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The History of Bowling Green Methodist Church

2/27/1827 - 4/16/1891

John Gallatin Rowe
Founder, Bowling Green Methodist Church, 1866

Page 2

John Gallatin Rowe, son of George Rowe (1793-1866) and Lucy Leitch (1798-1863), was born on February 27, 1827, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His parents were known to be strict Baptists.

In his youth, he was raised in the Baptist Church, attending Sunday school; his father being a minister of that denomination. He was educated at the Fredericksburg Male Academy.

On 10/27/1847, along with brother Robert Semple Rowe, attended a Methodist Episcopal revival led by Reverend John Lanahan, from Baltimore, MD. It is believed their sweethearts, Margaret PURCELL and Lavinia GREENWOOD, had alot to do with their soon-to-be conversion to Methodism.

In 1848, after much soul searching, inner battles and prayer, he joined the Methodist Church. There may have been conflict with his parents and other family members who were staunch Baptists.

He felt the calling and was licensed to exhort in the fall of 1848. He received the license to preach in January 1849. Rev JH Davis, Presiding Elder of the Methodist Church, hired young Rowe to work on the Westmoreland Circuit under Rev HH Gary, preacher in charge. However, JG Rowe had to take a leave of absence in the spring of 1849, due to severe indigestion. By November 7, 1849, he felt well enough to join the Virginia Annual Confernce in Petersburg and received an appointment as junior preacher in Mechlenburg.

John Gallatin Rowe married Margaret PURCELL on 11/21/1850 in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

In 1851 & 1852, an appointment in Middlesex was available - consisted of 5 circuits; but it called for a single man, not a married man. By 1852, John & Margaret had at least one child - Mary or Mollie Rowe. Capt Robert Healey offered to board Rev Rowe and his family. John Gallatin Rowe considered the Middlesex appointments the happiest of his life, and attained 83 conversions. 1853 finds him in Cumberland with 64 converts. In 1854, he was in Pasquotank, to which he made the following statement

"As my health was bad last year, I concluded at one time not to take work this year; but was persuaded to do so by some of the preachers, and one of the presiding Elders promising I should be provided with work suitable to my case. When the appointments were made, the work was so unsuitable - 16 appointments in 4 weeks - one of the Presiding Elders advised me not to go. I was engaged in merchandise for a living, and preached at appointments near and in Fredericksburg. I preached in Fredericksburg a good deal the latter part of this year, as Brother Christian, the pastor, had to leave on account of ill health."


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