John B. Fowler and Mary Jane Johnson

John B. FOWLER was born 5 Jan 1827 in Stokes, NC to William FOWLER and Elizabeth Louis WESTMORELAND. He died 22 May 1883 at Greenfield, Dade Co., MO. His grave is near the gate as one enters Carr’s Chapel Cemetery, Greenfield, MO.

John married Mary Jane JOHNSON who family history stated was born 9 Feb 1832 in NC and died 30 Jan 1902 in Greenfield, Dade Co. MO.

The family story is as follows:

John was a Union sympathizer and had to leave NC. Came to Bloomington, IL where he decided to settle. He disguised himself as a peddler and returned to NC to get the girl he loved. They eloped and were married and moved to Osage Mission, KS in 1863. Her family was so angry with her husband that she never heard from them again.

Nancy Benton notes that this was passed along to her from Cora Granger, related to the Brewers through the Spurlings (Mary Katherine Brewer, daughter of David Nathaniel Brewer and Delana L. Jane Fowler, married George Spurling), along with family sheets prepared by Dottie Skinner Elliott, and that there was no source given other than family story. Which is fine. That’s how family stories usually go. But this one turns out to have some problems with the uncovering of a few undeniable facts.

I’ve found that Mary Jane’s parents were Robert Harrington Johnson and Barsheby (Bathsheba, Abersheby) Potter, and the JOHNSON family had actually migrated to Illinois, from Tennessee, when Mary Jane was little, her father dying in McLean County when she was only 5 years of age. She is in the 1840 and 1850 census with her mother who would die in McLean County in 1859, so both parents were dead before Mary Jane moved to Kansas. And in 1860 Mary Jane had family living in the McLean County area around her and her husband, John. So, that’s one story that appears to bite the dust, though it raises questions as to why the estrangement story would have arisen in the first place. The narrative may be accidentally assigned and belong to a relative, and it was thought because Mary Jane moved to Kansas that she was the one estranged, or there may have been an estrangement here which has become mixed with the story of yet another.

At any rate we have a family legend composed of a number of elements, some of which preserve a few truths.

Legend: John was from North Carolina.
What we know: This is is true. Place of origin is preserved.

Legend: John was a union sympathizer who had to leave the south.
What we know: John’s family was in North Carolina up to at least 1849. I’m unable to find them in the 1850 census yet but he and his parents were in McLean, Illinois by 1851 as that is when John and Mary Jane married. This part of the story may preserve political and philosophical beliefs held by the family and say something about their reason for moving north. The story seems to imply that John went north by himself, however, as if there was a break between he and his family as well, which there wasn’t as his family also moved to Osage Mission.

Legend: Came to Bloomington, IL where he decided to settle. However, loving a girl in North Carolina, he returned there, disguised as a peddler, to fetch her.
What we know: This preserves another geographical point and is true. Not true is the beloved being in North Carolina as Mary Jane was living in McLean and her family had been there a long while. The additional detail of being “disguised as a peddler” wants to add weight and veracity to the story. John becomes heroic and a trickster as well. He is also a lover who will go to great lengths for his beloved.

It may be that John, or John and his father, William, went to Illinois first, before the families moved, to scout out the area, then returned to North Carolina to fetch the family.

Legend: The pair elope.
What we know: Did they elope? We don’t know. They might have eloped in McLean. For all we know, one side of the family or the other may not have approved of the marriage.

Legend: They move to Osage Mission in 1863.
What we know: This preserves the migration to the west from Illinois and is true except for the fact that it’s a couple of years early.

Legend: Mary Jane’s family was furious over the marriage and never spoke to her again.
What we know: Again, for all we know there may have been strife over the marriage to John. But, as noted, both of her parents were dead long before the move to Kansas.

The following facts are for subsequent their marriage:

Child’s Birth: Robert William is born., Cir 1853. Will marry Lucinda Workman.

Child’s Birth: Delana is born., 12 Sept 1854. DIRECT LINE. Will marry David Nathaniel Brewer.

Child’s Birth: Martha is born., Cir 1858.

Child’s Birth: Cassander is born., 1858 Dec 18. Wil marry John F. Menzies, born in Canada, son of John and Elizabeth McFarland Menzies.

