Descendants of Samuel Bowden

Our Bowden lineage starts with Samuel Bowden who was born ca 162x in England and died 1674+ at either Ipswich or Topsfield, Ma. His parentage and ancestry is unknown. He married prior to 1651 at Gloucester, Ma. The name of his wife is unknown. He is recorded as being in Gloucester, Ma. in 1651. We know him to be at Marblehead, Ma. in 1657 where he is listed, among others, as a contributor for the payment of William Walton, the first minister of the chirch there. We find another record of him in 1674, in Ipswich, Ma. where he testified that he was living in Stephen Cross’s house there.

Though no more is known of him, his location at Ipswich, Ma. suggests the strong possibility that he was the father of Michael Bowden (1), the ancestor of the Marblehead Bowden family, who first appears in Topsfield, Ma. in 1668 and of Elizabeth Bowden who married, at Salem, Ma., on 26 May 1661, James Watts.This James Watts was an inhabitant on Marblehead in 1668 and owned there until 1695. As Topsfield was, in part, settled by people of Ipswich, Ma., it is likely that Michael Bowden (1) was the son of Samuel Bowden living there.

References: FH19: 3739:3721; FH51:1-3; PH71:V11:47.

Michael(1) Bowden was born, probably, in 1651 in Gloucester, Ma.; he testified in court in 1677 that he was twenty five years of age. He died on 26 June 1740 at Lynn, Ma. He married, at Topsfield, Ma on 15 Dec. 1669, Sarah Nurse who was born in 1649 at Salem Village (Danvers) , Ma. and died prior 1740 probably in Marblehead, Ma. The Nurse family were fairly large landowners and substantial farmers Their family house still stands today. Rebecca Towne Nurse, Sarah mother, is well known for the tragic trial and condemnation during the senseless witchcraft delusion. Based upon his location in Topsfield and his later activity in Marblehead, Michael (1) Bowden was a farmer. It is assumed that his father, Samuel, was likewise a farmer. We find in the Ipswich Quqrterly Court Records that on 18 Nov.1668 Michael’s country rate was two shilling eight pence. Michael (1) and Sarah Nurse Bowden’s first child and daughter, Susannah was born in Topsfield on 10 June 1670; their subsequent children are not recorded in Topsfield. Again from the court records we find in the probate of the will of John Davis, proved 25 March 1673, that Michael (1) of Topsfield was a debtor of John Davis along with others. It is very likely that Michael (1) with his family removed to Marblehead shortly after 1673 for on 04 Feb. 1674 we find Michael (1) as a tenant farmer of the large farm of Capt. James Smith. This farm had been a part of the very large Plaines farm of Colonel John Humphrey. Capt. John Smith, with his family, never lived on his farm indicating that it was probably an investment.


It seems likely that when Michael(1) Bowden and wife took over this farm that the area was mostly wilderness; under Michael’s management the woods were cleared and the ground gradually was cultivated. From references in the Quarterly Court Records, we know he cut timber and had teams there. “Court case re Mary Smith wife of Capt. James owing Michael Bowden money-Need page 120 of Salem Quarterly Court-Volume 7" In August of 1685, Mary LeGrow and Walter Williams, who were married in Marblehead, were referred to as “servants of Michael Bowden”. By 1695 , when Michael and his wife sold their share of the Nurse Farm, he is referred to as “Planter”. In 1697 Michael was a member of the committee “on the town fence” an obvious office as the Bowdens lived almost on the town boundary. Michael Bowden(1) is mentioned for the last time on 07 Sept 1704 relative to the farm section in Marblehead. On this farm, in addition to the daughter born in Topsfield, Susanna, there were born and grew up to maturity the three sons of Michael(1) and Sarah(Nurse) Bowden,i.e., Michael(2), Samuel, and Francis. Following 1704, little is known of Michael(1) Bowden and his wife Sarah whose death date is unknown; at some later, Michael without wife(presumed dead) returned to Lynn where he died 26 Jun 1740. From the place of his death it seems obvious that he spent his last years in the family of his son Michael(2) Bowden.

References:PH71:45-48;FH51:1-9;Lynn VRs:V2:50-51,430;Chart21.

Michael(2) Bowden, son of Michael(1) and Sarah (Nurse) Bowden was born ca 1673, probably in Marblehead. His marriage intention with Sarah Davis of Lynn was recorded at Lynn on 20 Nov 1697 where he was described as being of Marblehead. On 29 Mar 1707, Michael(2) bought land in Lynn “near the burying place” for L66. In later records he is described as an “innkeeper”; it is assumed that his home was his place of business. He and his wife systematically disposed of the other real estate that came to them. On 20 Oct 1729, they sold their rights in the estate of John and Sarak(Kirkland) Davis who were the parents of Sarah (Davis) Bowden; on 14 Jun 1732 they made a similar sale of rights in the estate of Mary (Davis) Langdon, sister of Sarah(Davis) Bowden. On 12 Mar 1734 they sold the Naragansett Lands , granted to John Davis for military service, located in Sowhegan West(present township of Amherst, New Hampshire). Finally, on 12 Sept 1738, they confirmed the sale of a plantation located on the island of Nevis in the West Indies; this property was left to Sarah (Davis) Bowden by one of her uncles, one Ebenezer Kackland.


 Michael(2) Bowden died 01 October 1741 at Lynn; his will, made 26 Sep 1741, was proved 12 October 1741. His estate was appraised at L555 15 shilling.

 References:PH71:V11:45-48;V16:128-129;FH51:1-9;TAG:V33:48-49;Lynn VRs:V1:56-57;V2: 50-51,430; FH19:Charts #3,20,21.

Sarah Bowden was born 16 Dec 1702 and married John Redding 24 Sept 1724.

References:FH51:7;PH71:128;TAG:V33:48-49;Lynn VRs:Marriages:51