Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jordan Efferson Bowling - Civil War Soldier Part 1

It's times like these I really miss Cousin June. Especially for the Bowling side of the family history.  Going to visit Thomas Edward Bowling Jr. i.e. "Cousin June" at his tavern at Frog Level, in Tazewell, Virginia would have helped me remember the story of Jordan Efferson Bowling and his participation in the Civil War in very short fashion.

I'd of taken the 45 mile drive down to Tazewell. Depending on whether I was in a hurry or not determined what route I drove. If I had time I took the slow route, Route 61, on the south side of East River Mountain. If I was short on time, I'd go through the tunnel and take the 4 lane traveling down Route 460 on the North side of East River Mountain. But I would cruise down the road listening to music, something like Jackson's Browne Pretender or other eclectic music, and note all the changes and recalling memories along the route. I love those long drives alone where you get to listen to good uninterrupted music and think about things. Was always a treat to take a drive and go see June.

I'd find a place to park in the tiny parking lot at his establishment that went by the nickname the Frog Level Yacht club. It was a joke as most who frequented never had ever even probably seen a yacht, except on TV, much less been on one.

I would have walked in the door and say, "Hey June!" and he'd say, "Howdy Cousin, been alright?" "We fine, n' you?" "How's your dad?" We'd chit chat a bit back and forth, catching up on current family news and then he knew I was there for family history, because I had a writing pad and a briefcase in hand.  I'd say, "June serve me a beer and I got a question for ya." He'd double check the other patrons there and make sure they had what they needed and settle down for a long talk.

I'd say, "Remind me of the story of......." and ol' June would say, "Now you talkin' about so and so, some other's son or daughter?" Because so many of the old Southern families, and the Appalachian families, the family first names duplicated over and over and over and you have to be very specific.

People think the nicknames are just for fun...no those nicknames are usually the only way we can get it straight to determine a specific person. Various branches of the family would repeat naming their kids the same names. For example, in one family we have 3 men named William Edward, and none of them are Juniors just the same first, middle and last names, all cousins. One we call Bill, one we call Bill Ed and the third we call Will Ed. I have two aunts named Betty Sue. One we call Betty Sue, the other we call Betty Sue Bill because she was married to an Uncle Bill.

June and I would get on the right person and then June would rattle the tale off and include every last detail and usually added some details I didn't even know. Then he'd tell me many times where to look for the information or who to contact. In trying to put this story together, I got my Jareds and Jordan's mixed up, my Henry's mixed up and my James!

Plus it's the Virginia Bowling/Bolling line, known as the Red, White and Blue Bowlings/Bollings. The variations of spellings DON'T matter, their names are spelled so many different variations for the same people in the actual records...one has has to do a lot of sifting to sort them out. The Red Bolling/Bowlings are some kin to Pocohontas through a Robert Bolling marrying the grand daughter of Pocahontas. For his story click HERE

The white Bollings are when the grand daughter of Pocahontas dies and THIS Robert Bolling marries another and has another passel of children. Then the "out of the blue Bollings" or Thomas "the Swan" Bollings, last I checked this was some guy named Thomas who made his way on a boat to America called the Swan. But no one is sure where exactly he is from in the U.K. or if he left America and then came back.

Plus add that this family from the very first time it stepped on this continent there are instances where the tree doesn't fork too far and that has nothing to do with Appalachia. Cousins married well bred cousins as early as the late 1600's on the coast and in the Piedmont area of Virginia just like the Kings and Queens of Europe. A practice that continued when they moved west and south. The well bred Cavaliers were well bred.

They didn't marry brother and sister but there were an awful lot of kissing cousins in many of the old eastern Virginia families. This also occurred in all the original 13 colonies so it's not just a Virginia thang. I hate that it's always put as a stereotype for Appalachia because its not as true when you trace into all those genealogies down to the east coast.

If you have the blood line of a Bowling, Bolling, Boland, etc. in or from Virginia most likely you are kin, I don't care what you say, when you follow all those lines of all those well bred cousins...most likely your kin to every other Bowling line in Virginia. In all the variations of spelling, it doesn't matter. It's a fluke if you are not.

Those kinship ties also include some well heeled Virginians from the Randolphs, to the Jeffersons, to the Adams, to even the Lee's and Custis/Washington families. So much so that when Walter Plecker, the State Registrar of Virginia, went on his eugenics purity of race warped campaign with the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, he had to back down from those with ties to Pocahontas...which included the Bolling/Bowling line and all those well heeled kinship ties. For more on Walter Plecker click HERE. and HERE

Plecker was trying to make anyone with even one drop of native blood or black blood, people of color....and in Virginia at that time, that would have included many of those in office in the State, local and county government. It was an absurd law and I don't think they fancied being subjected to their own Jim Crow segregation laws and having to move to a black or people of color neighborhood. They were Plecker's boss, so exceptions were made for the Bolling and their kinship lines in Virginia.

The story of Jordan Efferson Bowling and his role in the Civil War deals with some kinship ties and I had to sort out those ties which is the reason for explaining some of the Bowling family history in part 1.

Took me a few weeks to sort out Jordan Efferson Bowling's history again and I FINALLY think I have it right but .....Yep....I really miss Cousin June and those drives to see him. Part 2 coming in a day or so.