The Brigadier General
Although there has been lots of research done in our family we never knew anything about our last name Nowell. My father and his sister were the only ones to have this surname. The story was that my great grandmother went to New York City and married a man from Columbia SC by the name of Spriggs Nowell. Spriggs owned a tavern on the Hudson River and was suppose to be so mean that my grandmother wrote to her family to come and get her and her young son. It was said that my ggrandfather Spriggs Nowell was found dead in the Hudson River in the Spring of 1934. That was all we knew. Then in 1999 my father was cleaning out the upstairs of his house and found an enveloped addressed to Spriggs from a Brigadier General RJ Nowell address from 1700 Gadsden Street in Colunbia SC. After a little bit of Sleuthing I found out that Brigadier General JR Nowell was Spriggs father and that he was the head of a Black Militia group known as the Capital City Guards in Columbia SC. The Capital City Guards made national news on 9/3/1900 when they participated in a Labor Day Parade and a carriage of white passengers ran into there formation twice and knocked over several soldiers. Some newspapers characterized it as a race riot and the Governor disband the group after lengthy investigation and court proceeding.
In addition to serving as General to the Guards. JR was also Grand Lecturer for the Knights of Pythias for 14 year and also president of the Capital City Civic League. He died May 7, 1922 and is buried at Randolph Cemetery in Columbia where there is a monument as well as a tombstone for him. All of this discovered when my father found a letter in the cubbyhole of his house.