A headstone for William Bowen 52 Ancestors #40

The Bowen family of Washington County Maine made the ultimate sacrifice in the Civil War. Father William and three of his sons signed up to fight for the Union and none returned home [more here]. Back in 2001 or so, cousin Jeanne O’Shea had given me loads of information about William and family and because I lived near where William died, she had hoped I could find his headstone.

I visited the Edson Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts and found that the book for 1862 had gone missing so the staff could not pinpoint his burial place. They suggested that perhaps he’d been buried in a small section of the cemetery that was fenced off from the main part as a number of Civil War-era graves were there. I walked that section and checked every headstone, no luck. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that perhaps we’d never find a headstone and there might not even be one to find in the first place.

Fast forward to two weeks ago…

An Ancestry.com user, Jane Mangum, put a comment on William on my tree with a Find-a-Grave ID number and sure enough, it’s the right William! Find-a-Grave user Rick Weaver had taken a picture of the headstone and created the memorial page for William back in 2011.

Photo courtesy of Rick Weaver, used with permission.

Photo courtesy of Rick Weaver, used with permission.

The headstone reads:

Wm. BOWEN 1 Batty 1 Battn. ME L.A.

Translated: William Bowen, 1st Battery, 1st Battalion, Maine Light Artillery.

It’s a good reminder to check those research dead-ends every once in a while, wonderful things are happening in the genealogical world, it’s amazing what’s being made available every day. Volunteers do a lot of the heavy lifting, Rick and Jane are perfect examples, look at their profiles on Find-a-Grave, how many thousands of pages they’ve created, it’s inspiring. Thank you very much to Rick and Jane for walking cemeteries and posting the pictures, it’s a lot of work and it is much appreciated. Also thank you to Jane for bringing the page to my attention!

This post is 40th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

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