From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 564-565, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Blendon L. Rowland, one of the most prominent citizens of
Versailles, Illinois, was born in Newark, Ohio, December 5, 1856. His
father, Thomas Jackson Rowland, was born near Winchester, Virginia,
about 1826, and his father, grandfather of subject, was named Martin
Rowland, who was a farmer of Virginia, who died there in 1830, in early
manhood, of consumption. He was married and had four children, namely:
Julia Ann, wife of Mr. McCapp; Abner died near Jacksonville, Illinois,
leaving four children; Thomas, father of subject; Lucinda, wife of
Henry Lybarger, died in middle life, leaving two children. Thomas
Rowland married Leonora Barney of Sackett's Harbor, New York, daughter
of Thomas J. and Louisa (Wells) Barney, of Wellsville, New York. The
latter died in Watertown, New York, and the mother of subject was
reared by an uncle, James Barney, who moved to Newark, Ohio, when she
was a small child. Here she was married to the father of subject, who
was a harnessmaker and worked at his trade at Newark, Millwood and
Spring Mountain, Ohio. He and Senator Joseph Wilson were shopmates and
warm friends. They came West in 1864, to Keokuk, Iowa, but three years
later landed in Versailles. They were in humble circumstances and had
only $200 when they arrived in Versailles. Mrs. Rowland bore her
husband eleven children, three of whom died in infancy, and another,
Emma, died when seven years old. The adults, seven in number, are as
follows: Blendon L., of this notice; Anna, wife of Charles W. Wainnon,
of Rushville, Illinois; Lucinda C., wife of Oscar Van Deventer; Abner
C., of the mercantile firm of Rowland Brothers, hardware and farm
implements; Love Augusta, of Versailles; Bessie, wife of J. C.
Cleveland of Versailles; and Homer M., bookkeeper and salesman for the
firm of Rowland Brothers, a promising young man of twenty. These
children all received a good common-school education and are all well
informed, intelligent people. The parents, while not wealthy, were able
to give them a good start in life. The mother died in 1884, but the
father is still living a retired life in Versailles, making his home
with Abner C. The maternal grandfather, Thomas J. Barney, died in St.
Paul, in his seventy-eight year, leaving an estate of $100,000, which
he willed to his nephews and nieces, making no mention of this
daughter. This injustice was too great, so Blendon broke the will and
recovered $40,000 to the family, showing great ability in the contest,
although he had received no education in this direction. He
persistently worked at the case in the face of much discouragement from
a prominent lawyer, who told him that there was nothing in the case.
His efforts were richly rewarded and much credit is due him.
Mr. Blendon Rowland left the harness trade, in 1884, having
worked at it for twenty years, and embarked in his present business,
with his brothers. They do nearly all of the business in this line, and
he is the leader in this line, as he always was in the harness business.
Mr. Rowland is chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of
Brown county, and has filled all the township offices, being School
Director for ten years and the Supervisor from this township. He is a
Master Mason, and is a very influential man in his township.
He and his charming wife have four children, Dollie Rowland, a
young lady of twenty; Nellie, wife of A. R. Groves of Versailles;
Nettie, fourteen; and Ethel, eight.
Mrs. Rowland is a Methodist and her husband is favorably inclined toward that church.