Lieut. Rees Tate Bowen, Sr.

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Lieut. Rees Tate Bowen, Sr.

Birthdate: (51)
Birthplace: Rockingham County, Virginia, United States
Death: October 7, 1780 (47-55)
Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, North Carolina (Shot in Battle of Kings Mt., SC )
Place of Burial: Blacksburg, Cherokee County, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Bowen and Stella Lillinan Bowen
Husband of Margaret Louisa Bowen
Father of John Bowen; Rees Bowen, Jr.; Nancy Ward; Margaret Gillespie; Rebecca Bowen and 4 others
Brother of Agnes Buchanan; Elizabeth Jane Looney; John Bowen; Henry Bowen, Sr.; Capt. Robert Pickens Bowen and 8 others
Half brother of Pvt. Benjamin Bowen

Occupation: farmer; Indian fighter; militiaman, m. 1759 in Augusta Co., Virginia, Lieutenant
Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Lieut. Rees Tate Bowen, Sr.

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor #: A012714

William, b. 1742; was a Capt. in the VA militia and was to have lead the Campbell riflmen on that faitful trip to Kings Mountain in S.C., in Aug of 1780. But due to illness, he was delayed and his older brother, famed Indian fighter, Lt. Rees Bowen took over for him. Historically, the Battle of King's Mountain,, Oct. 7th, 1780 was the decisive battle that finally turned the tide for the fledgling nation. The discription can be found in "King's Mountain, and it's Hereos" by Draper.

These wonderful mountain men of VA., fresh from their battles with Indians, dressed in buckskin, hair long, feather's on the ends of their rifles, came whooping and hollering with a combination of Indian War whoops and Highland battle cries that scared the daylights out of the British troops, waiting on King's mountain. They were routed so badly that they never did recoup.

Unfortunatley Lt. Rees Bowen was killed, William when hearing his brother was downed, went crazy, running to find his brother hoping that it was not to late. As he ran to where his brother had fallen, a sentry demanded the password of the day. William so distraught, couldn't make sense of what the man was yelling and forgot the password. When they were about to shoot it out, an officer, recognizing William grabbed him, bringing him back to his senses. They hugged, grateful for not having to shoot each other, but distraught about his brother. When Rees was found, it was too late, he had died, the only son of 13 children to be lost in a battle fought in the Rev. War. Years before, while on patrol, his brother Moses Bowen, died of a simple flesh wound recieved in the field. It seems while washing wound, it was done with river water that had not been boiled and he developed a fever from which he died in 1776.

Of a family of 13 children, 8 boys and 5 girls, all had made it to adulthood, only 2 were lost in wars fought settling the colonies. All eight sons served in the Militia, all were considered Revolutionary War heroes and are on the list's as Patriot's for membership to the DAR and SAR. McIllhaney Bowen. During the War years, Lillian gave money, supplies and openned her home to the wounded. Lillian died just 2 months before her beloved son Rees, in 1780, in Washington CO., VA. Her son had been one of the first settlers in S.W.VA., and a founding father of Tazewell CO., VA. Rees's homestead, "Fort Maiden Spring's", which became "Maiden Spring's Farm" is still in existance and has had a "Rees Bowen" in residence for over 250 years. The homestead is located in the Upper Clinch Valley, Tazewell CO., VA. He left 8 small children upon his death. It's said that one of the reasons that William moved on, was the crushing lose of his brother Rees. They were a remarkable close family, and remain so to this day.

