Susan Bowder (1823-1902)

Susan BowderSusan Bowder, born 7th Apr 1823, is my 4x great grandmother. She was born in Pennsylvania or New York, though I do not have much yet on her early years. I do know that Susan’s parents were Jacob Bowder and Rebecca Walter(s), who were of German descent, but born in Pennsylvania.

Susan had at least five siblings: Catherine, Jacob Jr, John, Elizabeth and Jonas. They are all well documented.

The earliest hint of Susan is the 1830 census of Fairview Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania. If this is indeed the family, the household of “Jacob Bouter” was comprised of two males under 5, one male 30-40, two females 5-10, one female 10-15, and one female 30-40, which accounts for all known children living at that time.

Susan cannot be located on the 1840 census, but I am assuming she is married to her (first?) husband John Tittle and perhaps is living with his parents. Susan had at least two children with John Tittle: Jonathan born December 1841 and Elizabeth Ann (aka Lizzie) born in 1846, both in Illinois. Susan filed for divorce in Boone County, Illinois from John Tittle citing a two-year absence of her husband. A John Tittle was enumerated in the 1850 Boone County census, living with Ayer family but it’s unknown if it’s the same man. Living in the next household was Jacob Bowder Jr. (Susan’s brother) and his wife Mary, who was the oldest daughter of the Ayer family. Jonathan and Lizzie living with Orrin and Susan and listed as Tittle’s in the 1850 census, but were Briggs for the remainder of their lives.

Susan’s history at this point is tied up with husband Orren Briggs.

After Orren’s death, Susan remarried just under two years later to David Watts, a farmer originally from New York, but had lived in Iowa since before 1860. The details from the marriage entry are:

  • David Watts (age 47 born New York) Father: Joseph Mother: Ann Eliza Winfield
  • Susan Briggs (60 PA) Father: Jacob Bowder Mother: Rebecca Walters.

They were married 30 May 1884 by J. B. Chase of the Congregational Church of Cherokee & Aurelia (Book 2 p. 125). At the time of Susan’s third marriage, she was 61 years old!
An interesting snippet from Buchanan County, Iowa:

Dec. 16, 1897, Brandon Journal, District Court Doings: “In the damage suit brought by Mrs. Susan Watts against the city [Independence] for injuries received by falling on a defective sidewalk, a verdict of $50 was returned by the jury after a fifteen hours struggle.”

That is equivalent to $1,289.44 in 2007, according to the Consumer Price Index calculator.

Susan died 1 June, 1902 at the home of her daughter Lida, in Conrad, Grundy County, Iowa at the age of 79. She had lived with her daughter for the six years after her husband David Watts died.

Susan’s obituary appears in the Friday, June 6, 1902 issue of the Conrad Record newspaper:

Mrs. Susan Watts, a venerable and highly esteemed lady, mother of Mrs. Rev.
G. W. Elliott, expired very suddenly early Sunday morning , after a brief
illness, of heart failure.

A short funeral service was held at the home Monday morning, after which the
remains were taken to Independence, where her husband and other members of
her family are buried.


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Filed under Biography, My Family History

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