Joe J. Fowler
(Glendale Magistrate)

Story furnished by Clarence Crocker


Born September 5, 1883 in Union Country of South Carolina, Joe J. Fowler was the son of Howard and Amanda Fowler. His wife, Jane Fowler, was born November 19, 1864 and they became the parents of five children.

Living in Glendale, he was employed by the D. E. Converse Co. (Glendale Mills Division) for many years before retiring and moving to the Bethesda area. I have been unable to ascertain the exact years he served as the local Magistrate but as I recall, he served for a short time in the early 1930s preceding John LeMaster’s tenure.

Mr. Fowler was for a long time a faithful member of the Glendale Baptist Church. At that time, Glendale members were meeting in the building which had been built in 1909-10. It had no central heating system and was heated by two large pot- belly wood/cold heaters, one being located on each side between the rostrum and the congregation. Though the church had a regular custodian who cleaned the church and built the fires, I saw Mr. Fowler on numerous occasions jog the fire during prayer services.

Mr. Fowler was a good old “Joe”. He was well known, highly respected and a jovial person who delighted in telling tales. I shall never forget the night when he told the story of a couple who had been killed in an auto accident. It was during a prayer service when they were giving testimonies. He said that when the couple got to the pearly gates, St. Peter asked, “What happened? the last time I saw you two, you were on your way to get married“. “Yes, you’re right” the man answered, “We were killed in an auto accident.” 

Mr. Fowler said that the man asked St. Peter if they could still get married to which St. Peter said, “When I find a minister, I will send him to you”. Considerable time had pasted when the couple met St. Peter again. Looking at St. Peter they said, “We are still looking for the preacher” to which St. Peter replied, “I am too”. While most people got a laugh out of the joke, Rev. Elvin Jones who was Pastor at the time, mildly rebuked Mr. Fowler saying that he considered the joke insulting and improper for the time and place. Mr. Fowler assured him that he meant no harm and was sorry if he was offended. 

Jane Fowler died June 26, 1916 and was buried in the Glendale Community Cemetery. Copies of her obituary have not been found by this writer. Dates of birth and death were taken from her grave marker.

Mr. Fowler died in a local hospital on Saturday morning March 8, 1958. Mr. Fowler had moved to Bethesda and living with his son at the time of his death. According to his obituary appearing in the Spartanburg Herald, his funeral service was held at the Bethesda Baptist Church where he had been a member since moving to the area. Rev. Arden Stewart and Rev. J. O. Gilman officiated. Pallbearers were Joe, Richard, Thomas N., Thomas G. Ray Fowler and Norman K. Burgess.

The following survivors were listed, five sons; D. E. and C. B. Fowler of Lyman, S.C., Brady H. , J. Brian and G. Harley Fowler of Spartanburg, S. C., one daughter; Mrs. T. B. Burgess of Spartanburg, two brothers; H.F. Fowler and M. M. Fowler of Spartanburg. Also, twelve grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. Interment followed the services at the Glendale Community Cemetery along side of his wife. 
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