Thomas H. Bowlus

THOMAS H. BOWLUS is president of the Allen County State Bank at Iola. He practically grew up in the atmosphere of that bank, which was founded by his father, and the name Bowlus has been prominently identified with the history of Allen County and Iola since pioneer times.

He was born at Iola January 3, 1874. His father was the late George A. Bowlus, and his grandfather was George Bowlus. The family were originally settled in Maryland. George A. Bowlus was born at Middletown, Maryland, in 1841, and grew up there. In 1869 he came out to Kansas, locating in Iola, where he married and where for several years he was engaged in selling railroad lands. In 1884 he and W. M. Hartman established the Bank of Allen County, now the Allen County State Bank. Mr. Bowlus was president of the institution from its start until his death at Iola in 1908. He was a very successful business man, and his estate is one of the largest in the county. In Iola he served as a member of the school board and was affiliated with Iola Lodge of Masons. George A. Bowlus married Miss Clara Kepler, who was born in Ohio in 1849, grow up in that state, and afterwards came out to Kansas. She is still living at Iola. Of her children, Thomas H. is the oldest. Charles W. is vice president of the Allen County State Bank. George R. is assistant cashier of the bank. Bruce J. conducts a furniture exchange at Coffeyville, Kansas; Clara died February 5, 1915, at the age of thirty-two, unmarried. Hazel E. is still living with her mother. Leigh V. is employed in the Allen County State Bank

Thomas H. Bowlus grew up at Iola, attended the public schools and graduated from high school in 1891. His first important experience was as deputy postmaster, an office in which he served a year and a half. He then entered the bank as cashier, and filled that post until the death of his father, when he was made president.

The officers of the Allen County State Bank are: Thomas H. Bowlus, president; Charles W. Bowlus, vice president; J. F. Scott, cashier; George R. Bowlus, assistant cashier. For a number of years it has maintained a capital stock of $30,000, with surplus and undivided profits of $90,000. The bank has its home on Madison Avenue on the south side of the Square. It is a modern brick structure, first erected in 1884, when the bank was established, and extensively remodeled in 1906.

Mr. Thomas Bowlus is also president of the LaHarpe State Bank. He is secretary and treasurer of the J. B. Kirk Gas & Smelting Company, the property being owned by himself and Mr. Kirk. Mr. Bowlus is unmarried. He is a republican and for many years has filled the office of city treasurer. He is past exalted ruler of Iola Lodge No. 569, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elk, and is past chancellor commander of Iola Lodge No. 43, Knights of Pythias.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Tiffany Cramer, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 7, 1999.

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