Lee County Biography



A.M. Gow was born in Washington, Washington county, Pennsylvania. He attended public schools in that town. In the fall of 1849 he was studying law. His father, John L. Gow, was the first superintendent of schools in Washington County, Pennsylvania. He "insisted on more thorough scholarship in the schools, a truer idea of the teacher's work, the introduction of extended blackboards and outline maps, classification in all the branches, and the introduction of mental arithmetic. As a factor in school progress his labors cannot well be separated from those of his son, A. M. Gow." It was through the effort and management of the Gows that by degrees "a systematic course of instruction was introduced." Together they "attended meetings in every township, for the purpose of explaining to the people the improvements that might be made in the educational work if their cooperation." This formed the foundation for his understanding of the operation of education institutions.

In the fall of 1857, A. M. Gow and his brother James Gow, moved to Dixon, Illinois to take charge of the Dixon collegiate Institute. This they did for three years. Then "in the fall of 1860 A. M. Gow accepted an appointment to the superintendency of the public schools of Dixon, and James M. Gow was appointed principal of the high school of that place. They held these positions until the fall of 1863, when they accepted like positions in the schools of the city of Rock Island."

Written by Karen Holt from various sources

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