James Henry Bowker
|James Henry Bowker|
Port Kowie, Eastern Cape, South Africa
|Died||27 October 1900 (aged 78)
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
He was the ninth and youngest son of Miles Bowker (born c.1758 at Deckham's Hall, Gateshead, Durham), and Anna Maria Mitford, (born 1782 in Mitford, Northumberland, died 8 July 1868 at Tharfield), both 1820 Settlers. James Henry Bowker was born on a farm known as Tharfield, on the Klein Monden River, north of Port Kowie.
He was appointed inspector in 1855 of the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police (F.A.M.P.), later succeeding Sir Walter Currie as Commandant. He also acted as High Commissioner of Basutoland. During the Seventh and Eighth Kaffir Wars he was promoted to Colonel. He took part in the suppression of the Kat River Rebellion and the capture of Fort Armstrong in 1846-7, for which he earned a medal and clasp. For a while he was Chief Commissioner on the diamond fields of Griqualand West.
He was a knowledgeable naturalist and collected large numbers of butterflies which he then supplied to museums. His older sister Mary Elizabeth Bowker, who had married Frederick William Barber, was a noted botanist and entomologist as well as being a painter and author. She corresponded regularly with Joseph, William Hooker and Charles Darwin. James Henry Bowker never married.
Fort Bowker, built around 1860 to keep the Gcaleka north of the Mbashe River, was named after him, and there is still a road named after him in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho (formerly Basutoland).
Notes and references
- Trimen & Bowker 1889.
- Kat River Rebellion at the Wayback Machine (archived October 26, 2009)
- "Fort Bowker - Fort near Idutywa, Eastern Cape, South Africa". Mbendi information services. Retrieved 2013-09-15. Located at
- Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa vol.2 (NASOU, Cape Town 1970)
- Trimen, Roland; Bowker, James Henry (1889). South-African Butterflies: A Monograph of the Extra-tropical Species. Trübner & Company.
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