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Rt. Rev. Samuel Bowman

Bowman, Samuel, Rt. Rev., D. D., was the fourth child of Captain Samuel Bowman, an officer in the Revolutionary army, who took an active part in the battle of Lexington, and at the close of the war settled at Wilkesbarre, Wyoming Valley, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Bishop Bowman was born there May 21st, 1800. The judicious and enlightened views of his father, husbanded by the refined tastes and Christian virtues of his mother, born and nurtured in the Church, were the influences that surrounded the earliest years of his life. At the chartered Academy of Wilkes-Barre, an institution equal to any of its contemporaries, he received his education. Ho was destined for the bar and pursued his legal studies for a time under the late Charles Chauncy, Esq., of Philadelphia. Soon after commencing the practice of the law, he felt an invincible desire to enter the Church. He applied for holy orders, and was admitted by Bishop White to the Diaconate in 1823 and to the Priesthood in 1824. He began his ministry at St. John's Church, Pequea, Lancaster County, in 1823, where he remained about two years. After a brief residence at Easton, Pa., where he had charge of Trinity Church, he returned to his first cure, which he held until 1827, when he was invited to take charge of St. James', Lancaster. After the death of Rev. Mr. Clark-son, the Rector with whom he was associated, he was elected in his place and filled that position until his death; for on his elevation to the Episcopate, his parishioners, dreading to sever the relations so long and so happily sustained, prevailed upon him to continue them. In 1845, the clergy elected him Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, but. the Laity refusing to concur, he cordially supported the nomination of Rev. Dr. A. Potter, who was eventually chosen. In 1848 he was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Indiana, but his strong attachment to Lancaster controlled his decision to decline. In May 1858, he was chosen, and in August of the same year, consecrated Assistant Bishop of Pennsylvania.

His death took place on Saturday, August 3, 1861, between 8 and 9 A. M. He had left Pittsburgh at 6 A. M., by the Allegheny Valley Railroad on a visitation to the spiritually destitute "Oil District." After the train had proceeded about nineteen miles, an injury to the road caused by a late freshet and a landslide nearly two miles beyond, induced some of the passengers to walk the distance; the Bishop was among the number. Unable to keel) up with the others, he was missed when the train was on the point of starting, and was subsequently found lying by the road-side, his taco buried in his hat, stretched out at full length, "a corpse, without signs of bruise or struggle; his watch, purse and papers untouched." The majority of physicians consulted, ascribe his death to apoplexy, but his family physician to disease of the heart.

The remains were at once taken to Lancaster, where they arrived on Sunday morning, August 4th

The funeral obsequies took place at St. James', Lancaster, on Tuesday, August 6th, at 5 o'clock, P. M. Two Bishops, some seventy Clergymen, all the resident ministers of other communions, and a vast concourse of citizens wore present.

Bishop Bowman was twice married. His first wife, Susan, daughter of the late Samuel Sitgreaves, Esq., of' Easton, Pa., bore him three children, one of whom, a daughter, survives; his second wife, Harriet R., daughter of the late Rev. Joseph Clarkson, Rector of St. James', died some years ago.

The Bishop's body lies in the churchyard of St. James', by the side of his departed friends.

Source: An authentic history of Lancaster County, in the state of Pennsylvania; Lancaster, Pa.: J.E. Barr, 1869, 813 pgs.

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