Sunday, February 24, 2019

On Isaac Chapman Fowler

Isaac Chapman Fowler (1831-1905) was a Bristol newspaperman, a promoter of the Natural Tunnel at Duffield, the mayor of Goodsonville before it became Bristol, and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates where he was made Speaker of the House (one of only two from the far Southwest in the history of the Commonwealth). In 1884 he moved to Abingdon when he was appointed to be the Clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia at Abingdon. He was a "dyed-in-the-wool" Republican. When he died, the Republican paper in his hometown of Tazewell reported that he had lived "a long life of usefulness." He is buried in East Hill cemetery. His house in Bristol built in 1867 is still standing as is the house he bought in Abingdon across from the Martha Washington Inn.

While he was in the House, Fowler's main critic was Leonidas Baugh whose newspaper was the Abingdon Democrat. Fowler outlived Baugh by many years and so there was no comparable headline in the Abingdon Democrat declaring Fowler had lived a long life of not being useful.

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