Special Collections and Archives Finding Aids
by Jerry Pepper
Lamont Montgomery Bowers was born on March 7, 1847, at Bowers Corners near the village of Maine, in south-central New York State. His parents were among the many immigrants from New England who settled in the Susquehanna River region during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the years prior to the Revolution, the increasing population of New England was straining the supply of available farm land. This scarcity of farm land created the pressure which caused many farmers in western New England to migrate to the previously unsettled areas along the Susquehanna River. In the 1770s the Wyoming Company and the Susquehanna Company were organized by New England speculators to sell land along the lower Susquehanna to farmers in the well-settled areas of western New England, but the disruptions caused by warfare during the Revolution put a temporary halt to this migration. Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, William Bingham's Boston Purchase and the military tract bounty lands attracted a new flood of immigrants into the Susquehanna region.
For a full discussion of the factors leading to the immigration from western New England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, see Phillip J. Greven, Four Generations: Population, Land, and Family in Colonial Andover Massachusetts (Cornell University Press, 1970). For an analysis of the settlement patterns of New England immigrants in central New York during the period, see the introduction to Whitney R. Cross, The Burned-Over District, the Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850 (Cornell University Press, 1950).
Lamont M. Bowers's parents were among the second wave of New England immigrants whose search for land led them into central New York State. Bowers's parents moved from New Hampshire into an area which was part of the Boston Purchase. His father, Gardiner Sawin Bowers, a millwright by trade, came to central New York from Rindge, New Hampshire. His mother, Achsah Taylor, was the daughter of an affluent Bennington, New Hampshire, family who settled near Maine in 1822. Bowers's parents were married in the Town of Maine in 1828, and moved to the farm at Bowers Corners in 1837. Despite financial difficulties which plagued him throughout most of his life, Gardiner Bowers became a prominent member of a small community. He served as a justice of the peace and was appointed colonel of the local militia regiment by Governor DeWitt Clinton.
The small farming community in which Lamont grew up was typical of America in the period before the Civil War. The United States was still an agrarian nation in which community and family defined identity and provided security. Although rural life in central New York was crude, and the land and climate unrelenting, this tightly knit farm community along Nanticoke Creek provided Lamont Bowers with a warm cocoon of family and friends who protected him during his developing years.
Life in America in certain respects in the years immediately preceding the Civil War had changed little since the Revolution, though population growth, fed by European immigration, had pushed the boundaries of white settlement further and further west. Yet the basic changes in life style associated with major industrial growth were still only a whisper in 1860. Agriculture remained the predominant American industry, and over 88 per cent of the population still lived in small rural communities. The railroads, which were to be a significant agent of change, were still in their infancy. In 1850 there were only about 9, 000 miles of railroad track throughout the entire United States.
All statistical information is from Historical Statistics for the U.S., 1790-1970 (U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C., 1970).
During the years of Lamont's youth, distance was still reckoned by the speed of a horse. Most Americans lived and died in the community of their birth.
For an excellent discussion and analysis of the factors causing the breakdown of community in the United States during the second half of the eighteenth century, see Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order 1877-1920 (Hill and Wang, New York, N.Y., 1967).
Dramatic industrial developments, which would transform the United States from an insular agrarian nation to a world power, unfolded in the years following the Civil War. The insatiable wartime demand for manufactured products was a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution in America.
The function of the railroads, the Civil War, and the general model for American industrialization used in this paper are from W. W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Development, A Non-Communist Manifesto (Cambridge University Press, London, 1960).
The small farm community of Lamont's youth with its tightly bound network of family and neighbors would be submerged in the changes brought by industrialization during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Lamont Montgomery Bowers lived to be 94 years old. Few men have had the opportunity to bear witness to changes of the magnitude that occurred in the United States from 1847-1941. Even fewer had the opportunity to be active participants in that dynamic process of change. During the span of Lamont's life-time, the foundations of modern American industrial society emerged and developed. The complex process of modernization achieved fruition, but at a cost. Men and institutions either adapted with the pace of change or were overcome by it.
