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Madera Biographies: FOWLER

   DAVID B. FOWLER.  The supervisor of the Third District of Madera County is a representative of a family identified with the colonial history of Virginia.  At an early period, when Kentucky was beginning to attract people over the mountains, James Fowler, Sr., became a pioneer of the Blue-Grass state and cleared a raw tract of land, making of it an improved farm.  From there until late in life he removed to Indiana.  Next in line of descent was James Fowler, Jr., a native of Kentucky and a farmer of Jennings County, Ind. Whence he removed to Nebraska and died in Pawnee City.  His wife was Millie Maria Stone, daughter of Thomas Stone, a Virginian who settled in Kentucky in an early day. Among their children was a son, James M., who served in an Indiana regiment during the Civil War.  Another son, W. F. (father of David B.). was born in Indiana, May 14, 1830, and while still a mere boy gained a thorough knowledge of agriculture under his father’s training.  At the age of twenty-five, in 1855, he removed to Iowa and settled on a farm in Wapello County.  From there in 1857 he removed to Pawnee City, Neb., and took up farm pursuits in a new and undeveloped region.  In 1864 he opened a mercantile establishment in Pawnee City as a member of the firm of Butler & Fowler, his partner being later elected Governor of Nebraska.  Variously interested in farming, stock raising and mercantile affairs, he led a busy and prosperous life until the siege of grasshoppers brought disaster and ruin to that region. Farmers lost their crops and were unable to meet their bill at the store, causing him a heavy loss.

    Hoping to have better success in a different location W. F. Fowler came to California in 1874.  His first abode was at Tehachapi, Kern County, where he took up a farm of one hundred and sixty acres.  Bad luck followed him, for again the grasshoppers devastated his crop and to add to his misfortunes the railroad claimed and succeeded in getting possession of his farm.  Forced to make another start, in 1883 he settled in Selma, where he combined real estate transactions with farming and serving as Justice of the Peace.  In 1893 he came to Madera County, where he has since been interested in farming.  He is proud of the fact that he supported Abraham Lincoln for President in the days when that statesman was comparatively unknown, and later he was a firm in his allegiance to James G. Blaine.  Ever since the formation of the Republican Party he has voted that ticket, in both local and general elections, and has maintained the deepest interest in its success.  His marriage united him with Elizabeth H. Anderson, who was born in Indiana, a daughter of Robert Anderson, a farmer who removed from Kentucky to Indiana.

   Of two sons now living, David B. is Supervisor and R. R. District Attorney of Madera County, where both are influential is public affairs.  The former was born in Pawnee County, Neb., May 20, 1860, and attended district schools from the age of until fifteen.  In 1874 he accompanied the family to California and aided his father on the farm in Kern County.  After removing to Selma in 1883 he became interested in the real estate business.  In 1891 he came to Madera and late was employed by the Sugar Pine Company, acting a foreman of two different colonies.  At this writing he is engaged in the cigar business on Yosemite Avenue.  He was married in San Francisco to Mary Raish, who was born in Marysville, this state, and they have one son, Cecil.  Mrs. Fowler is a member of the Episcopal Church.  Fraternally Mr. Fowler is connected with the Woodmen of the World.  The commercial welfare of Madera secures his co-operation through his membership on he Board of Trade.  In political belief he is a pronounced Republican, always voting with his party.  In 1892 he was elected Justice of the Peace, but resigned the same year.  At the first election after the organization of Madera County he was elected County Supervisor over two opponents.  Again, in 1902, he was elected on the Republican ticket County Supervisor for District 3, receiving a majority of forty-four, and taking the office January, 1903, to serve a term of four years.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 295.

   ROBERT R. FLOWLER.  The District Attorney of Madera County, who is one of the rising young lawyers and influential Republican of the city of Madera, is a member of a family that early became established in the commonwealth of Virginia and later settled in the blue-grass regions of Kentucky.  Genealogical records show that his ancestors were people of unquestioned integrity and genuine worth of character.  His parents, William F. and Elizabeth A. (Anderson) Fowler are natives of Indiana and, after various changes of residence, have established themselves in the city of Madera, which place is the home of their only two living children, namely’ David B. Supervisor of the Third District of Madera County; and Robert R. District Attorney. The family history appears in the sketch of the older of these dons, presented on another page of this volume.

    Near Table Rock, Pawnee County, Neb., Robert R. Fowler was born August 15, 1870.  At an early age he accompanied the family to California and this state has since been his home.  His education was primarily secured in the district schools of Tulare and Fresno Counties.  He then turned his attention to newspaper work, led in this decision not only by an opening that occurred, but also by the inclination of his mind toward journalism. One of his early experiences in this occupation was gained while editor of the Selma  Irrigator. After coming to Madera in 1890 he secured a position on the Madera Mercury, where he proved himself to be an able newspaperman.  His tastes have always been in the direction of literature.  Many of his most enjoyable hours have been spent among his books.  Possessing a wide command of language, versatile mind and resourceful wit, he has written articles for the pres that have attracted attention by their depth and far-seeing intelligence.

   Notwithstanding his love for the journalistic field, Mr. Fowler was led to enter the profession of law for his life work, and in the fall of 1893 he began to study under Mr. Hargrove.  June 1895 he was admitted to the Supreme Court and at once began to practice in Madera.  From the first he has been an enthusiastic supporter of Republican practices.   The Party in Madera County has had in him one of its most energetic champions. His services in behalf of the organization were fittingly recognized in 1808, when he was placed in nomination for the office of District Attorney.  Notwithstanding the fact that this is a Democratic County, he was elected by a majority of two hundred and sixteen.  At the expiration of his term of four years, the Republicans again made him their choice for candidate, and this time he won the victory by two hundred and forty-eight majority.  In his second term, as in his first, he is distinguished by faithful discharge of official duties and skill in the handling of the cases under his supervision.  Fraternally he is identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Independent Order of Odd Fellow.

   The lady who presides over Mr. Fowler’s pleasant home and who became is wife in Oakland, was formerly Blanche Butler.  She was born in Hastings, Neb., and received excellent advantage in excellent schools of Tulare County.  Reared in the faith of the Christian Church, she is connected with that organization in Madera. The family of which she is a member holds a high rank for mental attainments and statesmanship.  One of her uncles, Hon. David Butler, at one time officiated as governor of Nebraska.  He father, the late Dr. A. B. Butler, was a man of broad professional ability, splendidly educated for his profession, and ranked high among the citizens of Tulare County.  He removed to Madera and died in that city in 1904, after a residence of about one year.  In public affairs he held a position of influence and at one time, while a resident of Tulare County, represented his district in the state legislature.  Mr. and Mrs. Fowler have a son, Robert Butler Fowler.  The family ranks among the most popular in Madera and has a host of warm personal friends within the circle of its acquaintances.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 985.

Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.

Last update: September 10, 2000
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