Biography of Miriam
wife of Martin Stephen Rowley
Ancestral Jottings on the
Carpenters, Brownells & Harrises
of Hamilton and Fulton Counties
by Lois Cunniff
The following contains excerpts from letters my grandmother Miriam
Brown Rowley, then in Chicago, sent me
in 1954, when I was a high school senior in Mariemont, Ohio,
working on a family history assignment.
grandmotherís father was Charles Platt Brown, a mathematician,
novelist and fine penman, who moved to
New York City - I'm not sure when. (Alas, just when he had figured
out a numerical system to beat the track,
the governor closed down pari-mutuel betting in the state. The
novel about this also failed to make his fortune,
so he continued in good spirit with his tobacco concession at
Abraham and Straus.)
My grandmother herself
was an artist of considerable skill, a great reader and a ready
correspondent, who stayed in touch with some of
her New York friends and relations into the 1950's. As a very
daring young woman, she traveled west to
Chicago in 1892, to see the World's Fair (Columbian Exposition).
In the New York State pavilion, she met
Martin Stephen Rowley, a young man from Rome, New York.
known about this side of the family
other than Martin's father's name - DeWitt Clinton Rowley. Thanks
to the Internet I recently found him in the
censuses of 1850 (printer) and 1860 (proprietor of the Rome
Sentinel.) Much to research there.
I would welcome mail from any distant relatives still in the area.
I am in New York City, but am presently
working on my own ROOTS AND ROUTES family history and heritage
tourism website, which will bring me
back to the Adirondacks.
GENEALOGICAL BACKGROUND INFO
My grandmother Miriam Brown Rowley was born in 1871 either in
Northville or New York City. Her
mother Jane Carpenter (of Northville) had married Charles Platt
Brown (of Wells) and moved to New York
City with him. Jane died of consumption when my grandmother was
two, so Miriam was raised in Northville by
her maternal grandmother, Sally Brownell Carpenter. In 1942 she
wrote me about her childhood, "they gave
me lovely clothes and I had crayon, painting and elocution lessons,
but was never allowed to go out, to parties,
to ride down hill etc without having to come home before the nicest
boys, who worked in their fathers' stores,
could get out. It was wicked to dance. We had a roller skating
rink and I was allowed to go there, only when
my Aunt Lill went along and so on and on until we began to hear
about the World's Fair at Chicago in '92. And
before I go on with that, Sacandaga Park was a beautiful Park and
summer resort, just across the river from
Northville. There were elegant large hotels, "movies", a pavilion
for dancing and a little old man who took
tintypes. I have many in my box of pictures."
This letter also
describes the homestead in Northville as a "two
story 12 room house with acres and acres of ground on the main
street. It is still there, and I hope some day
you will go and see it and the lovely little village where I lived
for twenty one years." [I would love to know
which house it is - if it is still there.]
My grandmother's father had returned to NYC after Jane's death,
remarried, and eventually moved to Chicago.
In 1892, my grandmother, then 21, went out to visit him and work at
the World's Columbian Exposition, where
she met my grandfather Martin Stephen Rowley of Rome, New York.
They married and moved to
Nebraska, where Willet Northup Rowley was born. She died in her
eighties in Chicago.