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Bowman Lester

Obituary of Robert Bowman, Yazoo City, Mississippi.

"Resolved, That in the death of Judge Robert Bowman Yazoo Camp, No. 176, U. C. V., has been deprived of one of its staunchest comrades, one of its ablest officers, and one of its most devoted friends; one who to the greatest extent deserved his right to the emblem of heroism, the little bronze cross, as well as the cross of good citizenship in its broadest meaning."

It is thus that his comrades paid tribute to his noble life, a life which measured up to the traditions and customs of the Old South; and it was in the close comradeship of his life, from youth to old age, that was founded that admiration, trust, and faith in him which bound him to the hearts of his people.

Robert Bowman was born in Pike County, Miss., December 27, 1827, a son of Richardson and Nancy Riley Bowman. His father was a native of North Ireland and had taken part in the Irish insurrection of 1798, emigrating then to Belgium, to France, and thence to the United States. He settled in the South and served in a military company under Gen. Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne and also as assistant adjutant of his staff. He was in the War of 1812 and in the battle of New Orleans. The family removed to Yazoo County, Miss., when Robert was an infant, and at an early age he was left an orphan under the care of an older brother and sister. He was educated in the county schools and at Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., where he graduated in 1848, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. He then practiced his profession for several years, until made probate judge in 1859. This office he resigned three years later to enter the Confederate army. He organized and was elected captain of Bowman's Battery, Company I, 1st Mississipppi Light Artillery (Colonel Withers), which was an active participant in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Big Black River, and the siege of Vicksburg.

Ill health compelled his resignation from the army in 1863, and he was then appointed by President Davis as Confederate States District Attorney for Mississippi, in which office he rendered important service to the Confederacy, At the close of the war he was expected from the amnesty proclamation of President Johnson and had to obtain a pardon before he could resume his practice of law. He took an active part in the troublesome times of reconstruction from 1868 to 1875, when the carpetbag government was driven from the State.

In 1859 Judge Bowman was married to Miss Bettie Lester, a daughter of Col. Sterling H. Lester, of Mississippi, and connected with the promient Barksdale family of that State. His home had been at Yazoo City since the war, and he was President of the Yazoo Bar Association for some years. He was Historian of the Yazoo Camp, in which office he rendered invaluable service, having in 1905 prepared and published a roster and sketch of every military company that left the county.

Judge Bowman had reached his eighty-seventh year when the summons came, on May 8, 1915; and

"With hope that yet a dawn shall glow,

With all his heart's rich treasure whole,

With will that never lost control,

With thanks for all that life had lent,

And life had taken away, he went."

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, July, 1915.

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