return to the William A. Lyles page | modified March 19, 2000

Mary Fowler (born about 1812) married William A. Lyles about 1840, in what is now Oconee County, S.C. .In 1833, her sister Martha Fowler (also born about 1812) had married James Vissage, also of Oconee County.. Mary and Martha came from a large brood of siblings--Sarah, Coleman Carlisle, Ellen, and others whose names have so far escaped us.

Mary Fowler was born about 1813, probably to Coleman Fowler and a McWhorter whose first name we have lost. (Our Great-Aunt Amy Lyles had written that Mary Fowler Lyles' father was a Thomas Fowler, not Coleman Fowler. But she also mistakenly identified Thomas Fowler as the builder and preacher at Salem Church. Evidently, she was correct about most details of Mary's family and father, except for the father's name and the ages of Mary and Martha.)

Coleman Fowler was a farmer and Methodist preacher, who in 1844 gave land for, helped build, and preached in one of the first churches in Oconee County--Salem Church on Choestoe Creek. The 1844 deed names Obadiah Fowler, Joseph Lyles and William A. Lyles among the trustees of the church. Shortly before 1840, Coleman Fowler apparently also preached at nearby Hopewell Methodist Church. He died sometime between 1850 and 1860.

(Much later, a 1905 article in the Keowee Courier said that Coleman Fowler, who preached at the long-gone Salem Church, is buried at the Sloan Dickson Farm near Westminster. The article noted that few now living will remember the church.)

Before moving to Westminster, in Oconee County, SC, Coleman Fowler was most likely born in Union County, SC, about 1775, among many other Fowlers there. While in Union County between 1812 and 1822, he left his name on several wills and deeds. In 1812, he was the executor of the will of William Fowler, with Godfrey and Anne Fowler as witnesses. In 1817, he was a witness to the estate of Richard Page, with Israel Fowler as executor. In 1822, he was executor of the will of Ephraim Fowler, whose sons Stephen, Ellis, and Jasper were named among the heirs.

Between 1830 and 1833, Coleman Fowler moved from Union County, SC, to the western Pickens District, now Oconee County. Fowlers had been moving to the Pickens District for a whilke before Coleman Fowler did. The 1830 Census of the Pickens District lists four Fowler households, none of whom was listed again in 1840--the households of Joshua Fowler (born 1750-60), Anthony Fowler (born 1800-1810), John Fowler (born 1800-1810), and Thomas Fowler (1800-1810). Coleman Fowler settled somewhere just below present-day Westminster, SC, with his wife and the children of their large family who had not yet struck out on their own. His wife, according to our family lore, was a McWhorter, was supposedly the daughter of a McWhorter who was killed in a laurel thicket by Tories in Union County, S.C. Her mother escaped with her two little girls and a couple of English orphans to Charleston, so the story goes. We do not know her first name or which McWhorter family she came from.

In 1833, Martha Fowler (Coleman Fowler's daughter, we suppose) married James W. Vissage near Westminster, SC. In 1840, Coleman Fowler still had a number of people under his roof: his wife (born 1870-1880), 2 young women (born 1810-1820), 1 young man (born 1820-1825), and a boy (born 1835-40). We guess that the two young women were Sarah Fowler (Nov.15, 1815-Aug. 17, 1815) and Mary Fowler.

Nearby in 1840, a Mary McWhorter (born 1780-90) lived alone. Could she be the sister of Coleman Fowler's wife?

Also nearby in 1840 lived Obadiah Fowler (born 1800-1810) and a wife (born 1810-20) and a house full of children--a boy and a girl (born 1825-1830), a boy and girl (born 1830-35), and yet another boy and girl (born 1835-40). We guess that Obadiah Fowler was a son of Coleman Fowler and a brother of Martha Fowler Vissage and Mary Fowler Lyles.

