Sergeant Theodore Polk Bowen


2nd Regiment Union Calvary, M.S.M Company E.

11th Regiment Cavalry, MSM Company I.

Superior Officers: General John Schofield and Captain Henry C. Gentry


On November 6, 1861 Governor Gamble reached an agreement with President Lincoln to form a new full-time militia that was financed by the United States but under the control of the Missouri governor with officers financed by him. This New Missouri State Militia (MSM) would cooperate with Federal commanders but would not be subject to service outside the state except when necessary to directly defend it.

The new MSM was primarily a mounted force of about 10,000 men active throughout the Civil War. The MSM was necessary to defend against the guerrillas, recruiters and raiders that were infiltrating further and further into northern Mo.

Militia Cavalry units participated in most of the significant engagements in the state of Missouri from 1862 to 1864.   Governor Hamilton R. Gamble, praised the MSM as being “Very efficient.” General John Schofield specifically complimented them in regards to drill, discipline and efficiency.

Theodore”Polk” Bowen enlisted February 12, 1862 at Hannibal, Mo. He provided his own horse and weapon. He Mustered November 1, 1862 at Monticello, Mo. He attained the rank of Corporal on April 10, 1862. His regiment consolidated with the 2nd Regiment Cavalry on September 1, 1862, and later was assigned to the 11th Regiment Cavalry attaining the rank of Sergeant. Polk Mustered out March 10, 1865.

Theodore Polk. Bowen, the youngest of three brothers, was born on July 7, 1843 in Marion County Mo.; on a farm N.W. of Hannibal. His parents Stephen M. and Margaret Catherine-Tarr Bowen from Snow Hill Maryland traveled east to Missouri and settled in the rich farmland of the Mississippi Valley.

Theodore’s grandparents were William Fleming Bowen and Zipporah Burbage-Bowen from Maryland. William settled in Knox County, Mo. His land in Salt river Township was deeded October 2, 1839. His son, William also lived in Knox where he was a member of the Edina lodge, No. 176, IOOF and held the position of Grand Secretary. He was the superintendent of the Edina Roller Mill Company that was organized in 1883 and erected in 1884. William also established the Woolen Mills Plant that produced denim, wool for blankets and flannel. This was the only industry of its kind in the country.

Soon after the Civil War ended Polk married Emily F. Bowling. Emily was born April 14, 1845 in Ralls County, Mo., to John Bowling and Sarah Hines-Bowling. Sarah died March 14, 1871 in Marion County, Mo. Emily and Polk had two children Ida F. Bowen b: Feb.18, 1866; d: Nov. 10, 1867 and Charles G. Bowen b: July 28, 1868 d: Nov 1901

Polk next married Emma (A last name is unknown to me). They had one child, Henry F. b: Nov. 24, 1870 d: July 30, 1871. His third wife Martha A. Campbell-Bowen Married in 1873 she was b: Sept. 21, 1853 d: Nov 22, 1889 in Marion Co. Mo. Two children were born; Albert b: 1874 and Marion b: 1879.

William M. Bowen, the eldest of the brothers born in Maryland July 1840 d: April 13, 1907 was one of Marion County’s best known citizens. He was known as “The Cabbage King” and operated one of the most extensive cabbage farms in Northeast, Mo.

Stephen Decatur Bowen was the middle child born on the family farm just west of the Mississippi river. He loved farming and ranching as did his forefathers before him from Maryland. Stephen D. was Marion County Sheriff and served as a Road Commissioner for several years. His son, Oney Bowen became a municipal judge in Palmyra, Mo.

During his lifetime Theodore Polk Bowen did many things. After his term in the Civil War he owned a grocery store, worked for the railroad and was a carpenter. At the end of his life, he became very ill and in so much pain that he was transported to the Leavenworth, KS Soldier’s home. April 18, 1909 at age 75, he passed away from chronic nephritis and carcinoma in his stomach. His nephew, Oney Bowen went to KS to finalize the arrangements then returned by train with his body to Hannibal; where he was laid to rest at the residence of his brother, Stephen D. Bowen. His body was taken for burial at Rush cemetery next to his family.


Submitted by: Patricia Bowen McClelland G.G.Granddaughter