Wealthy man who had his dinner served every night for 59 years after his death
10 October 2016 by Amy Burton
When John Bowman died in 1891, it was clear from the terms of his Will that he was far more concerned about the afterlife than most.
He was a wealthy man and had worked as tanner in Vermont, USA, since the age of 15. In later years he went on to serve in the Vermont House of Representatives, followed by a spell living in Stony Creek, New York, where he earned his fortune by operating another tannery.
Sadly, his daughter died in 1879 and his wife a year later. He had already lost a second daughter during her childhood.
Bowman employed over 100 skilled workmen to build his wife and two daughters a Greek style marble memorial and mausoleum (a stately building housing the tombs of his wife and two daughters), which still exists as a popular tourist attraction today and features a life-sized statue of Bowman with his hat in his hand and a mourning wreath in the other. He was determined that his late wife and daughters would not be forgotten.
When Bowman died a number of years later, he left behind a 21 room mansion, which stood opposite the mausoleum.
Bowman was a strong believer in the afterlife and was sure that at some point in the future he, his wife and his daughters would be reincarnated together. He wanted to ensure that when they did, they would not be hungry.
Under the terms of his Will, he left $50,000 to a trust fund which had the specific purpose of keeping his mansion functioning – servants and all. He left instructions that the servants were to serve dinner every night for the whole family, in anticipation of their arrival.
After his death, the servants duly adhered to Bowman’s stipulations and indeed they continued to do so for a further 59 years until the money in the trust fund ran out in 1950.
Sadly there were no reports of any sightings of the Bowman family…
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