Other Alex Bowers was forced to protect his home

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Following my recent column on the legendary Rev. Alex D. Bowers, I encountered a reader in Landrum who said, You forgot to mention that Rev. Bowers killed a man in self-defense.

Momentarily taken aback by the remark, I had to quickly delve into my subconscious, because no such incident was a part of my conscious memory of the courageous Gospel hero of the hills.

Then it came to me: he was confusing Alexander Bowers, who did, in fact, kill a quick-tempered, foul-mouthed, imbiber of moonshine back in March, 1901.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Just in case other readers may have made the same mistake in identity, heres what happened with Alexander Bowers.

James Howard came to the Bowers home about 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, carrying a gun. Extremely angry at Alexander for a reason that was not clearly evident to Mrs. Bowers who came to the door, Howard stood in the yard and announced he was there to give your husband a good whopping.

Noting his belligerent attitude and inebriation, Mrs. Bowers told Howard that he could not see her husband and started to close the door. Howard began cursing and threatened to shoot her as she stood in the doorway. He pointed his gun at her and began walking towards the door.

Alexander Bowers was inside. He had heard the loud curses and reached for his own gun. He walked to an open window and saw Howard start toward the door with his gun pointed at Mrs. Bowers.

He fired from the window. The shot was true, fatally wounding Howard.

Constable C.G. Dill took Bowers to Greenville and turned him over to the sheriff the following Tuesday. Bowers was charged with murder.

At trial, Bowers was found not guilty by reason of self-defense since Howard was in the act of shooting at the house and at Bowers wife when Bowers shot him.

Alexander Bowers was not a preacher, but he was a staunch protector of his home and family.


Asheville will be holding its 83rd Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival of old-time music, ballad singers, mountain square dancers and cloggers on August 5-7. It is the nations longest running folk festival and is authentic Appalachian music and dance.

For information, call 828-257-4530 or visit www.folkheritage.org.