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An Irish-born tailor, Caven Bowe (c.1765-1798) was indentured to George Washington in 1786, "Received from on board the Brig Ann, from Ireland, two Servant Men for whom I had agreed yesterday—viz.—Thomas Ryan a Shoemaker, and Caven Bowe a Tayler redemptioners for 3 years Service by Indenture if they could not pay, each, the Sum of £12 Sterg. which sums I agreed to pay."1 

Later in life, Bowe ran a shop located at Prince and Washington Streets in Alexandria. Among the personal effects sold after his death were "merchandize [sic] of various kinds, kitchen furniture," and two enslaved people.2 Bowe died in 1798 and was buried at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria.3


1. "4 June 1786," The Diaries of George Washington, National Archives, Founders Online, [Original Source: The Papers of George Washington, 4:340 & 340n]; See entry dated "10 June 1786," in George Washington Cash Memoranda, Dec. 1784-July 1786 (original manuscript, Library of Congress; bound photostat, A-55, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association), 29.

2. Quoted in Michael T. Miller, Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780-1820 (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 1991), 1:37-8.

3. Mollie Somerville, Washington Walked Here: Alexandria on the Potomac, Midway between Mount Vernon and The White House (Washington, DC: The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 1970), 110.