Obadiah W. Bowles was the eighth child and sixth son of John and Celia (Sally) Bowles. In his will, dated 19 Feb 1896, Obadiah said that he was 65 years old. I suspect that he may have been a bit older than that. According to my calculations, Obadiah fits between his sister Elizabeth (born 7 Aug 1825) and his brother John (born October 1830 according to the 1900 census). For Obadiah to be 65 on 19 Feb 1896, he would have had to been in his first year of life on that day in 1831 and born no later than 20 Feb 1830. In the 1870 census, he is listed as 40 [1870 California Census - Eldorado County, Diamond Springs Township, Pleasant Valley , page 31]; and in the 1880 census he is 50 [1880 Federal Census: California, El Dorado County, Diamond Springs Township, District 57, page 149B]. Let's just say that he was born about 1829-30 in Barren County KY.
Obadiah was in Barren County on Aug 15 1848 when he witnessed his sister Elizabeth's wedding to Thomas Stockley. However, when the 1850 census was taken, he was not to be found in Barren County. It is possible that he was in Edgar County IL in 1850. There was an Obadiah Boles working as a laborer for David Connely there [1850 Federal Census: Illinois, Edgar County, Paris Township, page 201]. Lucky for us, the Edgar County census taker wrote down both the county and state in which a person was born. This Obadiah Boles was born in Barren County KY. The problem is that his age is given as 24. I think this is our Obadiah Bowles.
We know that Obadiah was in El Dorado County, California in February 1868, but so far we know nothing for sure about him between his sister's wedding and when he signed a power of attorney giving his brother Lafayette authority to represent him in the settlement of their brother William's estate. We can only speculate that since he showed up in California not far from where the original gold strike was made at Sutter's Mill, that he joined the thousands of others who traveled to California as part of the gold rush of 1849.
Obadiah next shows up in the 1870 census in Pleasant Valley, Diamond Springs Township, El Dorado County, California; probably where he was in 1868. He was listed as a farm laborer, and was boarding with a farmer named Asa C. Twitchell. Asa, who was 53, had a wife named Amanda, age 30, and a son named Edward E. Twitchell, age 5.
Asa C. Twitchell died on 27 Jul 1892 at the age of 75. Then Obadiah Bowles married Amanda Twitchell at Pleasant Valley, El Dorado County CA on 22 Sep 1893, according to The Mountain Democrat, of Placerville, California, published 30 Sep 1893.
According to Obadiah's will, he left his estate to her and to a Fred E. Twitchell, son of Edward E. Twitchell. It seems pretty obvious that Obadiah married Amanda after Asa died, and that Edward was his step-son. Edward Twitchell was the executor of Obadiah's will.
As far as we can tell, Obadiah Bowles had no children of his own. When he died on 1 Mar 1896 in Placerville, California, he left a small inheritance to his sister Rhoda Bowles, and the rest to his wife and her grandson. The inheritance to his sister is particularly puzzling since she had died 14 Apr 1850, leaving one son. Although Obadiah had been in contact with the family regarding the settlement of his father and brothers' estates in 1868, it is possible that he had been out of contact with the family during the early 1850s and had never heard about Rhoda's marriage and early death.
As a sidenote, Fred E. Twitchell, the grandson of Amanda Twitchell Bowles, was born 27 Sep 1890 and died in El Dorado County on 30 Mar 1960, so he was only five years old when Obadiah Bowles died.
From The Mountain Democrat, dated March 7, 1896:
The Dread Reaper/p>
It is with deep regret that we add another familiar name to our death roll. After a protracted illness, O.W. Boles died last Sunday, at the Cary House. He had come to this city for medical treatment by Dr. Mountain, and had been constantly attended and watched over by his wife and Mrs. W.W. Hoyt. But all efforts to save were unavailing. He was a native of Kentucky aged 66 years, 4 mo. and 6 days. For many years Pleasant Valley had been to him what its name implies. Here he was married to Mrs. E. Twitchell, who made him a happy home and survives to mourn his loss. As agent of the Park Canal Company, he had business relations with all the people of his district, and will be greatly missed, as he was respected by all of them. Mrs. G.K. Smith, his step-daughter, came from Biggs to attend his funeral, which was largely attended and was conducted by Rev. C.C. Peirce in accordance with the ritual of the Episcopal Church. Among the friends who had gone before him he sleeps in Union Cemetery.