Census: 1860 Dry Grove, McLean, Illinois.
pg. 83
(if two numbers for values, the first is for value of property and second
is for value of personal estate)
575/561
CUMMINGS William 33 m 500 800 NY
Maria 30 f VT
William 12 m NY
576/562
GREEN R. W. 47 m Post Master 1800 personal property b. NY
Jane 43 f
Eugene 12 m
Hank 4 m
SWEET Mary 80 f
RILEY James 56 m Farm laborer b. Ireland
BRAINARD Thomas 24 m b. OH
577/563
OCONNELL John 28 m Farmer property value 75 b. Ireland
Mary b. Ireland
578564
GREEN O. D. 27 m Farmer property value 500 b. NY
Caroline 24 F NY
Burke 4 M IA
Fred 3 M IA
579/565
GREEN Charles 21 m Farmer b. NY
Ann 23 F b. OH
Jenny 1 b b. IL
580/566
BEBUY or BELUY, Dicken 52 farmer 3000 1000 b. Canada
George 16 m b. IL
Charlotte 15 f b. IL
GILES Hays 12 b. iL farm laborer
581/567
HILL John T. 47 m Farmer 3500 900 b. NC
Maria 37 b. IN
Alonzo 15 b. IL
Augustus 13 m. b. IL
Helen 11 f b. IL
James 8 m. b. IL
WIlliam 4 m b.IL
Eddy 8/12 m b. IL
582/568 FOWLER John 35 m Farmer b. NC value of
personal estate 200
Mary 30 f b. IL
Robert 8 m
Jane 6 f
Cassandra 2 f
Martha 4 f

ENGLISH Thomas 25 m Farm laborer b. England
583/569
WEBB Stephen 63 m Farmer b. NC Value of personal estate and land both
2000.
Pemima ? 42 f b. PA or TN (difficult to make out)
KEWSHAW? Mary 87 f b. NC
WEBB Thomas 26 m 2000 300 b. IL
MIlton 25 m 2400 275 b. IL
Polly 18 f b. IL
GARRETT Celia 30 f b. TN
EWING Alice 17 f b. IL
MARTIN Rocine 10 f b. IL
Stephen 9 m b. IL
SYMAN Henry 35 m farm laborer 2000 50 b. OH
William 17 m farm laborer b. OH
584/570
DEAL Saul C. 44 m Farmer 16,000 2000 b. VA
Priscilla 43 f b. VA
John 21 m b. VA
Samuel 19 m b. VA
Elizabeth 16 f b. VA
Mary 10 f b. IL b. VA
Sarah 6 f b. IL b. VA
Emma 4 f b. IL b. VA
Virginia 1 m b. IL b. VA
DICKHARD E. 24 m. farm laborer b. VA
MURPHY Michael 20 m. farm laborer b. Ireland
NEWSON Nicholas 19 m. farm laborer b. NY
HAYS Tamau? 15 farm laborer b. IL

pg. 86
590/574
Jane JOHNSON 34 f Farmer 2700 450 b. IN
John 23 b. IL
Matherza 18 f b. IL
Franci 16 m b. IL
Charles 15 m b. IL
David 13 m b. IL
Martha 11 f b.IL
Ann 8 f b. IL
591/575
RHODES Robert 22 m personal value 250 b. GA
Martha 21 b. TN
JOHNSON Mary A. 30 property value 1200, personal value 500 b. IL
Robert 12 m b. IL
Francis 7 m b. IL
Amos 3 m b. IL
593/577 (no 592/576 given)
VACH ? Allen 25 m personal value 190 b. OH
Mary 24 f b. OH
Anson 1 m b. IL
594/578
FOWLER Alfred 28 m personal value is 200 b. NC
Sarah 23 f b. IN
Webster 2/12 m b. IL
pg. 93 641/625
FOWLER Samuel 30 m Farmer 500 300 b. NC
FOWLER Harriet 28 f b. IL
Francis 3 m b. IL
643/637
FOWLER Josiah 25 m 2000 300 b. NC
Sarah 24 f
Dilley 26 f
Jincy 18 f

Child’s Birth: Elizabeth is born., Cir 1861. She will marry Michael “Mike” Workman.

Child’s Birth: Thursa is born., 11 Sept 1865. She will marry John T. Cotner.

