Edward Bowen (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Honourable
Edward Bowen
Edward Bowen.jpg
1st Chief Justice of the Superior Court for the Province of Quebec
In office
Succeeded by Sir William Collis Meredith
2nd Chancellor of Bishop's University
In office
Preceded by The Hon. William Walker
Succeeded by The Hon. John Samuel McCord
Personal details
Born (1780-12-01)December 1, 1780
Kinsale, Co. Cork
Died April 11, 1866(1866-04-11) (aged 85)
Quebec City
Spouse(s) Eliza Davidson
Residence 5 Mount Carmel Street
Quebec City

Edward Bowen (December 1, 1780 – April 11, 1866) was an Irish-born lawyer, judge and political figure in Lower Canada. He was the 1st Chief Justice of the Superior Court for the Province of Quebec, and the 2nd Chancellor of Bishop's University.


Born in Kinsale in 1780, he was the son of James Bowen (1740–1796), Staff Surgeon in the British Army, who died at Martinique. His mother, Isabella, was the daughter of Richard Sheffield Cassan of Sheffield, Co. Offaly, and his wife Isabella Hamilton, sister of the Rt. Rev. Hugh Hamilton, Bishop of Ossory. Educated at Drogheda Academy, Bowen came to Lower Canada in 1797 with his great-aunt Anne Hamilton, and her husband, Lt.-Colonel Henry Caldwell. He studied law and entered the offices of Jonathan Sewell. He was called to the bar of Lower Canada in 1803. Bowen served as Lieutenant and then Captain in the Quebec militia.

In 1808, he was chosen as attorney general for Lower Canada by Governor Sir James Henry Craig; he was forced to step down after Norman Fitzgerald Uniacke was chosen by the authorities in London. He was named King's Counsel in 1809 and also served as acting attorney general from 1810 to 1812. In 1809, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada for William-Henry; he supported the English party. In 1812, he was named judge in the Court of King's Bench at Quebec. He was named to the Legislative Council in 1824. In 1849, he was named chief justice to the newly appointed Superior Court. Bowen also served as French translator for the Executive Council and French secretary for the province.

He died at Quebec City in 1866 and is buried at Mt. Hermon Cemetery in the Sillery area of present-day Quebec City. Bowen had once owned the property on which Mt. Hermon Cemetery is located. For many years a portrait of Edward Bowen hung in the Senate chamber in Ottawa.


In 1819, Bowen built a commodious two-story house cut from local stone, of six or seven bays. Two end bays projected forward from the central two bays, suggestive of both French and English architectural influence, but in contrast to the earlier French traditions at Quebec. The house stood on Mount Carmel Street (formerly Cathedral Street) in Quebec City.[1] In 1807, Bowen had married Eliza, the daughter of James Davidson, a surgeon formerly attached to the Royal Canadian Volunteers. They had eight sons and eight daughters:

  • Alicia Catherine Aubigvey Bowen
  • Ann Emily Bowen
  • Charlotte Louise Caldwell Bowen
  • Eliza Cecilia Bowen, married The Hon. Edward Hale, of Quebec
  • Isabella Cassan Bowen
  • Louisa Aylmer Bowen
  • Lucy Irwin Bowen
  • Mary Sophia Bowen
  • Charles Marshall Bowen
  • Charles William Bowen
  • Edward Henry Bowen
  • Francis Nathaniel Burton Bowen
  • George Frederick Bowen
  • George Mountain Bowen
  • James Bowen
  • Noel Hill Fox Maule Bowen
  • William Hamilton Bowen

A photograph of Bowen's daughter Isabella Cassan is on exhibit at Piney Grove at Southall's Plantation in Virginia, USA. A portrait of Bowen's granddaughter, Isabella Forsyth Bell, and photograph of his great grandson, Frederick Noel Bell Hyndman, are also exhibited. Piney Grove at Southall's Plantation remains in possession of the family. The furnishings of Piney Grove at Southall's Plantation includes pieces of furniture and silver that may descend from the Bowen family in Canada.