John Michael Rowe

Rowe, John M. and Deborah Van Elizabeth Fimpel Rowe.jpg

John Michael Rowe was born on December 26th. 1848 to Abbott and Anna (Dial) Rowe in Cabell county, Virginia.

When John was three years old, the family headed west, along with his grandfather, John Rowe.  They took a boat down the Ohio river, but unfortunately there was a cholera outbreak and John’s mother, father, and two siblings succumbed to the disease.  Grandpa John took the remaining children and continued west.  In 1856 the kids were living with their Uncle Jim Rowe in Taylor county, Iowa.  Apparently Jim was a mean drunk who harassed and abused his nieces and nephews.  John’s oldest sister, Alameda, got married and took their other sister, Mary, to live with her.  John and his brothers were left with mean Uncle Jim until the second oldest brother, Parker, decided to run away and take John with him when John was about ten years old.  The boys traveled over the Oregon Trail several times as helpers to Bullwhackers and possibly as Bullwhackers themselves.  Another of John’s older brothers, Louis, was my 3rd great-grandfather.  I’m not sure exactly if Louis ran away with his brothers or not, but I think it is very likely as he is listed in a census as a Teamster.  I could be wrong, but it seems like the two could go hand in hand.

When John was 25, he married Deborah Van Elizabeth Fimple on February 21st, 1874 in Plattsmouth, Nebraska.  The couple had eleven children over a twenty year span.  They lived in various places in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas.  In the 1880 census, the family was living in Liberty, Nebraska and John was listed as a farmer.  In 1910, when John was 62, they were in Little Blue, Kansas where John was a laborer who did odd jobs.

Rowe, John M headstone - Nebraska

John Michael Rowe passed away on July 8th, 1929 from heart disease at the age of 80 years.  He is buried in the Humboldt Cemetery in Humboldt, Nebraska.


Rowe, John M Letter

The above letter was sent to Jess, one of John and Elizabeth’s sons, from John A. Fellers asking for payment for John’s funeral.  I find it funny that A.H. Fellers & Son dealt in furniture, undertaking, floor coverings, and paint.  It seems that the undertaking is just a bit out of place.

“Mr. Jess Rowe – Potter Nebr. –

Dear Sir – ;

As no doubt you know we burried your father, and your brotherinlaw Geo Boyer promised to pay the expenses, and he may get them paid some time, but he said you promised to help him out on this, and it would surely be the thing for you to do, and it would be greatly appreciated by him and us to, if you would do this, the amount of the whole bill was $102.00 so if you will pay any part of this you may send it to us or George either one and as I said before it will help all concerned.  Now let us hear from you Jess.

Yours Truly,

A.H. Fellers & Son

By John A. Fellers”


A memory written by one of John and Elizabeth’s grandsons:

“Grandpa didn’t use a cane, when he needed support to walk in his aging years.  He used a “stick” and was very particular with it.  It had to be made out of cherry wood, no other wood would do.  If you look closely at the picture below, (In this case above), you can see his stick lying in front of him on the porch.  Close by is a floppy straw hat, he wore, to keep the sun off.  He always had a mustache as long as I can remember.  My dad was always clean shaven.  ~ George Boyer”


(John Michael Rowe is my 3rd great-uncle.  He is the brother of Louis Michael Rowe who was my 3rd great-grandfather.)

Rowe, John M. Line