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 James Henry Bowden

From: Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky, by H. Levin, editor, 1897. Pub. by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago. Reprinted by Southern Historical Press. p. 140.

Jefferson County, KY

JAMES HENRY BOWDEN, who for forty years has been a representative of the bar of Kentucky and is now engaged in active practice in Russellville, was born in Morganfield, Union county, this state, March 15, 1833. His father, John Bowden, a cabinet-maker, was born in Bristol, England, crossed the Atlantic to America in 1818, and in 1820 took up his residence in Kentucky. He married Lova A. Fauquier, a native of North Carolina. Her father, George Fauquier, was a son of Thomas Fauquier, who removed from Virginia to North Carolina in the eighteenth century. The Fauquiers were prominent people of that section of the country, taking a leading part in the events which were to form the history of those states, and impressing their name upon one of the counties of Virginia.

James H. Bowden pursued his education in Morganfield until thirteen years of age, and then entered the office of the Louisville Courier, where he was employed as a compositor until 1851. With a keen appreciation of the value of knowledge he studied Latin and mathematics while in the printing office, and since that time has mastered the French and German languages, spending some time in Europe in study after the close of the civil war. He early determined to pursue the law as a profession, and prepared for that calling as a student in the office of George T. Edwards, an able attorney of Russellville. In 1855 he was admitted to the bar and began practice in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, where he remained for eighteen months; then, in May, 1857, he removed to Russellville.

His identification with its bar has therefore been long and honorable. His practice has been general, and embraces connection with much of the important litigation of the district through the past forty years. Before judge and jury he is a powerful advocate, and on the bench he proved a just judge, his decisions being models of soundness. He served two terms as judge of the superior court, from 1882 to 1890, and was its first presiding judge, and then, declining a re-election, resumed private practice in Russellville. He was commissioner of schools in 1870, and a member of the state legislature in 1875-6.

In 1857 Judge Bowden was united in marriage to Miss Nannie Morton, daughter of Marmaduke B. Morton, cashier of the Southern Bank of Kentucky, at Russellville. Mr. Morton was a native of Louisa county, Virginia, and was related to the Pryors and Beckwiths, two of the most prominent families in the south. The Judge and Mrs. Bowden have six children, namely: Mrs. Henry M. Caldwell, of Louisville; Marmaduke B., a lawyer of Louisville; Frances M., Elizabeth F., Mary L. and Henry W.

Judge Bowden attends the Methodist Episcopal church, is a Mason, and his political support is given the Democracy, and he is an advocate of "sound money" as interpreted by Whitney, Palmer, Carlisle, Cleveland and other eminent leaders of the party. He formerly took an active part in political affairs, but now devotes his entire attention to the profession in which his abilities have gained him the esteem of his professional brethren and the confidence of the community in which he resides.

Marmaduke B. Bowden was born in Russellville, July 7, 1866, and was educated in the public schools and in Bethel College. He read law with his father and was admitted to the bar July 7, 1885. He began practice in his native city and three years later was elected a member of the town council. In March, 1889, when not twenty-three years of age, he was elected mayor and acceptably filled that position for several months, when he resigned, preparatory to removing to Louisville, where he has since been engaged in the practice of law. He is widely known as a lawyer and is regarded as a speaker of considerable force. His gift as an orator was largely used in 1894 in securing the National G. A. R. encampment for Louisville in 1895, his persuasive eloquence winning the support of many departments for the Kentucky city as the place of the convocation. He has been twice president of the Louisville Commercial Club and was elected colonel of the First Kentucky regiment, Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias, December 30, 1895. Mr. Bowden was married February 14, 1888, to Lee Sandifer, daughter of Nicholas Sandifer, who was judge of the Garrard county court for many years. She is a native of Lancaster, Kentucky, and was educated at Millersburg Female College.

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