Historic Bowman Home
The home on the corner of Roberts and East Main streets owned by Mrs. Jean Bowman was one Governor Albert H. Roberts and his wife once lived in.
The home of Mrs. Jean Bowman and husband, the late Bill Bowman, located at the corner of Roberts Street and East Main in Livingston, has history that reaches all the way back to the Civil War days. I learned about this home through a book that is now available at the Overton County Heritage Museum written by Mary Katherine Sproul. The book is entitled "A Civil War Diary" and can be purchased for $25.00 per copy. After reading only a few pages of the diary kept by Mary Katherine, it is quite obvious she was an extremely well educated young woman, and one who was not afraid to stand up and voice her political beliefs during a time when that sort of thing was unheard of. Here is some information from the Sproul book:
Bailey Owen Bowden was the youngest of eight children whose parents were Elias Bowden and wife Mary (Owen) Bowden.of Fentress County. Named for his grandfather, Bailey Owen Bowden was born in 1834 near Boatland. He worked on the farm with his father until he was twenty-two. At that age, he entered Mount Cumberland Academy which was located in Poplar Cove of Fentress County where he attended three sessions. He then enrolled in Hiwassee College, walking eighty-five miles to reach the school, and later taught Latin there. He had completed two years and six months at this college when the Civil War broke out. He enlisted in the Federal army and served until the close of the war, taking part in the battles of Nashville, Franklin, and others. Following the war, he became the first Clerk and Master of Fentress County, receiving the appointment in 1865.
It is believed that when the Sproul family first came to Overton County, Mary Katherine Sproul (Miss Molly), her parents and younger brother lived somewhere in the Hartsaw Cove or Copeland Cove area of Overton County. Miss Molly taught school at Bethlehem prior to the war in a little log building that was used as both school and church. Being an outspoken Union sympathizer in a county that favored the Confederates, life was difficult during the war years. Most families eventually withdrew their children from her school and she was forced to close it for lack of funds. In 1867, Bailey Owen Bowden married Mary Katherine Sproul, a graduate of The Female Institute of Maryville, Tennessee. Mary Katherine was a teacher there for seven years. Bailey Owen Bowden taught two years in Columbus, Kansas, and during the years 1888 to 1894, he taught at Alpine Institute in Overton County, Tennessee.
By 1900, Mary Katherine Sproul Bowden and her husband, Bailey Owen
Bowden, built the house now owned by Mrs. Jean Bowman on the corner of
East Main and Roberts streets. The house was originally built to face
East Main Street, but since has been turned around to face Roberts
Street. For a few years, the Bowden daughter, Nora Deane and her
husband, Albert Houston Roberts, lived in the home with her parents. At
that time, Albert Houston Roberts was a practicing attorney in