DR. WILSON BOWLBY. The office of the physician is one of such primary importance in society, that one who worthily sustains that character for a long time in one place becomes one of the fundamental pillars of the community. If the character of a wise and influential public officer and politician and public-spirited citizen be added to the requirements of the skilled physician, we have a life of the highest usefulness.
Such in a general way has been the career of this pioneer physician of Washington county. Though now well advanced in a very busy and wearing life, Doctor Bowlby, as may be seen from his portrait, still retains much of the vigor which in past years enabled him to carry on successfully so many and such varied enterprises. He was born at New Hampton, New Jersey, on the 4th of July, 1818. There he lived till eighteen years of age, when he went to New York City, and was there engaged in a store for two or three years. He was married there in 1841 to Lydia D. Jones of Newark, New Jersey. Soon after he went to Cincinnati to attend medical lectures in the Eclectic Institution.
In 1845 he went to Fairfield, Indiana, to practice medicine. In 1852, he came “the plains across” to Oregon. Having spent one year in Portland, he took up a place south of Hillsboro, where he lived until 1860. In that year he removed to Forest Grove, where he has resided continuously, engaged in the practice of medicine, except a period of four years, from 1869 to 1873, in which he was collector of internal revenue, with his residence at Portland.
Doctor Bowlby was conspicuous in the early legislative history of Oregon. He was a member of the last territorial as well as the first state legislature. He served in the lower House four terms in all, and was in the Senate one term. During that term he was chosen presiding officer. He was one of the Republican electors at the first election Grant. In politics, Doctor Bowlby was first a Whig, then a Republican. During the period of the war he served by appointment of President Lincoln as examining surgeon, under Captain Keler, provost marshal. For the last ten or fifteen years, the Doctor has taken no active part in politics, though in his town he is pretty sure to be called on to preside at political meetings, and frequently reminds his hearers of his former political activity by the vigor and aptness of his brief impromptu addresses.
Doctor Bowlby’s living children are: J.Q.A., a prominent lawyer of Astoria; Theodore, living on the old ranch near Hillsboro; and Sarah E. Coplen, now residing at Latah, Washington. In 1883, Mrs. Bowlby died; and in the following year the Doctor was married to Mrs. Burlingame. He has one of the most beautiful houses in the village of Forest Grove; and in it he enjoys the rest well earned by his years of untiring activity.