New Notable Person - Edwin Rowe, Sr., and Family
Updated: Mar 24
Edwin Rowe, Sr.
Born: December 25, 1834
Died: May 26, 1925
Some Find-a-Grave links are available.
We recently received an email from Ms. Rosamond Brown of San Antonio, Texas. She was searching for twice-great grandparents, Edwin and Catherine Rowe, and shared some incredible history with us. Much of the work below was a result of Rosamond's genealogical research, which we are greatly appreciative of!
The Rowe Family includes interments throughout the cemetery of:
Old Section E, Lot 81:
Edwin Rowe, Sr. (1834-1925), with his wife, Catherine (Morgan) Rowe (1833-1907);
1. Their son, Edwin Rowe, Jr. (1863-1922), with his wife, Margaret (Smink) Rowe (d. 1942);
A. Their son, Edwin Rowe (1894-1899);
B. Their son, Charles Edwin Rowe (d. 1964);
C. Their son, Frederick Rowe (1904-1907);
D. Their daughter, Anna M. (Rowe) Bayles (d. 1963), with her husband, Frederick A. Bayles (d. 1956);
i. Their son, Charles Roy Bayles (d. 1989), with his wife, Mary Virginia (Kearns) Bayles (d. 2002)
Old Section C, lot 35:
2. Their daughter, Priscilla (Rowe) Marsh (1865-1937), with her husband, George Marsh (d. 1938);
Annex Section A, Lot 10
3. Their son, Rev. Thomas H. Rowe (1859-1922);
4. Their daughter, Sarah (Rowe) MacBeth (1874-1960), with her husband, James MacBeth (d. 1948);
A. Their daughter, Margarette (MacBeth) Avetta (d. 1944);
Annex Singles, Section 4, Row 7, Grave 2:
5. Their son, Charles Rowe (1871-1956), along with his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Reese) Rowe (she is located in Old Section A, lot 124, with their infant daughter, Bernice Lucille Rowe. Another son, Charles Harold Rowe, aged 4, may be buried with her);
...as well as several extended family members.
Edwin Rowe, Sr., was born in Crowan, Cornwall, Wales on Christmas Day, December 25, 1834 to parents, John and Eleanor (Rodda) Rowe. John worked as a mineral agent, while Eleanor kept house. He was one of five children, including John, Jr. (1829-1896), Edward (1831 - ?), Thomas Henry (1833-1868), and Mary (1837-1900) Rowe. He was baptized in Gwinear, Cornwall, Wales, on September 10, 1835, and worked alongside his father as an iron ore miner from a young age.
He married Catherine Morgan (a daughter of Thomas Morgan, born on April 27, 1833, in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, Wales), on August 25, 1855.
Edwin was the first of his family to leave Wales for America, via Liverpool, England. He arrived in New York City, New York, via the S/S Colorado of the American-based Guion Line, on April 5, 1869. The ship, originally launched from Liverpool on October 30, 1867, made several trips between Liverpool and New York before sinking on February 7, 1872 following a fatal collision with the S/S Arabian in the River Mersey in northwestern England.
Catherine followed him on the S/S Colorado, arriving August 10, 1869, with four of their children: Thomas Henry (named after his paternal uncle), Catherine "Harriet," Edwin, and Priscilla Rowe. They settled first in Ohio, per the 1870 census. Edwin, 37, found work as a coal miner, while Catherine, 35, raised the younger children. Their eldest, Thomas, 15, was hired as a farm laborer. Harriet, 11, and Edwin, Jr., 7, attended school, while Priscilla, 5, stayed home with her mother and infant female sibling who died in the years prior to the next census.
Prior to 1880, the Rowe's moved to Beaver Township, Clarion County, PA, presumably following coal mining work for Edwin, Thomas, and Edwin, Jr. The 1880 census lists the addition of two more children: Charles E. Rowe, 8, born on July 22, 1871 in Trumbull, Ohio; and Sarah Rodda Rowe, 6, born on May 29, 1874 in Youngstown, Ohio. Edwin's father, John, 75, was also listed as a member of the household following his journey to America. Eleanor, Edwin's mother, aged 65, had died on April 5, 1866, three years before Edwin left for America. Her death certificate, dated April 6, 1866, lists a week-long illness of bronchitis as her cause of death. She was buried in the St. Catwg's Churchyard, Pentyrch, Wales, along with her third son, Thomas Henry Rowe (1833 - 1868). John had never remarried. He was noted as being disabled, having only one arm and one eye.
They moved to 108 W. 10th Avenue and Amity Street of the 5th Ward of Homestead in 1880. He opened a carpet weaving shop at 210 E. Sixth Avenue, before relocating to Amity Street, following a residential move to 106 W. Tenth Avenue in 1898. He rebranded the business to include picture selling and framing.
Edwin, a skilled artist, found his first true success with his iconic picture, the “Great Battle of Homestead; Defeat and Capture of the Pinkerton Invaders – July 6th, 1892," pictured below. The design was copyrighted in Washington, D. C., on October 11, 1892. The original 22" x 28" black and white piece was lithographed by Kurz and Allison Art Studio, Chicago, in 1892; copies hung throughout several important sympathetic locations in Homestead, including the Homestead based United Steelworkers Local 1397.
