Elderly man and woman posing for the camera

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

April 2, 1929 – Thomas Foster Rowe died at his home near Albion at the age of 91. His passing “takes from the community a beloved neighbor, a loyal citizen and a real pioneer, whose characteristics of industry and integrity were widely known and deserved the utmost respect.”

Born in Maine in 1838, he left home at 18 and “made his own in the world without assistance in any way. He first worked in the lumber yards at St. Paul, Minnesota. With the discovery of gold at Pikes Peak he was filled with a desire to see the west and try his luck in the mines. During the summer of 1859 he crossed the plains by ox team as far as the mines and took up several claims, but two years of prospecting and mining brought him little good fortune. Hoping to find a more favorable opening farther west he left Colorado early in 1861.”

His first stop was Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he briefly worked for the government. On March 4, 1861, he left Santa Fe at about the same hour that Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President. “A journey fraught with peril and privation had its end with the arrival of the party at San Bernardino. The young man found work as a day laborer, and as soon as he had saved up a small amount of money he came to the northern part of the state, arriving in the village of Mendocino on the 17th of September 1861.”

He remained in Mendocino, working in the lumber camps, until the following year when he transferred to the mills at Albion. Five years later, he moved to Point Arena and worked with the Garcia Lumber Company for two years. He then returned to Albion, purchasing 160 acres of land where he continued to live until his death.

Thomas married Nancy Henderson in Manchester in 1871. They had four sons and three daughters who, along with his widow Nancy, survived him: Stephen and Thomas Frank of Albion, Gus F. of Campbell, California, Charles H. of Pepperwood, Mrs. Lucy A. Carlson of Fort Bragg, Mrs. Eva S. Stout of Fort Bragg, and Mrs. Elsie S. Forsyth of San Francisco. “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.”

The funeral was held at the Cannarr Funeral Home in Fort Bragg, with interment in the family plot in Rose Memorial Park Cemetery. Pall bearers were six grandsons of the deceased: Lucian Carlson, Glen Carlson, Cecil Rowe, Theodore Rowe, Claude Stout and Claire Stout.

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