Lamont first left Maine in 1866 to attend Lowell's Commercial College in Binghamton, New York. Lowell's was a typical example of the many business academies which emerged in the mid-nineteenth century, providing its students with the rudiments of bookkeeping and commercial procedures deemed necessary for a career in business. After completing a one-year course of study, Lamont got a job as a traveling salesmen for the Ford and Meagley Soap Company of Binghamton. He proved to be a successful salesman, and a year later bought out Ford's share of the business. Lamont's first experience as an entrepreneur was precarious. The firm of Meagley and Bowers suffered a series of setbacks, including an underinsured loss from a fire in the factory. Saved by the foresightedness of Binghamton's leading banker, William R. Osborn of the City National Bank, and by their own fine reputations, the partners were able to rebuild and pay off their debts in four years. In the interim, Bowers worked at a series of jobs and for a short time even taught school. In 1872, the same year that he married his first wife, Fanny Gray, Bowers became a partner in M. A. Sheak and Co., a wholesale grocer in Binghamton. Despite a serious national depression in the 1870s, he enjoyed a successful career in the wholesale grocery business. During this period he also bought an interest in a roofing company which would eventually become the first L. M. Bowers and Company. In 1878 ill health forced him to resign from M. A. Sheak. Following the advice of his doctor to move to a more healthful climate, Bowers left central New York and settled near Omaha, Nebraska.
The move to Nebraska proved to be a turning point in his life. He managed to achieve the financial prosperity which had eluded him in the east. In Omaha, he formed a partnership with George Bemis, an urbane New Englander from a prominent family. Bowers's timing could not have been better. The firm of Bemis and Bowers began buying up what was then farmland in the outskirts of Omaha. America's extraordinary industrial growth following the depression of 1873-1878 doubled the population of cities. Eastern cities bulged with immigrants from Italy, Ireland, and Germany; and the newly freed black people, testing their freedom in the north, added to these swollen populations. The railroads raced with each other to lay tracks in the western territories and to claim the liberal land grants offered by the government. The lure of cheap land offered under the Homesteading Act was as powerful to the new immigrants as it had been to Lamont's parents. Thousands poured westward, creating boomtowns out of prairies and cities out of boomtowns. Small sleepy farming communities became middle size cities almost overnight. As the nation grew, cities like Omaha grew along with it. The real estate owned by Bemis and Bowers became valuable land in the growing suburbs around Omaha.
In addition to being financially successful, the years in Omaha were probably the happiest of Bowers's life. A son, Franck Taylor [UNK], had been born in 1875. The Bowers family lived on a small farm in the countryside outside Omaha, and Bowers indulged his life-long ambition to be a gentleman farmer by raising sheep and becoming an expert at flipping hot cakes.
Although the family had been happy in Omaha, Lamont throughout his life was emotionally and psychologically attached to central New York State. He moved the family back to Binghamton in 1883, bringing with him the sizable profits earned in Nebraska. He had maintained an interest in Hatten, Galpin and Company, a Binghamton manufacturer of roofing material; and he began to dabble in real estate in the Binghamton area and in New York City. Also during this period, he began what was to become an almost compulsive desire to construct buildings. A new house at 203 Main Street was built for the family, and at age 36 Bowers settled into a quiet genteel semiretirement.
Some background information is necessary to understand the chain of events which brought Bowers back into the active business world. His oldest sister, Sarah Jane Bowers, had married Reverend Granville Gates, pastor of the Baptist Church in the present village of Nanticoke. Their son, Frederick Taylor Gates, was born in 1853 and had been, until the Gates family moved near Ithaca in 1863, a member of that tight group of friends and relatives which had surrounded Lamont in his Maine childhood. Though Lamont was six years senior to his young nephew, they maintained a close friendship until Gates's death. Frederick Gates left the area to work his way through the Baptist Seminary in Rochester. After being ordained, he was assigned to a congregation in Chicago. There the same pattern of dynamic growth which changed Omaha from a town into a city turned Chicago into a metropolis. One member of Gates's church was George Pillsbury, a man who had grown with the city. Like Bowers and Gates, Pillsbury's ancestors had emigrated from the rocky hills of New Hampshire. He had made a fortune milling grain, which came from the newly mechanized farms on the prairie, into flour which he then shipped to the east on the network of railroads radiating from Chicago.
