The first records we have of the Brothers Bourden in Duplin County are through the land. According to the Gavinstree052103 genealogy, they’d been purchasing land there since 1763, citing the book Bowden Family History, 1735-1983 by Josie Bowden as their source. However, the earliest I’ve unearthed is a deed (Deed Book 4, page 165) dated June 28, 1768 wherein Nicholas buys 135 acres of land on the northeast side of Goshen Swamp from Reuben Weston for 50 pounds. Since Nicholas is referred to as being “of the County of Duplin and the Province of North Carolina,” though, it’s obvious he, at least, had been living there a while before this. He would go on to sell this tract to Thomas Bennett December 28, 1770 for the same amount (Deed Book 4, page 389) with Samuel as one of the witnesses.
My source for these and all other deeds mentioned in this post, unless otherwise noted, is the Duplin County Register of Deeds website, duplinrod.com. You can find old land deeds, marriage bonds, and land grant maps (such as the ones utilized in this post) there. It’s pretty cool.
Now, Samuel first enters the scene when he bought two tracts of land on Bear Marsh, and on the east side of Goshen Swamp, from William Goodman December 7, 1769 (Deed Book 4, pages 481 and 482). The first tract was 24 acres for which he paid 207 pounds and the second tract was 40 acres for which he paid 20 pounds. And reading over that, I have to blink a few times because it makes no sense. But it’s what the deeds tell me. That first tract must have been prime.
In 1770, Samuel was granted 320 acres in Duplin County (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 20, page 592, Grant Number 99):
Samuel Bowden: 320 Acres Duplin North side of Goshen Swamp and East side of Bear Marsh Beginning at a pine and runs W 146 poles to a pine on Moses Tyler’s Line thence along his Line S 10 W 80 poles to a pine his Corner thence Henry Goodman’s Line S 87 E 62 poles to a black jack thence joining Taylor’s Line S 75 E 320 poles thence to the Beginning dated 11th December 1770.
Baker Bowdin bought some land on the north side of Bear Marsh from John Rogers “of South Carolina” for 20 pounds January 29, 1771 (Deed Book 4, page 392). The deed doesn’t say how many acres it was estimated to be. But it does say “Beginning at a pine in his own line…” which means he’d already acquired some land nearby.
On February 13, 1773, Samuel sold 160 acres on the north side of Goshen Swamp, east side of Bear Marsh, to William Goodman for 10 pounds, witnessed by Thomas Taylor and Baker Bowden and proven in Court by Baker (Deed Book 5, page 68).
Both Nicholas and Baker were granted land on the North side of Goshen Swamp July 22, 1774. Nicholas (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 26, page 8, Grant Number 592):
Nicholas Bowden 300 acres Duplin on the North side of Goshen swamp on the head waters of Cowhole and white oak branches. Beginning at a large old pine by a pond and runs thence S. 17 W. 150 poles to a pine at James Hursts corner thence along his line N. 73 W. 127 poles to a small red oak at his other corner along his other line So. 17 W. 82 poles to a pine near William Vinings corner hence along Vinings line No. 33 W. 160 poles to a white oak his corner by hoop-pole branch thence along his other line So. 77 W. 100 poles to a stake at William Bizzells line thence along Bizzells line No. 45 Et. 220 poles thence to the Beginning. Dated 22d July 1774.
And Baker (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 26, page 510, Grant Number 596):
Baker Bowden 160 acres Duplin on the North side of Goshen Swamp and on the West side of Bear Marsh. Beginning at a red oak on his own line and runs thence No. 20 Et. 130 poles to a stake in the marsh thence joining John Folley’s line No. 75 W 150 poles to a small Hickory at or near John Folley’s line thence S. 45 W. 190 poles to a stake thence along John Gibbs line S. 175 Et. 126 poles to a pine at said Bowdens line thence along his own line No. 48 poles to a small pine at his corner thence along his other line to the Beginning. Dated 22d. July 1774.
