Your Col. William Rankin Bowen descends from William Bowen and Mary Henley Russell.You seem to have a good handle on what he did, therefore let me give you a little of his family's background.
William Bowen was the younger brother of Lt. Rees Bowen/Margaret Louisa "Levisa" Smith and the son of John Bowen/Lillian McIllhaney, who settled in Augusta Co., VA by 1748.John Bowen was the the only documented son of Moses Bowen/Rebecca Rees (Rhys), who came with a large contingent of Welsh Quakers between 1684-1696.(The later date is thought to be more accurate.)
Moses was the son of Evan ab Owen, b. 1674 in Caemarthen, Walse, d. at age 86, in 1760, Montgomery Co., PA.When they first arrieved in PA, they settled in Chester CO., PA.(From "Makers of America", Washington, DC, 1916, pp 491)
Although the majority of the people that he came with, were Quaker, it is thought that Moses was not, but Rebecca's name was found on some Meeting Rolls.We are quite sure that there were more children by Moses and Rebecca and many have claimed their lineage, however, only one other, a Henry Bowen/Jane Carter have been given serious consideration, due to many contacts and the all important naming pattern, that has existed through out the years.Henry and family settled in Fredricks CO., VA., about the same time that John settled in Augusta Co, VA.
William, b. 1742; was a Capt. in the VA militia and was to have lead the Campbell riflmen on that faitful trip to King's Mountain in N.C., in Aug of 1780.But due to illness, he was delayed and his older brother, famed Indian fighter, Lt. Rees Bowen took over for him.Historically, I'm sure you know the outcome of the Battle of King's Mountain, that faitful day, Oct. 7th, 1780.It was the decisive battle, that finally turned the tide for the fledgling nation of ours.The discription can be found in "King's Mountain, and it's Hereos" by Draper.
These wonderful mountain men of VA., fresh from their battles with Indians, dressed in buckskin, hair long, feather's on the ends of their rifels, came whooping and hollering with a combination of Indian War whoops and Highland battle cries that scared the daylights out of the British troops, waiting on King's mountain.They were routed so badly that they never did recoup.
Unfortunatley, my ancester, Lt. Rees Bowen was killed, your ancester when hearing his brother was downed, went crazy, running to find his brother hoping that it was not to late.As he ran to where his brother had fallon, a centry yelled, demanding the password of the day.William so distrought, couldn't make sence of what the man was yelling and actually forgot the password.When they were about to shoot it out, an officer, recognizing William grabed him, bringing him back to his senses.They hugged, gratful for not having to shoot eachother, but distraught about finding his brother.When Rees was found, it was to late, he had died, the only son of 13 children to be lost in an acctual battle, fought in the Rev. War.Years before, while on patrol, his baby brother Moses Bowen, died of a simple flesh wound, recieved in the field.It seems while washing wound, it was done with river water that had not been boiled and he developed a fever, from which he died in 1776.
So, of a family of 13 children, 8 boys and 5 girls, all had made it to adulthood, only 2 were lost in wars, fought in settling the colonies.All eight sons served in the Militia, all were considered Revolutionary War heroes and are on the list's as Patriot's for membership to the DAR and SAR, including this fasinating family's mother, Lillian McIllhaney Bowen.During the War years, Lillian gave money, supplies and openned her home to the wounded.Lillian died just 2 months before her beloved son Rees, in 1780, in Washington CO., VA.Her son had been one of the first settlers in S.W.VA., and a founding father of Tazewell CO., VA.Rees's homestead, "Fort Maiden Spring's", which became "Maiden Spring's Farm" is still in existance and has had a "Rees Bowen" in residence for over 250 years.The homestead is located in the Upper Clinch Valley, Tazewell CO., VA.He left 8 small children upon his death.It's said that one of the reasons that William moved on, was the crushing lose of his brother Rees.They were a remarkable close family, and remain so to this day.
If you would like more information about this celeberted family, please contact me and I will be glad to share and give you names of books written about them and others how are descended from them.