Pillsbury was probably the second most influential Baptist in the United States. The first was John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller was the apostle of the centralization of industrial power in the U.S. The vast new industrial expansion of the nation required new forms of management, and Rockefeller had pioneered the idea of consolidation through the mechanism of the trust. He had been the architect of the first trust in America, the Standard Oil Company, and, in the process, became perhaps the richest man in the United States.
Rockefeller, a devout Baptist, considered industrial progress as a tenet bordering on faith. He treated his success as an act of providence and his fortune as a sacred trusteeship. He had always contributed heavily to charity. As he grew wealtheir, the scale of his philanthropies grew proportionately. By 1892 the burden of administering his interests in Standard Oil, in his enormous outside investments, and in his philanthropies was threatening to overwhelm him.
In the 1890s Rockefeller decided to endow the Baptist Church with a major center for higher education. Like many other institutions during the period, the Baptist Church was undergoing change. That change reflected the shift in population from east to west. The major portion of Baptist wealth and the hierarchy of the church remained in the east while the majority of the membership had moved to the west. Powerful forces within the church's leadership were trying to persuade Rockefeller to locate his university in New York City. Pillsbury was leading the battle to have the new institution located in the west. With Pillsbury's help, Gates was appointed to the American Baptist Educational Board. Gates marshalled polls of the church membership and appealed to Rockefeller's sectional pride as a fellow westerner. Rockefeller was so impressed with Gates that he not only decided to endow the University of Chicago, but he also hired Gates to manage his philanthropies. Gates proved to be such an effective administrator that Rockefeller eventually gave him responsibility for overseeing his outside investments.
Although there have been many excellent biographies done on John D. Rockefeller, Sr., for the best one providing a structural analysis of the Rockefeller organization, including Bowers's relationship in it, and a good discussion of the career of Frederick T. Gates, see Allan Nevins, Study in Power; John D. Rockefeller Industrialist and Philanthropist, Vols. I and II (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1953).
Rockefeller's enormous profits from the Standard Oil Trust, secured before the institution of an income tax, were so vast that his investments could easily make him a leading force in almost any industry. In addition, his supply of capital was so great that he could afford to weather depressions and setbacks which would have bankrupted other investors. During the 1890s, Rockefeller had been persuaded to invest in a floundering railroad in Minnesota. The railroad had been constructed to exploit the Mesabi iron ore fields. The ore of the Mesabi range was loose and powdery and therefore undesirable for American blast furnaces which were designed to process rocklike ore. Following the depression of the 1890s, technical innovations in the steel industry allowed the Mesabi ore to be used. Due to its favorable location across the Great Lakes from the new industrial centers, the Mesabi range became one of the most potentially important sources of iron ore in the United States. Gates decided to follow the lesson of Standard Oil by expanding horizontally. Rockefeller owned the railroad, and he owned the ore fields; Gates now advocated the construction of a fleet of ships capable of transporting the ore across the Lakes. He also suggested to Rockefeller that he hire Lamont Bowers to manage the construction and operation of the new fleet. In 1892 Lamont Bowers, who knew nothing of ships, was offered $15, 000 to manage the Bessemer Steamship Company. As Bowers describes it in his Memoirs:
[I was] a commercial man in middle life wholly ignorant and unfamiliar with the proposition as a whole and with no mechanical training whatsoever, lacking every essential qualification for detail dictation.
Much of the personal information in this biography came from two unpublished sources: an unpublished Memoir written by Lamont M. Bowers, circa 1922-1923 and a Brief Biographical Sketch of Lamont M. Bowers, 1847-1941, written by Lamont's son Clement Bowers in 1942. In addition, other personal information became available through interviews with Clement's daughter, Mrs. Lawrence Both-well. This particular quote was taken from Lamont M. Bowers's Memoirs, p. 72.
