52 Ancestors #38: Frederic Lowell Bowen

158 years ago today [28 Oct 1856], my 2nd great-grandfather Frederic Lowell Bowen was born in Perry, Maine, the eighth and last son born to William and Mary (Boynton/Boyington) Bowen.

I imagine Fred had a pretty rough childhood. By the time he was 8, four of his older brothers and his father were dead. Leaving his mother with six children under 14 years old and the family farm.

Fred ended up keeping the farm and in 1880 married Adelaide Robinson, the 20-year-old daughter of James and Sarah (Stanhope) Robinson. Over the next 25 years, they had 12 children: William, Sadie, Robert, Justin, Walter, Mattie, George [my great-grandfather], Dora, Amy, Myron, Edna and Augusta. Unfortunately, both Addy and Augusta died in childbirth on 4 Feb 1905. They are both buried in the Ross family cemetery on the farm (see the map for the approximate location). The Ross family lived on the farm after the Bowen family and a number of both families buried there. See “At Rest in Perry, Maine” compiled by cousins Jeanne O’Shea Wagner and Colon Morrison for more information about rural cemeteries in Washington county Maine.

Bowen Headstone

While I have heard some stories of Fred’s cruelty to his children, my grandmother remembered him as a kind man who took her into town (probably Calais or Eastport) on his horse and wagon and bought her a dress.

Fred died in Perry on 19 August, 1922 of angina and is buried with his wife in the Ross Cemetery.

This post is 38th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

52 Ancestors #37: James Lucey and the Battle of Wyse Fork

IMG_0934In late 1864 into early 1865, the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery was stationed in New Bern, NC on garrison duty. Company M included 16-year-old James Lucey, my 2nd great-grandfather.

Luther Webber Gravestone

New Bern National Cemetery

In the fall of 1864 there was an outbreak of yellow fever in New Bern. An epidemic which took the lives of many, including 23-year-old fellow private and Worcester, MA native Luther Webber.

Early in 1865, the 2nd Mass Heavy Artillery was called upon to join General Jacob Cox’s Provisional Corps that were to move towards Goldsboro, ultimately to join with Sherman’s army. Just south of Kinston, near Southwest Creek, they ran into Confederate forces under the command of Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Bragg’s men attacked the Union flanks and captured an entire regiment, the last mass capture of Union troops in the war. However, miscommunication allowed the Union army time for reinforcements to arrive and fortify its position. Bragg was forced to withdraw, thanks in no small part to the heavy artillery units that repelled the rebel attack.

In the span of three days, there were a total of 2,601 injured and killed, including several of James’ compatriots in Company M. Most are buried at the New Bern National Cemetery.

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to visit Kinston and New Bern, including the Wyse Fork Battlefield and the New Bern National Cemetery. We were celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary and continuing our tradition of visiting either a cemetery or a battlefield on our weekend away.

While Company M may have been involved in various skirmishes over the course of the war, the only documented battle is Wyse Fork. It’s always an exciting experience to walk where your ancestor walked but it’s surreal to visit a battlefield where your 16-year-old ancestor fought.

Today (1 October 2014) would be his 166th birthday.

In the New Bern National Cemetery, there are hundreds of Civil War era graves and several monuments, including one to honor the Massachusetts soldiers.

IMG_0932 IMG_0963

This post is 37th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.