The Brothers Bourden: The Wives

Before discussing the children, I want to take a moment to talk about their mothers. In various genealogies posted across the web, I’ve seen the maiden name of all three wives given as Holder. No records are ever cited, no evidence given. The only sources are other genealogies and Ancestry. Similarly, the given name of Nicholas’s wife is often said to be Elizabeth, but, again, no documentation is sourced. If some descendant somewhere has record of these things, a family bible, perchance, I wish they’d come forward. Otherwise, in reality, only the first names of Samuel’s and Baker’s wives are known with any certainty.

Martha

We learn the name of Baker’s wife, Martha, through the court and probate records of New Hanover County.  Both he and Martha left wills, which I’ll discuss in more detail in the next post.

From New Hanover County Court Minutes, Part 3, 1786-1793, Abstracted, Compiled and Edited by Alexander McDonald Walker:

5 January 1790 … Estate of Baker Bowden, Decd.–Will proved by Jno. Fulwood; and Joel Parish qualified as Exr. (page 48).

9 Apr 1790 … Estate of Baker Bowden, Decd.–Martha Bowden, decedent’s widow appointed Admrx. with will annexed; bond 200 pounds; John Erwin and James Stanley, sur. (page 52).

My personal theory, and it’s just that, a THEORY, regarding Martha is that she was a Parrish.  My reasons are pretty diaphanous.

  1. Joel Parrish was one of the Executors appointed in Baker’s will.
  2. Joel Parrish’s own will, he mentions a son named Richard and a daughter Molsey. Baker and Martha have children with those names.

That’s it. See? It couldn’t get much more flimsy and still have any basis in documentation whatsoever. I’ve also toyed with her being a Cowan, based on even shakier grounds:

  1. John Cowan is listed right next to Martha in 1790.
  2. Two of his daughters married sons of Baker and Martha.

Catherine

The name of Samuel’s wife, Catherine, comes down to us through a deed of gift, dated March 30, 1809 (Deed Book 4A, page 17):

The only other surname I’ve seen suggested for Catherine is Hodges, which makes a lot more sense than Holder. This comes from a tree at FamilySearch, but no source is given, and no parents suggested.

Mrs. Nicholas

As for Mrs. Nicholas Bourden, Jr., my working hypothesis is that she was a Bryan or Bryant. My only basis for this is that one of their sons was given that name. But, as any researcher knows, names can be clues. Her own given name may have been Tabitha. My one and only source for a Tabitha Bowden is a deed, dated April 8, 1789, “…between Owen O’Daniel of the County of Duplin & State of N Carolina of the one part and Wm Duncan of the same County & State aforesaid of the other part…”, which can be found in property book DFTU, page 101). It was “Signed sealed & delivered in the presence of Tabetha Bowden, Samuel Bowden, Bryan Bowden….”

My first thought was that she was one of the unknown daughters of Samuel, Sr., found in the censuses. But, with Bryan being the other witness….  You see, there is another Samuel, son of Nicholas, and Bryan is another of his sons (Deed Book M, page 72, for Samuel and Book N, page 257, for Bryan) I find myself wondering if she was their mother and, thus, the wife of Nicholas, Jr. In any case, to have witnessed a legal document, she was, more than likely, of or over 21. Therefore, whether wife or daughter, Tabitha Bourden was probably born in or before 1768 (if wife, obviously, well before).

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