From "History of Tazewell County and Southwest Virginia" by Pendleton, p. 407: "Rees BOWEN was the second white man who brought his family to make permanent residence in the Clinch Valley. therefore, it is meet that he and his family should be the second considered in the sketches I am writing of the pioneer families. The Tazewell BOWENs are of Celtic blood. Their immediate ancestor was Moses BOWEN, a Welshman, who married Rebecca Rees. They came from Wales to America a good many years before the Revolution, and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Their son John was a Quaker, and he married LillyMcIlhaney. He and his wife moved from Pennsylvania to Augusta County, Virginia, soon after the first settlements were made in the Shenandoah Valley, perhaps as early as the year 1732, and located in that part of Augusta now embraced in the county of Rockbridge. They had twelve children and Rees was one of their five sons. He married Louisa [?] Smith, whose parents then liven in that section of Augusta now known as Rockingham County. It is said that, after his marriage, he took up his abode on the Roanoke River close to where thecity of Roanoke is now situated. In some way Rees BOWEN learned of the fertile lands and abundance of game that could be found in the Upper Clinch Valley; and he concluded to abandon his home on the Roanoke River and settle in this region, where he could locate and occupy, without cost, a large family in the vicinity of the great spring, to which he gave a peculiar name, he had not then selected the boundary of land upon which he would settle. After they went into camp, on the evening of the day he reached the place that has since been the home of the BOWENs, he went out to find and kill a deer to get asupply of fresh meat. While thus engaged he discovered the spring. Bickleythus tells of the discovery of the immense fountain and what followed: WhenMr. BOWEN first saw the spring, he discovered a fine young female deer, feeding on the moss within the orifice from which gushes the spring. He shot it,and when he went to get his deer, saw a pair of elk horns standing on their points, and leaning against the rocks. Mr. BOWEN was a very large and tall man, yet he had no difficulty in walking upright under the horns. He chose this place for his, and the spring and river have since been known as Maiden Spring and Fork. The first four years after he and his family located at Maiden Spring were free from any hostile demonstrations by the Indians against the Clinch settlements. He was possessed of great physical strength and was very industrious, and in the four years he erected a large and strong log house,extended his clearings into the forests, and added considerably to the number of horses and cattle he brought with him from his home on the Roanoke. Then came trouble with the Ohio Indians, in 1773, when the whole frontier of Virginia was threatened by the red man; and Rees BOWEN built a heavy stockade around his dwelling, converting it into an excellent neighborhood fort. In themeantime, his four brothers, John, Arthur, William, and Moses moved out from Augusta to find homes in the country west of New River. John settled at some point in the Holston Valley; Arthur located in the present Smyth County, four miles west of Marion; and William and Moses took up their abode in the Clinch Valley, but in what immediate locality is now unknown. When Dunmore's War came on the three brothers, Rees, William, and Moses went with Captain William Russell's company on the Lewis expedition to the mouth of the Kanawha River; and wer prominent figures in the eventful battle of Point Pleasant. Moses BOWEN was then only twenty years old; and on the return march from the Kanawha, he was stricken with smallpox, from which frightful malady he died in the wilderness.

Rees (all documents of the time spelled it that way), was the son of John BOWEN and Lily Mcilhaney who spent most of their lives in Augusta Co, VA. Rees' grandparents were Moses BOWEN and Rebecca REES (originally spelled Rhys) who came from Wales to Gwynedd township, Chester Co, PA (near Philadelphia) in 1698 and purchased 10,000 acres. Rees BOWEN (I've never seen the name Hugh) was born in 1737 in Augusta Co, VA and died at the Battle of Kings Mountain in North Carolina, in 1780. About eight years prior to his death, Rees and Levisa, as she was commonly called, purchased a large tract of land in what is today Tazewell Co, VA and many of their descendants have remained there. That same land and the original house they built, with many additons through the years, is today owned by Rees BOWEN VII. Levisa Smith BOWEN lived to a very old age, reared her children as a widow, and was known for her courage, leadership, and strong business abilities. Margaret's family came to this country during the 1600's and that her linage qualifies for membership in the Colonial Dames.

Lt. Rees Bowen, born 1737 in Rockingham County, Virginia, died October 7, 1780, in the Battle of King's Mountain. He was married in 1756 to Margaret Louisa Smith (1740-1834), daughter of Capt. John Smith.

Lt. Rees Bowen was one of the first settlers in Tazewell County, locating at Maiden Spring about 1772. He and Louisa had 8 children.

Died at the Battle of King's Mountain in 1780 during the Revolutionary War.
A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of LIEUTENANT. DAR Ancestor #: A012723
In 1772 Rees built a blockhouse on his place "Maiden Spring" for a refuge. This blockhouse was also known as Bowen's Fort. He was in the Battle of Point Pleasant and went on to the relief of the Kentucky stations in 1778. Rees was known for his Herculean strength and great activity. Once a man named Fork, from Pennsylvania, who had a reputation of being a tremendous physical fighter came to Maiden Spring just to whip him. They fought for almost a day and Fork was defeated and died in about 20 days. (Pil. 100, 254, 255-257)

Revolutionary War Service

Rees was a Lieutenant under his brother Capt. William Bowen. Because his brother was ill, Rees took command under Major William Edmonson and Col. William Campbell and was killed at the Battle of Kings Mountain. According to The Kings Mountain Men by K.K. White, Rees had five brother at the Battle of Kings Mountain. These being Capt. William Bowen, Capt. Authur Bowen, Robert and Henry who were both officers and Charles, rank unknown. Rees' son John was at the battle also.