Migration: 1866 Oct, , Neosho, Kansas.

Child’s Birth: Dora is born., Cir 1869. She will marry Robert L. Trent. After Dora dies, he will marry Mary Catherine Brewer, daughter of David Nathaniel Brewer and Delana L. Jane Fowler. Her first husband was George Spurling, and her second a man named Rhodes.

On 1869 March 1 in Osage Mission, Neosho Kansas, Delana Fowler marries David Nathaniel Brewer.

Census: pg. 207 1870 Osage Mission, Neosho, Kansas.
86/84 FOWLER Alford N. 37 merchant $700 $300 b. NC
Sarah A. 33 b. IN
Webster A. 10 b. IL
Jesse C. 8
Oliver F. 6
(next house and so on)
TRALINGER Albert and family
LAMB James B. and Francis and family
WRIGHT Susan (in above household)
BOWN William and Sarah and family
TAYLOR Benjamin
DURHAM Sylvester and Elizabeth and family
pg. 218 (ancestry.com)
HUTCHINGS Bhat? and familys
GREAVES Joseph and family
LEE? Nathaniel and family
CASILLE? James and Juliett
LAIRD John H and Elizabeth
107/105 BAD James A. 35 b. NC
Melinda 27 b. AR
James A. 10 b. AR.
LONG Sanford 80 b. IL
Malinda 18 b.
NOE Martha 12
Nancy 30
108/106 FOWLER William 69 farmer $3000 $500 b. NC
ELizabeth 62 b. NC (parents of John)

109/107 NANDIER or HANDIER Margaret 54 motel keeper b. France
Gordon A. 36 laborer b. Ireland
BEAZE Ellen 20 housekeeper b. IL
BOODIE Thomas 32 carpenter b. MO
HILL Ansley 32 laborer b. IL
CASTER George 37 stone cutter b. IL
MALLOW Peter 28 stone cutter b. Ireland
HARELSON George 41 stone cutter b. Scottland
WILKES Peter 80 teamster b. IL
110/108 SOMMERS James and Eliza

pg. 209 (ancestry.com pg. 220)
HUSHINGS James (NY) and family (an Andy JOHNSON in the household, age 15,
b. Cherokee Nation, given as white)
GARDEN John and family
DILLON Asborn (OH) and family
FOOL Lucinda (NC) and family
123/121
FOWLER John 44 farmer $500 personal value b. NC
Mary J. 37 b. IL
Robert W. 17 farm laborer
Delana 15
Martha 14
Casander 11 (f)
Elizabeth 9
Marthurza 6
Nancy 1 b. KS

CONEY August 28 Cabinet maker b. Baden
124/122 SPREADLING John and family
(and so on)
DAVIDSON Charles and Mary and family
HIBBARD Edward and Harriet and family

Child’s Birth: Lizzie is born., Cir 1871.

Father’s Death: 1877 Dec 26. John’s father, William dies in Neosho
County, Kansas.

Census: Pg. 38 1880 Centery (Granville), Dade, Missouri.

Page no. 38
Supervisor Dis. 14
Enumeration Dist. 4
22nd day June
(pg 37 ancestry.com)
345/348
FOWLER John 53 Farmer North Carolina F-NC M-NC
Mary 48 b. Illinois Parents-TN
Martha A 22 Illinois
Nancy 11 Illinois
Lizzie 9 Illinois

Death: John B. Fowler dies 1883 May 22 Greenfield, Dade, Missouri.

Mary Jane is yet to be located in the 1900 census.

Mary Jane died 1902 Jan 30 at Greenfield, Dade, Missouri and is buried at Carr’s Chapel, Cemetery.

Note that Nancy Benton’s Brewer Genealogy (compiled from a variety of sources and
original documents) gives John B. FOWLER as dying 1883 in Dade County.
However, in Delana Fowler Brewer’s obituaries her family is recorded as
moving to Dade County from Barton in 1895. Unless I have missed
something, I don’t observe a record of John B. FOWLER being buried in the
Carr’s Chapel Cemetery in Dade county where his wife and many other
members of the family are buried.

Google Map showing Dry Grove, the Osage Mission at St. Paul in Neosho, Greenfield, Missouri.


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