At first Bowers was skeptical of his chances of success and he turned the offer down. His wife was pregnant with a second son, Clement, who was to be born in 1893. The risky nature of the Rockefeller offer appeared less appealing than the stability and security of Binghamton. In 1895 Bowers accompanied Gates on an inspection tour of the shipbuilding yards in Cleveland:
[I] spent a most interesting week around the shipyards, (meeting with) the owners of the ships and the iron mines and docks... fascinated with the enterprise from every angle and with the broad gauged, enterprising thrifty businessmen who engaged in the industries. Ibid.
Several weeks later he accepted Gates's offer to manage the Bessemer Steamship Co., Rockefeller's Great Lakes iron ore fleet.
Bowers was still skeptical of his chances of success in the enterprise. He had clauses inserted in his employment contract which allowed him to maintain his Binghamton interests in case he failed in Cleveland. He would be required to be in Cleveland only during the shipping season from May to November. In addition, he was allotted a sufficient amount of time off from his responsibilities at Bessemer to allow him to commute back to Binghamton each week during the season. Franck Bowers, who was rapidly approaching manhood, was put in nominal charge of the hometown real estate interests and the L. M. Bowers Roofing Company. In the spring of 1895 Bowers moved into a rooming house in Cleveland and began his duties as manager of the Bessemer Steamship Company.
His ignorance of the technical aspects of shipbuilding turned out to be an asset. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, marine technology was undergoing a dramatic change. New materials, advanced construction techniques, and innovations in design made past impossibilities current realities. Relying on the advice of a British naval expert, Bowers cast aside the doubts and warnings of the old salts who dominated the industry. As he later recounted it, in numerous instances I dropped old methods in our equipment of the ships and had to bump the hard headed captains.
For a full description of the 1913-1914 coal miners' strike in Southern Colorado, see George S. McGovern and Leonard F. Guttridge, The Great Coalfield War (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1972).
When Bowers arrived in Cleveland, the largest ore carriers on the Lakes were 350-foot-long wooden ships. Using test tank models, Bowers discovered that steel hulled ships of 440 to 600 feet would be more stable in rough weather. At the first trial run of one of the new ships the old salts watched, expecting to see the new steel monster break up. It never did, and Bowers's success helped push the Lakes shipping industry from the age of sail and wood into the age of steam and steel. Wherever he could, Bowers substituted cast steel for iron which saved weight, improved the stability and strength of the hulls, and vastly increased the displacement of the vessels. He introduced the first hollow steel shaft vessels and the first quadruple engines on the Lakes. Bowers initiated improvements in ore handling to allow for the quick loading and unloading of the new ships. When he first arrived, it took a full day to load a ship carrying 1, 000 tons of ore. The new equipment which he installed allowed the dockworkers to load 12, 000 to 15, 000 tons of ore per day.
Bowers's dedication to hard work, his choice of competent technical advisers, and his ability to grasp the mechanics of the industry helped Bessemer to become the largest and most successful carrier on the Lakes. He supervised the construction of 23 steel ships measuring from 400 to 500 feet. He initiated an incentive program to promote safety, and no employee of Bessemer lost his life due to accident during the twelve years of his management. He instituted regulations which he himself called puritanic. Fines were levied against drinking and swearing, and Bessemer ships were not allowed to be loaded or unloaded on Sundays. Finally, Lamont Bowers, a man who had never even seen an ocean, developed a new anchor design. He held the patent on this new stockless anchor which became standard equipment on deep water fleets throughout the world. This led to the establishment of a second L. M. Bowers and Company.
In 1901 Rockefeller sold the Mesabi iron fields and the Bessemer fleet to the promoters of U.S. steel, the first billion dollar corporation in America. In addition to the regular profits registered by Bessemer, Rockefeller received $10, 000, 000 for the fleet, a handsome increase over his investment. Bowers had enjoyed managing a company whose regular transactions reached millions of dollars annually. He also enjoyed the prestige, the professionalism, and the increasing trust of the Rockefeller organization. When he first arrived in Cleveland, he had received specific instructions from the Rockefeller headquarters at 26 Broadway. As he accumulated experience and confidence, he was given greater and greater responsibility for running the company. During the last years of operation, Bowers ran the steamship line almost entirely on his own. The Rockefeller people intervened only to mediate disputes between Bowers and other Rockefeller agents, or to ask for specific favors. Although Bowers kept 26 Broadway informed of all policy-making decisions, Rockefeller intervention became increasingly rare. In addition to managing Bessemer, Bowers was placed on the board of directors of the American Linseed Company, another Rockefeller operation.
