Biography - THOMAS ROWE
Thomas Rowe is one of the well-known early settlers of Grand Rapids township, LaSalle county, Illinois. He was born in New Haven county, Connecticut, December 12, 1831, and is descended from old New England families who were noted for their industry, honesty and patriotism. Mr. Rowe's father was Frederick Rowe, a native of Bennington, Vermont. Frederick Rowe's mother was, before marriage, a Miss Perry, and her people were among the patriots in Revolutionary times, six of her brothers serving in the Revolutionary army. Thomas Rowe's mother's maiden name was Hepsebee Johnson. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut, daughter of Jesse Johnson, whose ancestors came from England in the Mayflower.
In 1849 Frederick Rowe left his New England home and, accompanied by his family, came west to Illinois, making the journey across the country to Buffalo, thence via the lakes to Chicago, and by canal from Chicago to Ottawa. Arrived in LaSalle county, he settled in Grand Rapids township, and here he passed the rest of his life and died, his age at death being seventy-one years. The wife and mother likewise was seventy-one years of age when she died. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in his political views Mr. Rowe was Democratic. Their children in order of birth were as follows: Georgiana Rigler, who died in Chicago; Minerva James, of Connecticut; Frederick W., of Ottawa, Illinois; Ellen Lowry, deceased; Thomas, whose name initiates this sketch; Elizabeth Ford, of Grand Ridge, LaSalle county; and Mary Jeffries, of Dwight, Illinois.
Thomas Rowe was reared in Connecticut, where he received a fair education in the common schools, and where for one year he was employed in a tack and nail factory. Then came their emigration to Illinois. He was eighteen at that time, and on their settlement here he devoted his energies to assisting his father in work on the farm. He remained on the home farm until 1858, when he thought to try his fortune in Texas, and went to Huntsville, where he made the first brooms manufactured in that state. He was in the south at the time the civil war broke out, and circumstances impelled liim to enter the Confederate army, in which he served for a period of three years, being with the forces that operated in Arkansas and Louisiana. At the close of the war, in 1865, he returned to his old home in Illinois and has since been a resident of LaSalle county He is now the owner of one hundred and seventeen acres of choice farming land, well improved with good house and barn, and under an excellent state of cultivation.
Mr. Rowe was married, April 12, 1868, to Mary E. Read, a native of Saratoga county, New York, and a daughter of Butler and Emeline Read, natives of that county, both now deceased. The fruits of this union were four children - Alice, now the wife of Grant Baker, of Grand Ridge; Frederick, who died in infancy; Emma L., a successful teacher, employed in the Grand Ridge schools; and Jessie B., of South Qmaha, Nebraska. The mother of this family died in 1886. She was a most amiable woman, loved by all who knew her, and was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In August, 1890, Mr. Rowe married Mrs. A. D. Hodgeman, widow of Ransom Hodgeman and daughter of Ephraim and Abigail (Lowe) Ray, the former a native of Connecticut and the latter of Medina county, Ohio, in which county Mrs. Rowe was likewise born. Her parents are still living, being residents of Victoria, Knox county, Illinois. The father is eightythree years of age, and the mother eighty, and their married life has covered a period of sixty-two years. Both have long been devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church. By her first husband, Mrs. Rowe has five children, namely: Isabelle, wife of C. Hammond, of Victoria, Illinois; Alvin, also of Victoria; Ira E., of Missouri; Carl N., who was a soldier in the late war with Spain; and Raymond B., at home. Mr. Hodgeman died April 17, 1889. He was a man of sterling integrity and was held in high esteem by the people among whom he lived. He was identified with the Methodist Episcopal church, the Masonic fraternity and the Republican party.
Mr. and Mrs. Rowe are Presbyterians in religious adherency, and politically Mr. Rowe is a Republican. He is a man whose genial hospitality is well known and who has the confidence and high regard of all who have ever in any way been associated with him.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 135-137.