Thursday, April 9, 2015

More on My Family Geneaology-The Paternal Side

Let's continue on with this family line of Bowmans.

To recap--
Maurice O'Brien's daughter, Catherine "Katie" O'Brien married to Frank Bowman, Sr.

 In the 1920 census the O'Brien/Bowman family is still living in Bridgeport, CT and contained Frank Senior, Katie, their children Frank Junior, Mary, John and Margery(Margaret), and Katie's father, Maurice.

In 1925 the O'Brien/Bowman family has removed to NY state-New Windsor, in Orange County on Drury Lane.
The family has grown to include 1 more child, Eleanor.  Frank Sr. is 39 and working for the NY Highway Dept. 
So why did the O'Brien/Bowman family move to upstate NY sometime between 1920 and 1925?

If we look at this 1925 census on the next page we see that Frank's parents, James Garrett and Mary Elizabeth Bowman live nearby on Station Rd. in New Windsor, NY. That's about 3 miles away.  James Garrett is 59 and a farmer and his wife Mary E. is 58.

Going ahead to the 1930 Federal Census and the O'Brien/Bowman family is now living on Station Road as well, still in New Windsor, NY.  Another child has been born, William in 1928, but only the 3 youngest children are still in the family home.  Frank, Jr., Mary and John are living elsewhere.
Frank Senior's occupation is a farmer on a dairy farm.

Further down on Station Road we find Frank Sr.'s brother, James Garrett and family living nearby.  James is an engineer in the steam roller industry.  Still working on highways I suppose.

So in 1920 the Bowman family is living near/with his wife, Katie O'Brien's family in Connecticut, then moves in 1925 to reside near Frank Sr.'s Bowman family in New York.

Moving on--

By 1930 the oldest son, Frank, Jr., has moved out from his parent's home in NY and is married and living in Manhattan with his wife, Catherine(nee McCarthy).  Frank is working as a salesman in a department store and they report being married in 1928 and are both 21 now, so they married at 19.  There are no children living in their home.

They are renting their apartment for $36 a month.  I imagine that Manhattan location goes for much MUCH more these days!

Here's a shot of this location today.......

Gourmet deli(Hampton Deli) and flower shop on the corner.....


And a massage parlor in the store front on the right of the door to the upstairs parts of the building.....

My brother had heard a story about my grandmother, Catherine McCarthy and how she had grown up in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan and how she had been a flapper girl.
This story is partly truth once you dig into the records.
Yes she had lived in Hell's Kitchen but not until after her marriage in 1928 as the census records confirm.  And as for being a flapper.....she was 19 in 1928 and in Manhattan, one of the epicenters of youth culture of the 1920's so I am sure she had her wild side though I've never seen any photographs of her at this age. 8-)

But I digress.....

This West 51st St. location is in what is known as the "Hell's Kitchen" area of NYC.
After the War of Northern Aggression ended in 1865, the area which had housed shantytowns along the Hudson River saw a boom in population growth.  Tenements were erected and the poverty stricken among New York's residents crammed these overcrowded buildings.  Gang activity grew and at one time this area was called the "most dangerous area on the American Continent".  Violent gangs such as the Gopher Gang and the Hell's Kitchen Gang ran the area and after Prohibition was implemented the area became known for illicit brewing and the many warehouses in the area were used by rumrunners.  During the 1920's the gangs transformed into organized crime entities and the leader of the Gophers, Owney Madden, became one of the notorious crime bosses in the city(he owned the famous Cotton Club speakeasy in Harlem).  After Prohibition was repealed in 1929 these crime organizations moved into other illegal activities and by the time my grandparents lived there it was still a neighborhood for poor and working class Irish Americans but was not the den of crime and iniquity it had been.

Now who is this Catherine McCarthy who Frank Bowman, Jr. married and how did they meet?

Catherine McCarthy first shows up in the 1910 Federal Census living with her parents at 1043 Cambridge St. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Here is what that location looks like today......

The part of the building sitting at 1043 is owned/rented by the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers Organization now.  In 1910 this was an apartment building.

And here is what is located a mere 1 mile from that building......

Yes, Harvard University....though my family never had any connection to that institution.

