WILLIAM BOWMEN was born in Boston in 1840 and was educated in the grammar schools of that city. The family moved
to New York when William was fifteen years of age. When he became of age he embarked in the liquor business and,
previous to his removal to Staten Island in 1868, was owner of a wholesale liquor store at 31 Broadway. He was
proprietor of the New York hotel at Vanderbilt landing from 1868 to 1889, when he retired from business and removed
to his present residence, the Leaycraft homestead, on Simonson avenue.
In 1873, Mr. Bowen was appointed superintendent of the poor of the town of Southfield, for one year, to fill the
vacancy caused by the death of Capt. Coppers. At the expiration of his term he was reelected on the Democratic
ticket and has held the office continuously since except one term when the Democratic ticket known as the "3B"
ticket, (Brown for sheriff, Brick for member of assembly and Bowen for superintendent of the poor), was defeated.
Mr. Bowen's term of office is noted in the annals of Richmond county politics for the vigorous fight which he and
Mr. Clark made against the " poor house combine, " which resulted in securing an act of the legislature
abolishing the office of superintendent of the poor and reviving the office of poor master, and making the poor
master and the keeper of the almshouse responsible to the board of supervisors.
One of the results of Mr. Bowen's fight against the "poor house combined" was the capture of the Democratic
convention in 1889 by the ring politicians and the defeat of Mr. Bowen for the nomination. He, however, received
the unanimous nomination on the Republican ticket and the individual endorsement of the better class of Democrats.
At the election he ran over 1,600 ahead of his ticket and was elected by a handsome majority.
A desperate effort was made to count him out by forged election returns, but the work was so bunglingly done that
the fraud was discovered and defeated.
Prominent Men of Staten Island 1893
A. Y. Hubbell, Publishers
New York, 1893.
Richmond County, NY
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