Peter Whitman Rowland

On March 25, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
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This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937. Rowland’s siblings are the subject of this post.

Portrait of Dr. Peter W. Rowland hangs in the Rowland Medical Library, Verner S. Holmes Learning Resource Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center. Courtesy of the Rowland Medical Library.

Dr. Peter W. Rowland. Portrait hangs in the Rowland Medical Library, Verner S. Holmes Learning Resource Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center. Courtesy of the Rowland Medical Library.

Dunbar Rowland’s older brother Peter Whitman Rowland (1861-1943) followed in the footsteps of their father and entered the medical profession.1 He graduated from Memphis Hospital Medical College in 1882 and practiced in Coffeeville for fifteen years before moving to Oxford, where he was a professor at the newly created school of medicine at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Rowland was also one of the founding members of the university’s pharmacology department. He was president of the Mississippi Medical Association in 1894 and was appointed to the state board of health in 1900 by Governor Andrew Longino.

Peter married Eugenia Susan Herron in 1885 and had four children. His son, Peter Whitman Rowland, Jr., also became a physician, graduating from the University of Virginia Department of Medicine in 1919.2

Just as Dunbar Rowland left an enduring legacy at the state archives, Peter founded what would become the Rowland Medical Library at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC). Rowland toured the state asking for donations of materials and money. The library was named in his honor in 1939 and is today located on the campus of UMC in Jackson.3

Other Siblings

Of Dunbar Rowland’s other three brothers, Creed Walker Rowland (1852-1922) became an accountant and lived in Coffeeville, where he married Corinne Herron (sister of Peter’s wife Eugenia) in 1885 and had two children. Robert Walter Rowland (1855-1923) also became a physician and practiced in Oakland, Livingston, and Flora. He married Sarah Robinson in 1879 and had six children.4

The eldest brother was William Brewer Rowland, Jr., (1850-1881). On the 1870 census William’s occupation was listed as “Clerk in Store.” William died on October 13, 1881 in Senatobia. Newspaper notices published in the weeks preceding his death mention that he was ill with “malarial fever” and “congestion.” They also say that he was attended by his “three faithful brothers,” two of whom were physicians (of the four brothers, it was most likely that Dunbar was absent since he was only 17 at the time).5 Current research has revealed no further information on William or the circumstances of his death. Oddly, Mary Rowland, the mother of Dunbar Rowland and his siblings, was not buried next to her husband, but next to William Jr., who died prematurely at about thirty-one.6


1 Biographical information from “Rowland, Peter Whitman,” Subject File, MDAH.

2 “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association 121, no. 10 (March 6, 1943): 780. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/121/10/780.full.pdf (accessed December 16, 2010).

3 “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association 123, no. 10 (November 6, 1943): 651. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/123/10/651.full.pdf (accessed December 16, 2010).

4 Dunbar Rowland, ed., “Contemporary Biography,” vol. III of Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form (1907; repr., Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1976), 707-8, 730.

5 “Personal,” Tate County Observer, October 7, 1881, page 3 and “Local News,” Tate County Observer, October 14, 1881, page 5. MDAH roll number 20119.

6 Grave information from C. H. Spearman, arr., Yalobusha County, Mississippi Cemetery Records, vol. II “Eastern Yalobusha County” (Coffeeville, MS: The Yalobusha County Historical Society, 1980), 32, 53 (MDAH).

 

Dunbar Rowland: Education and Early Career

On March 1, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
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This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937.

"A View of A. & M. College Grounds, Starkville, Miss." Call Number: PI/1992.0001 (MDAH Collection)

"A View of A. & M. College Grounds, Starkville, Miss." Call Number: PI/1992.0001 (MDAH Collection)1

Dunbar Rowland attended private school in Memphis, Tennessee, and preparatory school at Oakland Academy in Mississippi.  In 1882, he enrolled at the recently established Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Mississippi State University) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1886. That summer, Rowland studied law at the office of Judge R. H. Golladay in Coffeeville.2

Rowland entered law school at the University of Mississippi in September 1886, graduating with the L.L. B. (Bachelor of Laws, predecessor to the J. D.) degree in 1888. He then opened law offices in Memphis and worked there for four years before moving his practice to Coffeeville, Mississippi, in 1893.

During his law career, Rowland established a reputation as an amateur historian. He regularly published articles in newspapers and in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, a multi-volume work published from 1898 to 1914 (the Centenary series of Publications, published from 1915 to 1925, was edited by Rowland). A biographical note in the third volume (1900) says:

As a student Mr. Rowland gave as much time to the cultivation of polemics, literature, history, and composition as his other duties would allow, thus laying the foundation for the literary and historical work that has since occupied the time he could spare from his professional duties. He is especially interested in the social, industrial and political problems that are peculiar to the South, and has done much to popularize the study of Mississippi history by his numerous interesting historical and biographical contributions which have appeared from time to time in the Memphis Commercial Appeal and in the Atlanta Constitution.”3

Rowland’s historical writings romanticized the Old South. The use of the word “peculiar” is particularly interesting above. It is a word loaded with meaning due to its use to describe slavery as the “peculiar institution.”  We can only guess what Franklin L. Riley, the editor of Publications, thought at the time, but perhaps “social, industrial and political problems that are peculiar to the South” was a euphemism for the continuing legacy of slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction, and the emerging Jim Crow culture.

