William Monkhouse Bowker, b2

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William Monkhouse Bowker, b2

Birthplace: Mitford, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
Death: February 05, 1876 (72)
'Tharfield', near Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Place of Burial: South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Miles Bowker, SV/PROG and Anna Maria Bowker, SM/PROG
Husband of Hester Susannah ''Hessie'' Oosthuizen, e5
Father of Miles Robert Bowker; Nellie Johanna Currie; Anna Maria Bowker; Mary Elizabeth Monkhouse Norton; Sybil Mitford Bowker and 2 others
Brother of Lt. John Mitford Bowker; Miles Brabbin Bowker, b3; Cmdt. Thomas Holden Bowker, J.P.; Bertram Egerton Bowker, J.P., M.P.; The Hon. Robert Mitford Bowker, J.P. and 5 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Monkhouse Bowker, b2

1820 British Settler


William Monkhouse Bowker 17, together with his parents and 8 siblings, were members of their father, Miles Bowker's Party of 23 Settlers on the Weymouth.

Party originated from Wiltshire.

  • Departed London, 7 January 1820.
  • Arrived Table Bay, Cape Town on 16 April 1820.
  • Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 15 May 1820.

Area Allocated to the Party : Olive Burn and Tharfield

Children :

  • William Monkhouse Bowker 17
  • Miles Brabbin Bowker 14
  • Thomas Holden Bowker 12
  • Bertram Egerton Bowker 11
  • Robert Mitford Bowker 9
  • Septimus Bourchier Bowker 7
  • Octavius Bourchier Bowker 4
  • Mary Elizabeth Bowker 2
  • Anna Maria Bowker (born at sea).


Cape Marriage Index : https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSX8-RKJ4?i=1245&cat=1108558


Marriage : "South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-23580-59455-48?cc=1468076&wc=MCM6-QWB:44975801,44975802,49887301,49891401 : accessed 14 Jul 2014), South Africa > Cape of Good Hope > Grahamstown, Bathurst, St John the Evangelist > Baptisms, marriages, burials 1829-1849 > image 41 of 108; citing William Cullen Library, Wits University, Johannesburg.


Bathurst, Cape of Good Hope

41. William Monkhouse Bowker, Bachelor, and Hessey Susannah Oosthuisen, Spinster, both of this District, were married by Banns according to the rites and ceremonies of the United Church of England and Ireland, at Bathurst on Friday the 9th day of September 1836 by me.

James Barrow, Colonial Chaplain

This marriage was solemnized between us

  • { W. M. Bowker (signed)
  • { H. S. Oosthuisen (signed)

in the presence of:

  • { T. H. Bowker (signed)
  • { B. E. Bowker (signed)

Notes 1820settlers.com

Like his brother Lt. John Mitford Bowker, William Monkhouse Bowker was also a member of the 1828 campaign against the M'fecani. He was Commandant, Corps of Guides in the war of 1834-1835, being mentioned in despatches and appointed Commisioner for Native Locations. He was Commandant, Thorn Kloof Station in the war of 1846-1847 and Field-Commandant, Somerset Volunteers in that of 1850-1853. He was Field-Cornet , North Fish River in 1858 and Member of the House of Assembly from 1864 to 1865.


Grahamstown Journal, Saturday 12 February 1853


A party of juveniles, about 50 in number, attended by 10 gentlemen, went out on a picnic excursion to the waterfall at Mr. HART’s house at Glen Avon. Tho of the gentlemen, Messrs. W. BOWKER and R. HART, having their guns with them ,proposed going a little further up the kloof to look for a bush buck, but they had gone only a few yards when they found the fresh spoor of Kafir.

Following it in silence for some distance they saw a Kafir seated about 40 yards from them, occupied in brushing the flies off his face. BOWKER was going to shoot him at once but HART persuaded him to try and get a little nearer, and in doing so the Kafir caught sight of them and instantly bolted. At this moment perceiving that there were two Kaffirs, both armed with guns, BOWKER fired, and heard one of them fall heavily to the ground, while HART fired and wounded the other. On reaching the spot where the man had fallen they found that he had got up and made off. After following his spoor a short distance, HART turned into a hole under the krantz, where the Kaffirs had made an almost inaccessable lurking place by piling up immense quantities of wood; only one person could get in at a time, and then had to climb up a very steep place, so that two or three fellows could have defended this stronghold against a host. Nothing daunted by his surprise at unexpectedly finding such a place close to his father’s homestead, HART climbed the steep pathway which terminated in a sort of cave, and there discovered, comfortably wrapped up in his kaross and fast asleep, a huge Kafir, whom he instantly shot dead. We presume this picnic party terminated rather abruptly, and the following day a different party visited the spot, and led by BOWKER and HART they followed the blood spoor of the wounded men for about 3 miles, to a place where an ox had been killed by them, but could not trace it any further. The whole number of Kaffirs seen on the previous day amounted to six, whereof two were wounded and one killed. We much require a rural police to assist in routing out such nests of thieves and murderers. -------------------------------------------------------------------

Lost, found and installed, . . . at last

The history of the four magnificent stained glass windows recently installed in St David's Church, Bushman's River, reads like a comedy of errors, writes Peter Bowen. Well over a hundred years old, the windows were originally built into the walls of St Michael and All Angels chapel, a family church on the farm Middleton, near Carlisle Bridge. Mrs Hessie Bowker had donated one window in memory of her husband William Monkhouse Bowker, and another in memory of Bourchier Bowker, who had supervised the erection of the church. Early in the 1950s the church began slowly to disintegrate, and the windows were removed and stored over the years in a variety of "places of safety". Well-known Carlisle Bridge farmer, the late Beresford Manning, moved to Bushman's River where he became, at various times, Chapel-warden and Lay Minister.

