Sketches Of

Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers


(pages 65 - 66)

E. D. Bowen was born in Scott County, Virginia, January 30, 1856.   He was a son of Jason and a grandson of Jesse Bowen, who was of German descent.   The family moved to Tennessee when E. D. was a small boy.   His mother's maiden name was Ruth Lee, a daughter of Arch Lee, who was a near relative of the famous "Light-horse Harry" and Robert E. Lee, of Virginia.   He was converted at the age of 17, and became a preacher of the Primitive or Old-school Baptist faith.  He married Miss Mary E. Baker, a daughter of Joseph Baker, of Hancock County, Tennessee, and to this union were born eight children, six sons and two daughters.  One of his sons, I. G. Bowen, is a ministerial student in Carson and Newman College.

Becoming dissatisfied with the non-progressiveness of his brethren of the Primitive order,  E. D. Bowen renounced his allegiance to the church of his first love, becoming a "missionary" Baptist, but still holding the strong Calvinistic doctrines of the Old-school Baptists.  Brother Bowen was a strong man intellectually, and a very fine preacher.  He was moderator of the Mulberry Gap Association, and was one of the ablest preachers belonging to that body.  One of the most delightful sermons the writer ever heard at an association was delivered by E. D. Bowen at the Mulberry Gap Association, some years ago.   It was strongly but not unduly Calvinistic, emphasizing the doctrines of grace and good-naturedly touching up the theology of some of his "softer" brethren in the ministry.   He was master of his subject, and a charming speaker; the discourse left a good taste in the writer's mouth.

Elder Bowen was pastor of a number of churches, tilled the soil to supplement his salary, and was called upon to fill "offices of public trust in his county."   He died February 16, 1915, and was buried in the Testerman graveyard, near Blackwater Church - a church of which he had been pastor for "nearly twenty years."   By "resolutions," this church memorialized him as a  "brother beloved", a "noble Christian," a "faithful pastor and bold soldier of the cross," a great "power in the church,"  taking "great delight always in cheering, uplifting and helping" his fellowmen - his life being an "example" for the church and community to follow.   Signed by the committee.


Burnett, J .J.  Sketches of  Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers.  Nashville, Tenn.:  Press of Marshall & Bruce Company, 1919.


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