The Sons of HENRY ELLIS FOWLER: A Brief Look

There is a book that contains wonderful information about the descendants of John Fowler the First. I like this book and refer to it often in my research. It was written many years ago when family research was much more difficult and DNA testing was not available to prove paper trails.

This book follows the family line from John Fowler the First down to our Henry Ellis Fowler. It is stated in the book that Wymac was the eldest son of Henry Ellis, and that Mark was probably the second son.

In a study of Union County, SC census records, we discover that Henry Ellis Fowler was recorded as head of household in 1790. He had one son recorded in this census: Ephraim Fowler.  I must believe that Ephraim may have been the oldest son, or at least, near the top of the list.

I have noticed that most family trees have Ephraim’s date of birth as 1784. That would put him at the grand old age of 6 when he was listed as head of household in 1790. I think his date of birth was more like 1765, give or take a year. If his father Henry Ellis was born circa 1746, it certainly is logical to think that his first child would have been born twenty years later, give or take a year.

Going back to census records, Ephraim and his wife Nancy began having their children around 1785. I think we can throw Ephraim’s date of birth of 1784 out the window. I am. I’m sticking with circa 1765. I am also putting Ephraim in my family tree as the eldest son of Henry Ellis Fowler and Catherine Puckett.

I believe that Ellis was the second son born into this family. Ellis was born circa 1770 in Virginia and married Mary, born in Virginia in 1880. Ellis was recorded on the 1800 census as 26 to 44 years old. Ellis and Mary had four children circa 1795 to 1800 with more to follow.

A note on Ellis: thanks to the (mis)information in the above mentioned but not named book, most people researching this Fowler line are under the mistaken notion that Ellis married SarahSallieMabry. He did not. I’ll get around to explaining the many Ellis Fowlers of Union County in a later discussion, and it is all documented! But for now, just go with me that Ellis son of Henry Ellis was born in or about 1770 in Virginia, married Mary, and moved to Union County, SC. On my family tree, Ellis is son number two.

I’ve got Godfrey as son number three. I believe that Godfrey was born circa 1773 in Virginia. Godfrey and his wife NancyNannieKelley had their first child around 1793. Godfrey first appeared in the 1800 census as age 26 to 44 with four children under the age of 10.

John H. “the Hatter” may have been the fourth son born to the Henry Ellis Fowler family, and I believe that he was born circa 1775, most likely in Virginia.

Many Fowler researchers think that the John Fowler in the 1790 census living near Henry Ellis was the son of Henry Ellis. I thought that too. But an intelligent researcher from Hawaii who is descended from the Union County Fowlers brought to my attention that the John Fowler of 1790 would have been far too old to have been Henry Ellis Fowler’s son. And she is right. I have not yet figured out how the John of 1790 connects to Henry Ellis. DNA testing has proven that Henry Ellis Fowler and John Fowler of the 1790 census are of the same Fowler line. They may have been brothers.

One more thing about John of 1790 and John the Hatter“…… I’ve noticed that some researchers have them as father and son. I do not think this is correct! John of the 1790 census did have a son named John but I believe that it was not John Fowler, Hatter.

Johnthe Hatter” made his first appearance in the 1800 census at age 16 to 25 with a wife and one daughter born before 1800. He left a will that was probated in 1833.

Mark may have been the next son born to Henry Ellis and Catherine. I have seen his date of birth as 1780 and 1785.

Mark married Elizabeth Mosley in 1802. Elizabeth was the daughter of James Mosley and she became somewhat famous in the town of Jonesville for living to be 100 years old. That’s quite an accomplishment even today, but back in 1882 when women were as likely to die as not during childbirth, we must admire a woman who had 11 children, and lived in a time with no running water, no electricity, and no corner market to pick something up quick for dinner. Elizabeth is one of my personal historical heroes!

If the Mark Fowler on the 1810 census is Mark son of Henry Ellis, and not Mark son of 1790 John, then he was 16 to 25 in 1810, and definitely one of the younger sons of Henry Ellis and Catherine. It is certain that he is the Mark married to Elizabeth in the 1850 census where he is recorded as 70 years old, (born 1780 in Virginia).

There is a story that son Wymac was named after a Captain Wymac who lived near Danville, Virginia. When the perils of the Revolutionary War were getting a little too close for comfort to his family in South Carolina, Charles Sims had his trusty friend, Henry Ellis Fowler, escort Mrs. Sims and their children from South Carolina to Virginia.

Captain Wymac gave the weary travelers shelter and made enough of an impression with his generous hospitality that Henry Ellis Fowler and Charles Sims agreed that the first son born to either of them would be named Wymac.

I think this might be where the confusion about Wymac being the oldest son of Henry Ellis began. It was probably said that the next son and not the first would be named Wymac.

The trip from South Carolina to Virginia conveying the Sim’s family happened during the Revolutionary War (1775 to 1783). We know Henry Ellis and Catherine had already started their family long before this time. So, I am putting Wymac as one of the youngest sons since it is obvious that he could not have been born prior to the war if the story is true.

Wymac married Susannah Mosley daughter of James Mosley in 1808, and he was counted in the 1810 census as age 16 to 25. He and Susannah had two children prior to 1810. He is a younger son, but a son with an interesting story attached to his name.

Of course, Wymac could have just been named after his mother’s paternal grandfather, Womack Puckett……

I have saved William for last, although he could have been a little older than Wymac and Mark, or he could have been born in between them, or he may have been the last son of Henry Ellis. I have seen his date of birth all over the board…… anywhere from 1776 to 1789. No matter when he was born, we know that he made his will in January 1812, and it was probated in March 1812. William was a schoolteacher and never married. Or did he?

William left his estate to the two daughters of Sarah Burgess. Some researchers have put it out there that he was married to Sarah. I have never seen proof of this. Other researchers have suggested that Sarah’s two daughters, Delinda and Polly, were his children. I do not know one way or the other. I do know that he left everything to them, and in the event of their deaths leaving no heirs, he requested that his estate be divided between his brothers Wymac and Mark. That last sentence leads me to believe that he was closer in age to these two brothers and I am confident in saying that Mark, Wymac, and William were the three youngest sons of Henry Ellis.

When Henry Ellis Fowler wrote his last will and testament in 1808, he left “the tract of land where I now live” to sons William and Wymac. They may have been the only two sons who had not married and moved out of the family home. Wymac was married in 1808, but probably not during the first two months of the year when the will was written and probated. I have never been able to find William in a census record. He should have been recorded as head of household in 1810. Perhaps he was living with another family, or maybe he just got missed that year. His brother Ellis is not to be found in 1810, but reappears in 1820. Regardless, William died in 1812 and would never have a chance to be in the census again.

One last thought: if the range of dates of birth for Mark (1780 to 1785) are correct and he was born in Virginia, it is possible that the Henry Ellis Fowler family did not move to South Carolina in the 1770s and may have come to the state a little later.

To sum up the sons of Henry Ellis Fowler :

  • Ephraim Fowler 1765-1822 married to Nancy Mosley
  • Ellis Fowler 1770-after 1850 married to Mary
  • Godfrey Fowler 1773-1850 married to NancyNannieKelley
  • John H. Fowler 1775-1883 married unknown
  • Mark Fowler 1780 1852 married Elizabeth Mosley
  • Wymac Fowler 1786-1884 married Mary Susannah Mosley
  • William Fowler died 1812

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