ROBERT BOWIE was born at “Mattaponi” in Prince George’s County, Maryland in March 1750. His education was attained at Reverend John Eversfield’s School in Prince George’s County and at Reverend Craddock’s School in Baltimore County. During the Revolutionary War, he served as a first lieutenant and rose through the ranks, earning a promotion to major general. Bowie entered politics as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, a position he held from 1785 to 1790 and 1801 to 1803. The Maryland Legislature elected Bowie governor on November 14, 1803. He was reelected to a second term in 1804, and to a third term in 1805. During his first administration, the immigration of free African-Americans into the state was prohibited; the number of Baltimore members in the House of Delegates was increased; the National Road was launched; and the bank stock case was resolved. After leaving office on November 12, 1806, Bowie served as justice of the Prince George’s County Levy Court from 1806 to 1809. On November 12, 1811, he was again elected to the Maryland governorship. During his tenure, the war effort was supported by his administration despite criticism by a Federalist newspaper, which later sparked a deadly riot. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Bowie left office on November 23, 1812. From 1813 to 1817, he tried, but was unsuccessful in his gubernatorial reelection bids. Governor Robert Bowie passed away on January 8, 1818, and was buried at “Mattaponi” in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Eisenberg, Gerson G. Marylanders Who Served the Nation. Annapolis, MD: Maryland State Archives, 1992.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
White, Frank F., Jr. The Governors of Maryland, 1777-1972. Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1970.
Maryland State Archives
Prince George's County History