Although he enjoyed the professional advancements which accompanied his years at Bessemer, his personal life did not prove as satisfactory. He detested the smoke-filled crowded streets of Cleveland. He refused to move his family there and preferred to live in commercial boarding houses while taking every opportunity to return to Binghamton. Ill health plagued him while the growing demands of the steamship company forced him to spend greater time away from his home and family. The baby, Clement, was a sickly infant, and Franck proved to be a disappointing businessman. Lamont tried to supervise his son's management of the roofing company through daily letters from Cleveland. Franck was temperamentally unsuited for the business world, and his father was forced to sell his interest in L. M. Bowers Roofing Company.
In 1901 Bowers returned to Binghamton, hoping to recapture the happiness which he had left behind when he went to work for Rockefeller. His interest in real estate of the region had grown, and he continued to promote his anchor design. He still periodically worked on projects for the Rockefeller organization. He was made director of the Cleveland Steel Company which, with his help, showed its first profit in thirteen years. He sat on the board of directors of the Frasch Soda Processing Company and several Rockefeller-controlled banks. He helped develop Rockefeller's substantial real estate holdings in Ohio and supervised the construction of the Rockefeller Building in downtown Cleveland. Over these years Bowers was given increased freedom and responsibility and was becoming an important manager for the Rockefeller interests.
In 1907 Bowers's wife became ill and was advised by her doctors to seek a better climate in which to recuperate. It was decided to have the family accompany her to a sanitarium in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Before leaving Binghamton, Bowers was asked by Frederick Gates to inspect the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company in the southern part of the state. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company mined coal in the arid southeastern region of Colorado. Rockefeller had acquired the company as a result of the vicious wars between Jay Gould and Edward Henry Harriman for control of the western railroads. Mismanagement had plunged the company deeply into debt, and it was in imminent danger of defaulting on its bonds. Bowers reported that the company was insolvent and advised Gates to have Rockefeller sell his interests. Gates, instead, offered Bowers the chairmanship of the board of directors of Colorado Fuel and Iron and a free hand in reorganizing the management of the company. Bowers reluctantly once again accepted the job of managing a company for Rockefeller. With the same energy which he had used to build the Bessemer fleet, Bowers tackled the job of reorganizing the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. He installed economical changes in the management of the company, closed unproductive mines, and rearranged the work force to exploit the company's most productive properties. He used the power of the Rockefeller name to get lucrative contracts from the railroads and steel mills. By 1912 the company was once again on firm financial ground. It had met its obligations, shown a profit, and had even declared a dividend. As had happened before, Bowers's personal life failed to keep pace with his professional success. In 1909 his first wife died; in 1911 he married Frances Irene Gere of Montrose, Pennsylvania, a match destined to be unhappy.
Bowers's political affiliation had been Republican throughout his life. Like most businessmen of the period, he believed that the government was obligated to protect personal property and to stay out of the way of free enterprise. At the turn of the century, he had been indignant over the trust-busting policies of Theodore Roosevelt. He had commiserated with Rockefeller over the insults which John D. had been forced to endure at the hands of muckraking journalists. In 1913 Woodrow Wilson was presiding over the executive branch of the government. Wilson had campaigned on a program called The New Freedom, which offered the common man some protection from the excesses of big business, and lent a somewhat sympathetic ear to organized labor.
The labor unions were growing in strength and membership during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Union membership had increased from 440, 000 in 1897 to more than 2 million in 1904, but this growth of the unions had been accompanied by long, bitter, and sometimes bloody disputes. This was particularly true in the Colorado mining districts where a 1902 strike had become violent and had led to presidential involvement and a declaration of martial law. The 1902 strike had concentrated on the northern coalfields in Colorado. About 1912 the leadership of the United Mine Workers Union decided to organize the miners in the southern fields which were run by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.
