James T. Fowler, who has been a successful general merchant of Arcadia for the past seven years, is a native son of Crawford county, and belongs to one of the oldest families, whose connection with the county dates back to the year 1856, over ten years before Crawford county was organized. He has spent an active life in this county and in various parts of the west, and as a merchant his personal worth and integrity of character and honorable methods of dealing have given him a well-deserved success.
Mr. Fowler was born in Lincoln township, Crawford county, October 12, 1873. His grandparents were Robert and Minerva (Bilyeu) Fowler. His grandfather was born in England, April 26, 1830, and came to America in boyhood, settling in Christian county, Illinois. He was the one who first made the name of Fowler prominent in the history of Crawford county, and when he located on Bone creek in 1856 the other white settlers within the confines marked by the present boundaries of the county were few and far between. He lived on one farm in Lincoln township from the date of his settlement until his death, on April 26, 1903, at the age of seventy-three years to the day. He was one of the most honored of Crawford county pioneers. His wife died March 17th, 1903, also at the age of seventy-three.
The parents of James T. Fowler were George and Ellen E. (Mason) Fowler. His father was born in June, 1852, in an Indian cabin in Indian Territory, while his parents were on an emigrating journey. He is now one of the leading farmers of Lincoln township. His wife died when her son James was nine years old.
Mr. James T. Fowler, after losing his mother, lived with his grandmother until he was seventeen years old, receiving his education in the public schools of the district. At the age of seventeen, without ever having been on a train more than once and having seen very little outside of his own community, he started out to see the world and seek his fortune, with the usual aspirations and romantic dreamings of youth. He went to Washington territory, where he worked at farming for a year, and then made his way to Montana, where he was engaged variously at timber work, teaming, and as foreman in the timber. Five years later he went to the Bitter Root valley in Montana, and bought one hundred and sixty acres of land. After visiting home he returned to that state and was employed in the silver mines until 1897, when he sold his farm and other interests in Montana and returned to his home county. On October 1, 1897, he opened the general mercantile establishment in Arcadia which he still continues with such good success. He is also agent for an old-line life insurance company.
Mr. Fowler was married in September, 1901, to Miss Ollie M. Lightle, a daughter of Isaac Lightle, a merchant of Arcadia. They have two daughters, the elder, May, being aged two years. Mrs. Fowler is a member of the Christian church, and he has fraternal affiliations with Lodge No. 329, A. F. & A. M., Lodge No. 401, I. O. O. F., and with Lodge No. 579, B. P. O. E., at Fort Scott. He was first president of the Commercial Club of Arcadia, which was organized April 1, 1904. He was at one time city councilman, and in politics is a Democrat.Pages 452-454 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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