Lifelines: The Bowen Love Letters
By: Susan Lee Ward
About the Book
“Katie Bowen was literate, observant, curious, compassionate, lucid, and philosophical. Her letters are informative, affectionate, and delightful to read. These letters constitute one of the finest pre-Civil War collections about military life.” Dr. Leo E. Oliva, Santa Fe Trail Historian
Catherine “Katie” Bowen (nee Cary) was born and raised in Houlton, Maine, where her family ran a lumber and mercantile business. After a whirlwind courtship, Katie married a dashing young West Point graduate, Second Lieutenant Isaac Bowen, who left soon after the wedding for the Mexican War.
When he returned safely from the war, Katie and Isaac embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: enjoying tea and discussing philosophy with Ralph Waldo Emerson; drinking a soldier’s cracker toddy and smoking cigars with General Zachary Taylor, Colonel Jefferson Davis, and Second Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, one of Isaac’s West Point classmates; chatting fireside with Susan Shelby Magoffin, another well-known Santa Fe Trail traveler; sipping champagne at the White House with family friend, President Millard Fillmore; hearing crucial military intelligence from frontier scout, Kit Carson; and, being entertained with tall tales about Mississippi River life by steamboat Cub Pilot, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, later known as Mark Twain.
The Bowen Love Letters reveal intimate details about young lives full of passion and adventure - lives that ended tragically in 1858 when Katie and Isaac were still in their early thirties.
About the Author
Susan Lee Ward’s father served in the U.S. Army for thirty-two years. Her mother worked with the American Red Cross in New Zealand during WWII and as a librarian at various military posts. Susan spent her formative years at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where she became familiar with the sight of canvas tents, the sound of 21-gun salutes, and the smell of saddle soap. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, William Seaton Ward.