Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

BENJAMIN BOWMAN. It requires men of peculiar temperament to be successful railroad conductors. There are many who have spent several decades, perhaps, in railroad service who are still utterly unfit to take charge of a passenger train, although they may be quite capable in some other specific line of railroading. Among other attributes essential to a successful conductor are fortitude, patience, quickness of perception and coolness of temper, also a steady nerve; for one is often called upon without an instant's warning to meet trying and exacting situations. One of the trusted and popular conductors on the Frisco lines is Benjamin Bowman, who has been with this company for over fifteen years and in the railroad service for a period of thirty-three years; having had varied experience in different parts of the country.

Mr. Bowman was born on February 27, 1865, in Shelby county, Illinois. He is a son of Harrison and Sarah (Yarbrough) Bowman, the father born in the old Keystone state of Pennsylvania Dutch stock, and the mother was a native of Kentucky. The former, whose birth occurred in 1839, is still living in Shelby county, Illinois. He was a successful farmer during his active life, but is now living in retirement in the town of Cowden. The mother of our subject died when he was about six years of age. To these parents five children were born, namely: Mary, John W., Benjamin, Joe is deceased, and James.

Benjamin Bowman grew to manhood on the home farm in Illinois where he worked hard when a boy, and there he received a limited education in the public schools. In 1881 he began his career as a railroader in the Burlington shops at Beardstown, Illinois, but a little later he began as brakeman for the same road and continued in this capacity until 1885, when he was promoted to freight conductor. In I887 he went to Temple, Texas, and went to work as freight conductor for the Santa Fe road, about two years later he was promoted to passenger conductor, his run being from Temple to Galveston. Leaving the Santa Fe road in 1895 he went to work for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas out of Houston, Texas. About ten months later he went to Mexico, and ran a train for the Mexican Central railroad out of San Luis Potosi. Later he went to Vera Cruz, where he remained nine or ten months, in charge of a mixed train on the Inter Oceanic Railroad, then went to Salatio, Mexico, and worked on the Mexican National railroad, having a mixed run. After remaining in the land of the ancient Montezumas until 1898 he gave up his position there and came to Springfield, Missouri and secured employment with the Frisco as freight conductor in which capacity he worked a few years then was given a passenger run between Springfield and St. Louis which he has retained for the past eleven years.

Mr. Bowman was married on January 30, 1889, in Sealy, Texas, to Lillie, Harvey, who was born on a plantation in the Lone Star state, and there she was reared and educated. Her death occurred on December 27, 1909.

To Mr. and Mrs. Bowman four children were born, namely: Bennie, the eldest daughter, was born on May 3, 1894; Gordon, born on September 13, 1895; Chester, born September 1, 1904; Virginia, born on October 30, 1908.

In May, 1911, Mr. Bowman was married a second time, his last wife being known in her girlhood as Sarah Willia. She was born in Mobile, Alabama, February 27, 1882, and is the daughter of a physician. She grew up under the environments of a Southern home and she had excellent educational advantages. To this union of our subject and wife one child has been born, Lois, whose birth occurred on January 3, 1912.

Politically, Mr. Bowman is a Democrat. He is an Episcopalian in his religious affiliations, and fraternally is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and also holds membership in Division No. 321 brotherhood of Railway Conductors. He lives in Denning Place, on the north side of the city.


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