Although Mary Fowler was apparently still under Coleman Fowler's roof for the 1840 Census, she probably left late that year when she married William Albert Lyles. In the 1850 Census, she was Mary Lyles and had 5 living children, including Sarah, born in 1841.

Also the 1850 Census, shows that Coleman Fowler had lost his wife and had gained a woman Clarisse and two young girls, who might have been part of the family of Obadiah Fowler, who was gone.

By the 1860 Census, Coleman Fowler was gone, and Coleman Carlisle Fowler, age 35, had returned from Union County to head a small household of himself, his sister Sarah, age 45, and Leonard D. Fowler, age 22.

Coleman Fowler's Household in Censuses

Union Co.
Union Co.
Union Co.
Pickens District
Pickens District

Coleman b.1775-84

Coleman b. 1776-94


Coleman b. 1770-80


woman b. 1756-74



woman b. 1775-84

woman b. 1776-94

woman b. 1770-80

boy 1 b. 1791-1800

man b. 1795-1804


boy 2 b. 1791-1800



girl 1 b. 1791-1800

woman b. 1795-1804


boy 3 b. 1805-1810


boy 4 b. 1805-1810


girl 2 b. 1805-1810

woman b. 1810-20

boy 5 b. 1811-1820

man b. 1820-251


girl 3 b. 1811-1820

woman b. 1810-20

Sarah, 27 [sic]2

girl 4 b. 1811-1820


Carlisse Fowler, 30 F3

Dorthea, 11 F

Nancy, 5 F

1 Was this Coleman Carlisle Fowler? If so, he seems to have moved to Union County for the 1850 Census (Coleman Fowler, 34 yrs). By the 1860 census, he was back in the Pickens District as C.C. Fowler, the head of a household that included sister Sarah, 45 yrs, and Leonard D. Fowler, 22.
2 Sarah was actually 35 in 1850.
3 Were Carlisse and the two girls from Obadiah Fowler? In 1840, Obadiah Fowler, born 1800-1810, had a wife 20-30 yrs, a boy and a girl 10-15 yrs, a boy and a girl 5-10 yrs, and a boy and a girl under 5 years. Obadiah Fowler was gone in 1850.

Joshua Fowler
Real Estate Book A, Page 10
Probate Judge's Office, Pickens County, S.C.
The State of South Carolina
Pickens District

William Jamison applicant


Mark Freeman in right of his wife Elizabeth

Heirs Joshua Fowler Junr. Deceased

Heirs of Thomas Fowler Deceased [my emphasis--JRL]

Heirs of John Leonard

Moses Cantrel in right of his wife Ruth

William Fowler John Fowler Josiah Fowler

Milly Boyd and son Jeter heirs of Robert Boyd Deceased.

Elizabeth Fowler widow of Joshua Fowler Deceased.


Or the Legal Heirs of the said Joshua who died intestate, Greeting. You are hereby required to appear at the Court of Ordinary to be holden at Pickens Court House for Pickens District on the 3 Monday of this instant to shew cause if any you can why the Real Estate of Joshua Fowler decd. situate in Pickens District on the waters of George Creek Bounded by Lands of Edmond Singleton, Samuel Hall and others containing Six Hundred sixty two and a half acres more or less, should not be divided or sold alloting to the widow Elizabeth Fowler one third of the same and the other two thirds to the Legal Heirs and Representatives of the said Deceased. Given under my hand and seal the 7th day of October 1833.

James H. Dendy O.P.D. (LS)


Having advertized in the messenger for absent Legatees and taken the Testimony of Archibald Miller who on oath saith the land in question is not worth $1000 and that it is best for the parties interested to sell the same. It is hereby ordered and decreed that the land above described in the summons in partition in this case be sold by the sheriff of Pickens District on the 1st Monday of February next or on such other sale day as shall be most for the advantage of the parties interested on a credit of 12 months for the purchaser giving Bond and approved security for the payment of the purchase money.

January 1st 1834 Jas. H. Dendy O.P.D. (LS)