James A. Fowler Life Sketch

(1787 - Dec. 1860)

James A. Fowler was born in 1787 in Maryland. James married Elizabeth Devore on July 21, 1808 in Butler County, Ohio. James A. Fowler died in December of 1860 in Darrtown, Butler County, Ohio.


James A. Fowler was born in 1787 in Maryland, the oldest of 8 known children of Benjamin Fowler. Sometime after his birth the family moved to Kentucky where he grew up.

Around 1808, James made his way from Kentucky to Butler County, Ohio where on July 21, 1808, James, age 21, married Elizabeth Devore. James and Elizabeth had the following known children:

  1. Felix D. Fowler
  2. John Fowler
  3. Benjamin Nicholas Fowler
  4. Elizabeth Fowler
  5. David D. Fowler
  6. Jeremiah J. Fowler
  7. Hannah Ann Fowler
  8. Francis P. Fowler

On November 22, 1811, James’ father Benjamin leased land from Miami University in Oxford, Butler County, Ohio. The terms of the lease were generous, 88 acres for 92 years and renewable forever provided that annual interest was paid to the University’s treasurer. The interest on the lands that the University leased raised money to build Miami University which opened to students in 1824. A source indicates that the rest of the family joined Benjamin in Ohio sometime after this date.

By 1812 James and Elizabeth had 3 children and lived in Oxford, likely on James’ father’s land, when war with Britain broke out. Zachariah P. Dewitt was their neighbor.

On September 20, 1814, James, along with his brother Jeremiah, enlisted in Capt Zachariah P. Dewitt’s Mounted Company Ohio Militia. A letter written by Captain Joel Collins documented the movements of the unit, “I saw passing through Detroit, in the summer of 1814, a company of mounted riflemen from Butler County, under the command of Captain Zachary P. Dewitt, of Oxford Township. They had volunteered to accompany General McArthur, who that summer made an incursion into the enemy’s country with about five hundred mounted volunteers. They met and dispersed some of the advanced parties of the enemy engaged in collecting supplies near the center of the province of Upper Canada, at a place called Ramsours’ Mills.” While Joel Collins' recollection was the summer of 1814, the event occurred in the fall and happened at a place called Malcolm Mills.

Pension applications of men who served under Capt. Dewitt confirm that Captain Dewitt’s unit accompanied Brigadier General Duncan McArthur in October of 1814. General McArhur led an invading American force of about 700 mounted infantry and advanced rapidly as they left Detroit and raided the Thames Valley.

The “Battle of Malcolm's Mills” was fought on November 6, 1814, near the Canadian village of Oakland. The American cavalry overran and scattered the Canadian militia and British regulars in what was one of the last battles of the War of 1812. The Americans destroyed mills and stores of grain, depriving the British and Canadian forces in Canada of their major source of flour. After traveling over 200 miles into Canada, American troops arrived back at Detroit on November 17 after 11 days of raiding. Following the success of the mission, Captain Dewitt’s militiamen were honorably discharged on November 19, 1814 and returned home to Butler County.

Following the war, James’ family grew to 8.

In 1827, James’ brothers Jeremiah and Benjamin patented land in Warren Township, Marion County, Indiana, 80 acres each and adjacent to each other. The following year, James’ brother-in-law, Benjamin Freeman, husband of sister Mary, also patented land in Warren Township, Marion County, Indiana, near the Fowlers.

On April 1, 1835, James’ brother Jeremiah died. Less than two months later James, who was in possession of his father’s property, sold the land to brother Benjamin. James moved his family to Marion County, Indiana, sometime between late May of 1835, the date of the sale, and December of 1837, the date daughter Hannah married William Hanby,. Only son Felix stayed behind in Butler County, Ohio, and moved to nearby Darrtown.

In Marion County, Indiana, son David married Rosanna Kibler in Marion in 1838.

In 1839, James’ brother Benjamin failed to pay Miami University the required annual interest on the land which James had sold him, their father’s land. The University seized the property and it was sold at public auction.

By 1843, James and Elizabeth returned to Butler county. James purchased the south half of lot #29 in Darrtown. By 1847, son Jeremiah returned to Butler county and also purchased lots in Darrtown, initially lot #20, which he and his wife Clarissa sold shortly after the purchase, and then lot #92.

In 1847, James’ son Felix entered into an agreement with Francis St. Clair to purchase 8 lots in Darrtown, #s 26, 27, 28, 34, 35, 42, 43, and 51. Francis St. Clair died before the sale was executed and in 1848, Felix petitioned the Chancery court to execute the sale. On March 9, 1848, Francis St. Clair’s administrator transferred the lots to Felix. Felix immediately transferred all 8 lots to James.

In January of 1848, James and Elizabeth sold the south half of lot #29 in Darrtown. In 1850, James purchased lots #s 50, 58, 110, 112, and 126.

By 1850, sons Felix and David had moved away to Indiana and Illinois, respectively. Daughter Hannah lived next door with her husband and family. Youngest son Francis, 21 years of age, lived with James and Elizabeth.

