Biography of Hon. Eugene A. Rowland
Oneida County, NY Biographies

Hon. Eugene Andrews Rowland, who met a sudden, untimely and tragic death by drowning on the 19th of June, 1911, had been a practicing attorney of Rome for twenty four years and was numbered among the leading and representative citizens of the town. His birth occurred at Boonville, New York, on the 29th of February, 1864, his parents being Samuel S. and Alice J. (Barton) Rowland. He was graduated from the Rome Free Academy in 1880 and in 1884 won the degree of bachelor of arts from Madison (now Colgate) University, graduating as salutatorian of his class. In the university he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Phi Beta Kappa society. Later the degree of master of arts was conferred upon him. In preparation for a legal career he studied law with the firm of Johnson & Prescott, of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in 1887. Throughout the remainder of his life he was an active and successful representative of the legal profession at Rome, enjoying a well merited and constantly growing clientage. In 1890 he was appointed United States commissioner for the northern district of New York, holding that position until his death and discharging its duties with ability and fidelty. He had a large practice and had the confdence of the community and of his fellow practitioners. For some years and at the time of his demise he held the position of attorney for the Farmers National Bank. In his profession he was a man of great industry and perseverance. No amount of work was too great for him to do in the interests of his clients. He would sacrifice his own interests to those of his clients, and worked for them as faithfully and loyally as any man could. He was a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Oneida County Bar Association and the Bar Association of the City of New York.

Mr. Rowland did not confine his attention to the law alone but took an active interest in the affairs of the city and county in which he lived. He was a very charitable man and in 1905 served as president of the Rome board of charities. In the winter of 1907-08, when the movement for the campaign against tuberculosis began, he identified himself therewith and served on the committee throughout the remainder of his life. He was a director in. the Central New York Institute for Deaf Mutes, had been for years a member of the Rome Young Men's Christian Association and was one of the most liberal contributors to its cause. In 1910 he was chosen one of the school commissioners of Rome and his learning and ability were recognized when he was chosen president of the hoard at once. In this position he served ably and well, doing with all his might that which he found to do. In 1903 he was chosen a trustee of Colgate University and served the institution until called to his final rest. He was one of the best orators and after dinner speakers in the county and gave his time and talent for the advancement of Rome. He was a director in the Rome & Clinton Railroad Company and in the Church Insurance Association, which has its headquarters at Rochester.

In politics Mr. Rowland was a republican but never an office seeker, believing that he who serves his country best, serves his party best. He acted as president of the Rome Republican Club in 1906-1908 and did what he could to promote its best interests. He was a man of the highest civic ideals and had long been a member of Gansevoort Willett Chapter of the Empire State Society of Sons of the American Revolution. Since his early manhood Mr. Rowland had been a member of the First Baptist church of Rome, and he took a deep interest in its welfare. He was likewise a member of the Rome Country Club, the Te-Uge-Ga Golf Club and the University Club of New York city.

The sudden and lamented death of Mr. Rowland was the result of a fatal accident at Trenton Falls. The party of which he was a member and which included his wife and daughter and John Burroughs, the famous naturalist, were walking through the gorge when he slipped and fell into the West Canada Creek, being drowned while endeavoring to swim ashore. Though eventually rescued from the turbulent stream, attempts to resuscitate him proved vain. Detailed accounts of the accident appeared in the local papers and many were the expressions of regret made by press and public. All the festivities connected with commencement exercises in the Rome Academy were postponed as soon as it was known that Mr. Rowland, the president of the board of education, had passed away. The following editorial appeared in the Utica Observer: "The people of Utica scarcely less than those of Rome were shocked to learn of the sudden death of Eugene A. Rowland, which occurred yesterday afternoon at Trenton Falls. Only a day or two ago he was in this city on business, meeting several men of his acquaintance who little thought that they were then seeing him for the last time alive. The story of the accident is told at length in another column, but no printed tale can tell the whole of the sorrow and the sadness incident thereto. Mr. Rowland was not an old man but had been so active and so useful that he had made a name and a place for himself, where he enjoyed the esteem and respect of a wide circle. . . . He was a man of many and varied activities, a member of many boards, and to them all he brought energy and good judgment and his services were highly prized. He was interested in much that helped to improve general conditions and he had the courage of his convictions in standing up for what he believed to be right." At a meeting of the Rome Bar Association, held June 21, 1911, the following resolutions were passed: "The mysterious exercise of an omnipotent power and all wise judgment, in removing from the toils of his transitory life Hon. Eugene Andrews Rowland, calls us once again together to mourn the loss of and pay a modest tribute to one of our beloved and honored members. For twenty four years was he with us in the practice of his profession a familiar figure, dignified, but courteous in the extreme. To review his life is to find one of unceasing labor and untiring devotion to the objects that claimed his attention. Achieving success by his own innate power, his integrity and sincerity of purpose were acknowledged by all. Vigorous of character, quick of decision, firm of conviction, yet, withal, considerate of the opinions of others, broad of mind, charitable and tender of heart, he attracted all to him in every avenue of life in which he moved. The claims upon him were many. His cultured mind, studious habits, brilliancy of speech, gentlemanly instincts, purity of thought and marked ability, coupled with a willingness to serve in public and private affairs, made for him a busy, useful and noble life. No cause with merit appealed to him in vain. The rainbow of hope ever spanned his sky. He discharged every trust, whether in his home, church, chosen profession or public service, with true fidelity. He was a lawyer of marked ability, patriotic, public servant and useful citizen, a faithful friend and charming companion. He has passed from this life to the dawn of an eternal morning. He seemed not old enough to die. In a single moment he who stood erect in the full vigor of developed manhood, with a promising future before him, is doomed to silence and the grave. This world's busy interests, ambitious hopes and lofty aspirations are at an end. His form has vanished, his voice is stilled. We know not as yet the measure of our loss. As time goes on and we see him not, listen no more to his words of counsel, miss his intelligent actively and inspiration in the various fields of service, then and then only we truly realise.

"Recognizing, however, that he has gone from our midst never to return and mindful of his devotion and ability to his every public and private duty; be it

"Resolved, That in his seemingly untimely death we have lost an able lawyer, a scholar and a useful, public spirited and patriotic citizen.

"That we tender to his bereaved family in this their dark hour of trial our sincere and heartfelt sympathy.

"That these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of the supreme and county courts and a copy be sent to the family of the deceased."

In discussing the resolutions Mr. Rowland's fellow attorneys publicly testified to his worth in expressions of praise, commendation and respect. Rev. Alfred E. Alton, the clergyman who officiated at the funeral services of Mr. Rowland, said in part: "The word I wish to add concerns him as a religious man. And he left no place for doubt in the mind of any as to the reality of his religion. No one of us had to guess where he stood as regards the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reality of his religion was declared by the beauty of his home life, his tender care of his mother, his activities in social service, his courageous stand for righteousness in political affairs. He believed, as we all do, that the church is necessary to the welfare of the community. But he believed it so much that he gave himself with the best of his ability to the support and advancement of the church life."

John Burroughs, whose name is known as a naturalist from one end of this country to the other and who has met many of this nation's brightest men, said of Mr. Rowland: "His mind was one of the brightest I have ever met;" and Vice President Sherman, who now holds one of the highest positions in the gift of the people of this country, said the following words: "The community has lost a true and valuable citizen."

On the 8th of April, 1896, at Rome, New York, Mr. Rowland was united in marriage to Miss Jeanie M. Barton, by whom he had one daughter, Dorothy Barton, born in 1897. The family residence is at No. 304 North George street, where Mrs. Rowland makes her home. She is likewise well known and highly esteemed throughout the community.

History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912

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