Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fort Bowman/Harmony Hall

20th century photo of Harmony Hall

20th century view of Harmony Hall
I love getting distracted by history when I am working on genealogy. The other day, while working on these Bowman wills in Frederick County, Virginia, I googled George Bowman and found a six part video on You Tube on Harmony Hall/Fort Bowman.  I learned a couple things about the home of George Bowman, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather. First of all it was not known as Harmony Hall until the 1930's. It was not a fort. That one I did know. It was built circa 1753. That I did not know. The video of this was poor, no tripod was used, it was out of focus and some woman sitting in the front row blocked most of the pictures. The presenters, however, directed me to the Library of Congress photo collection so that I could see/download any of the images that I wanted.  I knew that it was referred to as Fort Bowman mostly during the Indian wars, when neighbors would huddle in the cellar hoping to avoid massacre.

My ancestor, Abraham Bowman, was not born in this house but would have been about 4 years of age when it was built. So mostly he was raised in this house.

A few years ago, I was stunned to hear that the house was in danger of being razed, to make room for a highway overpass, if I remember correctly.

I only found out about Fort Bowman/Harmony Hall due to the Hite Family Association of which I was once a member. My sixth great grandfather was Joist/Joost/Jost/Justus Hite whose holdings in Virginia were exceeded only by Lord Fairfax, whose holdings were part of a consortium.

In the photo on the left, the portico is not original. It is thought the addition in the photo on the right might have been added by one of the Bowmans. The home stayed in the family for over 100 years. Now this 257 year old home is in the process of being preserved.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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