Jabez Bowen was born to the prominent doctor, Ephraim Bowen, in Providence, Rhode Island in 1739. His great-uncle Jabez Bowen was also a prominent Providence physician. Jabez graduated from Yale College in 1757. Bowen married Sarah Brown a cousin of Moses Brown and John Brown (Rhode Island) of the prominent Brown family (see Brown University) of Providence. Bowen was deeply involved with the Browns in the shipping business, involving slaves, molasses, rum, and the China trade.
He was a member of the Providence town council from 1773 and 1775. He was also a representative in the General Assembly in 1777. During the American Revolution, Bowen served in the Providence militia between 1774 and 1777, holding the rank of colonel of the First Regiment of Providence County from 1776 to 1777, serving under William West. Bowen was Deputy Governor of Rhode Island from 1778 to 1779, and from 1781 to 1786. Bowen became a Superior Court judge in 1776, and became Chief Justice in 1781. Bowen served on the city committee which negotiated a peaceful end to William West's antifederalist protest on the Fourth of July in 1788. Bowen was an ardent federalist (pro-Constitution) supporter.
- Rhode Island Historical Society- Bowen papers
- Charles Rappleye, Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2006)
William Bradford, William West
|Lieutenant Governors of Rhode Island
William West, Daniel Owen