The campaign to organize the miners of southern Colorado represented a particularly difficult task for the UMW leadership. The miners were generally recent emigrants from eastern Europe who spoke a multitude of languages and dialects. The mines were in the isolated arid canyons of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of southern Colorado. The isolated atmosphere of the mining camps which permeated the mines facilitated the company's control over the work force. Company police controlled access to the camps. The miners lived in company-built towns, sent their children to company-run schools, and, if injured, went to a company-run hospital. All of these factors helped to heighten the immigrants' natural insecurity in their new country.
The logistical difficulties in organizing the southern Colorado coal miners underscored the important position these mines played in the UMW strategy. In 1913 the UMW treasury was half empty. The depression of the 1890s, followed by a series of protracted and inconclusive strikes in Colorado and West Virginia, had severely depleted the union's funds. In addition there was a serious split in the union leadership which broke out into the open at the union's 1910 convention. The key item under dispute was the situation in Colorado. The UMW had been competing with the more radical Western Federation of Miners for control of the Colorado fields. The 1902 strike in Colorado had revolved around the union's efforts to impose a standard wage rate in the northern mines. This costly and largely inconclusive strike, in conjunction with an equally long and unsuccessful conflict in the east, had severely shaken the union. Members of the UMW leadership elected at the 1910 convention blamed the failure of the Colorado strike on the poor union strategy. The union's efforts in Colorado had centered on the northern miners while largely ignoring the workers in the southern coalfields. The operators of the southern mines were able to function freely, and they contributed heavily to funds established to subsidize the owners of the strike-bound mines. In 1913 the new UMW leadership decided to complete their control over the Colorado coalfields by organizing the miners in the south. The UMW leadership had much at stake in the outcome of this new effort.
The strike against the southern mine operators began in 1913 and lasted for over a year. It eventually became violent. Gun battles erupted between striking miners and company police, causing the governor to deploy the state militia. In April 1914 in Ludlow, a mining camp owned by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, a group of miners' wives and children were caught in a cross fire between militia troops and armed strikers. Nine young children and two women, one pregnant, died in the exchange. News of the battle at Ludlow spread across the nation. The newspapers turned it into a cause célèbre; Woodrow Wilson ordered U.S. troops into the mining district, and Congress called for an investigation.
For a full description of the 1913-1914 coal miners' strike in Southern Colorado, see George S. McGovern and Leonard F. Guttridge, The Great Coalfield War (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1972).
Bowers's position in the strike and the events leading up to the Ludlow massacre is ambiguous. He had dealt with unions before and had helped to negotiate a union contract during his days with Bessemer. Although he had been granted progressively greater authority within the Rockefeller organization, Bowers still received periodic instructions concerning the management of the Colorado company. He was in almost daily communication with the office at 26 Broadway, and the volume of correspondence increased appreciably during the period of the strike. It seems clear that Bowers's freedom of action at the C.F. & I. was obviously subordinate to the dictates of the Rockefeller executives. In addition, other members of the C.F. & I. management had a strong influence on the policies of the company.
The prospect of a congressional investigation into the activities of the C.F. & I. during the 1913-1914 strike put Bowers in a very difficult position. Changes in the leadership of the Rockefeller organization compounded the awkwardness of his ambiguous position in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company management. During 1913 and 1914 John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was increasingly yielding control of his interest to his son. At the time of the Ludlow massacre, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was in active control of his father's business enterprises. The young Rockefeller was much more sensitive to public criticism than his father had been. The Ludlow massacre, and the congressional investigations which followed, promised to produce a great deal of public embarrassment. Bowers, who had enjoyed a close relationship with the older Rockefeller, now felt cut off and unsupported by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The Industrial Relations Committee which investigated the strike was noncommittal in its findings. It neither acquitted nor indicted the management of C.F. & I. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. hired publicist Ivy Lee and sociologist McKenzie King to mount a publicity campaign to blunt any negative public reaction to the investigation. This campaign was a success, and the public criticism of the massacre centered on Bowers and the rest of the C.F. & I. management. Betrayed by Rockefeller, condemned by the press, abused by the investigators, Bowers resigned from the board of directors of C.F. & I. His embittered feelings were expressed in his parting statement: men should retire when they reach 65, before they turn old and foolish.
