Peter Whitman Rowland

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. (accessed December 16, 2010).

3 “Deaths.” Journal of the American Medical Association 123, no. 10 (November 6, 1943): 651. (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).