He came with his father to Burlington, New Jersey, in 1727. In 1731, he became coexecutor of his father's will, and responsible to heirs in England and New Jersey. John probably married his wife Mary _______ before 1735, the estimated birth of his eldest son, Samuel. In 1737, the family moved to the junction of two large tracts of land surveyed to John's maternal grandfather, Samuel Barker, in 1680. The place became known as Imlaydale, which is still inhabited and lies across the Musconectcong from New Hampton, New Jersey.
In Traditions of Hunterdon, pg. 85 THE BOWLBYS OF HAMPTON (copied by Florence Bowlby, transcribed by Cynthia Katzman Bowlby)
The land from Asburry to Hampton Junction and extending over the Musconetonz into Warren County, a tract of 5,088 acres was purchased by John Bowlby from the first proprietors about the year 1740. John Bowlby came from England and selected this spot as favorable for a mill site.
His house stood near where Peter Cramer now lives. It was once considered as the grandest house in the settlement. It consisted of logs hewn on two sides and notched at the ends; was 1 1/2 stories high and had two large rooms below stairs, while the other houses had only one. It was the first house built here.
John Bowlby was quite young when he came to this country. His 2 brothers, Thomas and Richard, and their sisters came with them. Joseph Bowlby, now 83 years old, living at New Hampton, can remember when there was nothing but log houses in the whole valley.
When John Bowlby was running the boundaries of his land, Col. Daniel Coxe was also laying out a tract to the east of him. There seems to have been some strife between them as to who should get his survey extended on record first, and at the same time, get as much of the creek as possible.
Coxe became alarmed, mounted his horse and rode towards Burlington as fast as he could, while Bowlby ran his lines so far as to take up the whole stream, keeping Coxe out of every foot of it. He then mounted a horse and followed Coxe, who rode one horse to death, and borrowed another, and thus reached Burlington first. But Bowlby, "kept him out of the creek" and that was all he desired, for he now had the mill site, and the most valuable portion of the land. Before the mill was built, Bowlby went to Pittstown to mill, a distance of 10 miles, through the wilderness, following an Indian path. Sometimes he had to wait his turn, and would not get back for 2-3 days.
p. 86 THE BOWLBY LAND DEALS.
John Bowlby had 3 sons, Samuel who lived at the homestead, and owned the mill; John who took a part of the land that lay in Warren County, and Thomas or "Esq Tom" as he was called, by virtue of his office, who lived on the side of the stream, where Jacob Skinner now lives.
John Bowlby sold many hundreds of acres for 2s, 6d per acre, because he did not want to pay tax on it. Parties now living tell about the time they could have bought land from Bowlby for 50 cents an acre.
Depending on John's actual death date, the following from the History of Washington Twp, Warren Co, NJ may pertain to his son John:
1780s – John Bowlby, Colonel William McCullough and Mark Thomson located farms along the Musconetcong River. Other families were the Laceys, Van Horns, Van Nattas, Crevelings and Van Dorens.
c. 1792 – Imlaydale, first settled by John Bowlby, began to expand after the erection of a gristmill by Samuel Bowlby and Henry Dusenberry.
His will said ( with punctuation added to make easier reading):
"In the name of God Amen: I, John Bowlby Senior of the County of Sussex and Township of Mansfeldwood Hous and State of New Jersey being weak in body but of sound mind and memory, thanks be to God therefore I do make, ordain, publish, and put in writing this my last will and testament in the following manner.
And first of all I recommend my soul to God who gave it and my body to the earth to be buried in a christianlike and decent manner at the discretion of my executors herein after named and as for such worldly goods as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life I give and bequeath in the following manner.
And first I will that all my just debts and funeral charges be paid and satisfied.
Also I give and bequeath onto my beloved wife Mary Bowlby all and singular my personal estate during her natural life and it is my will that my wife shall not want to home.
She will and I also will and order that six acres of land adjoining Samuel Johnston be divided into 12 equal parts to be divided amongst my granddaughters by lot.
My son Samuel, daughter, Mary Bowlby, half an acre; also his daughter, Hannah Bowlby, half an acre; also his daughter, Sarah Bowlby, half an acre; and also his daughter, Ann Bowlby, half an arcre; also I order that my son Thomas Bowlby's daughter, Olive Bowlby, half an acre;
I also will and order that my daughter, Hanah Palmer, son Philip Palmer one half acre; and I also order her daughter, Mary Daly, one half acre and also her daughter, Sarah Palmer, one half acre; and also her and also my daughter Sarah Palmer's daughter, Sarah Palmer, one half an acre;
I also will and order that all the remainder part of my land and property rights undisposed of here to for, I order to be divided into three equal parts and I give and bequeath onto my beloved son Samuel Bowlby one equal third part of said lands and rights.
And I also order bequeath to my beloved son Thomas Bowlby one equal third of said lands and rights and I also will and order that the other third part be equally divided between my two grandsons John and James Bowlby Suns of my beloved Sun John Bowlby and I also give and bequeath onto my nephew Edward Bowlby son of my brother Jordan Bowlby the sum of five shillings;
Also I constitute my beloved wife Mary Bowlby my Executrix and I also constitute and appoint my trusty and well beloved friend Joseph Laning my Executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and annulling all wills by me heretofor made ratify and confirming this and no other to be my last will and Testament hereof I have set my hand and seal this 7th day of December in the Year of Our Lord 1779."
(Signed) John Bowlby
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered,
By the Hand of John Bowlby,
In the Presence of us.
Altiye? Laning He died between 7 Dec 1779 and 31 Dec 1782 in Imlaydale, Mansfield, Woodhouse Twp., Sussex Co., NJ.