January 31, 1769, John Rowe’s Diary Entry Mostly About Yesterday’s Fire at the Jail 398 days before the Boston Massacre
John Rowe was a very humble citizen of Boston. The list of civic positions and functions he supported was extensive. Here’s a short list[i];
Relief Committee as Ombudsman for the Poor
Treasurer of the Charitable Society
Officer of Trinity Church (a spin-off of his Kings Chapel church on Washington St.)
Freemason, deputy then Grand Master of all of North America
Son of Liberty
Boston Tea Party (he was a tea drinker)
Fire volunteer and fire warden
Political committees to express grievances but never to suggest independence
Merchants committee to address price fixing
Boston representative to the General Court (State of Mass)
Yesterday, John Rowe was active as a fire warder(sic) suppressing and witnessing the Gaol (jail) fire.
Here is his diary entry logged the next day;
" Last night I was awakened by the cry of Fire it was the County Goal which was burnt down & the neighbourhood very much in Danger. The officers & Army behaved extremely clever on this Occasion & ought to have the Publick thanks of this town. I can truly say they were the means of saving it---- I waited on Brigadier Pomroy and Colo. Kerr and thanked them for their Behaviour." . . .
Please click here, for a brief chronology of the major fires in Boston. Combined with the several severe hurricanes, the landscape of Boston was significantly changed. Our tours will provide additional background on nature's imprint on Boston; even on the deceased of Boston.
[i] Letters and Diary of John Rowe: Boston Merchant, 1759-1762, 1764-1779 By John Rowe, Edward Lillie Pierce, 1-20 edited by Anne Rowe Cunningham ; introduction Edward Lillie Pierce. Published W. B. Clark Co., 1903