MR. ROBERT ROWE, 1802-1879
By Walter E. Larson, Dist. 272
The land upon which Sheridan now stands was first settled by Mr. Robert
Rowe. He settled here in 1838.
He immediately began to build a home, a place southwest of town. The lumber for this house was hauled by wagon all the way from Chicago. This was the first house built in this community, and it still stands, but it is not occupied.
This house now is owned by Mr. Joe Armstrong. Some people believe that this house is haunted.
Mr. Robert Rowe was born in Edinburg, Scotland, January 10th, 1802. His father was a person from the same place.
They had hardly enough money to pay their way to the United States. Mr. Robert Rowe's father worked as a cabinet maker, and later he taught his son, Robert Rowe, the same trade. By his father saving the money that he made in the cabinet making business, he made enough money to come over from Edinburg, Scotland, to the United States.
Mr. Robert Rowe's father was liked very much over in Edinburg, Scotland.
When they got ready to come to the United States their trip was delayed until the next day. They had to come by sailboat. It took them forty-two days to reach the United States. Robert Rowe was at the age of two years when they came to the United States. They came over in 1804.
They first landed at New York, in 1804. Mr. Robert Rowe's father did not have much money. He started cabinet making then and got enough money for him and his son, Robert Rowe, to go to Indiana, in Dearborn county. They came to this place in the spring, in April 1838. This is where they started their first farming. They remained here until Mr. Robert Rowe's father died.
After his father's death he moved to Sheridan. He married Mary McMatch. They raised ten children, of whom five are living.
He was quite a talented and intelligent man, taking up and mastering the study of astronomy without the help of a teacher. He did not attend school after he was eighc years old because of sickness.
One of his sons was Alexander Rowe. He was born August 12, 1804, and died on Thanksgiving day, 1883. He was run into and knocked down by a colt and never recovered from these injuries, which later caused his death.
Mr. Robert Rowe built the first astronomical observatory. It was erected at the back of his home. It contained one of the finest telescopes in Illinois at that time. About 1885 the observatory was struck by lightning and burned.
Mr. Robert Rowe spent most of his leisure hours in his older days in this observatory that he built.
A few years after the settlement of the village the Ottawa, Oswego and Fox River Valley railroad was constructed in 1869. Two or three years after the construction of the railroad the farm grew to a settlement of several hundred.
In 1869, the same year as the railroad was constructed, Samuel Rowe laid out the village and named it Sheridan, for General Phil Sheridan.
Mr. Robert Rowe grew to be 77 years old. He died on June 14, 1879. He was a member of the Universalist church and a pioneer of Mission township, settling where Sheridan now stands.