First Families of Limestone County: Christopher John Bower
First Families: Christopher John Bower
The First Families of Limestone County is a project sponsored by the Limestone County Historical Commission that recognizes early settlers who lived in the county before or during 1896, the 50th anniversary of the creation of the county. During a Commissioners’ Court meeting held in December, the historical commission recognized Christopher John Bower as a member of one of the First Families of Limestone County. His descendant, Karen Denise Sumrow Strittmatter, was presented a certificate by County Judge Daniel Burkeen.
Christopher John Bower was born in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany on February 17, 1839 and was the son of Christopher Bower and Johanna Brock. Christopher had six siblings: John C. (1832-1887), Jacob J. (1835-1875), Johanna (1838-1919), Catherine (1842-1918), William E. (1844-1910), and Christiana (1848-1910).
When Christopher was ten, The Bower Family immigrated to the United States from Germany to escape conditions caused by political unrest. Sailing from Bremen, Germany aboard the Brig Herschel, the Bower Family landed in Galveston, Texas on January 24, 1850. The occupation of Christopher’s father was listed as “farmer” on the ship’s passenger list. The family settled in Limestone County where they engaged at once in farming. Early Limestone County resident, Hampton Steele, wrote several newspaper articles about the history of Limestone County, which were later compiled into a book, “The History of Limestone County, 1833-1860.” Concerning the Bower Family, Mr. Steele wrote, “ The Bowers family came here about the year 1851…They lived on old man Elisha Anglin’s place two or three years. Then they bought a place not far from Groesbeck’s location now…they could not talk a word of English when they came here. I know that father (Alfonso Steele) hired John (Christopher’s brother) to work for him and we boys that worked with him had a great deal of fun trying to teach him to talk English. He was a good hand and a hard worker.”
Concerning Christopher, Mr. Steele wrote, “Chriss had a stoppage in his speech and he stuttered and when we boys would get together on Sunday we would tease Chriss to hear him try to talk. We would get him excited and he could hardly talk at all. I remember one time we all met at old man Elisha Anglin’s on Sunday. Uncle Elisha had a peach orchard and it was summer when peaches were ripe and we boys were in the orchard and we got to throwing peaches at Chriss to hear him try to talk and holler at us. Chriss never forgot that day. The last time I met Chriss at Mexia we got to talking about old times and went over the peach orchard scrape.”
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