History of the Restoration Movement

Smith Bowlin

1822 - ????

Smith Bowlin was born in 1822. He was one of the early leaders of the Restoration Movement in south central Tennessee. He was a medical doctor, and a great promoter of Biblical truth.

Gospel Advocate Letter

Gospel Advocate
Vol. 12 No. 2, January 13, 1870, p. 43

Gospel Advocate Obituary For James R. Bowlin

James R. Bowlin (son of the lamented Dr. Smith Bowlin, of Bedford County,) was born March 9, 1849, married to Miss Mattie Snodgrass in 1880, (the writer performing the ceremony,) died October 31, 1889, being at the date of his death 40 years, 7 months, and 22 days old. Bro. Bowlin was a kind and generous Christian, had been a member of the church of Christ many years, had strong faith in God the Father, and Jesus, as the Savior of men, died triumphant in this faith. He leaves behind a goodly number of relatives and warm friends, also he leaves a kind and Christian wife, with five little children, to mourn their loss of husband and father. I know that grief of this kind seems almost intolerable, yet, I pray they may look up, though it may be through tears, and say, O God, thou doest all things well. "Our loss is husband and father's gain." Grant that we too, may reach that land where thou wilt wipe our tears and griefs away.
F. F. Dearing., Bell Buckle, Tenn.
Gospel Advocate, January 15, 1890, page 47

Mattie Bowlin Wright

My mother, Mattie Bowlin Wright was born on December 18, 1854, and died on December 19, 1928. She was the daughter of Smith Bowlin, one of our strongest preachers of the gospel at his time. She became a Christian at an early age and was married when eighteen years old to David Whitfield Wright. Seven children were born to this union—six sons and one daughter. Two sons died in childhood. Brother and Sister Wright, Brother and Sister R. S. Clark, and Brother and Sister Isaac Clark were instrumental in establishing the congregation at Fairfield. She was a great sufferer for nearly five years, and bore it with great patience. Mrs. Mattie D. Walker.

It has been a year and a half since the death of Sister Wright, but she was too great a mother in Israel to pass from us with no mention. Her home was a home for the preacher, and a real home it was. Many times it was my good pleasure to shelter there, in company with Brother C. S. Austin, who did the preaching, in 1915, I think. My mission was, in the main, to lead the singing. She was a student of God’s Book, and truly walked by faith. I was four times called to assist in work at Fairfield, and have thought that surely it was one of the greatest places on earth. Places are made great, by its personnel, and Sister Wright was a star in this place.
Ada Veteto.
Gospel Advocate, July 17, 1930, page 718.

Directions To Grave

Dr. Smith Bowlin is buried in the Old Salem Cemetery on the old Bell Buckle/Wartrace Rd. /Hwy. 269 just south of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. From I-24 take the Bell Buckle/Beechgrove Exit and head west on Hwy. 64. Turn right on Hwy. 82 to Bell Buckle. Cross the railroad tracks and immediately turn left on Hwy. 269. When you pass the city cemetery on the right, begin looking on your left as you go down a dip and up again you will see the Old Salem Cemetery. There is only one driveway to enter, and you can bear to the right and park in the grass. Head up the hill and say close to the highway as you make you way toward the rear. Note the small newer monuments that have been placed there on your left. This is the Bowling Family Plot. The actual GPS location of the grave is below.

GPS Location
35°34'45.8"N 86°21'26.8"W
or D.d. 35.579382, -86.357456

Father - James R. Bowlin - March 9, 1849 - October 31, 1889
Son - Eddie A. Bowlin - January 10, 1887 - Febrary 24, 1939

Smith Bowlin, M.D.
and Grandchildren
Ernest Wright
Jesse Wright

Photos Taken May 19, 2021
Webpage produced May 20, 2022
Courtesy Of Scott Harp


Master Index Page