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Oden Bowie
Governor oden bowie of maryland.jpg
34th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 13, 1869 – January 10, 1872
Preceded byThomas Swann
Succeeded byWilliam Pinkney Whyte
Maryland State Senator
In office
Member of Maryland House of Delegates
In office
Chairman, Democratic State Central Committee
In office
Delegate, Democratic National Convention
In office
Personal details
Born(1826-11-10)November 10, 1826
Collington, Maryland
DiedDecember 4, 1894(1894-12-04) (aged 68)
Collington, Maryland
Resting placeFamily plot at "Fairview," Prince George's County, Maryland
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Alice Carter (married December 3, 1851)
OccupationEntrepreneur, politician, race horse owner & breeder
AwardsMaryland Legislature resolutions expressing "the thanks of his native State for distinguished gallantry displayed during the three days’ siege of Monterey."
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1845–1847
Union army cpt rank insignia.jpg
UnitRegiment of Voltigeurs and Foot Riflemen
Battles/warsMexican–American War

Oden Bowie (November 10, 1826 – December 4, 1894),[1] a member of the United States Democratic Party, was the 34th Governor of the State of Maryland in the United States from 1869 to 1872.


He was born in 1826 at Fairview Plantation in Collington, Maryland, the oldest son of Colonel William Duckett Bowie and Eliza Mary Oden.[1][2][3][4][5]

He spent the bulk of his childhood at Fairview where he was educated by a private tutor until his mother died when he was nine years old. After his mother's death, he was sent to the preparatory department of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland where he studied for three years. At age twelve, he enrolled in St. Mary's Seminary and University and graduated in July 1845 as valedictorian of his class.[1][6]



In 1846 Bowie enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private at the outbreak of the Mexican-American war. He was promoted through the ranks, cited with "conspicuous bravery at Monterey" by Captain Taylor and eventually promoted to the rank of Captain by President James K. Polk, serving in the Voltigeur Regiment.[4][6] At the time he was the youngest Captain in the army.[5]


In 1849, he was elected to his first political office, as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, followed by the Maryland Senate from 1867 to 1869. On November 5, 1867, he became the first Governor of Maryland to be elected under the post-Civil War Maryland Constitution of 1867, and as such, he did not assume the office of Governor until January 13, 1869. Bowie's term of Governor ended on January 10, 1872 ending his career in politics.[6]


Walter Bowie was a major advocate of expanding the railroad system into southern Maryland, and wrote articles lobbying for this under the pen name "Patuxent Planter". After significant lobbying together with Thomas Fielder Bowie, William Duckett Bowie, and Oden Bowie, the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Company was organized. Two of the charter members were Walter Bowie and Thomas F Bowie. Directors included William Duckett Bowie and Oden. Oden became the first president of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad around 1853[7] and also president of the Baltimore City Passenger Railway in 1873.[8]

Thoroughbred racing

Oden Bowie was an avid horseman who served for nineteen years as President of the Pimlico Jockey Club,[9] and as President of the Maryland Jockey Club.[4] At Fairview Plantation he bred Thoroughbred racehorses. Among his successful runners, Crickmore was voted the retrospective American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt of 1880.

In 1868, at a dinner party in Saratoga, New York, Bowie and associates agreed to hold a horse race in 1870 for the yearlings owned by attendees at the party. A wager was placed and the winner of the race would host the losers for dinner. Both Saratoga and the American Jockey Club made bids for the event, but Bowie pledged to build a grand racetrack in his home state if the race were to be run in Baltimore. The Dixie Stakes, (also known as the Dinner Party Stakes) and Pimlico Race Course were the results.[10]


Before the Civil War, Fairview had many slaves. Charles Branch Clark wrote in 1946 in the Maryland Historical Magazine that seventy of Oden Bowie's slaves enlisted in the Union Army.[11]

Family and private life

Bowie spent most of his life at Fairview Plantation. He married Alice Carter on December 3, 1851. She was the daughter of Charles H. Carter and Rosalie Eugenia Calvert Carter of Goodwood, Prince George's County. Alice's mother was a descendant of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore the first colonial proprietor of the Province of Maryland.[12]


Bowie died after a brief illness[9] on December 4, 1894 and was buried at Fairview.[3][13]



  1. ^ a b c Hall, Clayton Colman (1912). Baltimore: Its History and Its People, vol.3. Lewis Historical Publishing Co. pp. 304–306.
  2. ^ "The Prince George's Hall of Fame". Prince George's County Historical Society. 2003. Archived from the original on September 24, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Prince George's County: Over 300 years of History – Oden Bowie". Prince George's County Historical Society. 1996. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Wilson, William Bender (1895). History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: With Plan of Organization. Henry T. Coates & Company. p. 279.
  5. ^ a b Wilson, William Bender (1899). History of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Volume II. Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates & Company. pp. 279. William Duckett Bowie.
  6. ^ a b c "Governor's Information: Maryland Governor Oden Bowie". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  7. ^ Wilson, William Bender (1895). History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: With Plan of Organization. Henry T. Coates & Company. pp. 333–334.
  8. ^ Hollander, Jacob Harry (11982). The Financial History of Baltimore. AMS Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-404-61368-6. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Oden Bowie Stricken with Paralysis". New York Times. November 28, 1894. p. 1.
  10. ^ "HISTORY OF PIMLICO RACE COURSE". Pimlico Race Course. Archived from the original (pdf) on August 22, 2006.
  11. ^ "Prince George's County: Over 300 years of History: CIVIL WAR". Prince George's County Historical Society. Retrieved May 3, 2007.
  12. ^ Spencer, Richard Henry (1919). Genealogical and Memorial Encyclopedia of the State of Maryland: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. New York: American Historical Society. pp. 397–398. ISBN 0-8328-5943-5. Governor Oden Bowie.
  13. ^ "Obituary: Ex-Gov. Oden Bowie; The Famous Railroader and Owner of the Famous Crickmore". New York Times. December 5, 1894. p. 5.
  14. ^ "Revitalization of Old Town Bowie". City of Bowie, Maryland. Archived from the original on July 20, 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  15. ^ "History of Odenton". Odenton Heritage Society. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  16. ^ Kelly, Kimbriell (January 25, 2015). "Broken by the bubble In the Fairwood subdivision, dreams of black wealth were dashed by the housing crisis". Washington Post. Retrieved February 8, 2017.

Further reading

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ezekiel F. Chambers
Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
William Pinkney Whyte
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Swann
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
William Pinkney Whyte
This page was last edited on 30 January 2021, at 22:29
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