Death at the Battle of Kings Mountain

Near the end of the battle on Oct 7, 1780 Lieutenant Rees Bowen , who commanded one of the companies of the Virginia regiment was observed while marching forward to attack the enemy, to make a hazardous and unnecessary exposure of his person. Some friend kindly remonstrated him with - "Why Bowen, do you not take a tree--why rashly present yourself to the deliberate aim of the Provincial and Tory rifleman, concealed behind every rock and bush before you? -- death will inevitably follow if you persist." "Take to a tree, he indigantly replied--no! --never shall it be said, that I sought safety by hiding my person, or dodging from a Briton or Tory who opposed me in the field." Well, had it been for him and his country, had he been more prudent, and, as his superiors had advised, taken shelter whenever it could be found, for he had scarcely concluded his brave utterance, when a rifle ball, shot by a Tory hiding behind a baggage wagon, struck him in the breast. He fell and expired. A "Tory", was an American colonist that remained loyal to England during the Revolutionary War.

The first three generations of the Bowen Family of Augusta Co.,Virgina by John Blakemore 1963

BOWEN, LIEUTENANT REES son of John Bowen and Lilly McIlhaney Bowen. Born about 1742. Married Levisa (Louisa) Smith. Issue: John, Rees Jr., Nancy, Margaret (Peggy), Rebecca, Lilly, Louisa, and Henry. He was a large tall man, On 15 Nov 1762 Lillie Bowen (Bowan), deeded to Reice (Rees) Bowin (Bowen) 230 acres on Glade Creek of Roanoke River, Augusta Co, Va. DB 11-42.

On 20 Sep 1763 in the settlement of Lilly Bowen, administratix of the estate of Moses Bowen, he was listed as having been paid. WB 3-278 In 1766 he was paid by William Herbert for the estate of Robert Andrews. WB 4-70 On 10 Sep 1770, in Botetourt Co, Va. he served as a juryman in the case of William Hind v. Nicholas Lawrence. SA94 On 14 Nov 1770 he was a juryman in the case of William Hind v. William Fleming. SA100 On 16 Nov 1770 he was a juryman in the case of Robert Alexander v. William McCraddock. SA102 On 13 Mar 1771 he was a juryman in the case of John Kelly v. Arthur Campbell. SA108 On 14 Mar 1771 he was a juryman in the case of William Anderson v. John Daily. SA125 On 16 May 1771 he was a juryman in the case of Solomon Elliett v. Will Thorton. SA 125 On 8 Oct 1771 he was a juryman in the case of Robert Galloway v. John English. SA134 On 10 Oct 1771 he was a juryman in the case of James Matthews v. Walter Stewart SA 136 On 13 Nov 1771 a suit by Israel Christian v. him was tried by jury with a verdict for the defendant. He was a juryman in the case of Jonathan Smith v. William Hutcheson.SA 142, 144 On 15 Nov 1771 he was a juryman in the case of Anthony Bledsoe v. Charles Leonard. SA147 On 11 Feb 1772 he was a witness to the will of Joseph Phipps.WB A-18? SA585 It is stated by Bickley, Tazewell County, that he settled at Maiden Spring in 1772, but it is a family tradition that he had loscated there several years earlier. Draper in Kings Mountain and its Heroes, wrote "Rees Bowen was born in Maryland about 1742, emigrated to Rockbridge County, Va. and in 1769 to the waters of the Clinch". His jury service would indicate that he did not go to the waters of the Clinch to settle until 1772. He built a fort at Maiden Spring. (Pendleton 242, 376). No attack by Indians was made on the fort at Maiden Spring, although on one occasion in his absence a small band of Shawnee threatened to make an assault, but were prevented from so doing by a clever ruse practiced by Mrs. Bowen, who was as fearless and resourceful as her husband (Pendleton 243). On 13 May 1774 he and his wife, Lavicia, executed a deed to Thomas Blanton for 238 acres on Glade Creek, branch of Roan Oak, Botetourt County, Va. (SA 551). In August 1774 he was a scout at the Upper Station (Tazewell County, Va.) (Pendleton 288) SA1425 From 16 Aug to 2 1774 he was a soldier at his fort at Maiden Spring. (Pendleton 286) He was released to go with Capt. William Russel to Point Pleasant (Pendleton 287). On 10 Oct 1774 he was at the Battle of Point Pleasant (Pendleton 314). On 7 Feb 1775 he was appointed by the Fincastle County Court, Va. as an appraiser of the estate of Joseph Cravens SA637. On 26 Feb 1777 he was recomended by the Washington County Court, Va. to be appointed Ensign of the Militia, with his first name being spelled "Rice" OB 1-17 SA 958. On 30 Sep 1777 he, David Ward, and William Bowen were appointed appraisers of the estate of John Henry SA 971. On 17 Mar 1778 he, James Hill, and Andrew Lammy (Lamie) were appointed to view the way for a road from the Court House to the Rich Lands, by Maiden Spring, and to the gap at Laurel Fork of the North Fork of the Holston River OB 1-12. On 18 Mar 1778 James Fowler was appointed overseer of the road from Hill's hill in the Rich Lands of Clinch, to the fork of the path between Rice (Rees) Powen's (Bowen's) and Thomas Brumlie's to the foot of Clinch Mountain on the south side OB 1-24 SA 980. William Bowen to be overseer for the last part of the above road. On 19 Aug 1778 he was again recommended to be appointed Ensign of the Militia OB 1-40 SA 1001. On 4 Sep 1780 he was named in the will of Lilly Bowen as her child and legatee. WB 1-73 SA1345. The gallant Lieutenant Rees Bowen, with his Company (the Company of his brother William) of sterling patriots marched with Campbell to the Battle of Kings Mountain Pendleton 247. He was killed in that battle 7 Oct 1780 SA 1382 1583 Pendleton 247, 383, 384.

