Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BOWEN, James, soldier, born in New York city in 1808: died in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, 29 September 1886. His father, a successful merchant, left him an ample fortune. He was the first president of the Erie railway, and held that office for several years. He was a member of the legislature in 1848 and 1849, and president of the first board of police commissioners under the law of 1855, establishing the present metropolitan police force. At the beginning of the civil war he raised six or seven regiments, which were formed into a brigade, and took command of them, receiving his commission as Brigadier-General of volunteers, 11 October 1862. After General Butler had left New Orleans, General Bowen went there, and served as provost-marshal general of the department of the gulf. He resigned on 27 July 1864, and on 13 March 1865, was brevetted Major-General of volunteers. His last public office was that of commissioner of Charities, to which he was appointed by Mayor Havemeyer, and continued to fill most acceptably for many years. General Bowen was a member of the union club, and of the Kent club, where he was an associate of Moses H. Grinnell, Richard M. Blatchford, James Watson Webb, and Thurlow Weed, and was valued for his sound views on literature. These gentlemen were all intimate friends of Daniel Webster. It is related that while Mr. Webster was secretary of state, General Bowen, at one of his dinner-parties, said: ' I want you to do me a favor, Mr. Webster," to which Webster replied, "To the half of my kingdom." General Bowen was also an intimate friend of William H. Seward, and a pall-bearer at his funeral.
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