In 1914 he returned to Binghamton with his family. He still had a wide and diverse set of business interests. His real estate holdings now stretched from New York City to Colorado. He maintained an active and close interest in the Great Lakes shipping industry through stock in the Great Lakes Towing Company and the American Shipbuilding Company. He became involved in the stock market, amassing large profits on investments in railroad and insurance company stocks. His anchor company prospered during the boom in American ship-building caused by the wartime demand from Europe. He bought Glen Knob, a farm near Binghamton, as a country home and again assumed the role of gentleman farmer. He indulged a taste for the new-found toy of the rich by purchasing an automobile.
Yet, Bowers's life after Ludlow seemed to be haunted by the specture of the event. Characteristically, his personal life failed to reflect the success he found in his business career. His second marriage ended in separation. He was an avid club man, belonging to many of the fraternal organizations in Binghamton. Yet he never managed to acquire the aura of aristocracy which befitted his wealth and position in the local community. His relationship with his son Franck, which began to deteriorate because of Franck's disappointing management of the roofing company, continued to decline. Franck became a talented artist, an occupation which Lamont viewed as unsavory and unmanly. Lamont's displeasure with Franck's marriage choice further intensified the split between father and son. By the 1930s the family had to plead with Lamont to provide funds for medical attention for his son, who was dying in a hospital in Boston. Bowers's relationship with his other son, Clement, remained cordial, if somewhat formal. Clement Bowers grew up to become a noted horticulturist. Perhaps the father realized his life-long ambition to become a farmer through the vocation of his younger son.
Throughout the 1930s, Bowers increasingly withdrew from his business interests, relegating their management to his sons or trusted advisers. He died in 1941, an embittered man who could no longer understand the changes which first propelled him to the heights of power, only to destroy everything which he once knew and held dear.
Lamont Montgomery Bowers
- Descriptive Summary
- Biographical Note
- Scope and Content Note
- Description of Series
- Container List
- L.M. Bowers - Personal
- L.M.B. - Personal Papers - 1878-1925
- L.M.Bowers - Personal 1926-1940
- L.M.Bowers - Personal Books 1926-1940
- L.M.Bowers - Personal Misc.
- L.M.Bowers - Personal Financial Enterprises
- L.M.B. - Real Estate (Nebraska) - 1876-1928
- L.M.B.-L.M. Bowers & Co. (Roofing) - 1879-1900
- L.M.B.-L.M. Bowers & Co. (Roofing) - Books - 1887-1906
- L.M.B. - Real Estate (New York City) - 1887-1902
- L.M.B. - Real Estate (Binghamton, N.Y. region) - 1896-1952
- L.M.B. - Real Estate (Binghamton, N.Y. region) - 1883-1890
- L.M.B.-L.M.Bowers & Co. (anchors) - 1898-1914
- L.M.B.-L.M.Bowers & Co. (anchors) - 1915-1918
- L.M.B.-L.M.Bowers & Co. (anchors) - 1919-1940
- L.M.B.-L.M.Bowers & Co. (anchors) - Books - 1898-1914
- L.M.B.-Securities - 1910-1940
- L.M.B.-Real Estate (Colorado & Ohio) - 1908-1937
- L.M.B.-Copybooks - 1902-1907
- L.M.Bowers - Rockefeller Enterprises
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Bessemer Steamship Co. - 1896-1901
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Cleveland Steel Co. - 1891 - 1918
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Frasch Soda Processing Co. - 1898-1904
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-American Shipbuilding Co. - 1899-1932
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Great Lakes Towing Co. - 1900-1929
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-American Linseed Co. - 1901-1929
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Ohio Real Estate - 1902-1926
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Ohio Real Estate - 1908-1923
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Misc. - 1903-1910
- L.M.B.-Rockefeller-Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. - 1905-1933
- L.M.B. -Rockefeller-Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. - 1908-1933