Rowland certainly romanticized the Old South. For example, in his article “Plantation Life in Mississippi before the War” in Publications, Vol. III (1900), he waxed eloquently about plantation men, saying:

The writer has a heartfelt conviction that the chivalrous, courtly, courageous Southern gentleman of the ante-bellum period was the grandest embodiment of the most superb manhood that ever graced a forum or died upon a battlefield.4

On the plantation wives, Rowland continues:

Of all the characters that history has preserved for the love of succeeding generations the Southern mother should be enshrined in fame’s proudest niche.5

This philosophy would have implications later for Rowland when he applied for the directorship of MDAH in 1902. So, by 1900 to 1901, Rowland was still in Coffeeville practicing law, but he was also cultivating a reputation as a historian and interacting with the men who mattered in the political and historical landscape of Mississippi.


1 The Chemistry Building (1883, right) and Administration/Chapel Building (1880, center), existed during Rowland’s time there. See “The University’s Historic Buildings,” University Libraries, Mississippi State University. http://library.msstate.edu/exhibits/university_buildings/index.asp (accessed January 12, 2011).
2 Biographical information from “Rowland, Dunbar Biographical Sketches” and “Rowland, Dunbar Death,” Subject Files (MDAH).

3 Franklin L. Riley, ed., Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, vol. III, (Oxford, Mississippi: Mississippi Historical Society, 1900), 85.

4 Dunbar Rowland, “Plantation Life in Mississippi before the War,” in Publications, vol. III, 87.

5 Ibid., 97.

 

Dunbar Rowland: Family History

On February 25, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Amanda
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This series will explore the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864–1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937. Today’s post features the genealogy resources of the department as we explore Rowland’s family tree.

We inaugurate this series in honor of the 109th birthday of MDAH (tomorrow)! The department was founded on February 26, 1902.

Dunbar Rowland, from <em>The Story of Jackson</em>, vol. II by William D. McCain, 1953. Call Number: 976.2511/St7  (MDAH Collection)

Dunbar Rowland, from The Story of Jackson, vol. II by William D. McCain, 1953. Call Number: 976.2511/St7 (MDAH Collection)

Dunbar Rowland (1864–1937) was descended from English ancestors who came to Virginia in the 1630s. His grandfather Creed Taylor Rowland (c.1802–c.1866)1 moved his family from Virginia to Lowndes County, Mississippi, around 1840. Creed later moved to Aberdeen (Monroe County) to farm at his plantation called “Rowland Place.”2

Monroe County deed records show that Creed Rowland aggressively expanded his farm in the mid 1800s. He borrowed $300 in 1849, $1,000 in 1851, and $3,086 in 1861, using African American slaves (and land in 1861) as collateral for the loans. In 1857, he paid $3,700 for a tract of land from the Chickasaw Survey.3

Creed T. Rowland 1849 deed (page 1 of 2), Monroe County deed book 13, page 554 (MDAH roll #13695)

Creed T. Rowland 1849 deed (page 1 of 2), Monroe County deed book 13, page 554 (MDAH roll #13695)

Creed’s son, William Brewer Rowland (1825–1870) was a physician, graduating from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1846. William wed Mary Judith Bryan (1820–1903) of Tennessee in 1849. William and Mary Rowland had five children, William Brewer, Jr. (1850–1881)4, Creed Walker (1852–1922), Robert Walter (1855–1923), Peter Whitman (1861–1943), and Dunbar (1864–1937).

Census research reveals that in 1850 newlyweds William and Mary Rowland were staying at the hotel of G. W. S. Davidson in Yalobusha County when the census taker visited. In 1860, they were living in Oakland, Yalobusha County, Mississippi. By 1870, Dunbar Rowland, born August 25, 1864, appears on the census for the first time. William B. Rowland, Sr., died in January 1870 and thus does not appear on this census, which was taken in July; Rowland’s mother is listed as head of household.

1870 U.S. Census, Yalobusha County, page 123 (MDAH roll #1138)

1870 U.S. Census, Yalobusha County, page 123 (MDAH roll #1138)

In 1880, fifteen-year-old Dunbar was living in older brother Robert’s house in Livingston, Madison County, along with his mother, listed as M. J. Rowland, age 50, “m-in law” on the census. The 1890 census burned, but as we will see in the next post Dunbar Rowland was in college and beginning his career in the intervening years between the 1880 and 1900 censuses.


1 Dates for Creed Taylor Rowland uncertain at this time; he was listed as age 58 on the 1860 census (Monroe County, page 477) and he was still living in April 1866 when the IRS assessed the value of his property (Ancestry.com, District 3; Annual, Monthly and Special Lists Dec 1865–Dec 1866, U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862–1918 [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008), image 73).
2 Biographical information from “Rowland, Dunbar Biographical Sketches” and “Rowland, Dunbar Death,” Subject Files (MDAH) and U.S. census records (MDAH).

3 Monroe County deed book volumes 13 (pages 554–55), 15 (pages 118–19), and 22 (pages 84–5, 174–77); on microfilm at MDAH.

4 Dates for Dr. William Brewer, Mary Judith, and William B. (Jr.) Rowland from their graves in Coffeeville Cemetery, see C. H. Spearman, arr., Yalobusha County, Mississippi Cemetery Records, vol. II “Eastern Yalobusha County” (Coffeeville, MS: The Yalobusha County Historical Society, 1980), 32, 53 (MDAH).