Elderly man and woman facing camera

Thomas Foster Rowe and Nancy Emeline Rowe. (Gus F. Rowe Family Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

July 18, 1929 – Mrs. Nancy Rowe disappeared while picking blackberries near her home on Albion Ridge. The 75-year-old grandmother had started out with her berry pail shortly after lunch. A search party was formed that afternoon “when she failed to return to her home in a reasonable time and they combed the surrounding territory quite thoroughly continuing their efforts far into the night.” The following day, 23 people from Mendocino joined Constable Patton “when a call came for additional help, and included in the number was a party of boy scouts under Principal Hannah of the high school.” Sheriff Byrnes and his deputies also joined the search, but no trace of her was found.

The Rowes had lived in Albion since 1878 and raised their family of 4 sons and 3 daughters there. “The family has a high standing in the community, and their pleasant home on the ridge near Albion has been the scene of many joyous gatherings of people both young and old.” Nancy had lost her husband of 58 years just three months earlier.

Nine years later, Nancy’s grandson Cecil Rowe was driving sheep about five-eighths of a mile south of the Rowe family home when he went down into a deep gulch to retrieve four sheep that had gotten away. He noticed some bones on the other side of the gulch and went to investigate. Finding a shoe nearby that he recognized as his grandmother’s, he notified his father who called the sheriff.

The sheriff suggested that Nancy had “possibly sat down on a log about three feet in diameter to rest. The body was found behind this log. It was hidden from view of any one going along the road.” It was thought that she might have fallen off the log and either died instantly or been too weak to get back up.

Nancy was laid to rest next to her husband, Thomas Foster Rowe, at Rose Memorial Park Cemetery in Fort Bragg.

New! Cemetery Tour – Take a hauntingly beautiful walk through a pioneer cemetery, while your “spirit guide” (a trained Kelley House docent) brings to life some of the colorful residents of this 19th Century logging town with their storytelling. Meet the town’s pre-eminent builder, who also happened to be the undertaker, and puzzle over why he has one of the most inauspicious headstones. Chuckle at the story of Cinderella, who lived near the cemetery and played a very mischievous prank to discourage inebriated men from taking shortcuts through the cemetery. Admire the artistry of the headstones and learn how to translate the symbols depicted on them, find out what illnesses and events took the lives of many, and discover the delightful rock ritual practiced today in the Jewish part of the cemetery.