Whitfield County, Georgia Biographies

Berry Rollins Bowen

 Berry Rollins Bowen born May 30, 1853, the elder son of William H. and Nancy C. Davis Bowen, died at his home in Dalton, Georgia on January 26, 1916. Mr. Bowen was an active contributor to the growth of this city and very well-liked by all that knew him. His father, William H. Bowen, and mother, the former Nancy C. Davis, were living in Rutherford County, North Carolina at the time of Berry�s birth in 1853. Berry had one brother, Doctor Craton Bowen who was born in 1856.

William H. Bowen was enlisted in the 16th regiment North Carolina Troops (6th Regiment North Carolina Volunteers) of the Confederate States of America on May 20, 1861. He was a member of Company D commanded by Captain H. D. Lee. Sadly on August 24, 1861, just three months after his enlistment, William Bowen died of disease while encamped with his regiment at Valley Mountain in western Virginia. William Bowen�s burial site is unknown but is most likely an unmarked grave somewhere near Mace, West Virginia. Nancy C. Davis Bowen, mother of Berry, died March 29, 1867 and is buried at Old Hopewell Methodist Church Cemetery in Rutherford County, North Carolina.

As of the 1870 Census, Berry Rollins Bowen was no longer in Rutherford County, North Carolina and it is surmised that after the death of his mother, he began his migration toward Whitfield County and Dalton, Georgia. Berry made one trip back to Rutherford County in 1899 to place a marker on his mother�s grave.

Berry R. Bowen married Martha F. Richardson on December 24, 1878. Berry and Martha reared four sons in the Whitfield County area, William, Walter, Gordon and Clarence. Martha Richardson Bowen was a native of Whitfield County and a member of the Baptist Church for most of her life. Martha had a quiet, retiring, disposition and possessed a beautiful and noble character which earned her the love and esteem of all those who knew her. After an illness of long duration, Martha died January 28, 1924 from pellagra. Her passing was mourned by all that knew her.

Berry R. Bowen was active politically in the Dalton area for many years. In December 1913 he was elected mayor of Dalton. Previous to that time he had served as a member of the city council and as a tax collector. In January 1914, Berry took the oath of office, becoming mayor of Dalton. He entered the office when the city�s financial condition was not what it should have been and so he announced to the council that economy would be the watchword of his administration. How well he succeeded was shown when he voluntarily retired the first of the year of 1916 after having cut approximately one third, or $21,000, off the floating indebtedness during the two years, a record never before approached by the administration in the city�s history.

Berry was also a member of the First Baptist Church of Dalton. Berry was still active after his retirement and came into town to the Bowen Brothers store every day no matter what the weather was like. On one such cold and blustery day he was sitting in the store when he was stricken by an attack of apoplexy. Berry sadly passed away on January 26, 1916 from apoplexy. Berry Rollins and Martha F. Richardson Bowen are buried together at West Hill Cemetery in Dalton, Georgia.

This biography compiled from information submitted by Gordon Parks.

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