Heritage \ Writings \
View Military Section.

John C. Rowden (1844-1913)
Native of England, Civil War vet., residence in Williams Township.

Biography, 1905. - Added April, 2011.

History of Bay County, Michigan - Gansser, 1905.


A well known citizen of Auburn, is a lawyer by profession and enjoys a fair land and pension practice. He was born in Devonshire, England, February 9, 1844, and is a son of John and Mary (Crispin) Rowden.

John Rowden, the father, was born in England and came to this country with his wife and four children in the fall of 1854. The voyage from Plymouth, England, to Quebec, Canada, on the sailing vessel “Oriental” consumed more than seven weeks. They proceeded straightway to Detroit, Michigan, then to Williams township, Bay County, the latter part of the journey taking three weeks, as there were no roads. They followed bridle paths and frequently found it necessary to go ahead and cut a way. His oldest son, Samuel, had preceded him by two years, and together they took up 80 acres under preemption act. They cleared the virgin of its timber and under brush, erected a cabin and then set to work to cultivate the land. Provisions were exceedingly scarce and they experienced all the hardships incidental to pioneer life. The father was a Republican in politics, and a man of a high order of intellect. He possessed a wonderful memory, and although not a member of any church, was able to tell the book verse of any passage in the Bible when he heard it. He died in 1877, at the age of 79 years, and his wife died one month later, at the same age. He had two brothers, William, a private in the Queen's Guards, of the English Army, who probably lost his life in the siege of Sebastopol, as he was last heard of there; and Robert, who was a commander of the battleship “Warrior,” in the English Navy. Mr. Rowden married Mary Crispin and they had the following children: Samuel, of West Bay City; Mrs. Mary Ann Kent, a widow; Mrs Susan Dutton, who died in 1903 and was buried at Fentonville, Michigan; John and Martha, who died in England; and John C., our subject.

John C. Rowden's schooling was limited to two years, and his education was mainly acquired by private research in such books as he could borrow. He frequently walked a distance of 10 miles to borrow a book, which he would peruse thoroughly and carefully. He developed a taste for study and began reading law, gaining his knowledge in a slow way as opportunity presented itself. He passed the examination of the Department of the Interior in 1881, and in 1895 was admitted to the bar of Bay County. He has established a remunerative land and pension practice, and maintains his office at Auburn. He voted the Republican ticket until 1866, since which time he has been independent in politics. In 1901, he was elected representative from the Second District, on the Industrial ticket, receiving the endorsement of the Democratic party. He served one term in that capacity, two terms as supervisor and two terms as justice of the peace.

On Augut 2, 1862, at the age of 18 years, Mr. Rowden enlisted in Company F., 23rd Reg., Michigan Vol. Inf., and was mustered in on September 11th for a term of three years. He was shot in the hip joint while serving at Dallas, Texas, May 28, 1864, and on November 30th of that year received a bullet wound in the head at the battle of Franklin, Tennessee. He rose from private to 2d sergeant as a result of bravery in carrying ammunition to the firing line in the face of severe fight, being promoted over 11 non-commission officers, who magnanimously congratulated him for merited reward. He later was advanced to be 1st sergeant, April 5, 1863, and was discharged at Salisbury, North Carolina, June 28, 1865. He participated in the following engagements: Campbell's Station, Lenoir, siege of Knoxville, Rockey Face Ridge, Resaca, Altoona, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, Fort Anderson, Wilmington and Goldsboro. He is a member o Marshall Post No. 407, G. A. R.

On December 31, 1865, Mr. Rowden married Alice Moore, a daughter of Joseph and Eleanor Moore, and they have three children: Joseph, of Beaver township; Robert, who lives at home; and George Vleit, who at the death of his mother, in March, 1880, was taken to raise by the Vleit family. Our subject was again married July 20, 1881, to Selina Gilbert, a daughter of Joseph and Chastina Gilbert.

Auburn, 1897. - Added April, 2011.

Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory - 1897


Population 125. A village on the M. C. R. R., in Williams township, Bay county, 9 miles west of Bay City, the judicial seat and nearest banking point. Has Catholic and Methodists churches. Stages daily to North Williams and Willard. Mail, daily, John C. Rowden, postmaster.

Auburn House, Joseph Chartier propr.
Bailey, Rev Wm J (Methodist)
Ballard, Ross, physician
Burton, S.W., blacksmith
Evarts, E.S., well borer
Ken, Edward, constable
Kern, Chester A., general store
Peterson, Wm., justice of peace
Rowden, John C., Law and Collections and Groceries.
Rowden & Son, Stationery and Groceries
Snyder, J.P., physician
Taylor, H.J., druggist
Wallis, John, blacksmith
White, Charles, machinery

Additional Notes.

    1880 – Census: Williams Twp., Bay, Mich.

  • Rowden, John C. - b. 1844 England
  • Joseph, son – b. 1867 Mich.
  • Robert, son – b. 1871 Mich.

    1881 – Michigan Marriages: West Bay City, Bay, Mich.

  • Date: July 20, 1881.
  • Groom: John C. Rowden, b. 1844, England
  • Bride: Selma Gilbert, b. 1858 Mich.
  • Official: Peter Badour, justice of peace.
  • Witnesess: Charles Dougherty and Stella Dougherty, both of Au Gres.

    1887 – Michigan Deaths: Williams Twp., Bay, Mich.

  • Jan. 18, 1877 – John Rowden, age 61, 9 mos. died.
  • Feb. 28, 1877 – Mary Rowden, age 63, 1 mon. died.

    1900 – Census: Williams Twp., Bay, Mich.

  • Rowden, John C – b. Feb 1844 England
  • Selina, wife – b. Dec. 1857 Mich.
  • Robert, son – b. Feb 1871 Mich. - married
  • Elsie, dau.-inlaw – b. Jul 1871 Mich.
  • Alda, grand-dau. - b. Mar 1896 Mich.
  • Howard C., grandson - b. Mar 1897 Mich.

    1913 – Michigan Family History Org.

  • John C. Rowen, born Feb. 9, 1844, Devonshire, England, died May 10, 1913, burial at Pine Grove Cemetery, Williams Twp., Mich.

Related Pages/Notes

John C. Rowden

Related Pages:
Bay Co. Civil War History
People Referenced
Badour, Peter
Bailey, Wm. J. Rev.
Ballard, Ross
Burton, S.W.
Chartier, Joseph
Crispin, Mary (mother)
Daugherty, Charles
Daugherty, Stella
Evarts, E.S.
Gilbert, Chastina Mrs.
Gilbert, Joseph
Gilbert, Selina (2-wife)
Ken, Edward
Kern, Chester A.
Moore, Alice (1-wife)
Moore, Eleanor Mrs.
Moore, Joseph
Peterson, Wm.
Rowden, Alda (g-dau)
Rowden, Elsie Mrs.(d-inlaw)
Rowden, George (son)
Rowden, Howard C. (g-son)
Rowden, John (father)
Rowden, John (bro)
Rowden, John C. (subject)
Rowden, Joseph (son)
Rowden, Martha (sis)
Rowden, Mary A. (sis)
Rowden, Robert (son)
Rowden, Robert (bro)
Rowden, Samuel (bro)
Rowden, Susan (sis)
Rowden, William (bro)
Snyder, J.P.
Taylor, H.J.
Vleit (family)
Wallis, John
White, Charles
Subjects Referenced
23rd Mich. Inf.
Auburn, MI
Au Gres, MI
Bay City, MI
Bay County, MI
Beaver Twp., Bay, MI
Civil War
Dallas, TX
Detroit, MI
Devonshire, England
English Army
English Navy
Fentonville, MI
Franklin, TN
Mashall Post #407
Quebec, Canada
Pine Grove Cemetery
Plymouth, England
Rowden & Son
Salsbury, NC
West Bay City, MI
Williams Twp., Bay, MI
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.