Francis William Monkhouse (Frank) Bowker was a son of Miles Robert Bowker (1837-1913) and his wife Emma Beddoe, and a grandson of William Monkhouse Bowker (1803-1876), member of a large 1820 settler family. Frank was educated at St. Andrews College, Grahamstown, and passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1888. The next year he passed the university's intermediate examination (equivalent to the first year of the BA degree) but did not complete the degree. He was a man of quiet disposition and wide interests, who collected much information about the Bowker family which he published in local newspapers. He was both a big game hunter and an outstanding farmer on his farm Thorn Kloof, in the Grahamstown district. His contribution to science consisted of an important collection of almost 200 skulls of South African mammals which he donated to the Albany Museum in 1909.
Frank was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. By 1920 he was still living on Thorn Kloof and was a member of the South African Biological Society. In 1930 he became the founding president of the Carlisle Bridge Farmer's Association. In April 1913 at Graaf Reinett he married Geraldine Elphinstone Reid. They had one son, who was named after his father.