- William Russell BOWKER was born in the Eastern Cape in 1855, the eleventh of twelve children, the fourth of five sons, born to The Hon. Bertram Egerton BOWKER. Bertram BOWKER arrived with his parents, as a child of ten, with the 1820 Settlers to South Africa, who settled in the Grahamstown area of the Eastern Cape. In due time Russell BOWKER married Helena BIRT and they had one daughter, Margeret.
Russell, after serving with some distinction in the Boer War, visited Kenya in 1901 and was so impressed with the farming/ranching possibilities he vowed that as soon as he had sorted out his affairs and estates in South Africa, he would return to take up land being offered to settlers by the Kenya Government of the day.
In 1904, Russell returned to Kenya bringing with him, some thirty odd aspirant farmers, with their families, from various parts of South Africa.
The Kenya Government was so impressed with BOWKER's efforts to bring in new settler family units, as they were desperately needed to develop the farming and ranching potential of the new Colony, that they offered him six 5000 acre concessional farm properties, as opposed to the normal 5000 acres at the time. BOWKER took up 30,000 acres in the Kedong valley below the Kijabe escarpment, naming his new ranch Mount Margeret Estate, after his daughter.
BOWKER died in 1920? (1916) and was buried on the top of Mount Margeret, on his estate. His daughter Margeret had some years previously married Frank William DOUGLASS who was a large estate owner in the Trans Nzoia, where he ranched cattle and also introduced the cultivation of flax.
Frank and Margeret had a son, Russell Bowker DOUGLASS, who became a noted white hunter in Tanganyika. They also had one daughter, Margeret Frances DOUGLASS, who married Cecil William ALLEN in 1925 and had one son, John ALLEN.
It is of interest that Russell BOWKER, Frank DOUGLASS, Cecil ALLEN and Jock CLEVERLY - John ALLEN's great-grandfather, grandfather, father and father-in-law respectively all served with the East African Mounted Rifles in 1915. Probably a unique family combination in Regimental service.