Benjamin Bowring, silversmith, watchmaker, merchant (b in Devonshire, Eng 1778; d at Liverpool, Eng June 1846). One of a large number of Devonshire tradesmen who immigrated to St John's, Bowring first visited Newfoundland in 1811; in 1815 he sold his shop in Exeter and opened a store in St John's.
A careful, prudent man, he avoided the bankruptcies endemic in Newfoundland between 1815 and 1840. By the late 1820s he had entered the general import trade of the colony and was speculating in the seal hunt. When his sons came of age in the 1830s, Bowring moved to the company's new head office in Liverpool.
In 1839 he gave up active involvement in the company, which under his sons became known as "Bowring Brothers." His sons made the decisions that resulted in the family's great fortunes, but Benjamin, by moving to St John's and by careful and frugal management, gave them the base from which to start.