The following article, "A Working-Class Image of the Battle," by Rina Younger, an excerpt article from "The River Ran Red" Homestead 1892, edited by David P. Demarest, Jr., provides a closer critique and history of Edwin's famous piece:
It's noted in the Heinz History Center Blog that, "Edwin Jr. marries in 1890 and takes a job in the Homestead Works. He is on the factory floor of Open Hearth No. 2 working as a laborer in May of 1892. Paid just $45.35 for his 27 days of labor that month, about $1.68 a day, Edwin Jr. witnessed the rising tensions as the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and Andrew Carnegie disagreed on the issue of wages. By June, Frick had closed the mill and the stage had been set for the battle of July 6th." Perhaps it was the perspective of his son that inspired Edwin to create this piece.
According to Ms. Brown, the original lithograph now resides in the Library of Congress, located in Washington, D. C., and the digital version may be accessed here. Original copies of the lithograph are still highly valued today, with a framed 19" x 24.5" copy selling at a price of $2,200.00 in September of 2018.
Edwin and Catherine were well-known members of the Homestead community for their contributions to the religious and cultural sects of the Borough: they were two of the eleven charter members of the First Baptist Church of Homestead, located at Ninth Avenue and McClure Street, organized February 16, 1884, and Edwin had also been a charter member of the Sons of St. George Lodge. It's interestingly noted in the Wednesday, January 23, 1895 edition of the Pittsburgh Daily Post that the Strike had created friction within the Homestead Baptist Church. The pastor, Rev. W. T. Galloway, had been a supporter of the strikers of 1892. As the church grew, many non-union men began to join the congregation, creating factions which were heatedly opposed to one another. The pastor, as well as Edwin, who had been the Treasurer and Deacon of the church, resigned from their posts in solidarity with the union members. The following week, Edwin reconsidered his resignation and was re-elected, ousting the interim Treasurer.
Catherine died of pneumonia on March 5, 1907, following four years of invalidity. She was 73. She was buried three days later in the Homestead Cemetery; her funeral arrangements had been handled by the H. B. Hughes firm, located at 406 8th Avenue, Homestead. Her 1907 obituary appeared in the March 6th edition of the Homestead News: "Mrs. Katherine Rowe, aged seventy four years, one of the oldest and best known residents of this vicinity, died at her home, 106 West Tenth avenue, at 7 o’clock last evening, after a month’s illness with pneumonia. The deceased was born in 1833 and came to Homestead in 1881 living here ever since. She is survived by three sons, Thomas H. and Edward [sic], Jr., both of Homestead, and Charles of Homestead Park, and three daughters, Mrs. Harriet Culp of Heidelburg, Mrs. George Marsh of the Vondera Plan and Mrs. James McBeth [sic] of Homestead.
Notice of funeral will be given later."
Harriet, born on March 20, 1859 in Pentyrch, Glamorgan, Wales, was the first of the adult Rowe children to pass, following a bout of pneumonia. She died on November 10, 1913, at the age of 54. She had married Richard Martin Culp on June 16, 1880, and kept house after moving to Heidlberg. Together, they had 8 children. Harriet, her husband, and three of their children are buried in Chartiers Cemetery Carnegie. Harriet was buried on November 12, 1913.
Tragedy further struck the family upon the accidental death of Edwin, Jr. Born on September 6, 1863 in Wales, Edwin found work as a self-employed carpenter and contractor as well as a laborer in the steel mills. On June 19, 1915, he fell from a building he was erecting for Dr. Lewis Helpert on Hamilton Avenue, Duquesne, and died within the following week from internal injuries. He was 52. He had married Margaret "Maggie" Smink, and they had a son, Charles Rowe; and a daughter, Anna Martha Rowe (October 23, 1891-December 2, 1963), who married Frederick Bayles. His obituary, listed in the June 21, 1915 edition of The Daily Messenger, Page 1, stated, "The funeral of Edwin Rowe, Jr. who died Saturday morning in the West Penn Hospital, will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 at his residence, 106 West 10th Ave. Dr. A. F. Williams, of the First Baptist Church, officiating. The Odd Fellows will hold their services at the home tonight and the Sons of St. George at the Cemetery tomorrow afternoon at the internment." He was buried immediately afterwards, and is located in Old Section E, Lot 81. Margaret, aged 79, joined Edwin, Jr., on October 26, 1942.
In 1917, after living in Homestead for 37 years, Edwin, Sr., moved to Squirrel Hill to live with his daughter, Sarah, and her husband, James MacBeth. Her family's home was located on Greenfield Avenue and Exeter Street. Thomas, Edwin's son and Sarah's brother, had also moved in with them following his divorce from his second wife, Mamie Crowshore Rohland, (m. 1892) which had been granted in 1897.
