Friday, January 20, 2017

Mrs. James Wright III

Mary Bowater, according to the Baldwin TAG article was the wife of James Wright. She was the daughter of John Bowater Sr. and Mary Maunder. Baldwin cited the following reasons why he felt Mary Bowater, rather than Mary Davis was Mrs. Wright.

[1] John Bowater Sr. [England] & Jr. [Pennsylvania] died within a year of each other.
[2] The wives of the two Johns have been assigned to the wrong spouse by researchers.
[3] Thomas Bowater's children have been assigned to John.
[4] The birthdate of Mary Bowater [3 Feb 1688/9]  and Mary Wright [2 Feb 1689] were only a day apart.
[5] After her parents died, Mary moved to Philadelphia to be near her elder half-brother, Thomas. Her certificate of removal from Spittlesfield was read at the Philadelphia MM on 28 June 1706.
[6] Mary Wright condemned her marriage contrary to discipline on 28 Jan 1708/9.
[7] The signatures of Mary Wright and Mary Bowater were quite similar.
[8] A Wright grandchild was named Bowater.
[9] At the marriage of Hannah Wright, several of the witnesses signing on the bride's side were Bowaters by birth. [Among these were Mary Wright Ailes, daughter of John and Frances [Corbett] Bowater.]

The opponents of the "Bowater Theory" have been represented by researchers posting biographies on Find A Grave. The posting on Stephen Ailes, who married Mary Bowater [John Jr. & Frances] offers a fairly strong argument against Mary Bowater.

[1] The record in the Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, Vol II [p. 469], Philadelphia MM, that cites  the date of the reading of Mary Bowater's certificate, misses two references to John Bowater from 1684.
[2] Questions exist concerning Mary Wright's birthdate of 2 Feb 1689. It is noted that the Hopewell MM records for the time period were destroyed in a fire. [I have also seen the date as 12 Feb 1689.]
[3] Both John Bowater Sr. and Jr. traveled to America in 1677 & 78. After they returned to England, the elder John was imprisoned and eventually died in England. Junior left England for Pennsylvania in 1684 and died there.
[4] The biggest problem is, perhaps, the one citing a Mary Wright condemning her marriage contrary to discipline. Mary Davis/Bowater was a Quaker and married a Quaker. There is no conflict of faiths here. By 28 Jan 1708/9, James and Mary had one daughter, with another on the way. Bad timing for condemning a marriage. The couple remained married until James' death in 1750. It is also argued that the record should have given Mary's maiden name. If so, this was another Mary Wright; not either of those in question.
[5] Opponents also contend that at Hannah Wright's wedding there were Wrights and Davises, as well as Bowaters. James, as a minister, probably presided at the wedding.
[6] The grandchild named Bowater [Boyater, in several records] is dismissed by opponents.

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