A Louisiana Rowley Family
[From: "Memoirs of Louisiana," written about 1890]

Richard D. Rowley, a native citizen and well-known planter of East Feliciana parish, was born in 1823, a son of John and Esther (Thymes) Rowley. His parents were natives of South Carolina and were reared and educated in that state. They married in Beauford county, S.C., and came to Louisiana about 1812 and finally located where Richard B. Rowley now lives. The journey from South Carolina was made on horseback through great tracts of country in which there were no roads, and the way was made dangerous by the Indians who lived along the route.

Soon after coming here Mr. Rowley joined a company going to New Orleans and was in the famous battle of that place under General Jackson. While he was at New Orleans, his wife and family lived unprotected in the rudest kind of log cabin, with only a blanket hung across an opening in the side of it for a door; the woods which stretched miles and miles on all sides were filled with wild animals, and the lonely woman and little ones were often in great danger from them. After the war he returned to his newly-made home and took up the task of improving the land. His family at that time consisted of his wife and their own young twin children and an adopted orphan girl about ten years of age. The family was imbued with the true pioneer spirit, and they braved all dangers, endured all hardships, safely passed through all vicissitudes and managed not only to get a living, but to become thrifty. John Rowley followed farming until his death, which occurred in 1823, when the subject of this sketch was a child of three months of age.

He was the eldest of the family of Joab and Mary (Loher) Rowley, natives of South Carolina. To them were born fourteen children-- two sons and twelve daughters-- all of whom are dead. After the death of his first wife, Joab Rowley married a Mrs. Dunn, by whom he had one daughter, Blanche, who died at the age of sixteen years. Joab Rowley and his family came to Louisiana some few years before the coming of his son, John, the father of our subject, and went back to assist the latter in getting safely through the Indian country, and here he lived and died.

The mother of Richard D. Rowley was the daughter of Cornelius Thymes, who died in South Carolina soon after the removal of several of his sons to Louisiana. One son, Dr. A. Thymes, settled in East Baton Rouge parish; Amos Thymes was sheriff of that parish for many years; Cornelius Jr. settled in Yazoo county, Mississippi; the other members of the Thymes family remained in South Carolina.

John Rowley, the [great] grandfather of our subject, came across the sea to this country at the age of ten years, and settled in South Carolina. The mother of our subject died in 1861, a devout member of the Presbyterian church. She was a highly refined lady, well educated and of a fine old family, and , as may be supposed, she took great pains in the rearing of her eleven children: Her eldest child died at the age of twenty-eight years, and all the other children, except the subject of this notice, are now deceased. Joab, one of the twins, died at the age of fifty-two years, leaving a family of four daughters, one of whom, Sarah, became the wife of James Taylor, and was the mother of three children, one of whom, Richard Taylor, is now living in East Feliciana parish; Thirzy Rowley, sister of Richard D., married William Greenwell, by whom she had two children, both of whom are now dead; Timothy Rowley died in Texas, leaving a large family of children; John Rowley died, leaving three children, one of whom now lives in Yazoo county, Miss.; Willis Rowley died, leaving six children, four of whom are deceased; Elizabeth Rowley died unmarried; Henry Rowley died, leaving three children, one of whom has passed away; another brother, James, died unmarried; Amos Rowley died, leaving one child, who is living.

Our subject, the youngest of this large family, was reared and educated in this parish. His father having died when he was an infant, his scholastic advantages were consequently somewhat limited and what education he received he acquired in the common schools of his parish. At the age of eighteen years he began life on his own account by dealing in Negroes and as overseer of a plantation. He was married in 1849 and came to the place where he has since lived in 1859. From 1855 to 1859 he worked for William Silliman, one of the wealthiest men in the parish, who will live in history as the generous founder of the Silliman Collegiate institute.

Soon after the beginning of the war Mr. Rowley entered the confederate army as a member of the First Louisiana cavalry regiment, with which he served until the close of the war, with the Wheeler, Ashby and other brigades in Alabama and Virginia. He was in the second battle of Manassas, and took part in the engagements at Chickamauga, Tennessee and Stone River. He was wounded by the falling of his horse near his home in the latter part of 1864 while on detached service. The horse which he rode during the entire period of the war lived to be thirty two years of age and died in 1879, a much-beloved family horse, known widely as a veteran of the Civil war, and his memory was embalmed in a long obituary notice written by Hon. J. H. Stone.

After the war Mr. Rowley returned to his farm work, which he has since followed. His wife was Miss Sarah L. Nettles, a native of this parish, born in 1830, a daughter of John Farraday Nettles and his wife, who was a Miss Strickland, the former a native of South Carolina and the latter of Livingstone parish, LA. Her father came to this parish long enough before 1812 to take part in the battle of New Orleans. He located here immediately after his marriage and here passed the remainder of his life as a farmer, dying at the age of sixty-one in 1858. He was an old line Whig and was much interested in the advancement of that party. His wife passed away in 1864, aged sixty-one years. To them were born eleven children-- six daughters and five sons-- all of whom are deceased, except the wife of our subject and two sisters, Laura, the wife of R. Wilson, of Texas, and Louise, now Mrs. Jordan. Those deceased were named as follows: Franklin, Jane (who became Mrs. Chapman), Elvira (who became Mrs. Jacobs), Josiah, James, John, Martha (who became Mrs. Barrow) and Eugene. Mrs. Rowley, who was the fourth child in this large family, was reared and educated in Clinton, LA. She has borne her husband six children, of whom four are living: Louie (is the wife of Charles D. Lee), James Porter (married Miss Sallie Talbert, who bore him four children), Mollie married Robert Taylor (and they are the parents of three children and live in this parish), Richard De Witt (died at the age of two years), Hettie (married August Rist and they are the parents of one child and also live in this parish).

Mr. and Mrs. Rowley are consistent members of the Baptist church and all of their children are members of the same denomination. Politically Mr. Rowley is a Democrat, as was his father before him. He is the owner of one of the pleasantest homes in the parish, situated four miles from Clinton, LA., is esteemed a well-to-do planter and enjoys the respect of a wide circle of acquaintances, who recognize in him a liberal-minded, public-spirited citizen who has near his heart the welfare not only of his parish and state, but of the new South, that wonderfully developing country which has come to be the Mecca of the enterprising capitalist and the wonder of the world.

[Connection has not been made to any of the nine branches of the Rowley family which have been identified.]

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