Thomas, born January 3, 1859 in Wales, died on May 8, 1922 at the age of 66. He was buried in Homestead Cemetery on May 11, 1922. He had lived in the area for 52 years, according to his Post-Gazette obituary, and had become a Baptist minister in the Homestead Baptist Church, of which his parents were charter members. He had no children, and was survived by his father; sisters, Sarah and Priscilla; and brother, Charles. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Anna Belle Crismyre, who had died in 1891. His funeral services, arranged via Gillen & Coulter of Homestead, took place at the MacBeth household on Thursday, May 11, at 2 PM. He was buried in Annex Section A, lot 10, which was owned by his sister, Sarah and James MacBeth.
Edwin, Sr., died on May 26, 1925, at the impressive age of 90 from chronic nephritis. He was buried with his wife, Catherine, on May 28, 1925 in the Homestead Cemetery. Their graves were never marked. He left behind his daughters, Sarah and Priscilla; son, Charles; 21 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.
Priscilla Rowe, born July 15, 1865, married George Marsh (d. December 15, 1938, aged 83). She died at the age of 71 from a coronary occlusion on April 28, 1937, in Swissvale, Pennsylvania. She was buried May 1, 1937, in the Homestead Cemetery. She and her husband are located in Old Section C, Lot 35. They had five daughters, including Maude Alice, Mary, Harriet, Ruth, and Catharine. Her funeral arrangements were handled by Gillen & Coulter of Homestead, with a Service at the First Baptist Church of Homestead on May 1, 1937 at 2 PM.
Charles Rowe, born July 22, 1871 in Trumbull, Ohio, died January 1, 1956, aged 84, of heart disease complications in McDonald, Pennsylvania. He was buried in the Homestead Cemetery on January 4, 1956. His wife, Mary Elizabeth (Reese) Rowe, June 27, 1874 - September 19, 1912, aged 38) joins him in Old Section A, lot 124. Their graves are unmarked. He was survived by his children, Winifred Lempp, Elizabeth Rogers, and Edwin Rowe; and his sister, Sarah MacBeth.
Sarah Rodda Rowe, the youngest of the Rowe children, born May 29, 1874 in Youngstown, Ohio, married James MacBeth, a Scottish Immigrant, on August 16, 1894. She died November 9, 1960, and was buried in the Homestead Cemetery the following day. She joined her husband, who had died on November 19, 1948, in Annex Section A, Lot 10. Together, they had five children, including Mrs. Catherine (Thomas Wallace) Jenkins, and James, Edwin, Lewis, and Robert MacBeth; 8 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
We sincerely wish to thank Ms. Rosamond Brown for alerting us of Edwin's presence, and the significant history he helped to create!
Information gathered from:
Allison., Kurz &. “Great Battle of Homestead. Defeat and Capture of the Pinkerton Invaders, July 6th 1892.” Library of Congress, 1 Jan. 1892, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003656885/.
"Edwin Rowe," Pittsburgh Pose-Gazette, 21 Jun 1915, p. 2.
"Edwin Rowe," Daily Messenger, McKeesport, 19 Jun 1915, p. 1.
"Edwin Rowe," Pittsburgh Daily Post, 27 May 1925, p. 18.
"Edwin Rowe," Pittsburgh Daily Post, 28 May 1925, p. 4.
England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.
"James MacBeth," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 20 Nov 1948, p. 7.
“Kurz and Allison 1892 Litho Great Battle of Homestead - Sep 29, 2018: Concept Art Gallery in Pa.” LiveAuctioneers, https://www.liveauctioneers.com/en-gb/item/64488373_kurz-and-allison-1892-litho-great-battle-of-homestead.
Madarasz, Anne. “The Homestead Steel Strike: Perspective on the Past.” Making History: The Heinz History Center Blog, Senator John Heinz History Center in Association with the Smithsonian Institution, 10 July 2017, https://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/blog/western-pennsylvania-history/homestead-steel-strike. Accessed 17 Mar. 2022.
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, PA; Pennsylvania (State). Death Certificates, 1906-1968; Certificate Number Range: 024111-027690
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, PA; Pennsylvania (State). Death Certificates, 1906-1968; Certificate Number Range: 048001-051000
"Rowe,' Pittsburgh Press, 09 May 1922, p. 31.
"Rowe," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 03 Jan 1956, p. 33.
"Served but One Week." Pittsburgh Daily Post, 23 Jan 1895, p. 6.
"S/S Colorado, Guion Line," <http://www.norwayheritage.com/p_ship.asp?sh=color>
"The Rev. Thomas H. Rowe," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 09 May 1922, p. 10.
"Well Known Homestead Lady Dead," Homestead News, 06 Mar 1907.
Year: 1870; Census Place: Austintown, Mahoning, Ohio; Roll: M593_1239; Page: 23A
Year: 1880; Census Place: Beaver, Clarion, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1117; Page: 38C; Enumeration District: 064
Year: 1900; Census Place: Homestead Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 12; Enumeration District: 0405; FHL microfilm: 1241368
Year: 1910; Census Place: Homestead Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1294; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0099; FHL microfilm: 1375307
Younger, Rina. “A Working-Class Image of the Battle.” "The River Ran Red" Homestead 1892, 1992, pp. 156–157.