Agatha in his 1693 will. Presumably she died unmarried and the property was then divided between her sisters Mary Langworth Bowling and Elizabeth Langworth Hagan. The motive for this bequest is unclear [“High Park” is apparently on the Rent rolls for James Martin in 1707, perhaps having acquired the first half from the Hagans?]
- Mr. James Haddock [a Franciscan priest]: 200 pounds tobacco.
Looking back, it is amusing to read John’s instruction: “The one half of a tract of land called the Widow’s Mite containing 600 acres & lying in Prince George’s County, I desire it to be sould and the produce to goe towards paying of my debts”. This property had been patented by William Langworth in 1685 who then ordered it to be sold in his will, but it had not been sold, and so it was still the property of his two daughters Mary Langworth Bowling and Elizabeth Langworth Hagan and their husbands. It was finally sold in 1714 to Thomas Fletchall for 12,000 acres by Mary (and new husband Joseph Routhorn) and Elizabeth (and husband James Hagan). Ironically, this troublesome property far up the Potomac would later become the most valuable parcel of all the land the Bowlings ever possessed: the West End and Kalorama neighborhoods of Washington, DC!
The children were all younger than 10 when their father died, and so their father’s will appointed guardians, so that “in case of “my Mary Bowling’s decease before my children come to age, my son Thomas Bowling with his estate be put into the hands of Capt. Benjamin Hall and all my other children with their estates be put into the hands of Br. James Hagan”. Benjamin Hall was married to Capt. James Bowling’s widow; James Hagan was his brother-in-law (they had married Langworth sisters). The appraisers of John’s inventory were his cousin Bowling Speake and friend William Boarman.
With four small children and substantial property to manage, Mary Langworth Bowling soon remarried. Her new husband was Joseph Routhorn.
The great landholdings which Capt. James Bowling had accumulated had been quickly passed on to his brother Thomas and then to Thomas’ son John and then to John’s small children. But a generation later, there was some contest or uncertainty about these inheritances, perhaps about Thomas’ other heirs in England but also about the birth order of John’s children.
To clarify the land titles, on 13 August 1734 at the request of John’s son Thomas, several depositions were entered into the Charles County land records (R#2:528-9). Richard Edelen (aged 63) stated that John Bowling had told him that he “came from Lancashire and left a brother there by the name of Roger Bowling”. Rev. George Therold, SJ stated that he had married John Bowling to Mary Langworth and their son Thomas was generally reputed to be the eldest son of the marriage. Mary Ruthorn (née Langworth) deposed that she was the wife of Joseph Ruthorn and the widow of John Langworth and confirmed John’s orgin and brother. Ignatius Hagan (aged 48) stated that he was a near neighbor of John and Mary Bowling and that Thomas Bowling was their oldest son.
After the death of John’s last male cousin in 1718, the Bowling surname in this Maryland family was only carried on by the . . .
Children of John Bowling and Mary Langworth:
3.1.1) Thomas (c.1703 – 1775) marr. Mary Green
3.1.2) Mary ( ), marr ?
3.1.3) William (c. 1707 – c.1787) marr. —
3.1.4) John (d. 1735), marr. Elizabeth Dorsett