The GOWDY Family
African American descendants

Bose Gowdy - Submitted by Barrington L. Gowdy

In Search of Bose: A Journey Through the Afro-Genealogical Process

In Search of Bose is a virtual walk back in time through the annals of Edgefield County South Carolina.  A time when people of African Heritage were considered less that human and laws were in effect to attest to that reality.

This story is about African American Genealogy.  The inherent challenges presented by the process.  If you were not formally a student of United States History (particularly African American History), you may be one before you are done researching your ancestors.  This is an incredible spiritual journey.

Bose Gowdy is my great grandfather, a Mulatto, and of Cherokee Indian Heritage, who has acquired the surname Gowdy from somewhere in the universe.  The line to the original male African has obviously been severed if Bose is a mulatto, presenting an age-old conundrum for African Americans searching for their ancestors. 

Successful research often requires cooperation from European Americans, and often-shameful African Americans alike.  This history is more often than not, very painful to revisit. 

I noticed the name of a woman that kept appearing on the funeral notices of my grandfather’s brothers and sisters.  Her name was Alberta Crawford.  She was listed as an aunt of my great aunts and great uncles.  She must surely be the sister of my great grandfather – Bose Gowdy?

Georgia Scott, a woman born in 1915 that lived next door to Bose for 34 years until his death in 1949, appears on the horizon to fill in gaps and underscore the importance of oral accounts in African American Lineage. 

I asked Georgia if Bose had a sister named Alberta.  She exclaimed, “Alberta was her nick name.  Her real name was Sophia Gardenhire.  She was the Daughter of a Lewis and Charity Gardenhire.  She was the half sister of Bose.  They had the same mother, Charity Gardenhire.  Sophia Gardenhire was married to Rev. Henry Crawford.  Georgia did not know who Bose’s father was. 

In the 1880 census Bose appears with his stepfather, Lewis Gardenhire, Bose’s mother/Lewis’s wife, Charity Gardenhire, Bose’s younger brother, Joshua Gardenhire, and Bose himself.  Bose’s name was spelled Boas Gardehire.  Bose was born in Edgefield South Carolina, on July of 1871.
Bose next appears in the 1900 Census as Bose Dowdy along with Carrie his wife and children.  Bose appears as Dubose Gowdy with family in the 1910 census.  He appears as Bose Gowdy in the 1920 and 1930 census.

With one half of the Great Great Grandparents equation solved, I moved on to the Great Great grandfather.  Bose being listed as a mulatto means that he could have been the son of a Caucasian or the child of mulattos depending on your beliefs and definition of mulatto.

A search through the Freedman’s Bank Records, revealed a woman named Charity Sullivan.  She was married to a Gilbert Sullivan on August 4th, 1870 in Richmond County Georgia.  Gilbert’s family members per the bank deposit included male siblings with the surnames Sullivan, Mackey, and Key.  Gilbert was born in 1844 in Edgefield South Carolina; the place Bose Gowdy lived all of his life.

I searched the records of the siblings and came upon an 1880 census record for Gains Key, a younger, brother of Gilbert Sullivan.  Gains was enumerated along with two nephews named Bossy Mckie, Josey Mckie and one niece, Mary Mckie.  Could these two little boys be  Boas Gardenhire and Joshua Gardenhire listed with Lewis Gardenhrie in the 1880 census? 

The Gardenhire name had become pivotal in the search for Bose.  I came upon a man named Edmund Gardenhire in the 1880 census.  He lived with a women named Mary Sullivan 26 years old, a mulatto, that had a 4-month-old girl named Charity Sullivan. 

I found the 1880 census record for Gilbert Sullivan.  It had a Charity Sullivan age 27, with a 5-month-old daughter named Mary M Sullivan.

I have always thought that the first name of Bose Gowdy’s mother must have been Mary. 

I thought that Bose’s mother used the names Charity and Mary interchangeably.  Bose named his first child a little girl, Mary (the name of his sister and mother?); he named his second child a little boy Joshua (his brother’s name). 

Bose even named one of his son’s Lewis after stepfather.  He had 13 children and never named one of them Charity.  It appears that his sister and mother had the same name either Charity Mary or Mary Charity.

Edmund Gardenhier pastured the church that my family has gone to for well over a hundred and fifty years.  Bethany Baptist Church in Clark’s Hill South Carolina, McCormick County (made up of parts of old Edgefield County).  In the 1880 census a Mary Sullivan appears as Edmund’s Stepdaughter. 

Charity/Mary’s new husband Lewis Gardenhire was also a Reverend at Bethany Baptist Church.  I do not know what his relationship with Edmund is at this point.  Lewis is likely the son of Edmund.  A trip to Bethany Baptist Church may prove to be the key to making the legal tie to my ancestors.   The search continues!

1880 Census Sheets     Relation           Sex      Marr    Race    Age      Birthplace

Washington, Edgefield   Page 413A

L. Gardenhire             Self                  M        M        B         28        SC

Charty Gardenhire      Wife                 F          M        MU      26        SC       Remarried?

Boas Gardenhire         Son                  M         S          MU      11        SC        Bossy Mckie? 

Joshua Gardenhire      Son                  M         S          MU      8          SC        Josey Mckie?


Washington, Edgefield   Page 415B

Edmund Gardenhier   Self                  M        M        B         55        SC

Sarah Gardenhier          Wife                 F          M         MU      50         SC  Charity’s Mother?

Cornelius Gardenhier     Son                   Son       M         B          5          SC

Bosun Tompkins            SonL                M         S          MU      20         SC Charity’s Brother?

P.B. Tompkins              SSon                 M         S          MU      17         SC Charity’s Brother?

Whitlock Tompkins        SSon                 M         S          MU      22         SC Charity’s Brother?

Mary Sullivan              Sdau                F          W         MU      26        SC        Widowed?

Charity            Sullivan          Dau                 F          S          B          4M       SC


Meriwether, Edgefield   Page 235A        Gilbert’s Brother

Gains Key                   Self                  M        M        B         22        SC Gilbert’s Brother

Charlotte Key               Wife                 F          M         B          19         SC

Lienny  Key                  Dau                  F          M         B          6M       SC

Mary Mckie                 Niece               F          S          B          6          SC Mary Sullivan?

Bossy Mckie                Nephew                        M         S          B          5          SC Bose Gardenhire?

Josey Mckie                 Nephew                        M         S          B          3          SC Joshua Gardenhire?

Wesley Mason              Other                M         S          B          22         SC

Charles Patterson        Other                M         S          B          20         SC


Augusta, Richmond       Page 333D        Gains’s Brother

Gilbret Sulivan            Self                  M        M        B         46        SC

Charity Sulivan                       Wife                 F          M        B         27        SC

Harriet V. Sulivan         Dau                  F          S          B          10         GA

William T. Sulivan         Son                   M         S          B          8          GA

Abret Sulivan                Son                   M         S          B          6          GA

Mary M Sulivan                      Dau                  F          S          B         5M      GA


Collier, Edgefield           Page 74B

Emory Gowdy             Self                  M        M        MU      35        SC Burrell’s Brother 

Caroline Gowdy            Wife                 F          M         MU      35         SC

Lena Gowdy                 Dau                  F          S          MU      20         SC

Ida Gowdy                    Dau                  F          S          MU      18         SC

John Gowdy                  Son                   M         S          MU      16         SC

Virginia Gowdy             Dau                  F          S          MU      18         SC

Geoge Gowdy               Son                   M         S          MU      11         SC

Emory Gowdy               Son                   M         S          MU      9          SC

Lawrance Gowdy        Son                  M        S          MU      8          SC                  

Anna Gowdy                 Dau                  F          S          MU      7          SC

Charly Gowdy               Son                   M         S          MU      5          SC

Richard White               Other                M         S          B          50         SC

Washington Sullivan    Other               M         W         B          35        SC        Widowed?

Washington, Edgefield   Page 415A       

Birrel Gowdy              Self                  M        W         MU      32        SC Emory’s Brother

George Gowdy              Son                   M         S          B          9          SC


1900 Census Sheets     Relation           Sex      Marr    Race    Age      Birthplace


Washington, Edgefield Page 248A

Bose Dowdy                Self                  M        M        B         29        SC

Carrie Dowdy               Wife                 F          M         B          30         SC

Mary Dowdy                Dau                 F          S          B          9          SC

Josiah Dowdy              Son                  M        S          B         7          SC

Willie Dowdy                Son                   M         S          B          5          SC

Lewis Dowdy               Son                  M         S          B          3          SC

Burrell Dowdy             Son                  M         S          B          5m        SC


Washington, Edgefield Page 248A

Lewis Gardenhire       Self                  M        M        B         49        SC

Charity Gardenhire     Wife                 F          M        B         50        SC

Sophia Gardenhire      Dau                 F          S          B          14        SC   My Great Aunt


Augusta, Richmond       Page

Gilbert Sullivan  Self                  M         W         B          59         SC        Widowed?

Mary Sullivan              Dau                  F          S          B         20        GA

Daisy Bell Patterson   Nie                  F          S          B         3          GA


1910 Census Sheets     Relation           Sex      Marr    Race    Age      Birthplace


Washington, Edgefield Page 19B

Dubose Gowdy             Self                  M         M         B          40         SC

Carry Gowdy                Wife                 F          M         B          38         SC

Mary                            Dau                 F          S          B          18        SC

Josh                             Son                  M         S          B          16        SC       

William             Son                   M         S          B          14         SC       

Louis                           Son                  M        S          B         12        SC

Berl                             Son                  M        S          B         10        SC      

Lawrence                    Son                  M        S          B         7          SC My  Grandfather

Harriett                         Dau                  F          S          B          5          SC

Bessie                          Dau                  F          S          B          3          SC

Walter                          Son                   F          S          B          2          SC


1870 Census Sheets     Relation           Sex      Marr    Race    Age      Birthplace


4th Ward Augusta, GA Page 168

John Gowdy                Self                  M        M        B         62        SC

Mary Gowdy                 Wife                 F          M         B          47         SC

Robert Gowdy               Son                   M         S          M         26         GA

Newton Gowdy             Son                   M         S          M         19         GA

Milton   Gowdy              Son                   M         S          M         16         GA

Clifford Gowdy             Son                   M         S          M         15         GA

George Gowdy              Son                   M         S          M         13         GA

William Gowdy              Son                   M         S          M         11         GA

Susana Gowdy              Dau                  F          S          M         9          GA

Frank Gowdy                Son                   M         S          M         4          GA

 Special Note:  Emory Gowdy and Burrell Gowdy are brothers, mulattos, both born in Edgefield South Carolina, and list their father as being Thomas Mackey (a white man) and mother Jane Price, according to their  Freedman’s Bank Record dated 13 January 1872. 

Tommie Gowdy, Jr - Tennessee

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