January 9, 2011.

TALES OF KNOTTS ISLAND by Henry Beasley Ansell

Chapter X


In my earliest remembrance the inhabitants of this stand were made up of the following families: Waterfield, Litchfield, White, Ansell, Williams, Beasley, Jones, Simpson, Wicker, Bowden, Capps, Dud1ey, Spratt, Simmons, Caffee, Bonney, Newman, Cooper, Whitehurst, Etheredge, Miller, Davis, Grimstead, Holly, Heath, and Ayres.

The last three either left the Island or died out. The numerical strength of these families range approximately in the order named. The Waterfield family still leads, but I doubt whether Jones, Ansell, Beasley, Litchfield, and White have done little more than to keep pace with the Island's increase. The Bowden, Bonney, Newman, Simpson and perhaps some others have likely increased, while others have decreased, and some, through death or otherwise, have disappeared.

When I could first recollect the Bowden family, there were only two males--Timothy and Thomas; if there were another he left no offsprings. But this Timothy Bowden (called by the young "Old Man Timothy") begot a numerous progeny, such as had never been seen before nor since on this Island. I doubt that his equal on this line could have been surpassed in Currituck and its surrounding counties, or even in the Old North State.

He married twice, and his powers of generation were amazing, marvellous. He was the father of twenty six children, and it became a question among the Islanders: Would not the predominancy of the Waterfield family be driven to show the white father. If these younger Bowdens had followed the footsteps of their sire, I am sure a compromise now would be in order between these two families. It must be remembered that the Waterfield family was numerous long ago, while the present Bowden family have mostly sprung from this old man Timothy, aided by a fair springklin from Thomas to help the process on. There are, no doubt, enough Bowdens from this sire and his brother to police a large city.

These two progenitors were the greatest old time hunters of that day, and geese and ducks stopped honking and quacking when their old flint and steel muskets bore upon them.

In those days to hear of another heir being born in the family of Timothy Bowden, created no surprise, not even among the female population, for it was an annual occurrence. When a young Bowden arrived at the teens there were a dozen below. It became a problem with the busy bodies, how this old man could provide for so many young ones; he grew in experience by degrees. With his small farm products; with ducks and fish at his door; with hogs in the marsh that required little from his hands, he amply raised and provided for this large family, to perpetuate his name forever.