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The History of Bowling Green Female Seminary

9/17/1857 - 4/4/1927

Edgar Healey Rowe




Edgar Healey Rowe, second son of John Gallatin Rowe (1827-1891) and Margaret Ann Purcell (1831-1886), was born on September 13, 1857, in Richmond County, Virginia. His father was a minister and traveled in a ciruit and founded The Bowling Green Methodist Church in Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia.
Note: Many documents list his birthdate as 9/17/1857, but 9/13/1857 is on his birth certificate

John and Margaret's first son, John C Rowe died at the age of 2. At the time of Edgar's birth, John Gallatin Rowe was the pastor of a church in Westmoreland County.

The 1870 Census in Hanover County places the family in the Beaver Dam Depot. In the same year, the family returned to Bowling Green, waiting for the war to conlude.

In 1879, Mr Rowe was licensed to preach by the Bowling Green Quarterly Conference, Rev L Rosser, Presiding Elder, and became a member of the Virginia Conference in 1884. His first appointment, as pastor, was to the Church in Murfreesboro, NC, where he served for 2 years, resigining at the end of the second year to enter Princeton University for special courses.He received his preparatory training in private schools of Caroline County. Between 1879 - 1880, he was a student at Randolph-Macon (GA), UVA, and Princeton (circa '80s). He attended Princeton after he had entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, withdrawing temporarily from the active pastorate for this purpose.

Letter from Professor Thomas R Price, M. A., LL. D., University of VA and Columbia, of NYC

In 1881, he married Emma Byron Scott, born 2/24/1847, sister of Alice Scott Chandler, founder of Bowling Green Female Seminary. They were two of the daughters of Francis Woolfolk Scott and Anna Maria Minor.

On returning from Princeton Mr Rowe was appointed to the Boydton (Virginia) Church, but after one year of service he retired from the itineracy, on account of increasing ill health, and was given an educational appointment, by his Conference, to the Bowling Green Seminary, Bowling Green, Va., of which institution he became principal in 1888. (Other sources state that he bought the school in 1883, with Mrs Chandler operating it as principal until 1897 when she moved to Georgia. )

Edgar and Emma had one son, Edgar Scott Rowe in August 1884. Emma died of complications from childbirth on August 24, 1884.

In 1888, Edgar married Mary Winslow Shaw, born 3/30/1863, of Elmwood, Massachusetts. Their first son was born in 1890, named Winslow Rowe. He would later die from a fraternity hazing at Randolph-Macon College in the 1920s. Their second son, John Gallatin Rowe was born 10/26/1893 and died 6/10/1895.

In 1894, Mr Rowe was elected President of Wesleyan Female College at Macon GA, the oldest female college in the South, and served in this capacity for 2 yrs. On his acceptance of the presidency of this school Bishop A G Haygood, a member of the Board of Trustees, said, "I believe you are the providential man for our college." Upon his retirement from the presidency, Rev W P Lovejoy, also a member of the Board of Trustees wrote, "I believe you have proved to be the providential man for us," and the Board of Trustees, as a body, passed resolutions in "appreciation of the able, faithful, and successful services" rendered to the institution. While President of Wesleyan Female College Mr Rowe was a member
of the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Mr Rowe was elected President of Martha Washington College, Abingdon, Va., upon his retirement from Wesleyan in 1896, but before entering upon his duties resigned the position to take up again the presidency of Bowling Green Seminary. Upon returning to Bowling Green larger plans were made for the Seminary, and, in keeping with the enlarged plans, the name of the institution was changed to Southern Seminary.

Their daughter, Orra Curtis Rowe was born in October 1896 and their son Edgar Healey Rowe, Jr was born in March 1898.

Mary Winslow Shaw Rowe died in October 1905 in Buena Vista, Virginia, of malaria or some type of blood disease.

The Southern Seminary prospered in Bowling Green until 1901, when it was moved to Buena Vista, Va. where it flourished.

Source: Wingfield's History of Caroline

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