The Fowlers joined my family tree with the marriage of Eliza Helen Fowler to Benjamin Powell on 22 December 1828 in Henry County, Tennessee, at the home of the bride’s father. Eliza Helen’s parents were William and Mourning (Crudup) Fowler. William was born 8 February 1779, and Mourning was born 4 February 1781; they married on 22 April 1800. Her parents were Josiah and Elizabeth (Battle) Crudup of North Carolina. You will see the names Mourning, Crudup, and Battle again and again in the names of their children and their children’s children.
Eliza Helen was one of twelve children, five sons and seven daughters of William and Mourning Fowler. Their names were: Joseph, Piety Hester, Crudup Battle, Martha Henderson, Mason T. (a girl), Eliza Helen, Harriet E.C., Roina Broadus, William John, James Elisha (for whose wife and sister-in-law Lydia was named), Mary Jane, and Calvin Crocker. All the children were born in North Carolina before William Fowler came to Henry County, Tennessee, near Paris, in 1826. The only child who stayed in North Carolina to raise his own family was the eldest, Joseph.
|Family of William and Mourning (Crudup) Fowler|
from Annals of the Fowler Family
According to *Annals of the Fowler Family, John Fowler came to Virginia from England and patented land in Virginia in 1673 north of the Appomattox River near Petersburg. By court records we know that John Fowler was dead by 1683. By 1691 his son Godfrey was of age, and his two brothers being dead, he inherited the estate of his father. By 1695 he had married Susannah Archer. Godfrey the First (to differentiate him from his grandson) imported colonists and bought land, greatly adding to that owned by his father John, and died by May 1747. According to his will, his son Joseph had already received his apportionment of land and had probably already moved to North Carolina.
|Map of Fowler lands in Virginia from|
Annals of the Fowler Family
We know that Joseph Fowler was in North Carolina by 1772 and may have been there as early as 1743, when his father’s will was written. Joseph’s wife was Nancy, and they had twelve children: Bullard, William Anderson, Susannah, Mary, Godfrey Sr. (my ancestor), Wilmoth, Joseph, Elizabeth, Nancy, Martha, Sally, and Burwell. Godfrey Sr. married Rahab Cooper, and they had six sons and two daughters: Nancy, David, Joseph, John, Godfrey Jr., Bullard, William, and Elizabeth. William, my ancestor, married Mourning Crudup, and his brother Bullard married her sister, Bathsheba.
I’ve always wondered what possessed the Crudups to give their daughters names so widely differing in propriety: Mourning being such a nice Puritan name and Bathsheba—really?—after the temptress of King David. As it turns out, Mourning is a family name. Mourning Crudup was the daughter of Josiah Crudup and his wife Elizabeth Battle. Josiah’s parents were John and Mourning (Dixon) Crudup. The name Mourning travels through my family from Mourning Dixon to her granddaughter, Mourning Crudup, to her granddaughter, Mary Mourning Powell, to her granddaughter, who was Cornelia Morning Bell, my grandmother’s sister. I’ve always wondered if T.J. Bell knew how far back in his family this custom went, or if he was merely naming his daughter Cornelia after his mother.
Besides Crudup, Battle, Archer, Dixon, and Cooper, other surnames associated with the Fowler branch of the family are: Tucker, Wilder, Jackson, Howell, Hunter, Sumner, and Blanchard. All of these families lived almost exclusively in Virginia and North Carolina, stretching back into the 1600s.
*Annals of the Fowler Family can be read online in its entirety at archive.org.