Saturday, September 21, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ BOWEN of Wales, Boston and England


Griffith Bowen is an ancestor I had researched many, many years ago.  When his name came up for a Surname Saturday sketch, I realized that there were many new articles and books on Griffith Bowen.  It was fun updating his files, and it just goes to show how valuable it is to work on a surname from my family tree every week.  My Bowen line daughters out in the first generation, but it was still worthwhile to learn all the newest research on Griffith Bowen.  This “exercise” is keeping me on my toes!

Griffith Bowen has a royal lineage going back to semi-mythical kings such as Beli Mawr, King of Britain 55 BC (probably more familiar to you as King Pelinore in the King Arthur myths).    This royal lineage could be an entire new blog post.  What a good idea!  Stay tuned….

Here is the story of Griffith Bowen’s brief time in the New World. In 1638 he sold his estate in Wales.  He left sailed for New England with his wife and several children and arrived in Boston sometime later in 1638.  In the First Church of Boston there is a record “Taken in for members of ye congregation the 6th of ye same 12 month (1638) Griffyn Bowen & his wife Margarett”.   He was granted a lot and made a freeman in 1639. His house was located approximately on the corner of today’s Essex and Washington Streets in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. 

In 1649 he sailed back to London with his wife and several children, leaving the others in Massachusetts.  He lived first in Swansea, Glamorgan, South Wales, and then in 1669 removed to St. Savior, Southwark, London. There are many records of Griffith Bowen’s later years in England for bankruptcy, imprisonment for debt, and litigation.  Some of this litigation was against his eldest son.

It is not known where or when Griffith Bowen died, and no will or administration of his estate has been found in England. His estate in Suffolk County, Massachusetts was appraised at 535 pounds, and was settled 21 February 1683.

Some sources for information on Griffith Bowen:

Bowen Genealogy, by Jesse Montgomery Seaver, Philadelphia, PA, 1931 

My Ancestors: In Memory of John Paine and Mary Ann May of East Woodstock, CT by Lyman May Paine, privately published, 1914.

The History of Peter Parker and Sarah Ruggles of Roxbury, Massachusetts, by John William Linzee, privately printed, Boston, 1918 (available to read at Google Books)

Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies of the United States, Who Were Themselves Notable or Left Descendants Notable in American History, by Gary Boyd Roberts, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2008.

The American Genealogist, Volume 76, pages 263 to 278.

My Bowen Genealogy:

Generation 1:  Frances Bowen and Ellen Franklin of Wales

Generation 2: Griffith Bowen, born about 1600 in the county of Glamorgan, Wales, died about 1676 probably in London, England; married about 1627 to Margaret Fleming about 1627 in Wales.   
1.      Margaret, see below
2.      Francis, born about 1630 in Wales
3.      William, born about 1632 in Wales, died about 1686 as “A Christian Captive to the Turks” (his ransom from Roxbury arrived too late to save his life).
4.      Henry, born about 1633/4 in Wales, died 13 March 1724 in Woodstock, CT
5.      Mary, born about 1635 in Wales, married Benjamin Child
6.      Elizabeth, born about 1637, married Isaac Addington
7.      Esther, baptized 17 February 1639 in Boston
8.      Abigail, baptized 25 April 1641 in Boston
9.      Penuel, born 10 March 1644, baptized 5 May 1644 in Roxbury, MA
10.  Deriah, baptized 11 April 1647 in Boston at age 6 days

Generation 3: Margaret Bowen, born about 1628 in Wales, died 13 September 1692 in Roxbury, Massachusetts; married o 24 December 1647 in Roxbury to John Weld.  He was born 28 October 1623 in England, died 20 September 1691 in Roxbury.

Generation 4: Elizabeth Weld m. Samuel Gore
Generation 5: Samuel Gore m. Hannah Draper
Generation 6: Moses Gore m. Desire Burris
Generation 7: Desire Gore m. Thomas Ratchford
Generation 8: Elizabeth Ratchford m. David Lyons
Generation 9: Thomas Ratchford Lyons m. Ann Skinner
Generation 10: Isabella Lyons m. Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Generation 11:  Caleb Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 12: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 13: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I wonder if Griffith Bowen and Moses Bowen are related. Both come from Glamorgan, Wales. It would be interesting to map the Bowen families from there.

  2. I wonder the same thing also ,. I am a direct descendent of Griffith Moses is interesting as he had descendents down thru the Choctaw Folsom Family and back into my mothers Folsome Pitchlyn Choctaw legacy has any one done a DNA connection at the most they were 26 miles apart on the peninsula Lots of Bowens there

  3. I am Richard W. Bowen I am wondering if Griffith and Moses are cousins and my error It was descendents of Moses who married into Choctaw and chickasaw Folsoms and Colberts , as I am my self direct descendent of Griffith my Mothers Family as am i direct descendent of John and Sophia Pitchlyn