Alice Carter Bowie (1833-1905)
MSA SC 3520-2272
First Lady of Maryland, 1869-1872
A descendent on her mother's side of Lord Baltimore
and of the Calvert family, Alice Carter Bowie became First Lady of Maryland
in January, 1869 when her husband, Oden Bowie, assumed the governorship.
One of her main tasks was to oversee the furnishing of the newly constructed
Government House, built in the heart of Annapolis next to the State House
just off Church Circle. Since almost all of the furniture from Jennings
House, the previous governors' residence, had been sold at auction, Alice
saw that new chairs, tables, beds, carpets, curtains, and even tableware
and kitchen utensils were purchased for the new house. The Bowies
had to wait for the state legislature to approve an appropriation of funds
for furnishings from the state budget, however, and a bill was not passed
until February, 1870. As a result, it is likely that the Bowies and
their seven children spent more time at their Prince George's County estate
of "Fairview" than at the new Government House in Annapolis during 1869.
It was important to Alice that the new house be a lively one full of music,
and she made sure that some of the funds approved went toward the purchase
of a new piano from a local manufacturer.
A national event occurring during the Bowie administration was the passage of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in May, 1870 which gave African American males the vote. On May 10 of that year, Annapolis celebrated the event by sponsoring a parade through the city of newly enfranchised citizens, local bands, ball clubs, and children's Sunday School groups. As the parade passed by Government House, Governor Bowie appeared on the east portico and was cheered by the crowd.
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