John Rowe Always seemed to be in the Middle An Overview of John’s Life
From time to time we will quote from John Rowe’s Diaries and letters leading to the Boston Massacre. He made 2,294 entries in his diary from 1759-1762 and 1764-1779. Hopefully the middle volume will be found. There are multiple sources of his diary. We will use the EBOOK-Free version available from Google. Another free source is the Internet Archive at https://archive.org.
The bullets below will provide you with a frame of reference behind the man. His diary entries should establish a good deal of sympathy for this wonderful, sociable, caring merchant, that always seemed to be in the middle of the pending revolution.
Born in Exeter England 1/16/1715
Immigrated to America around 1736
Married Hannah Speakman in 1743
At 21 years of age he purchased a warehouse on Long Wharf
He purchased the north side of Pond Lane, Boston for his residents and completed this Nations first real estate teardown. See the map below.
He raised crops, sheep and vegetables at his Pond Street home; today it is Washington Street, the center of the retail district
The house was demolished in 1845. A common-fait suffered even by John Hancock’s Beacon Hill mansion
Loved to fish. Caught eighty pounds of fish one day in Bullard’s Pond, then Natick Massachusetts
Did not like salt water fishing
He owned property in eight other Massachusetts towns and Connecticut
His ships initially dealt in salt but broadened their interest to linen, woolens, silk, Indian taffeta and whaling
He was a slave merchant
At town meetings he served as overseer of the poor and selectman for three years
He served on no political committees or radical caucuses
He served on one committee that was critical of the Crown’s customs officials and their personal gain from office, but he never called for a revolution
They worshipped as Episcopalians in King’s Chapel (Circa 1689). A church with a dominant Loyalist past; a stop on our tour
They were avid church goers, perhaps as often as he fished
He never picked up a walking stick in anger
The Rowe’s were childless
Some of his in-laws were British and others were loyalists. His friends were Sons of Liberty.
One of the three tea ships of the Boston Tea Party was owned by him, although he seemed to have mistaken the ships name in his diary. He did not own the tea
It is reported he attended the Tea Party meeting and indirectly endorsed the dumping
His diary seems to place him home nursing an illness
He remained neutral politically until March 17, 1776; our Boston Massacre tour will explain his conversion
Died 2/17/1787 in Boston
Initially Interred in a wooden vault in King’s Chapel with his wife
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