In 1852, James was awarded bounty land in Iowa for his military service in the War of 1812. His son Benjamin moved near the bounty land in Muscatine, Iowa, but does not appear to have occupied the land. Son Felix moved to Louisa County, Iowa a few years later.

James continued to buy and sell lots in Darrtown. In 1852 he purchased lots #s 11 and 19. In 1853 he sold lot #126. In 1854 he purchased lots #s 2, 10, and 18 then sold lots #s 102, 103, 110 and 118 to his son Jeremiah. It is not clear how James came into possession of lots #s 102, 103 and 118.

1814 plat of Darrtown
1814 plat of Darrtown

In July of 1860, James and Elizabeth lived alone in Darrtown on lot 28. Hannah still lived nearby. By December 12, 1860, James was ill and wrote his last will and testament. Elizabeth had died sometime between July and December 12. James left his lots to his surviving heirs: Hannah Hanby, Francis P. Fowler, Benjamin N. Fowler, David D. Fowler, and Jeremiah J. Fowler. Hannah was devised lot #92. Francis was devised lot #28. Benjamin was devised lots #s 2, 10, 18 and 26. David was devised lots #s 34, 42, 50 and 58. Jeremiah was devised lots #s 3, 11, 19 and 27. Jeremiah was also named as the executor of the will.

James died shortly after December 12 at the age of 72. His will was probated on January 9, 1861.

In 1864 Jeremiah, the executor of James’ will, sold lots #s35, 43 and 51 as instructed by James’ in his will to pay expenses, any remainder to be divided. Jeremiah and his second wife Martha J., who now lived in Shelby County, Indiana, also sold their lots. Son Benjamin N. and his wife, Nancy A. of Keokuk, Iowa, also sold their lots as well and David D. and his second wife Dianna, of Crawford, Illinois, sold their lots.

Hannah and her husband moved to Henry County, Indiana, while Francis stayed in Darrtown until 1871 when he sold his lot and moved to Wayne County, Indiana.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Updated: April 2022


Sources:

“1807 Census Butler County Ohio”, Esther Benzing. FHL, Salt Lake City Utah.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016", database with images, FamilySearch, James Fowler and Elizabeth Devore, 1808.

United States War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815, database with images, James Fowler, 1812-1815; citing NARA microfilm publication M602 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); roll 74; FHL microfilm 882,592.

“A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio”, Western Biographical Publishing Co., Cincinnati, OH., 1882.

“Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, ca. 1871 - ca. 1900”. Case File of Jeremiah Fowler - Pvt Capt Zachariah P Dewitt’s Co Ohio Mil - Ohio. ID# 186018944. National Archives.

“Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, ca. 1871 - ca. 1900”. Case File of John L Bridgford - Pvt Capt Zachariah P Dewitt’s Co Ohio Mil - Ohio. ID# 110390778. National Archives.

“Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, ca. 1871 - ca. 1900”. Case File of John Jones - Pvt Capt Zachariah P Dewitt’s Co Ohio Mil - Ohio. ID# 187189454. National Archives.

“Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, ca. 1871 - ca. 1900”. Case File of George F Dunn - Pvt Capt Zachariah P Dewitt’s Co Ohio Mil - Ohio. ID# 185917870. National Archives.

“Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, ca. 1871 - ca. 1900”. Case File of Matthew T Ewing - Pvt Capt Zachariah P Dewitt’s Co Ohio Mil - Ohio. ID# 99895431. National Archives.

"United States Census, 1820," database with images, FamilySearch, James Fowler, Oxford Township, Butler, Ohio, United States; citing p. , NARA microfilm publication , (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll ; FHL microfilm .

"United States Census, 1830," database with images, FamilySearch, James Fowler, Oxford, Butler, Ohio, United States; citing 124, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 127; FHL microfilm 337,938.

"Indiana Marriages, 1780-1992", database, FamilySearch, James Fowler in entry for William Hanby, 1837.

"Indiana Marriages, 1780-1992", database, FamilySearch, David Fowler, 1838.

"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch, Jas A Fowler, Milford Township, Butler, Ohio, United States; citing family , NARA microfilm publication (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch, James Fowler, 1860.

Jeremiah Fowler (Indianapolis, Indiana), Document no. 8025; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records.

Benjamin Fowler (Indianapolis, Indiana), Document no. 8024; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records.

Benjamin Freeman (Indianapolis, Indiana), Document no. 8616; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book Z Folio 220.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 9 Folio 471.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 10 Folios 432, 437.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 11 Folio 570.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 14 Folios 529, 530.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 15 Folios 229, 332, 734, 743.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 18 Folio 318.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 24 Folios 109, 110, 151, 152.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 28 Folios 304, 305.

“Ohio, Butler County. Will Records, 1852-1939.” Record 1, Folio 569. FHL microfilm 107098186.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 41 Folios 122, 455.

“Ohio, Butler County. Deed Records 1803-1876.” images, Family Search. Book 54 Folios 525, 526.

“Mary Freeman”, obituary, Muscatine Daily Journal. Muscatine, Iowa. January 7, 1886.

James A. Fowler genealogy research