Excerpts from Bowens of Virginia and Tennessee Vol I Rees Bowen first settled at Big Lick, now Roanoke, Va. He was the second white man who brought his family to make permanent residence in the Clinch Valley. The first settler was John Craven. He learned of the fertile lands and abundance of game to be found in the upper Clinch Valley, so he decided to abandon his home on the Roanoke River and settle in the area of nearly level land containing about 15 square miles, fertile, well timbered and watered. He could locate and occupy, without cost, a large boundary of this unoccupied land. On the evening of the first day in camp after they reached the place that has since been the home of the Bowens, Rees Bowen went out to find and kill a deer to get a supply of fresh meat. It was on this occasion he discovered the spring. He also saw a fine young deer feeding on the moss within the orifice from which gushes the spring. He shot it and when he went to get the deer, saw a pair of elk horns standing on their points and leaning against the rocks. Mr. Bowen was a very large man and tall, yet had no difficulty in walking upright under the horns. He chose this place for his home and the spring and river have since been known as Maiden Spring and Fork. (Bickley's History of Tazewell County, Va. 1856) The pioneer Rees Bowen was a man of large physique, a trait still evident in his scions. "Louisa (Levisa) Smith, his wife, was a small, neat, and trim woman, weighing only about one hundred pounds. It is told as a fact that she could step into her husband's hand and that he could stand and extend his arm, holding her at right angle to his body" (Johnson's New River Settlements pg 383) " A great deal of Tazewell lands remain in the hands of families who pioneered in founding such estates, but none have perpetuated titile in the same name for five generations as have the owners of Rees Bowen's Maiden Spring farm. Excerpts from Bowens of Virginia and Tennessee Vol 2 "Rebecca [Ed. sister of Rees Bowen] named one of her sons Jonathan who used to beg her to tell them about Uncle Reece and how he killed a b'ar. "I had two brothers travelling with Dan'l Boone at one time or another. Reece and William, but it was your uncle Reece who killed the b'ar. He crushed it against his chest."

Sources: Bowens of Virginia and Tennessee Vol I- Jamie Ault Grady Bowens of Virginia and Tennessee Vol 2- Jamie Ault Grady Mrs. Bonnie Duff Smith of Longview, TX- family hisory Mrs. Betty Blackwell of Reliance WY-family history Kings Mountain and its Heroes pgs 256, 257, 406, 526-Draper The Patriots of Kings Mountain pgs 23,24- Bobby Moss The Kings Mountain Men pgs 150,151- K.K. White SA=Annals of Southwest Virginia-Lewis Preston Pendleton= The History of Tazewell County, Virginia-Col. William A. Pendleton Pil=Laughell (?) Pilcher and Allied Families Nashville, TN DB=Deed Book WB=Will Book OB=Order Book

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Lieut. Rees Tate Bowen, Sr.'s Timeline

April 10, 1729
Rockingham County, Virginia, United States
Age 27
Glade Creek, Augusta County, Virginia
Age 29
Augusta County, Virginia
Age 31
Wards Cove, Tazewell, Virginia, United States
November 1, 1763
Age 34
Cowpasture River, Augusta, Virginia, United States
Age 34
Maiden Spring, VA, USA

date of birth - 1758, 1764