Baker sold 115 acres to John Gibbs March 1, 1780 for 100 pounds. The text of the deed is difficult to read, but from what I can make out, this land was at least part of the tract Baker bought from John Rogers in 1771 (Deed Book 7, page 154). The next day, Nicholas sold Levin Watkins 80 acres for 20 pounds (Deed Book 7, page 148).
Baker was awarded two other grants, both dated October 29, 1782. The first was for three hundred acres (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 47, page 194, Grant Number 545):
Know ye that we have granted unto Baker Bowden three hundred acres of land in Duplin County on the North side of Goshen Swamp and on the White Oak Swamp; Beginning at a pine on the edge of the road on William Bizzell’s line and runs with his line North seventy four west one hundred and sixty nine poles to a pine his Corner thence with his other line South forty West sixty four poles to a water oak in a small Branch thence with his other South twenty two East one hundred and ten poles to a Stake on Willis Cherry’s line thence with his line forty five West eighty poles to a pine then west sixty four poles to a stake thence North two hundred and ninety two poles to a stake thence east two hundred and seventy eight poles to a pine thence to the Beginning. To hold unto the said Baker Bowden his heirs and assigns forever. Dated the twenty ninth day of October 1782.
And the second for five hundred acres (North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Book 47, page 208, Grant Number 566):
Know ye that we have granted unto Baker Bowden five hundred acres of land in Duplin County On the Northside of Goshen Swamp at the head of Bear Marsh; Beginning at three pins on John Whitehead’s line William Taylor’s corner and runs with his line west two hundred poles to a bay in the huckelberry pond on Weston’s line thence with his line North twenty two East two hundred and seventy poles to a pine in the head of Bear Marsh Branch thence West eighty seven Poles to a Stake then with Burrel Branches line North twenty two Est one hundred and eighty poles to a small pine Jesse Barfield’s corner thence East two hundred and forty four poles to a stake on Thomas Taylor’s line thence with his line South two hundred and eight Poles to a pine by a pond Taylor’s corner then with his other line East twenty three Poles to a Stake thence South one hundred and sixty Poles to a pine on John Whitehead’s line then West twenty poles to a pine then to the Beginning. To hold unto the said Baker Bowden his heirs and assigns forever. Dated the twenty ninth day of October 1782.
On July 22, 1783, Samuel purchased 125 acres of Reubin Weston’s land from the High Sheriff of the county, Theophilus Williams, in his official capacity (Deed Book 8, page 35). It seems that Reubin Weston and Moses Branch needed to pay damages and costs to Thomas Callier (?) in a suit and the Sheriff was ordered to sell some of their lands in order to meet their debt. The land was on the northeast side of Goshen Swamp and on both sides of Bear Marsh Branch.
Baker sold his 300 acre patent to John Bradley July 1, 1784 (Deed Book 1A, page 45). In this deed, Baker is referred to as being “of the State of North Carolina and County of Hanover.” That is, New Hanover County. This makes things a little easier since, shortly after this, his nephew of the same name starts appearing in the records!
On April 4, 1785, Samuel Bowden, “taylor,” bought 320 acres on the north side of Goshen Swamp and east side of Bear Marsh Branch, for 50 pounds from Reuben Weston (Deed Book 1A, page 372). And he sold 160 acres on the north side of Goshen Swamp and east side of Bear Marsh, for 75 pounds to Jesse Swinson, planter, June 17, 1785 (Deed Book 1A, page 445). This deed was witnessed by John Winders, Senior and Junior. Neither deed was proven and recorded until 1787.
Baker sold is remaining patent, consisting of 500 acres, to William Taylor January 1, 1786 (Deed Book 1A, page 237). Samuel was a witness, the deed being proven in Court on his oath later that month.
Over the years, the brothers bought, sold, and gifted other tracts and parcels of land, witnessed the exchange of more and bore chains for several others. The gifts are especially important, for it is through those that we can sort out the next generation. Well, its male members, at least. We’ll discuss that another time. But, first, the Revolution.