From the 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana

pages 691-692


Francis Sowle, one of the pioneers of Steuben County, was born in Montgomery County,

N. Y., Oct. 21, 1808, a son of Joseph and Rachel (Allen) Sowle.  He received his early education in the common schools and when eleven years of age started out to take care of himself and assist his father, who was a poor man.  He worked a year for $3 a month and three years for $4 a month.  When fourteen years of age he gave his father a yoke of four-year-old cattle.  In 1834 he left his native heath and immigrated to Wayne County, Ohio, and thence in 1836 to Steuben County, Ind., and entered land in Pleasant Township, in what is known as the Sowle settlement.  At that time there was but one board shanty in what is now Angola, owned by a man named Gilman.  He returned to Ohio and cleared land and raised a crop which he harvested and sold.  The spring of 1839 he moved his family to his land, and began making a home.  He set out an orchard soon after coming to the county, and subsequently built a good house and barn.  In 1843 he moved to Angola, where he bought the lots on which the jail now stands.  In 1852 he crossed the plains to California, taking four and a half months to make the trip, and remained about fifteen months, returning again to Angola where he has since resided.  Mr. Sowle was married May 23, 1829, to Susan N. Vromon, who died Sept. 19, 1845, leaving four children -- Joseph A. J., born Aug. 13, 1831; Mary Ann, April 1, 1834; Adam, June 24, 1837, and Helen Feb. 11, 1841.  Nov. 30, 1846, Mr. Sowle married Henrietta Holdridge, and to them was born one daughter -- Henrietta L., born Sept. 1, 1848.  Mrs. Sowle died Sept. 7, 1848, and July 22, 1849, he married Barbara McMahan, daughter of John McMahan, the first settler of Fremont Township.  They have two children -- Byron L., born Aug. 28, 1850, and Josephine C., born March 4, 1852.  Mr. Sowle in politics is a stanch Democrat, being a strong supporter of the party's principles.



Submitted by Kim Davoli