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Thomas M. Bowen Edit Profile

judge , lawyer , officer , politician , United States senator , member of the Colorado House of Representatives , Member of the Iowa House of Representatives

Thomas M. Bowen, American lawyer. member Ia; member State legislature, 1882.


Bowen was born near the present site of Burlington, Iowa, in what was then Michigan Territory.


He attended the public schools and the academy at Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1853 and began practicing law.


In 1858, he moved to Kansas. During the Civil War served in the Union Army from 1861–1865, as captain, then as a colonel. He was brevetted a brigadier general.

After the war, Bowen found himself in Arkansas and decided to stay there. He was a member and president of the constitutional convention of Arkansas in 1866. He was also a Reconstruction era justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1867 to 1871.

Bowen, who made a large fortune in business, was appointed governor of Idaho Territory by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871, but resigned and returned to Arkansas after only one week in office. He moved to Colorado Territory in 1875 and resumed the practice of law. Upon Colorado's statehood a year later, Bowen was elected judge of the Fourth Judicial District Court, a position which he held from 1876 until 1880, when he suddenly resigned.

He had given a lenient sentence to John J. Hoover, a murderer in Fairplay in Park County, who was thereafter lynched by an irate mob on April 28, 1880, while awaiting transfer to the Colorado State Penitentiary. He served in that body from March 4, 1883, to March 4, 1889. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Mining (in the Forty-eighth Congress), Committee on Enrolled Bills (Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses).

Bowen engaged in mining in Colorado and resided in Pueblo, where he died. He is interred at Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo.


Bowen moved to Wayne County, Iowa, in 1856 and was a member of the Iowa House of Representatives that year. Bowen was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives in 1882 and resigned soon thereafter upon his election as a Republican to the United States Senate.