My grandmother Catherine McCarthy was 1 year old when living in Cambridge, MA in 1910 with her parents, Dennis and Mary McCarthy. 
Dennis was a worker in a rubber factory.

Ten years later in the 1920 Census the Dennis McCarthy Family is living at 242 Webster Ave. still in Cambridge, MA.
That location no longer exists and there is only a tiny stretch of Webster Ave. at this end of that road.

242 Webster Ave. was near here.....

The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, which is now a Condominium. Off to the right of the photo is a diagonally laid out bit a street that stretched beyond that called Webster Ave.
This location is a mere .02 miles from the McCarthy family home in 1910.

Not only did they move physically .02 miles but Dennis and Mary added 4 more children to their family by 1920.....Mary in 1911, Ella in 1913, John in 1915 and Margaret in 1918.  Dennis worked for the "Terminal Company" as a painter.

I found that this company was actually the Boston Terminal Company.  The Boston Terminal Company, established in 1897, was charged with the task of combining the four railroad terminals that served the Boston area into one consolidated terminal.
The Boston Terminal Co. built the South Union Station in 1898 which at that time was the largest rail station ever built.

You can read more about them HERE

In 1928 Catherine McCarthy married Frank Bowman, Jr. and by 1930 she was no longer living in her parent's home and relocated to Manhattan and they had set up housekeeping in Hell's Kitchen after the end of Prohibition.

Still don't know how they met.  Catherine McCarthy lived with her parents in Cambridge, MA in the 1920's and Frank Bowman was living with his parents in New Windsor, NY in 1925.  3 years after that they were married in 1928.
I do know that Frank Bowman Jr. attempted or actually joined the military in 1926 or so when he was 17 years old.   A cousin of my father told me this a few years ago.  It may have been that he went to Canada and lied about his age and who he was.  He may have been thrown out too. I am still trying to sort all this out. 
We can say for sure that in the late 1920's Frank Bowman was roving about and this is when he met my soon-to-be grandmother, Catherine McCarthy.

In November of 1931 Catherine gave birth to a son, Francis Dennis Bowman III.  I don't know where this III came from since Frank's father's full name was Francis Foster Bowman, not Francis Dennis Bowman.  Another family mystery......
By the time of his birth the Bowman family was no longer living in Manhattan but in Brooklyn according to the birth records.
In 1934 Catherine gave birth again to a daughter, Marilyn.

And in the 1940 census the Frank Bowman family had moved to 5920 5th Ave. in Brooklyn.
Here it is today.......

Here's a close up.....

The green door under the pale blue awning is 5920.  This is located in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Here is what is located on the opposite corner from this road on 5th Ave. and 60th St.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church Basilica.
Here's a video from YouTube about the Church but they also talk about the history of the area a bit in the beginning of it.
Stick around for the latter part of the video if you are into architecture and grand churches.

You can catch a glimpse of the street outside my grandparents home at 3:27 in that video.

The Upper church was completed in 1928 so my father, aunt and grandparents went to this church when it was practically brand new.

In 1940 my grandfather is 31 years old, a foreman electrician for a construction company and my father is 8 years old and attending school.  The family indicates that in 1935 they were living at the same address so they've been in Brooklyn at least 5 years in 1940.

Then in 1941, all hell broke loose in the family after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the US entered World War II.

And we'll leave it here until another time.




  1. The III can be used if there were two more men in the family with the same name before him. It does not have to be a direct line of descendants like grandfather father, and son. Have you run across men in your family with the name?

    You have done a good job. Someday, I expect you will put this in a book or two or three.

    1. Yes I know a III doesn't have to be direct descent. The only Bowman men as far as I can find in our family are Matthew(2), Robert(2), Robert Spencer(1),, John(3), John Vincent(1), James(1), James Garrett(2), William(2), Francis Foster(2), Richard(3), a Kevin, a Lawrence, a David, a Michael, and a Walter Edmund. Not a single Francis Dennis.

  2. If only our families had kept some of the homes they have owned over the years

    1. I just found a studio apartment in that same building my grandparents lived in 1930 on W. 51st St. for rent for $2,499 a!


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