Like Father, Like Son
From a Newspaper Article dated June 27, 1937
Richmond Hill Historical Society
Illustration of Joel Fowler
|About Joel Fowler,
Developer of Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens Communities
Article from the Queens Library Portrait and Biographical Record Dated 1896
Researched by Carl Ballenas
JOEL FOWLER is an enterprising business man of Richmond Hill, where he is extensively interested in real estate. He was born at Guilford, Conn., in 1848, the son of Oliver E. Fowler, who was born in the same town about the year 1820. The latter, who was a manufacturer of iron and various kinds of machinery, made some of the first hard-coal stoves in that section, and, indeed, was the first to engage in this line of trade at Guilford.
John Fowler, ancestor of Oliver B. Fowler, was named among the list of gentlemen designated upon the colonial records of Connecticut with the prefix of "Mr.," previous to the union of that colony with New Haven, in 1665, including those who bore military titles of nearly equal rank. He came to Milford, Conn., in 1639, and is mentioned on the first list of planters made in that town. He went to Guilford before 1648, was one of the seven pillars of the church, was made a Freeman, and from that time he and members of his family were members of Colonial house of Burgesses and of the State Legislature.
In 1869 Oliver B. Fowler came to Richmond Hill, being solicited to take charge of the real estate interests of A. P. Man and Edward Richmond. He became one of the leading spirits of this place, favoring all measures having for their object the upbuilding and betterment of the community. He had much to do with the laying out of this now thriving village and was one of its substantial and prominent residents until 1882, the date of his death. Religiously, he held membership with the Episcopal Church, of which he was vestryman. His life was most exemplary and was devoted to upholding and promoting the best interests of his fellows. He was in favor of having the best schools which the place could afford and rendered efficient service during the years in which he was trustee of Richmond Hill School Board.
Oliver E. Fowler was an only son, his father having been killed by a runaway team when he was an infant of a few months. The grandfather was a manufacturer of hats, and when reads to establish a home of his own was married to Catherine Thomas, who, after the death of her husband, made her home with her father. Oliver was given a good education, and after attaining mature years was married to Jane M. Landon, also a member of one of the old families of Guilford. On her mother's side she is descended from two colonial governors, Welles and Leete. Her father became a prominent merchant and trader, owning vessels which made trips to the Bermuda Islands. He was a wealthy gentleman and became influential in political circles in his state, being elected to the legislature, the state senate and also serving as probate judge. His family comprised two sons and three daughters, Mrs. Fowler being the only member of this household who is now living. We quote from the New Haven register at the time of Mr. Langdon's death: "Honorable George Langdoll, aged eighty. Mr. Langdon was one of the most substantial and intelligent of men, remarkable for his purity of character, dignity of person and uprightness of life. He served his town in several capacifies and in the Legislature with ability and credit.",
To Oliver B. and Jane M. Fowler there were granted six children, of whom five are living, namely: Ruth H. and Mary L., at home; Thomas L., who is engaged in business at No.104 Fulton Street, New York; and George L., interested with our subject in the real estate business. The latter was given a good education, completing his studies in the Guilford (Conn.) Academy. He came to Richmond Hill at the time the family removed here and for many years thereafter was engaged in the railroad business, contracting for building roads in various portions of the Middle and Western states. In 1892, however, he became interested in real estate in Richmond Hill, and, like his father before him, has been an important factor in the upbuilding and improvement of this beautiful suburb. In order that more people might be induced to make their homes here, he has built many beautiful residences, which he has never failed to sell at a good profit. He is very liberal and progressive in his ideas and is now serving the public as president of the Board of Education.
Mr. Fowler and Miss Nina H., daughter of the late Capt. Jeremiah Briggs, were united in marriage in 1877. Mr. Briggs was one of the old sea captains of the island, who established his home in Richmond Hill in 1847, purchasing a very pleasant residence, in which he made his home until his decease in 1876, when eighty-four years of age. The old home has since been occupied by our subject and his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler have one daughter, Edna B., a young miss of sixteen years.