She Was a Holyoke Girl, Part III

by Laurel | January 22nd, 2014

21 Jul 1891

Handsome Mrs. Bowman Deserts Her Husband
It Is Said She Eloped With a Young Physician
Friends of the Missing Man Deny the Story
J.O. Bowman, the Counselor, Is the Mourning Husband, and His Wife Left Devon Inn Late Friday Night.
She Has Not Been Seen Since.


Societaires at Devon Inn are all a flutter. The handsome and accomplished wife of J. O. Bowman, the prominent councilor-at-law has forsaken her husband and children and disappeared and Dr. C. Ellsworth Hewitt, a physician with an office at 1529 Chestnut Street, withdrew his presence from this city at the same time.

Report has it that Mrs. Bowman went so far as to tell her husband she intended to leave him for the fascinating doctor. Mr. Bowman is distracted over his wife’s escapade, but bears  up bravely. Yesterday in company with his brother-in-law, Fred Backus, he was seeking clues by which to locate her.

It is said that Mrs. Bowman and the doctor were seen to board a midnight train for New York last Friday night. A hideous story, which Mrs. Bowman is said to have old her husband, plays a part in the affair. She said she had put poison in the baby’s milk, and entreated him to return to Devon at once and save the baby’s life.

When he arrived at the hotel and found things all right he realized he had been deceived and that his wife had concocted the story to get rid of him long enough to disappear. This scene of the family drama occurred in Broad Street Station last Friday night prior to the finale. Mrs. Bowman had come to the city in order to take the early train to Atlantic City Saturday morning, where she was going to visit her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Backus, of 1817 North Broad Street.

A Family Unpleasantness

Reports at Devon Inn had it that the day the unusually smooth sea of affairs between the middle aged husband and his young wife had been ruffled by a family jar. Mrs. Bowman is a stylish looking blonde, with a more than pretty face, and is in her twenties, while her deserted spouse is a man of more mature years, being over 40. This is his second voyage upon the matrimonial sea. The first Mrs. bowman, with whom his life was very happy, died nearly ten years ago, leaving two interesting children, Carl, the eldest and Minnie. Shortly after her death a younger sister, Blanche, took up her abode in the widower’s household to look after the children, and as far as it lay in her power to comfort her bereaved brother in law. She took the name of Bowman and in the course of two years it was said that the widower was in love with his charming sister-in-law and was going to wed her.

Time proved these rumors false, for at Saratoga, Mr. Bowman met Miss Backus and was so smitten with her appearance and manners that he at once paid a siduous court to the fair blonde. Their marriage was a very happy affair and the new wife took a deep interest in the children of her predecessor. In the course of a year another little one came into the family, Marion, the youngest daughter was born, and the people in the set in which the Bowmans moved said the successful lawyer was more than ever in love with his wife. Eighteen months ago Baby Fred came into the world, and then the cup of happiness in the Bowman family seemed filled to overflowing. They lived in style at 1734 North Fifteenth Street, and Mr. Bowman kept a small retinue of servants to lighten the cares of his bride.

Met Hewitt at Sea Girt

There never was a breath of gossip relating to strained relations between husband and wife. For two seasons the family have passed a portion of the heated season at Devon Inn. Mrs. Bowman was an intimate friend of Mrs. Crump and her husband was solicitor form the Crumps in all legal matters. He was also chairman of the first committee of Keystone Bank depositors who went to Washington to see Secretary Lacey. Last season, after a sojourn, it is said Mrs. Bowman met Dr. C. Ellsworth Hewitt.

There is no one who can be found to say that Mrs. bowman and Dr. Hewitt seemed to be more than just friends. In her two seasons at Devon she held herself aloof from all the guests and was regarded as very retiring, devoting her time to the children, of whom she seemed especially fond. Mr. Bowman idolized his fair young wife, and the guests at Devon unite in saying she seemed fond of him.

When Mr. and Mrs. Bowman reached Broad Street Station on Friday night the wife seemed to be laboring under great excitement. And it is said that she simulated great grief while telling him that she had poisoned Baby Fred’s milk. The departure of Dr. Hewitt has left a vacancy in the building at 1329 Chestnut Street. A liveries page answers the door and tells visitors the doctor will be back from some place out of town in a few days. He didn’t know whether Dr. Hewitt had gone to Europe or not.

Mr. Bowman returned from Devon on Saturday with his four children to his house on North Fifteenth Street, there is a bill on the house advertising it for rent. Bowman was building a handsome house at Devon for his family. He is a second lieutenant in Company D of the First Regiment and was in camp all week

At a late hour last night a call at Mr. Bowman’s residence brought to the window that gentleman’s brother-in-law, Fred Backus. “Mr. Bowman is asleep,” said he, “And cannot be disturbed. He can make no statement other than that contained in the Evening Telegraph. That tells the story.”

“Is it true that Mrs. Bowman told her husband that she intended to elope with Dr. Hewitt?” was asked.

“I have nothing more to say,” was the answer, as the window was quickly closed. Dr. Hewitt’s friends say that there is no truth in the story of the elopement and that the doctor will be in town in a few days.

Adapted from The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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