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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 152   View pdf image (33K)
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who married in 1804 Dr. Reverdy Ghiselin (ca.
1765-1823); and Caroline (?-died young). WARD:
educated at Rev. John Eversfield's school, near
Nottingham, Prince George's County; a student of
Rev. Craddock in Baltimore County. RELIGIOUS
TIVITIES Gent., by 1781; Esq., by 1787. OCCUPA-
TIONAL PROFILE: planter, by 1773; merchant, by


Lower House, Prince George's County, 1785,
1786-1787, 1788 (discharged on November 11,
1788, for serving as county tax collector at the
time of his election and thereafter), 1789, 1790,
1801, 1802, 1803; Senate, Western Shore, Term of
1806-1811: 1809 (elected on June 5, 1809, to fill
vacancy in the 1808-1809 Assembly), 1809, 1810.
OTHER STATE OFFICE governor, 1803-1806,
1811-1812. LOCAL OFFICES: member of a commit-
tee appointed by the citizens of Nottingham,
Prince George's County, to see that resolutions of
the Continental Congress were carried into effect,
November 1774; commissary for horses, Prince
George's County, appointed 1781; sheriff, Prince
George's County, 1782 (elected, but was not com-
missioned); St. Paul's Parish Vestry, Prince
George's County, in office 1783, 1787, 1816-1818;
justice, Prince George's County, 1784-1802; col-
lector of tax, Prince George's County, appointed
1787; justice, Orphans' Court, Prince George's
County, 1790-at least 1796; commissioner of tax,
Prince George's County, appointed 1792 and
1798; justice, Levy Court, Prince George's
County, 1795-1796, 1798-1802, 1806-1809;
Maryland Senate elector, Prince George's County,
elected 1796. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS during his
first three terms as governor, the Bank Stock con-
troversy with England was finally settled, the Na-
tional Road opened, an act was passed prohibiting
the immigration of free Negroes into the state, and
the size of the Baltimore City delegation in the
House of Delegates was increased. MILITARY SER-
VICE: appointed to enroll a company of minute-
men, Prince George's County, 1775; commissioned
1st lieutenant, Prince George's County Militia,
1776; commissioned captain, Second Battalion,
Maryland Flying Artillery, June 1776; major,
Prince George's County Militia, appointed 1794;
brigadier general, Fourth Brigade (Prince George's
County and the lower part of Montgomery
County), Maryland Militia, 1801-1804; major
general, First Division, Maryland Militia, commis-
sioned 1812. OUT OF STATE OFFICE presidential
elector, 1808 (for James Madison). STANDS ON
PUBLIC/PRIVATE ISSUES Bowie was a Democratic

Republican in the early 1800s. He was known as a
radical Democrat and was a strong advocate of
war against England by 1808. While in the legisla-
ture, Bowie strongly advocated the establishment
of St. John's College in Annapolis. During his
term as governor from 1811 to 1812, a staunchly
Federalist newspaper, the Federal Republican, ed-
ited by Alexander Con tee Hanson (1786-1819),
published a strong editorial condemning the war
with England and the Republicans' handling of it.
An angry mob destroyed the newspaper building
and its contents on June 22, 1812, and several per-
sons were killed. Bowie was urged to investigate
the incident and was accused of shielding the
criminals who were never caught. The opposition,
aroused by the riot, worked against Bowie and the
Republicans, which cost him the race for governor


PROPERTY: 42 slaves, 1790; assessed value
£1,532.5.0, including 51 slaves and 90 oz. plate,
1796; assessed value at least $7,528.00, including
83 slaves and 180 oz. plate, 1817. LAND AT FIRST
ELECTION: 806 acres in Prince George's County
(433 acres as a gift from his father; 373 acres by


one-half acre lot in Nottingham, Prince George's
County, from his father, 1791; inherited 414 acres
in Prince George's County from his father's estate
upon the death of his mother, 1804; acquired
1,288 additional acres in Prince George's County
between 1786 and 1818, of which at least 675
acres were purchased. WEALTH AT DEATH. DIED:
on January 8, 1818, at "Mattaponi," Prince
George's County; buried in the family graveyard
$52,513.68 (including 82 slaves, 276 oz. plate, and
books); FB, $4,801.84. LAND: 2,508 acres in Prince
George's County, plus 2 lots in Nottingham and
part of a lot in Upper Marlboro, Prince George's

BOWIE, WALTER (1748-1810). BORN: in 1748
in Mattaponi Hundred, Prince George's County.
NATIVE: third generation. RESIDED: at "Locust
Grove," Prince George's County. FAMILY BACK-
GROUND. FATHER: William Borne (1721-1791).
MOTHER: Margaret (1726/27-1804), daughter of
Osborn Sprigg (1707- 1749/50) and wife Elizabeth.
HALF UNCLES: Joseph Sprigg (1736-1800); Osborn
Sprigg (ca. 1741-1815); and Thomas Sprigg (1747-
1809). BROTHERS Robert Bowie (ca. 1750-1818);
William Sprigg (1751-1809); and Osborn (?-1806).
SISTERS: Elizabeth (1746-?); Ann (1765-?); and
Margaret (1765-?). OTHER KINSHIP: his great-



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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 152   View pdf image (33K)
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