Life changed quickly for the people of Norfolk County, England in the 1800’s. The large estates were falling. The families of privilege, who employed large households full of servants, often for life, grew more scarce by the day.
John and Maria Bowles could see the writing on the walls, so to speak. Their way of life, their means of support, was going away, never to return. They had to make some big decisions. With a meager savings and nine children in tow, they made their way across the ocean, to the land of second chances.
They went to America.
What they found there was farmland, and they were used to that. With many strong sons, enough funds to buy some land, and the vision to use the resources they had, the Bowles family settled into Jefferson County, in upstate New York, and grew their farm to a 100-acre homestead.
And the man who would become Black Bart grew up the farm outside of Plessis Village, with much grander dreams than a life of working the soil.
Born Charles Earl Bowles, Charlie was two when his family immigrated to America from England. He was a strong child and athletic child, but smaller than the rest of his family.
Black Bart California’s Infamous Stage Robber. (n.d.). http://www.blackbart.com/
The Story of Charles E. Boles aka Black Bart. (n.d.).
Hoeper, G. (1995). Black Bart: Boulevardier bandit. Fresno, CA: Word Dancer Press.
Collins, W., & Levene, B. (1992). Black Bart: The true story of the West’s most famous stagecoach robber. Mendocino, Calif.: Pacific Transcriptions.