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Judge John Rowan collection

 Collection — Folder: S1541
Identifier: S1541

Scope and Contents

This collection contains seven photostats of letters and documents. The first document was written when John Rowan was a United States Senator, which was 1825-1831. However, there is no date on the hand-written document regarding the opinions of Judge Trimble. The second item is a letter to the Honorable Samuel L. Lathan, written from Washington on March 18, 1828, by John Rowan, recommending midshipman, Philip Thomas Trapnal. The third item records the minutes of a meeting held on December 8, 1836, in Louisville, in which John Rowan called the attention of the mayor and city council to a railroad from Jeffersonville to New Albany. Other railroads were mentioned in the three hand-written pages. The fourth item is a single-page letter dated April 23, 1841, from John Rowan to G. E. Badger, Secretary of the Navy, recommending John G. Grayson, son of the late Captain Alfred Grayson.

The fifth item is a single page, handwritten, with the typed copy at the bottom, giving information about leasing an apartment in Naples, Italy, from December 1848 until the end of May 1849. The sixth item, one page, is about the payment of $100.00 for a furnished apartment on the Riviera from November 6 to December 6, 1849.

The final document is a three-page letter written on July 22, 1861, from Bull Run, by Captain W. H. Rowan, telling his mother about the Civil War battle. He wrote: "I counted nine hundred of the fire Zouaves of New York in one pile. They were magnificently attired and equiped, but they could not stand Southern valor and steel. We captured their commissary and all of their baggage. It was a glorious victory and one from which they will not recover for some time. I reckon I saw at least ten thousand dead Yankees. It was an awful sight to see so many men hurried into eternity at once and to see the mangled bodies of the men. Wounds of every shape and form that the human mind could conceive were here visible. Such is war."


  • 1828-1861


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Judge John Rowan was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1773. In 1790, he moved to Bardstown, Kentucky, and soon became a defense lawyer. In 1794, John married Anne Lytle. He fought a duel in 1801 with Dr. James Chambers and killed him. The duel was over a disagreement about who was the expert in classical languages. John served as secretary of state, was elected to Congress, was in the Kentucky General Assembly, sat on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and was U.S. Senator. Between 1795 and 1818, Judge Rowan built Federal Hill, his home which became famous because a Rowan family relative, Stephen Collins Foster wrote "My Old Kentucky Home Good Night" in 1852. In 1922, Madge Rowan Frost sold her ancestral home and grounds to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and it is now a state park.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records donation from Josiah Kirby Lilly in 1935.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed 2015/03/19 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield.
Judge John Rowan collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.