Biography of James Fowler
Armstrong County, PA Biographies

JAMES FOWLER was one of the most useful citizens as well as one of the most successful business men of Armstrong county, and his death was sincerely mourned by the many poor, whom he had befriended, as well as the large circle of his friends aud acquaintances. He was a son of John and Frances (Turner) Fowler, and was born in Parker township, Butler county, Pennsylvania, in 1817. John Fowler was horn in Bucks county, ou the day when American Independence was declared, and came to Westmoreland county, where, in 1802, he married Margaret Carson, who died in 1803 and left one child. He was a carpenter and millwright and removed from Westmoreland to Butler county, where, in 1807, he married Frances Turner and reared a family of six children, of whom three were James, Sarah and Margaret C.

James Fowler was reared on the farm and obtained his education in the schools of his neighborhood, which at that day were far inferior to those of the present day. He learned the trade of carpenter and-cabinet-maker, which he followed for several years. In 1851 he came to Armstrong county, purchasing and settling upon twenty nine acres of rough, unimproved land in what is now Hovey township. This be cleared and brought into good condition, handling some of the timber upon it (and much more besides) in a saw mill, which he put up in 1852, and which he operated for six years. In 1859 be went across the Allegheny and leased a hotel at Foxburg, which he carried on for seven years. In the mean time it had been found that the lands in the northwestern part of Armstrong county were valuable oil territory, and he sold his hotel lease and began leasing his land in small parcels to the operators who thronged into the country. Soon some test wells were put down and petroleum found in abundance. He received from one sixth to one quarter of the oil produced upou his land as royalty, and it was only a comparatively short time before he had $40,000 in the bank as a result. Not long afterward he and the Messrs. Fox, of Foxburg, established the ferry at that place, which proved a profitable investment. The amonnt of travel, however, became so great that an iron bridge was thrown across the river to accommodate it, and in this he invested about twenty thousand dollars. He retained his interest in this until it was sold to the railroad company. Mr. Fowler had, in addition to the place where he resided, a good farm of about a hundred and twenty eight acres in Kittanning township, a farm in Plum Creek township, and a valuable property at Manorville. He ranked among the most enterprising citizens of the county, was a man of large usefulness to the people among whom he lived and his friendly and kindly disposition made him generally esteemed.

On February 22, 1844, be united in marriage with Ann L. Leonard. To their union were born six children, of whom four lived to maturity: Marion L., Charlotte A,, who married Phillip Foust, of St. Petersburg, Clarion county, and died in August, 1888, aged forty two years; James T., married to Hannah E. Roof and resides on the home farm; and Nelson M., who married Jennie R. Reed and lives near Manorville, where he owns and conducts a drug store. Mrs. Fowler is an amiable and pleasant woman, has been a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church for many years and resides upon the home farm.

James Fowler was a republican and an earnest member of the M. E. church. In 1876 he was stricken down with a paralytic stroke, from which he never recovered, and on April 18, 1886, his spirit passed from earth, His remains lie entombed in a beautiful cemetery, but his life work will long be remembered in his community, where he labored successfully for the benefit of his fellow citizens, as well as for his own interests.

Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia
of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania
Samuel T. Wiley, Historian & Editor
John M. Greshan & Co.
Philadelphia, 1891

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