Remembering the lovely windows and, judging the East Window at St David's to be rather plain, he approached the Bowker family who were only too pleased to donate the windows to a "living church". Time had not been kind to the windows and they were taken to a lady in PE who claimed to be an expert restorer of stained glass.

from :- http://www.pechurchnet.co.za/.


Death Notice : "South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-1989," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQ6-GQ9P-C?cc=2517051&wc=WV44-SZT%3A1598082382 : 27 April 2020), 007844947 > image 1741 of 2203; Pietermaritzburg Archives (Formerly Natal State Archives), South Africa.

  • VOLUME_NO 6/9/154
  • SYSTEM 01
  • REFERENCE 2591
  • PART 1
  • STARTING 18760000
  • ENDING 18760000

"South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-23580-59455-48?cc=1468076&wc=MCM6-QWB:44975801,44975802,49887301,49891401 : accessed 14 Jul 2014), South Africa > Cape of Good Hope > Grahamstown, Bathurst, St John the Evangelist > Baptisms, marriages, burials 1829-1849 > image 41 of 108; citing William Cullen Library, Wits University, Johannesburg.



Grahamstown Journal 1876 - 1 - January to March Written by Sue Mackay. Posted in The Grahamstown Journal

Monday 7 February 1876 DIED at Thorn Kloof, District of Albany, on 3rd February 1876, William Monkhouse BOWKER Esquire JP, in the 73rd year of his age.

Friday 11 February 1876

In the death of Wm. Mitford [sic] BOWKER mentioned in a recent issue, the colony has lost one of its most enterprising farmers, enthusiastic colonists and valuable citizens. Coming to this Colony at an early age as one of a large family of sons, he and his “band of brothers” soon found that in a new country, occupied by a people with little respect for law, their own right arm was necessary in order to help them along in the difficult path they had to tread. Yet in no case has one of this family been charged with abuse of power or ill-treatment of Native servants, of whom this gentleman to the last employed so many, who now regard his loss as that of a parent. The name of Mr. BOWKER has too often “come to the front” to need that the public be told how he served the country of his adoption. As early as 1828 he formed one of the band of colonists who accompanied Col. SOMERSET (then Captain) on the “Fetcani Commando” which was called out for the punishment of the Pondo Tribes, as they are now called, for aggression on our later most formidable enemy, the Gaikas. Later on he took part in the famous Kno Commando. In 1830 he figured in the Corps of Guides, a body of young colonists formed by the late Sir Harry SMITH, and during the whole of that war he did hard and useful service to the colony. At the close of that war, changing his residence from Albany and his pursuits from agriculture to sheep-farming on the Fish River Randt, he there patiently endured all the loss resulting from the system of plunder carried on by the Kaffirs, which culminated in the disastrous war of 1846. While taking no very conspicuous part in the commando, he with a number of his brothers and neighbouring farmers had to resist some furious onslaughts from large bands of Kafirs determined upon getting possession of the fine herds of cattle of these colonists. Many of these combats, about which little was publicly said, were quite as violent as many engagements fought by general officers, and therefore emblazoned in General Orders. In all these, and subsequent similar larger engagements, his bravery and coolness were conspicuous. Courage was a family trait of the BOWKERs. Weary of this harassing strife, the close of this war found him a very considerably impoverished man, longing only for rest and quiet, that he might devote himself to the improvement of his family growing up around him. But these hopes were not to be realised yet. Rumours of war again were heard, and only two years after the close of the so-called war of 1846, the famous rebellion and general war of 1850 burst upon this unhappy colony. Mr. BOWKER, with PRINGLE, Walter CURRIE, DELPORT, ZIERVOGEL and others appointed Commandants for their various divisions, soon took the field, and after some slight skirmishing, joined in the difficult assault on Fort Armstrong. There again Mr. BOWKER gained credit for bravery and judgement, and, with the other chiefs, was greatly instrumental in the success of the undertaking. During the whole of this protracted war and long absence from his family and flocks, which trekked in any direction promising safety and pasture, he suffered heavy losses. Yet under all these sufferings he never wavered in his conviction that in spite of bad government and ill-treatment, the colonists would yet be victorious, nor ever seriously thought of abandoning the land of his adoption. A more settled and peaceable condition of things prevailing, with prosperity restored, and his family settled around him, he accepted a requisition to fill one of the seats for Albany in the House of Assembly. But a very few sessions convinced him that his tastes and ability lay in other than a legislative direction; nor could he brook the injustice done to the East by the abuse of power held by the West. He therefore resigned his seat and retired into domestic life, where, in pursuit of his quiet peaceable avocation, he spent the remainder of a long and useful life, dispensing hospitality freely to all – black and white alike sharing in the bounty of his hand. His spare hours were often devoted to the production of letters on general matters. These, the outcome of the feeling operating on his mind at the time, sounded like the views of one out of harmony with his fellow man, but in reality were far from being the result of his calm judgement or the feelings of his heart, which was kindness itself. Strongly attached to the English Church, of which he was a member, he yet possessed the large-heartedness which enabled him to associate freely with members, clerical and lay, of all churches, and, by support and sympathy, showed the real interest he felt in all their work. He died at his residence on the 3rd inst, aged 72 years, loved and lamented by all who knew him, as a firm friend, a loving parent, and a good citizen; and, in losing him, the colony has lost one of its most useful men.


view all 11

William Monkhouse Bowker, b2's Timeline

March 10, 1803
Mitford, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
December 25, 1837
Albany District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
October 22, 1841
Bowden, South Africa
August 20, 1844
March 27, 1847
Coldspring, Grahamstown Dist., Cape Colony, South Africa
September 7, 1849
June 3, 1852
Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa
February 5, 1876
Age 72
near Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa