Mary Pennington Bowling

Mary Pennington Bowling…

I saw this article on Mary Pennington Bowling, the Wife of Rev. Jesse Bowling, and I wanted to share it. It was written by Carmen Johnson, on her blog,” Heirlooms”.
All Credit goes to author Carmen Johnson.
According to just about every notation that I have read – Mary Pennington was born at the hollow of the Yadkin River on the east side of Blue Ridge and New River in Wilkes Co., NC.  Now someone who knows the area fairly well can probably tell me where that is, exactly.  I suspect that it is probably near or in what is now known as Ashe Co., NC.  Ashe Co., NC was carved out of Wilkes Co., NC in 1799.  We know that Mary Pennington’s father, Micajah lived in Ashe Co., NC and probably had land there when she was born. 
Mary Pennington was the oldest daughter of 10 children and married her husband when her youngest sibling was only three years old.  Jesse Bowling was probably a widower with one son when he married Mary Pennington when she was 19 years old on 6 Jan 1785 in Wilkes Co., NC.  He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War having served as a Sergeant from North Carolina and has a recorded pension (#514974).  He was the son of Benjamin Bolling and Patsy Phelps.  There has been an ongoing discussion for years that Jesse Bowling was a descendant of Pocahontas…I have enough trouble keeping up with Bowlings who are related to the Penningtons without getting into that discussion.  So here is Mary, newly married and a new step mother and married to a man who is a military veteran.  In the early years of their marriage they are recorded in Wilkes Co., NC, Lee Co., VA and Hawkins Co., TN.  Jesse and Mary probably moved to Hawkins Co., TN at least by 1794 and perhaps earlier.  Jesse is baptized by Rev. Andrew Baker of the Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church and was himself a Baptist preacher. So that perhaps explains their wanderings in the early years of their marriage.
By 1804, they are probably back in Lee Co., VA according to the birth places of their children and it is likely they were living close to her parents by that time.  By 1810, Jesse and Mary are in Clay Co., KY and are recorded in the census there.  I find it very interesting that they live in Clay Co., KY because I find traces of several Penningtons there as well as other members of the maternal side of my family.    Jesse and Mary are recorded in 1820 in Perry Co., KY.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that they moved much because Perry Co., KY was formed from Clay and Floyd Co., KY and when they are recorded as dying in Breathitt Co., KY aft 1840, it is still could be the same area as Breathitt Co., KY was formed out of Clay, Estill & Perry Counties.  Since I am not that familiar with where they lived exactly, history and geography tell me that they probably lived in the same area but the county lines might have changed on them.
So, they have traveled from North Carolina, to Virginia, to Tennessee and then back to Virginia and finally have settled in Kentucky.  Along the way, Jesse worked as a Preacher and they had 12 children together.  Their children were:
  • Hannah Bowling b. 28 Apr 1786 Lee Co., VA d. 1841 m. Nelson Gay m. Leonard Huff
  • Mary “Polly” Bowling b. 1 Mar 1788 VA/NC d. aft 1880 Perry Co., KY m. Abraham Barger
  • John S. Bowling b. 1789 Hawkins Co., TN d. 26 Jul 1838 Krypton, Perry Co., KY m. Mary Lewis
  • Justice Tucker Bowling b. 1790 Wilkes Co., NC d. 1880 Perry Co., KY m. Hanna Reed
  • Rachel Bowling b. abt 1792 m. Joseph Reason
  • Elizabeth Bowling b. 1 Apr 1794 Hawkins Co., TN d. Feb 1866 Jackson Co., KY m. Abel Pennington
  • Eliajah “Lige” Bowling b. 22 Jan 1798 Lee Co., VA d. 22 Oct 1883 m. 1 – Susanna Roberts m. 2 – Mary Ann Keen m.3 – Nancy Ann Bryant
  • Jesse Bowling, Jr. b. abt 1800 d. bet 1848-1850 Breathitt Co., KY m. 1 – Nancy Dewees m. 2 – Winifred Lewis
  • Margaret “Patsy” Bowling b. 1804 Lee Co., VA m. 1 – Joseph Spencer m. 2. – ? Maggard
  • William “Priimpy Bill” Bowling b. abt 1806 Lee Co., VA m. Deborah Duff
  • Nancy Bowling b. abt 1808 Lee Co., VA or KY m. Edward Begley
  • George Bowling b. abt 1810 m. Phoebe Lewis
  • Jesse’s oldest son from his first marriage was John E. Bowling b. 1777 Wilkes Co., NC d. aft 1839 m. Susan Sizemore.
This is a large family – but the two most intriguing children are Mary Polly Bowling and Elizabeth Bowling.  Mary “Polly” Bowling had at least 5 children but they intermarried with their Johnston cousins through their mother’s family (Sarah Pennington m. Samuel Johnson/Johnston) and their children marry into some of the more well-known families in Kentucky such as Gay, Brewer, and Spurlock.  Elizabeth marries her possible cousin Abel Pennington and their children also marry into some well-known families including their Johnson/Johnston cousins, Combs, Turner, Moore & McGee.  Between these two daughters, I have met the majority of Mary Pennington descendants through my research.
Jesse and Mary Pennington Bowling died with a year of each other.  Jesse died 10 Mar 1841 and Mary died 21 Mar 1842 both in Breathitt Co., KY probably around Quicksand creek.  For their time period, they both lived to be old people and probably also saw the death of at least three of their children.  There is a lot left to be done to fill out the families and probably many puzzles to unravel.  These families seem to intermarry enough and used so many similar names that sometimes it is very difficult to figure out which is which…but if you are descendant of Mary Pennington through her daughters Elizabeth or Mary – you could be a member of three different Pennington family groups – which is certainly confusing enough.

Bowlings & Baker Family Connections!

Recently dove into the Baker Family doing some research of the connections between the two
families, and wow…. They go back a long Way! I had hit a brick wall with Benjamin Bowling Sr, without proof if he was a descendant to Col. Robert Bolling. I found another connection with his daughter Mollie Bowling who married Andrew Baker. This ties me by blood through Jason Walker Bowling. He was the son of Jesse B. Bowling and Susan Baker. (They were not married).

John Renty Baker- First Settler of Owsley County, Kentucky.

Owsley County was formed in 1843 from portions of Clay, Breathitt, and Estill Counties and was named for Governor William Owsley. Owsley County was Kentucky’s 96th county. Parts of Owsley County were used to form Jackson County in 1858 and Lee County in 1870.

The first settlers in Owsley County were John Renty Baker and John Abner. They first settled in 1780 near the present Clay County line at Courtland. The exact year of their settlement is unknown, however, a gravestone found in a cemetery in Upper Buffalo Creek reads, “Milly, wife of John Abner, died March 1846.”

John Renty Baker and his sons, who were all gunsmiths, also invented and developed hand operated machines to cut the rifle barrels. John Renty’s father, Robert Baker, developed the rifle that became known as the “Kentucky Rifle”.

John Renty Baker was known as one of the “Long Hunters”, spending more than a year at a time in the forests of Tennessee and Kentucky trapping and hunting. In “The Conquest of the Old Southwest”, it is stated that in 1766 John Baker hunted with Daniel Boone’s brother-in-law, John Stewart. He lived on the Green River among the Cherokees in what is now Kentucky and made trips down the Cumberland River to Spanish Natchez to sell their furs.

After the death of his wife, John Renty Baker became a recluse and lived in a rockhouse near the mouth of Buffalo Creek and died there in 1820. He fathered at least 21 children that are documented.

The Bakers are the source of many colorful stories. The were involved in one of the longest and bloodiest family feuds in U.S. history which began in 1943 when Dr. Thomas Baker (a grandson of Julius Bob) shot John Bales. Dr. Baker and John Bales were both married to daughters of John White and the two young couples became more intimate than is usual in this mountain country. Dr. Baker became insanely jealous of his wife and Bales. Finally in a fit of rage, he deserted her and began suit for divorce but suddenly withdrew it. He went to the salt works, where Bates worked in Manchester, called him to the door and shot him with an old-fashioned “pepper box” pistol. Bates died, but while he was dying he cursed Baker and authorized $10,000 from his estate to be used toward the capture and conviction Baker. The feud lasted for 59 years and took over 100 lives before it ended.

The first settler in the City of Booneville was James Moore, Sr. The site of their home is located just outside of Booneville in front of Booneville Homes apartments. James Moore, Jr., son of James Moore, Sr., built a two room cabin on the opposite side of the river from his parents. This home still stands, although it has been remodeled through the years, and is owned by Mayor Charles Long and his wife.

The Moore’s land included all of Booneville, east across the South Fork River and toward Lerose. The community was known as Moore’s Station and was later named Booneville after Daniel Boone. James Moore, Jr. was the first postmaster. Elias Moore donated land for a seat for the new county in 1843 and the town was incorporated Booneville in 1846. The Owsley Court House Post Office opened in 1844 and was renamed Booneville in 1846. In 1858, Owsley County lost some of it’s territory to Jackson County and in 1860 to Wolfe County. In 1870, when Lee County was formed, again Owsley County lost some of its territory.

The Moores, Bowmans, Bakers, Gabbards, and Reynolds were the first permanent settlers.

Most land patents came from Virginia. The three types included military service, grants from settlement or preemption, or warrants from the treasury. There are still families here who have their original land grants.

In January 1929, and again on January 5, 1967, there were courthouse fires. All records were lost in the 1929 fire.

For more information contact:
Ronnie Callahan, Jr. – Chairman
Booneville/Owsley County Industrial Authority
P.O. Box 637 · Booneville, KY 41314
Phone: 606-593-6800 · Fax: 606-593-7700