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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Bower, William Horton

by Janet L. Blair, 1979

6 June 1850–11 May 1910

William Horton Bower, lawyer, legislator and congressman, was born near Wilkesboro, the son of David E. and Rebecca Horton Bower. He attended several academies and Finley High School in Lenoir, completing his formal education by the time he was sixteen. He lived on a farm until 1869, when he began the private study of law in the office of Colonel G. N. Folk; he was admitted to the bar in 1870. He practiced in Lenoir until 1876, when he moved to California to teach school. He remained there until the summer of 1880 and then returned to Lenoir.

In 1882, Bower was elected to the general assembly from Caldwell County. There he served on the Judiciary, Internal Improvements, and Privileges and Elections committees and was chairman of the Committee on the Public Library. In 1884 he was elected to the state senate.

In 1885 he was appointed solicitor of the Tenth Judicial District by Governor A. M. Scales, and the next year he was elected without opposition to a four-year term as solicitor. Bower was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination to Congress from the Eighth District in 1890. On the 147th ballot, he was defeated by W. H. H. Cowles. In 1892, Bower was elected as a Democrat to represent the Eighth District in the Fifty-third Congress. During his term, which lasted from 4 Mar. 1893 to 3 Mar. 1895, he served on the Committee on Indian Affairs and the Committee on Railways and Canals. He was defeated for reelection to Congress in 1894 by R. Z. Linney.

After his defeat, Bower returned to Lenoir and resumed his law practice. There he died; he was survived by his wife, the former Annie Malthaner of Pennsylvania, and a son, David. Bower was buried in Elkville Cemetery in Caldwell County.


Nancy Alexander, Here Will I Dwell: The Story of Caldwell County (1956).

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

Congressional Directory, 2nd ed., (1889).

North Carolina Bar Association, Proceedings (1920).

J. S. Tomlinson, Assembly Sketch Book (1883, 1885).

Wilkesboro Chronicle, 18 May 1910.

Additional Resources:

A Manual of North Carolina. North Carolina Historical Commission, 1913. (accessed April 26, 2013).

Bower, William Horton, 1850-1910. Guide to Research Papers, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress:

"Bower, William Horton, (1850 - 1910)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed April 26, 2013).

William Horton Bower papers, 1870-1888 [manuscript]. Duke University Libraries:

Alexander, Nancy. Here Will I Dwell: The Story of Caldwell County. Rowan Print. Company, 1956. (accessed April 26, 2013).

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