52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Large

A large hole in the family was left by his death. His obituary stated the usual facts as far as birth, death, name of wife and children go. But hidden between the lines of writing was a larger story.

Born in Waynesboro, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1848, Jeremiah Frederick Bowman was one of eight sons. Five of those sons would go off to fight in the Civil War…three would come back. Jeremiah enlisted at the age of 16. At that time, one brother had died in a hospital in Washington, D.C., with burial in the newly planned Arlington National Cemetery. Another brother had died and was buried at Andersonville, Georgia. The other two had been wounded. Did this inspire him to enlist and lie about his age? Could his parents sacrifice another child? Jeremiah survived the fierce fighting with no wounds or injuries.

Jerry, as he liked to be called, married Martha Bell Shatzer. They were the parents of six children. Martha died at the age of 27. They had recently moved to Ohio. Now a widower, he had the large duty of raising children and managing a farm. But he would not remain alone for more than two years with his marriage to Sarah Matilda McFadden. Together, they would have 10 children. All of the children reached adulthood which was unusual for the times. Jerry was surrounded by many hearts and souls.

Jerry lived to be 88 years old with his wife Sarah always by his side. In total, he would have 98 grandchildren. What stories did he share with them about his life? What little scraps of grandfatherly wisdom did he impart to them? He left behind a large family with a large legacy.

Note: Jeremiah is my husband’s third great uncle. In locating his obituary from 1936, I was inspired by the largeness of his life to relate just a small part of his human story.

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