Bowman, Benjamin B. (1846-1932)
|Benjamin & Mary Ann Bowman,
1868. Family photo
Benjamin B. Bowman: churchman and jeweler; born 14 September 1846 in Waterloo County, Ontario to Christian M. Baumann and Susannah (Baumann) Baumann. He was the second of four sons. He married Mary Ann Beeshy (28 February 1844-8 August 1881) on 4 Oct 1868; they had six children -- Martha, Albert, Ira, Lydia, Lyman and Dorinda. Then ca. 1882 he married Mary Katherine Stover (21 July 1850-22 September 1920), with whom he had three more children -- Odie, Norman and Karl. Benjamin died 4 October 1932 in Petoskey, Michigan, and was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery.
At the age of 22 Bowman had a conversion experience, and the early 1870s became active in the United Mennonites (later Evangelical United Mennonite, still later Mennonite Brethren in Christ) movement that separated from the Mennonite Church over matters of revival meetings and an emphasis on a crisis conversion experience.
As a lay leader working with Solomon Eby and Daniel Brenneman, Bowman served as the annual conference secretary for several years, and was on the initial committee that established the denominational papers, Gospel Banner and Evangeliums Panier. He served as editor of the later paper for 16 months, beginning in January 1880. Bowman was also part of the committee that selected hymns for the first denominational hymnal (published 1881), and was a member of the committee that drafted the first church discipline (published 1880).
In 1879 he moved with his family to Goshen, Indiana where he was employed on the editorial staff of the Gospel Banner. Later he moved to Nappanee, Indiana where he engaged in watch repair. After his wife Mary Ann's death he returned to Waterloo, Ontario, then in 1883 moved to Petoskey, Michigan where he opened and operated a jewelry store for many years.
Two of Benjamin Bowman's children also had a prominent church role. Dorinda (11 Oct 1880-9 December 1966) was the last editor of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ missionary periodical published 1913-1938 by the United Orphanage and Mission Society. She also served as a missionary to Turkey 1909-1914 and 1923-1931. Albert "A. B." Bowman joined the United Brethren Church as a boy. He was elected to itinerant ministry and served as a pastor for 16 years in Michigan. He also served four years as General Secretary of the United Brethren Church (Old Constitution). He worked as an editor for the United Brethren publishing house and was secretary of the United Brethren Board of Education at the time of his death.
Benjamin Bowman was a significant lay leader in the early years of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ church. He remained active in the church, though he did not carry the same load as he did during the denomination's formative years.
Deanna Bowman to Sam Steiner. 16 May 2008 email.
Huffman, Jasper Abraham. History of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church. New Carlisle, Ohio: Bethel Pub. Co., 1920: 275-276.
Storms, Everek R. History of the United Missionary Church. Elkhart, Ind.: Bethel Pub. Co., 1958: 215.
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MLA style: Steiner, Sam. "Bowman, Benjamin B. (1846-1932)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2008. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/bowman_benjamin_b._1846_1932.
APA style: Steiner, Sam. (May 2008). Bowman, Benjamin B. (1846-1932). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/bowman_benjamin_b._1846_1932.