Cumberland pioneer William Bowen was born in 1742 in Fincastle County, Virginia, and migrated to the Cumberland Valley in 1784. He and his family first lived at Mansker's Station, and next they lived in a log house nearby the station. His two-story Federal-style brick home, built in 1787 near Mansker's Creek, stands as a monument to the period. It was the first such brick house in Middle Tennessee.
Both before and during the Revolutionary War, Bowen served under William Russell, a distinguished officer with a noteworthy war record. During the French and Indian War, Bowen was a member of the colonial army of Virginia. With Russell, he fought against Cornstalk, the formidable Shawnee chief. He was part of Russell's Rangers when they aided Fort Watauga and also fought in Lord Dunmore's War. Bowen had risen to the rank of captain by the end of the Revolution.
Bowen married General Russell's daughter, Mary Henley Russell, in 1777. They became the parents of nine children, one of whom, John Bowen, was elected to the U.S. Congress. A grandson, William Bowen Campbell, served as governor of Tennessee from 1851 to 1853.
William Bowen died in 1804. Before his death, he had witnessed the myriad changes that accompanied the development of the Cumberland country of North Carolina into the State of Tennessee.