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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Mrs. J. M. Bowman,   pp. 167-169 PDF (609.3 KB)


Page 168


    In those days the shores of Lake Mendota along
Langdon Street were dense woods, where my mother
used to go for picnics and hazelnutting.
    At this boarding house a lasting friendship was
formed with Dr. and Mrs. John Favill, a beloved physi-
dan here for many years. They decided to keep house
together as there were so few homes. Their house was
situated on North Pinckney Street where the Harry S.
Manchester store now stands. There she lived for two
years and in 1858 moved into her own home, a fine colon-
ial brick house situated at the corner of South Pinckney
and East Wilson Streets. Here, before the completion
of the Statehouse, her husband, daughter, and only son
died within ten months, in 1860-61.
    Indians were frequently troublesome at that time,
and an uprising occurred near her home.
    Mr. Donnel staked out the grounds and buildings for
the Mendota State Hospital for the Insane and for Forest
Hill Cemetery.
    At Camp Randall, during the Civil War, a hospital
was established for our soldiers, and my mother spent
much time there nursing the sick and making great quan-
tities of special salads, which it was thought would cure
scurvey, so prevalent among the soldiers. Her brother,
George Waldo Smith, was one of the Burdan's Sharp-
shooters, so the war was brought home forcibly to her.
    My father and mother were devout Presbyterians
and church workers, having attended the church here
when a room on the second floor of some vacant building
was used, (before our church was ever erected.)
    In 1864 Mrs. Donnel married John M. Bowman, son
of Senator John Bowman, one of the Erie Canal com-
missioners, who was a graduate of Union College in 1842.
Mr. Bowman, who shunned all public offices offered, be-
came acting mayor of Madison during the great Chicago
fire in 1871. My mother aided him materially in getting
a carload of supplies which he took in person to the
stricken city. The daughter of a former resident of MaTi-
                         168


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