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My first clues as to the background of this family came in the summer of 1969 when, on a family vacation, we visited my father's aunt, May (Carsh) Hecht, in Oregon. She allowed me to photocopy a small volume bound in light brown leather, entitled "Memoirs," by Isaiah Getchell Fowler. This was the autobiography of her uncle, a druggist in Independence, Kansas and brother to my great-grandmother Ida (Fowler) Carsh. He had prepared it for his three children at Christmas 1914 and given a copy to his sister.
I.G. Fowler described the Maine background of his mother, Sarah Susannah Getchell, and her life with her husband, Moses Fowler:
About that time ex-Governor Slade of Vermont, conceived the idea of sending well educated and capable young women from New England to supply the urgent need of competent teachers in the far western states--that is to say, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. My mother was one of the first chosen and she was sent to Paris, Illinois, but soon transferred to Covington, Indiana, where she taught many years, married and bore her children, five in all. Of these the firstborn, Charles, and the thirdborn, Mary, died in infancy. The other three are, as you know, still living--your Uncle Harry, born in December, 1857; your Aunt Ida, born in October, 1865, and myself, born in January, 1861. Her married life was rendered unhappy by my father's inclination to drink and consequent failure to provide properly for his family. Soon after my birth he went to the war, and I, of course, knew nothing of him until his return. I have a dim recollection of his being home on a furlough, and of my wondering why he was going back to Little Rock. As he was a large man it seemed to me that a big rock would be more appropriate. I probably got the impression from his saying that he must be back in Little Rock at a certain time. Foolish as it seems, I cannot to this day, hear or think of Little Rock without a vision of a large man trying by some magic means to force entrance into a pebble. My only other recollections of my father during this furlough are of my disinclination to kiss him because of the "stickers" on his face, and his giving me my first horseback ride on a very lame horse which he borrowed for the purpose.
My father was generally regarded as naturally a very brilliant man, and it was frequently said that but for his unfortunate dissipation he would have gone to congress and served with credit. He had been twice elected to the office of sheriff and was still serving in that capacity at the time of his marriage to my mother. He had previously been married to a good woman whose maiden name was Joannah Furr. She had borne him seven children, three of whom survived her [Rowland, Evans and America]. . . .
Had it not been for the blight of drink he would have been in every way a good and useful man; indeed, he was by nature a kind-hearted and broad-minded man, and endowed with more than ordinary ability. For several years preceding his death he drank only occasionally, and was considered by many as the most able physician in and about Veedersburg. I have known many instances when he would send the poor tired mother and father to bed, and walk the floor all night with the suffering little one in his arms, administering the remedies and attending to all the duties of a tender nurse himself. I have known other instances when a father would find him in his office in an intoxicated condition, and would take him to his home, get him to bed, and wait until he slept off the effects of the liquor, rather than risk any other physician, so great was the confidence of his skill and knowledge. He was born in Garrard county, Kentucky. Being left an orphan at the age of about eleven, he was taken by his uncle, Moses Hinds, who, with a number of other southern people, soon afterward colonized a considerable portion of Fountain county, Indiana, where my father spent the rest of his life. He fought in both the Mexican and Civil wars. Though wounded in both wars he declined a pension, and even in his later days, when his health was much broken, there was no surer way of incurring his displeasure that to suggest the subject to him. He was not unfavorable to the granting of pensions to others however, and assisted many to obtain them. He had honorable discharges from both wars.
This summary thus added the names Furr and Hinds to the mix and two sketches in H.W. Beckwith's History of Fountain County (Chicago 1881) added further details and introduced the name Coats. The first was of Moses Fowler himself (p. 316), who was described as a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Hines) Fowler:
Dr. Moses Fowler, practicing physician, Veedersburg is the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Hines) Fowler. He was born in Kentucky, where he was reared till he was nine years of age, when his father, a school-teacher, died in 1828, aged forty-two years, leaving him an orphan, his mother having died when he was but a small child. Dr. Fowler then came, in 1830, to Fountain county with his uncle, James Hines, and took up his abode with his uncle, Moses Hines. His grandfather was a native of Loudoun county, Virginia, and lived to be a centenarian.
Dr. F., by his own exertion and close application, was able to teach school at the age of eighteen, which he followed at intervals till 1868. He read medicine under Dr. Roland, of Chambersburg, in 1841 and 1842; was elected sheriff of Fountain county in 1854, and served two years; was admitted to the bar to practice law in 1856, which he followed six years; served as a soldier in the Mexican war during the years [1847 and 1848]; served three years as a soldier in the late rebellion, in the 43d Ind. Vols., during which time he was corporal, company clerk, commander of the militia at Little Rock, Arkansas, provost marshal and enrolling officer. When he returned home from the army he took up the practice of medicine, which he still continues with good success. He was married in 1843 to Joanna Furr, who died in 1855, by whom he had six children, all dead but America, now Mrs. Cox. He was married a second time, in 1855, to Sarah S. Getchell, who died in 1872.
A few pages earlier (p. 307) was a sketch of Judge Joseph Coats, whose mother was described as a Furr who had married a Hinds:
Judge Joseph Coats (deceased) was born in 1802, and was a native of Loudoun county, Virginia. At the age of two years he emigrated to Garret county, Kentucky, with his parents, Elisha and Celia (Furr) Coats, where he lived till grown. His father, Elisha Coats, was a native of Virginia, and was married prior to his marriage with Mrs. Celia (Furr) Hinds, and had two children. Miss Furr was was first married to John Hinds, by whom she had five children. Elisha Coats, by his second wife, Mrs. Celia (Furr) Hinds, had two children: Joseph, the subject of this sketch, and Agnes (now Mrs. Cook).
When the Garrard County, Kentucky records were consulted, these references were tied together by the discovery that the consent for the marriage of Betsy Hinds to Robert Fowler had been given by "Sealy Coats."
A summary of the Fowler family is attached, as is one also for the Furr and Hinds families. Both were done almost 20 years ago and are badly in need or revision and updating. While all these families apparently originated in Loudoun County, Virginia, the only one that has left extensive records there is the Furr family. See also Robert J. Furr, Furr's, Niemann's and Other from 1655 to 1988: 333 years (1988).
The chart below illustrates the interrelationships between these families.
Bill Utermohlen, 1916 Windsor Road, Alexandria, VA 22307;