Lee County Biography

Samuel M. Bowman

One of Dixon's earliest citizens achieved high honors during the Civil War, Gen. Samuel M. Bowman.

Gen. Bowman came to Dixon in 1837 from Pennsylvania and opened Dixon's first dry goods store at the corner of River and Galena streets with Isaac S. Boardman, his brother-in-law.

He was named leader of the town's first Methodist congregation when the church was organized in 1837, and built the first Lee county courthouse in 1840.

He was admitted to the bar in 1844, and when his store burned in 1846 he moved to St. Louis, where he practiced law. In St. Louis he became acquainted with Gen. William T. Sherman, who became his lifelong friend. He became cavalry officer on Sherman's staff during the war and left the service brevetted a major general.

Sherman selected Gen. Bowman as his official biographer and he wrote a history of the famous general.

In his latter years he was much in demand as an orator, and died June 4, 1885, in Kansas City, where Gen. Sherman pronounced the eulogy over his remains.

Dixon Evening Telegraph May 1, 1951

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