Bowleg family in the Bahamas are descendants of the Black Seminoles from Florida?

Posted: August 6, 2012 by phaze242 in Topics from the Tropics
Tags: , , , , , , ,

While I was on the internet researching for my job, I stumbled upon some information regarding the Bowleg family of Andros and their history. Apparently, they are believed to be descendants of the Black Seminoles that migrated to the Bahamas at the end of the First Seminole War.

With my interest already captured in the topic, I went to my grandfather for some answers. He showed me some pictures of my great-grandfather as well as my great -grandmother. He can be described as a short man with very high cheek bones. Most Bowlegs I have seen were quite short. I am still trying at the moment to research my roots as far back as I can, but the process is very complicated. My great-grandmother was mixed woman with Indian and Black blood. While talking to my grand father, I also found out that my great-great grandmother was an Indian woman but I would assume she had Native American look. She was the light skin with long, dark and straight hair.

I went onto this website and found this information. I do not own the rights to this; I am acknowledging the work of Miss Rosalyn Howard:

Charles Bowleg – Nicholls Town

Charles Bowleg, in his mid to late forties, lives in Nicholls Town and is readily identified by Bahamians as “Indian” because he is “bright” and has high cheekbones. He is a member of the Bowleg family that has long-established roots in Nicholls Town. His niece, Shelley Bowleg, is currently the principal of the Red Bays Primary School. Charles Bowleg told me that he learned the story of the Black Seminole exodus to the Bahamas from his great aunt, Blossom Bowleg:

“She was Blossom Bowleg until she got married to Evans. Her parents came from the west coast of Andros. Her grandparents came from Florida, and they landed on the west coast at a place called Cedar Coppitt. And after a period of time, they were on the west coast, on the back side of Andros. It is very low so a hurricane came through, a very serious hurricane, and it wash out a lot of the land, and they were seeking for higher ground. So several of the younger ones, they get in these small boats, a canoe what they come over in, and they find a narrow passage which they call Bowleg Lake. The mouth of it enters in the northeast side at Stafford Creek, and it goes in right straight through to the western part of the island. Big boats only can go halfway down through there because of the area. Some areas are so narrow that the water is so shallow and you go in probably five miles and then the water’s fresh. And the fresh water and the salt water at times push each other back and forth. So they use that as a channel to come through on the north side. Her grandparents told her that after they come over, they find on the north side was a much better place, higher ground. Then they went back and get the family, and come to the north side [Nicholls Town].”

“After they came on the north side, they never went back. Blossom, Felix [are] brothers and sisters. Their father was one of the original people who came over [from the other side of Andros Island]. It was Simon and another one name Scipio, two brothers, Bowleg, and they were the ones what come from the west. And then they migrate from there. They were mostly fishermen and farmers, and they sail all through the Bahamas and they left one or two here and there. So the families scatter all through the Bahamas, but originally Bowlegs all from Nicholls Town. We have some in western Grand Bahama, and we have some in Eleuthera, but not a big amount. The big amount is in between Nassau and Freeport, west end.”

“I never knew my great-grandmother, I never recognize her name, but I heard she was mixed with Indian blood, light-skinned. Some [Bowlegs] were bright and some black. One of the sisters were medium brown, one of the sisters were bright. She was so bright they used to call her “Gold.”

“I used to go to Florida a lot when I was much younger and I run into several people who told me that they bears the same title [the Bowlegs surname], even white ones. I run into a custom officer and he told me “You’s a Bowleg?” I said, “Yeah.” This other gentleman, his title was Bowleg. So he look at me, and he say, “Oh we got black ones too!” So he say, “And I see you from Andros.” Say, “You know we are family?” So I say, “No, I don’t know that.” He said that most of his parents were Indians and they married white women, and that’s how come he was white. But we have real bright girls and boys in our family, and some of them is real black. My mother was very bright and my daddy was light brown. But one thing is that they [Indians] never like boss man too much. The majority of them work for themselves, very short-temper. They rather fight one time and get it all over with. As far as the Indians is concern, they pretty peaceable until you get them out. Then they don’t care about life anymore. That’s the way it is.”

I have even more interest to pursue more research into this topic. I am hoping as a young college student to find out more about my family history.

  1. Cassandra says:

    I, too, am a Bowleg. My email is I’m trying to find out more about my ancestry.

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