Monday, October 8, 2007

Robert Fowler Family of Crittenden County, Kentucky

A few years after their marriage in Logan County, Kentucky on 1 Feb 1841, Robert Fowler and Cynthia Caroline Ragsdale Fowler moved to Crittenden County. Robert opened a tailor shop and the young couple settled into their lives in the new town of Marion. Three sons, Gustavus, Henry A. and Wiley P., were added to the family - Gustavus in 1842, Henry A. in 1843 and Wiley P. about 1848.

Robert Fowler was involved in the activities of Marion and was chosen as a patroller within the town limits in 1846, 1847, 1848 and 1849. Several men in each district within a county were appointed to patrol their specific district, usually at night, to make sure that slaves were not venturing away from their owners’ homes without permission or a pass. Slaves caught without a pass were often dealt with severely.

By 1845, Robert had acquired two town lots in Marion and acquired two more lots within the next four years. Robert did not live to see his children grow up as he died 22 Nov 1849 at the age of 35 years. He was buried in Old Marion Cemetery, which is located on the corner of Moore Street and US Highway 60 in Marion. Buried next to Robert is his son, Henry A., who had died 28 Dec 1846. Caroline Fowler waived her right by law as Robert’s widow to administer his estate. Francis Ford was appointed administrator and began the process of settling Robert’s tangled business affairs.

Faced with rearing two young sons, Caroline did not remain a widow very long. She married Henry C. Wheeler 15 Sep 1850 in Crittenden County.

The estate of Robert Fowler was insufficient to pay his debts. On 13 Apr 1852, H.C. Wheeler was appointed guardian ad litem for Gustavus and Wiley P. Fowler, heirs of Robert Fowler, in a law suit in which Francis Ford sued Caroline and her sons to sell the lot on which Robert’s tailor shop was located and also the lot north of the "mansion."

Little is known of Caroline and her sons until 26 Oct 1863, when Wiley P., Caroline’s younger son, was mustered into Co. B, 48th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry (Union). The 48th was composed mainly of men from the counties of western Kentucky and whose purpose was to prevent raids and roust guerillas out of the state.

On the 7th of Aug 1864, Captain Hiett, with 35 men from Companies B and C, 48th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry, was attacked at Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky by 300 Confederates and guerillas. Two soldiers were killed, one of them being Wiley P. Fowler.

Wiley P.’s body was removed to Crittenden County, where it was laid to rest in the John Wheeler Cemetery, just off Highway 506. He was 18 years old.

Caroline and Henry C. Wheeler and Caroline’s son, Gus Fowler, continued to live in Crittenden County. On 13 Apr 1871, Henry C. Wheeler died and was buried in the John Wheeler Cemetery.

Caroline Ragsdale Fowler Wheeler married as her third husband, Randolph Noe, on 31 Dec 1874. She was only 49 years old, but had already lost two husbands and two sons.

By this time, Crittenden County was changing. The population was slightly less than 9400 in 1870 and more and more people were leaving - going West, some to Indian Territory, some to Missouri or Texas and still others toward California.

After working as a dry goods salesman in Marion, Gus became a salesman in a grocery store belonging to a relative in Union County, Kentucky. After the Civil War began, the relative sold the business and Gus returned to Crittenden County, where he married Miss Jennie/Jane McKane in March of 1867. One daughter, Ida L. Fowler, was born to them.

Gus was involved in rebuilding the Crittenden County courthouse, which had been damaged during the Civil War. After completing this project, he was involved in cutting away timber to clear a route for a contemplated railroad.

In 1870, Gus and Jane Fowler, along with their daughter, Ida, were living with her mother, Elizabeth, in Caldwell County, Kentucky. Because of ill health, Gus left Kentucky and headed toward Colorado, leaving his wife and daughter in Caldwell County. By 1877, he had moved on to California and, in 1880, appeared on the El Dorado County, California census. He was listed as a miner, single and a boarder in the village of Shingle Springs.

It is not known if Gus and Jane divorced or if they simply lived separately, but Jane married Gabriel L. Spinks on 9 Feb 1888 in Henderson County, Kentucky. The marriage record does not indicate if Jane was divorced or widowed.

Gabby and Jane Spinks, along with Ida, who had married William R. Short, and Wm. and Leonard Short were all living together in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky.

William R. and Ida L. Short and their family continued to live in Caldwell County until sometime before 1920, when they moved to St. Louis.

Logan County Genealogical Society, Inc. Logan County, Kentucky Marriages 1790-1865, (Russellville, KY: privately printed, 1985), 32.
Crittenden County Genealogical Society. Crittenden County Kentucky Cemeteries, Vol V., (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 2006), 6.
Ibid., Vol. 1, 274.
Crittenden County, Kentucky County Court Order Book 1:319, 14 Jan 1850.
Brenda Joyce Jerome. Crittenden County, KY Marriage Records Vol. 1 and Abstracts of Wills Book 1, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1990), 30.
Kentucky Adjutant General's Report
Historical Souvenir of El Dorado, California With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men & Pioneers. (Oakland, Calif: P. Sioli, 1883), 318.
Henderson County, Kentucky Marriage Book 20:607.

No comments: