Bio-Alley Bowen

Born in England, May 5, 1827.  Emigrating to the United States as long ago as the year 1842, the first Winter he passed in St. Louis, Missouri, where death deprived him of his mother.  In the following Spring he took up his abode in Lee County, Iowa, and there engaged in farming until 1846, in which year he started to cross the plains to the Pacific slope, with a company of forty-one wagons, his father Joe Parr and family, Jonathan Parr and family, now deceased, (whose portrait will be found in this work, ) and a family named Booth, relatives of our subject, who now live in Victoria, B. C.   All went well until the Platte river, in the Pawnee country, was reached, save that there was an occasional stampede of their cattle, in one of which one hundred and twenty-five head were lost.  In tryng to recover the stock in one of these a man named Tremble lost his life, while his partner, Harris, was recaptured, after he had been stripped of his clothing and was about to receive his death-blow from the Indians.  This was done by the Pawnee tribe.   They murdered and left a widow and seven children. After the delay of a day, necessitated by the circumstance above related, the journey was continued, while those who had lost a larger portion than others, of their cattle, retraced their steps to Missouri.

  When Fort Laramie was reached the party moving westward were notified by the Sioux Indians that they could not be permitted to travel through their territory unles some substantial compensation was forthcoming, which they received, and the paty were allowed to continue their advance.  When Sweet Water was reached, the company suddenly found themselves surrounded by a force of some seven hundred redskins, therefore they collected their wagons and prepared for action. For a time affairs had a very gloomy appearance.  The Indians were bold and rough, in many instances pushing their way throught to the wagons , where remained in trembling fear the women and children.  The Chief of the Tribe , Smoky, was, however, notified of the doings of his warriors, he thererfore rode in among them, scattering them right ad left, and called upon them to desist.  To receive a command from such a source was to obey.  The Indians departed, while the emigrants were permitted to proceed.  Mr. Parr thinks that had it not been for the timely interface of the Chief, there would have been a bloody tragedy enacted at the place called Sweet Water.

  Before Fort Hall had been reached the party was divided, one protion proceeding to Oregon, the other to California.  It is with those last named that we have to deal.  Trials now commenced to accumulate.  Before Bear river had been come to the provisions gave out, and much suffering ensured; now were the necessaries of life obtained in anything like abundance until the hospitalities of Sutter's Fort were opened to them  Here they obtained bread, and encamped on the American river, about two miles from the fort.  Leaving  the banks of that stream they made their way to Livermore, Contra Costa county, when our subject left his family, and came to the town of Santa Clara, where he was joined in the Spring of 1847 by his relatives- all, save his father ,who had died at Livermore, from the unskilled treatment of a broken leg.

  Mr. Parr was first employed by James Alexander Forbes; and for Dennis Marten, worked in the redwoods, while in the Spring of 1847 he went to Bear river and witnessed the remains of the Donner party,   Here he joined the party that went up to the American river to procure lumber to construct the now historically famous "Sutter's Mill."  At the end of three months he proceed to San Francisco; thence he found his way back to Santa Clara.  In 1848 he was employed in the New Almaden Quicksilver mines.  In the latter part of that year he made a journey to the Mokelumne river, and Calaveras and Tuolumne countes, where he engaged in  mining, an occupation he contined at intervals for the two succeeding years, and finally returned to this county. On his return he opened a public house in Santa Clara, in partnership with Dr. Warburton, for one year; he then built a like establishment, which he conducted for six months,. when he engaged in blacksmithing.  In 1854 he embarked in stock-raising on the Coast range, which he abandoned in the following year on account of ill health; then, returning to Santa Clara, he there resided until 1862, in the Fall of which year he removed to the stock-riaisng farm he now occupies, which comprises twelve hundred acres, his own property.

  Married, Aptil 1854, T. Garcia.  The following are his children by this union: Joseph E., born 1855; Prudence, born 1858; Teresa, born 1860; Simpson N., born 1862; Charles, born 1863; Belle, born 1864; Stephen A, born 1867; Agnes, born 1869; Eugene, born 1870; Mary, born 1872.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben
History of Santa Clara County, California
San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1881, pgs557-559

SEE BIO From Sawyers, History of Santa Clara County- 1922