Person:Thomas Rowles (2)

Thomas Rowles
b.1753? Maryland
m. 2 Feb 1787
  1. Ann Rowles1783 - 1811
  2. Sarah Rowles1785 -
  3. Thomas Rowles, Jr.1790 - 1852
  4. David Harlan Rowles1792 - 1868
  5. Mercy Rowles1795 - 1834
  6. Amy Rowles1796 -
  7. Mary Rowles1798 -
Facts and Events
Name Thomas Rowles
Gender Male
Birth[1] 1753? Maryland
Marriage 2 Feb 1787 Baltimore, Marylandto Christiana Branson
Death[1] 25 Jun 1813 Bradford, Steuben County, New York
Burial[1] Bradford Cemetery, Bradford, Steuben County, New York

A number of Rowles family groups appear in early Maryland records, especially in Accomac, Ann Arundel, and Baltimore Counties. The name "Thomas" appears in all of them. When did this Thomas Rowles of Baltimore first appear there, and from where in the colony?

Baltimore, Maryland, 1790 census:[2]

Roals, Thomas
under 16 - 2
over 16 - 3
all - 4

Steuben County, New York, 1800 census:[3]

Rowles, Thomas
under 10 - 2
26-44 - 1
over 45 - 1
under 10 - 3
26-44 - 1
(+ 2 slaves)


Thomas was a farmer and also a hotel-keeper, which became something of a family business.[4]

According to the standard history of Steuben County,[5] Thomas Rowles came from Maryland in 1803 and settled on a farm "on the corner" [of a section?], about one mile southeast of the village of Bradford. This is in error, however, as Thomas appears in the 1800 census in Steuben County [See above] and was probably in the county as early as 1793.
    Michael Scott also came from Maryland about the same time and settled on the adjacent farm to the southwest of Rowles. Scott was one of the first blacksmiths in the area. Asa Tolbert made the first clearing on the farm immediately south of Rowles. Tolbert drowned near Tunkhanush, Pennsylvania, while running a raft down the Susquehanna.
    Elsewhere: "Among the early settlers of Bradford were ... Thomas Rowles ... and the first death that of Mrs. Thomas Rowles, in August 1803; [also] the first buried in the cemetery above the village."


What were a bunch of Marylanders doing in upper New York State? According to McMaster,[6] the settlement of Bath began in late 1793. This area was part of the purchase by Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, 21 Nov 1788, from the State of Massachusetts for £300,000 in securities. (Indian title already had been purchased in July 1788.) The title included 2.6 million acres (the entire counties of Steuben, Yates, and Ontario, and parts of Wayne, Monroe, and Allegany). The area of Steuben County was surveyed in the summer of 1789. Capt. Williamson (the agent for that area) brought in settlers, primarily from Virginia and Maryland, and from Europe, with only a sprinkling of Yankees.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Grave marker, Bradford Cemetery, Bradford, Steuben, New York, United States.

    Inscription: "Age 60 years"

  2. Baltimore (independent city), Maryland, United States. 1790 U.S. Census Population Schedule.
  3. Steuben, New York, United States. 1800 U.S. Census Population Schedule, p. 198.
  4. Clayton, W. Woodford. History of Steuben County, New York: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. (Philadelphia: Lewis, Peck & Co., 1879), pp. 191-94.
  5. Roberts, Millard Fillmore. Historical gazetteer of Steuben County, New York: with memoirs and illustrations. (Syracuse, New York: The Author, 1891), pp. 169, 191-94.
  6. McMaster, Guy H. History of the Settlement of Steuben County, N.Y: Including Notices of the Old Pioneer Settlers and Their Adventures. (Bath New York: R. S. Underhill, 1853).