In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, we will be highlighting collections related to the military history of Mississippi and veterans who served the state beginning with the territorial militia in 1797 through World War II (the most recent engagement for which we have collections). Special thanks to Jim Pitts, of the MDAH Government Records section, for compiling the military records and their descriptions.
From the establishment of the Mississippi Territory in 1797 until statehood in 1817, a territorial militia was maintained and then carried over into statehood. This militia eventually became the Mississippi National Guard. Occasionally elements of this militia were called to national service (similar to the current practice of federalizing the National Guard).
The image above is of the compiled service record of a volunteer in the Mississippi Territory Militia. MDAH holds these records on microfilm. See the other types of military service records at MDAH by going to the “Military Records” section of the “Master List of Microfilm” search option on the catalog page.
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.
Dunbar Rowland died on November 1, 1937 at the age of seventy-three. Despite being in ill health for months, he continued working until the summer of 1937, when he went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to seek treatment for his chronic throat infection. He was also a patient at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and Methodist Hospital in Memphis (where his nephew Dr. Peter Whitman Rowland was employed). He returned to Jackson and, refusing to be admitted to a hospital in the city, had his home library set up as a hospital ward. He died surrounded by his books.
His funeral was a grand affair in that Governor Hugh White and most other high ranking state officials attended the ceremony, which was officiated by Bishop Theodore D. Bratton and Dr. Walter B. Capers. The governor ordered all state offices closed from 2:00-4:00 p.m. that day “as a mark of respect to Dr. Rowland” and state flags on both capitols were lowered to half mast from November 1 until after the funeral on November 2, 1937.1
Tributes and obituaries appeared in many of the area newspapers. The Coffeeville Courier said, “Yalobusha County lost a dear friend and the State and Nation a noted historian and gentleman.”2 The Daily Clarion-Ledger said, “Death, coming in the form of a chronic throat ailment, stilled the stout heart and the fluent pen of Dr. Dunbar Rowland.”3 The Memphis Commercial Appeal said:
In death Dr. Rowland displayed the same courage and devotion that distinguished him in life. He bore his long suffering with fortitude and when told that there was no hope, he asked that he be returned to Jackson, there to lay down his burden amid the scenes of his long and useful labors.4
The blog series on Dunbar Rowland will conclude with the next post which will feature special guest writer former governor William F. Winter as he discusses a boyhood meeting with Rowland.
1 “Friends pay tribute to Dr. Dunbar Rowland,” Daily Clarion-Ledger, November 3, 1937, page 5. Roll number 28945 (MDAH).
2 “Dunbar Rowland dies in Jackson,” Coffeeville Courier, November 5, 1937, page 1. Roll number 18256 (MDAH). 3 “Rowland rites mark end of literary career here,” Daily Clarion-Ledger, November 2, 1937, page 1, 12. Roll number 28945 (MDAH). 4 “Dr. Dunbar Rowland, historian, dies at 73,” Commercial Appeal, November, 2, 1937, page 1, 4. Roll number 31737 (MDAH).
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.
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
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.
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).
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 married Eron Moore Gregory on December 20, 1906.
Eron Opha Moore (1861/2-1951)2 was the daughter of Major Benjamin B. Bratton (c. 1815- unknown) and Ruth Stovall Rowland Moore (c. 1832-1889),3 who was the sister of Dunbar Rowland’s father. Eron, who went by the childhood nickname “Dixie,” was first married to Andrew E. Gregory (1849-1900) in 1885 in Monroe County. Gregory died in 1900 and according to one online source, was treated during his terminal illness by Dr. Peter Whitman Rowland (Eron’s cousin and Dunbar Rowland’s brother).4
The widowed Eron was employed as an assistant at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on October 6, 1902. In his second annual report, Rowland said, “Mrs. Gregory has given faithful and efficient service for the past year, and I feel it my duty to say that her services are worth more than the amount paid her.” Her salary was $480, and in the report, Rowland asked the board to increase it to $700.5
Dunbar Rowland married Eron on December 20, 1906, at the Flora home of his brother Dr. Robert Walter Rowland. The marriage was performed by Bishop Theodore DuBose Bratton, who later became a member of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History board of trustees. Of her marriage to Rowland it was said, “Their beautiful devotion to each other and steadfastness of purpose in their work have been a subject of comment among their friends and acquaintances.”6
Eron was educated in part by her father, who had been a professor of Latin and Greek.7 In her youth she contributed poems, stories, and sketches to area newspapers, foreshadowing her productive writing career later in life. After her marriage to Rowland she continued to write and assist him at MDAH.
Mrs. Rowland was extremely active in the community and many of her endeavors were related to the patriotic societies of which she was a part: the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Colonial Dames, and United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). Her work with the UDC helped save the Old Capitol from being torn down in the 1910s. She wrote a history of the Natchez Trace and assisted the DAR in marking the roadway. She also chaired the committee that put the “grand central stairway” in the Governor’s Mansion in 1908 and supplied soldiers with books during World War I.8 In 1933, Eron received the honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee.
One writer said of her:
Personally, she is a woman of great charm. Of a happy temperament, with a winsome grace of manner and person, she is absorbed in her work, taking pleasure in her home and flowers.9
After Dunbar Rowland’s death on November 1, 1937, Eron served as acting director of the department until January 1, 1938, when Dr. William D. McCain (1907-1993) became director.10 She then retired to her home at 429 Mississippi Street and gathered their accumulated books and papers to start the “Rowland Historical Library,” where scholars were invited to conduct their research. At the time of her death in 1951 she was working on “The Story of Jackson,” a history of the city. Dr. McCain finished the project, using parts of Eron’s work. Her unfinished manuscript has been preserved in the MDAH holdings.11
Eron died on January 6, 1951.
Mrs. Rowland’s publications included:
Andrew Jackson’s Campaign Against the British, or The Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812. New York, NY: The Macmillan Co., 1926. MDAH call number 976.2/R79aa/1926.
History of Hinds County, Mississippi, 1821-1922. Jackson, Mississippi: Jones Printing, Co., 1922. MDAH call number 976.251/R79h.
Life, Letters and Papers of William Dunbar of Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland and Natchez, Mississippi: Pioneer Scientist of the Southern United States. Jackson, Mississippi: Press of the Mississippi Historical Society, 1930. MDAH call number B/D91L.
Varina Howell, Wife of Jefferson Davis, 2 vols. New York, NY: The Macmillan Co., 1927-1931. MDAH call number B/D291ros.
1 Full image citation: William D. McCain, “Biographical sketches of the builders of the capital of Mississippi” in The Story of Jackson, vol. 2 (Jackson, Mississippi: J.F. Hyer Publishing Co., 1953), 678. MDAH call number 976.2511/St7.
2 There is inconsistency among sources on Eron Rowland’s date of birth. Biographical sketches in the MDAH subject files list it as June 16, 1861, but her tombstone lists June 1, 1862. In her youth, the age listed in the federal census supports 1861 or 1862, while in her later years, it supports a date between 1865-1867.
3 Benjamin and Ruth Rowland Moore buried in Chickasaw County, see Cemeteries in Chickasaw and Surrounding Counties, 2 vols. (Houston, Mississippi: Chickasaw County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1992), vol. I, page 30 and vol. II, page 179 (MDAH). Benjamin’s tombstone listed no dates, just his status as a Confederate veteran.
5 Dunbar Rowland, Second Annual Report of the Director of the Department of Archives and History of the State of Mississippi from October 1, 1902, to October 1, 1903 (Nashville, Tennessee: Press of Brandon Printing Company, 1904), 49.
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 (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’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.
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).