True matriarch of the famous Bowie family of Louisiana

+3 votes

It has been generally accepted lore for over a century that James Bowie's wife was Jeanne Mirabeau, to the extent that history books have it and there is a Find-a-Grave virtual grave set up for her with James Bowie.

In 1899, Walter Worthington Bowie published a book called The Bowies and Their Kindred which states the following on page 259:

James Bowie, born in Maryland, removed to South Carolina before the Revolution... It is not known where he located in South Carolina, but it seems to be an established fact that he married a Miss Mirabeau shortly after reaching that state; was the father of four sons and a daughter, and died young, probably a short time before the Revolution.  One of his wife's sisters married Sir Ceasar Ashley and removed to the Southwest.  James Bowie's first children were twins...

With that in mind, please consider the following, I offer the source first:

"Records of West Florida, East Baton Rouge Parish, LA Courthouse, Vol IV, pp. 213 thru 220.  During 1936-1939 the Spanish records were translated into English by the W.P.A. under the supervision of Mr. Stanley Clisby Arthur, State Superintendent of Federal Archives in Louisiana, and five copies of the badly deteriorated original volumes of the Spanish records were made.  These five copies were bound into 19 volumes.  The original books and one set of the transcribed volumes are in the Courthouse of East Baton Rouge Parish, LA.  West Feliciana Parish Parish at St. Francisville, LA, Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, University of Southeastern Louisiana at Hammond, LA. and the State Library of Louisiana also have copies.  The Church of Latter Day Saints Library in Utah has a microfilm of the records.


The Deposition of Henry Karr relative to the Bowie Family.

Written in Spanish.

New Feliciana, 4th District, April 18, 1800.

Before me, John O'Connor, Alcalde of the said [p. 606] district, appeared Henry Karr, and having taken an oath on the Holy Gospel, he declared that he has known James [Diego] and Sara Bowie, in the State of Georgia, United Stated of America, for about twenty years, more or less, and that he knew nine children that they had named:  Reason, John, Reece, Ana, Sara, Mary, Elay, Martha and Comfort. That all the said children were alive in the year nineteen hundred and ninety-eight [evidently an error - should be seventeen ninety-eight] and he believe that the said parents, James and Sara Bowie, died five years ago;

(for full text see [[James Bowie|Bowie-294]])

In the 1765 will of Thomas Whitehead he names his "Daughter Sarah Buoy the wife of James Buoy".

"1764 – St. Paul’s Parish, Colonial Georgia. The Colonial Records of Georgia” states the following;

James Bowie, a year from North Carolina, was in Georgia in 1764 with a wife and three children.

This is clearly not South Carolina as claimed by W.W. Bowie, bringing into question his assertations. 

Not a first source by any means, but strong evidence in light of the rarity of the name, Reason Bowie b. 1756 is named after his Sarah's oldest brother, Reason Whitehead.

Lastly, Virginia Lobdell Jennings in her book The Rezin Bowie Family of Louisiana states on p. 21:

Mrs. Lulu Nelson, in one of her letters referring to Rezin Bowie's wife, Elva Jones, says "my great grandfather's wife was born in Savannah, Georgia of Welch parents -- three brothers of Jones came to this country from Wales -- two settled in the north and one came south the latter was the father of my great grandmother.  She had several sisters and brothers -- one of sisters married a McDaniel and one a Lamar -- Mother or Grandmother of our own L.Q.C. Lamar." Hoping to find some Mirabeau clue, the family names of Elva's two sisters were researched and it is to the Lamar family that the name belongs and not to the Louisiana Bowies as so long attributed.

Endnote [p. 34]: "Trail of the Bowie Knife" Homer, La: "The Guardian Journal, 1967, p.8 Mr Mims gives her fictitious name as Jeanne Mirabeau.  The W.W. Bowie Genealogy on p. 259 says that her sister married Sir Ceasor Ashley and that he moved to the southwest.  The letter of Mrs. Lulu Nelson of Vicksburg, MS, June 21, 1896 on file at the Alamo Library of Republic of Texas, San Antonio, TX.  Mrs. Nelson's information has not always been reliable.  Mors. Dorothy Thrawley of North Carolina whose ancestor James McDaniel married Orpha Bowie has done extensive McDaniel-Bowie-Jones family research trying to prove a relationship to Jim Bowie of Louisiana Bowies and she found no Mirabeau family.  See "The McDaniel Family Record" by Charles G. Harris and Hettie C. O'Conner, Pub. by The Franklin Printing Company, Inc. Louisville, KY, 1929.  Research by this writer into the Lamar family was more rewarding.  The L.Q.C. Lamar, mentioned by Mrs. Nelson, was a congressman from Mississippi, brother of Mirabeau Bounaparte Lamar and a cousin of the Louisiana Bowies through the sister of Rezin Bowie's mother.  Several published genealogies of the Lamar family prove that the name Mirabeau rightfully belongs in their family and the W.W. Bowie Genealogy is in error in stating that Rezin's mother was a Mirabeau... 

My goal is to have the following removed from the page of Jame Bowie:

Due to the many references mentioning Jeanne Mirabeau, further research is required to determine which one is a second wife of the grandfather James Bowie (1739-1789).

...and once that is accomplished, submit the same sources to Find-a-Grave and have her removed as the mother of Reason (Rezin) Bowie, ultimately bringing long overdue credit to Sarah Whitehead as the matriarch of the Bowie family, and allowing Jeanne Mirabeau to be assigned to the correct family.

My interaction with the Project Manager resulted in the response: "Miss Mirabeau has been accepted for over a century as the wife of James Bowie, the grandfather of James"

This is Fictitious and Legendary Genealogy at it's best/worst.  

Lynn Wiggers

5th GGranddaughter of Jesse Bowden, husband of Comfort Bowie, daughter of James Bowie and Sarah Whitehead

WikiTree profile: James Bowie
in WikiTree Help by Lynn Wiggers G2G6 Mach 1 (15.7k points)

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