William Austin Rowan was born on March 25, 1879 at Maple Summit, Fayette County, PA, the son of Allen H. and Annie (Linderman) Rowan.
William's first wife was Hattie Johnson (April 25, 1883-1918), the daughter of James and Catherine (Wilson) Johnson. They had six children -- Bertha Pearl Smith, Anna "Mae" Dale, Olive Aliene Conn, Harry Francis Rowan, Russel E. Rowan and Elva R. "Alviana" Rowan.
The Rowans made their home on Grant Street in Ohio Pyle, Fayette County, where William worked for many years as a timber cutter, and the family belonged to the Maple Summit Church. Circa 1910, the family may have lived in Republic, Fayette County, when one of their daughters was born.
Tragedy struck the family when son Russel, just a year and a half old, died on July 15, 1902. He was laid to rest in the cemetery of the Maple Summit Church of God. (His grave marker is seen here, as photographed in July 2000.) Twelve years later, the Rowans' six-year-old daughter Elva died a dozen days into the new year, on Jan. 12, 1914, of diphtheria of her larynx. She too was interred at the Maple Summit church burying ground. William Johnson of Nicolay was the informant for Elva's death certificate.
In February 1918, William's cousin Cecelia Gorsuch traveled from her home in Rockwood to spend a few days visiting with the Rowans in Ohio Pyle.
Compounding the heartbreak of the family's losses, Hattie contracted gallstones followed by peritonitis and died on April 11, 1918, at Ohio Pyle, just a few weeks shy of her 34th birthday. The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier reported that she "became ill Saturday and the end came unexpectedly Tuesday evening at 6 o'clock." The funeral was led by Rev. F.S. Wortman of Mill Run, with burial at Maple Summit Church. Among those attending the funeral, said the Courier, were "Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson and Elmer Johnson of Republic, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Johnson and son Glenn, and Mrs. Cecelia Gorsuch of Rockwood."
When the federal census was taken in 1930, William resided with his widowed mother on the family farm at Maple Summit. Also making their home with the Rowans were William's daughter Ilene Conn and nephew Linzy Conn (also spelled "Lindsey"). Among their neighbors was William's cousin, Robert Bacom Harbaugh Jr. and the widowed Ellen (Sands) Harbaugh.
After a period of mourning, sometime between 1930 and 1932, William married his second wife, widow Margaret E. (Thomas) Clemmer (1907-1977), a native of Rogers Mill, Fayette County, and the daughter of John and Agnes (Pirl) Thomas.
Margaret was almost three decades younger than her husband. She had been married previously (and somewhat briefly) to Virgil Beardsley Clemmer (1895-1927) -- who had died in Prescott, Arizona -- and brought these children to the union -- stepson Spencer Lonzo Clemmer and daughters Virginia Guynn and Genevieve Dunham.
William and Margaret had two sons of their own -- Richard Lee Rowan and John D. "Jack" Rowan. The Rowans moved to Brookvale, near Dunbar, Fayette County in about 1932, and remained there for the rest of William's life. William earned a living over the years as a laborer in the timber industry.
At the age of 76, William suffered a heart attack and was admitted to Connellsville State Hospital. Death came quickly, on on April 5, 1955. He was laid to rest in the ancient burial ground of the Maple Summit Church (seen here). At his death, he had 24 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, said the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Margaret outlived her husband by more than two decades. Circa 1968, her home was at rear 210 Robinson Street in Connellsville. She died at the age of 70 on July 21, 1977. Rev. Percy Ellenberger officated at her funeral, with burial in Maple Summit Cemetery. An obituary in the Daily Courier noted that her survivors included 16 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
~ Daughter Bertha Pearl (Rowan) Smith ~
Daughter Bertha Pearl Rowan ( ? - ? ) married James Ralph Smith Sr. (1894-1973), the son of Albert and Mary (Moon) Smith.
They had seven children -- James Ralph Smith Jr., Clara Mae Calvert, Evelyn Grafton (or Gratson), Donald Smith, Virginia Smith and Shirley Uphold.
The Smiths lived in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County, PA.
After Bertha's death, James then married Pearl Tannehill on Aug. 2, 1910 in Somerset County. James and Pearl went on to have five more children -- Charles Kenneth Smith, Glenn Smith, Carl Smith, George Marion Smith and Louise Lenhart.
James passed away on March 8, 1973, in Uniontown, Fayette County.
Details of this family are included in Olive Duff's family history work, entitled Moon Genealogy. [Note -- James Ralph Smith Sr.'s sister Harriet married Charles H. Rose, and their brother Harvey Smith married Clema Romesburg.]
~ Daughter Anna Mae (Rowan) Leichliter Dale ~
Daughter Anna Mae Rowan (1903-1967) was born in 1903. She was married twice.
Her first husband was Donald Leichliter (1922- ? ).
They had two children, Donald Leichliter and Donna Hofer.
Anna Mae later married Tom Dale (1903-1976), an emigrant from Durham County, England.
The Dales had three more children of their own -- Ruth Marceline Workman, Nancy Jane Dale and Paul Thomas Dale.
Anna Mae died in 1967, at the age of about 64.
~ Daughter Olive "Aliene" (Rowan) Conn ~
Daughter Olive "Aliene" Rowan (1910-2004) was born in 1910.
She married Linzy Sylvester Conn (1906-1975), the son of Harvey and Ida (Metzler) Conn.
They made their home in Confluence, Somerset County, and had five children -- Robert Eugene Conn, Betty Lou White, Hattie Mae Ansell, Harvey L. Conn and Barry Edwin Conn.
Linzy passed away in Somerset Community Hospital at age 68 on Oct. 3, 1975.
Olive survived him by nearly three decades, keeping her home in Confluence. Said the Somerset Daily American, "She loved to travel, cook, bake, crochet and read." She died on Oct. 4, 2004, at the age of 94, with burial in the Jersey Church Cemetery.
~ Son Harry Francis Rowan ~
Son Harry Francis Rowan (1915-1971) was born on June 17, 1915 in Maple Summit.
He served in the U.S. military during World War II, and was disabled from that experience.
Harry married Dorothy Boyd ( ? - ? ). They lived in Newton Falls, OH, and had one son, Kenneth Rowan.
Harry was a self-employed truck driver, and maintained his membership in the Maple Summit Church of God despite leaving the region after the war. He lived in Salem, OH; thence back to Uniontown, Fayette County, PA; and finally relocated to Warren, Trumbull County, OH in 1968. Their home was at 3971 Housel Drive in Warren. There, he was a member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter Two of Youngstown, OH.
Harry died in Trumbull Memorial Hospital at the age of 55 on May 17, 1971.
Son Kenneth Rowan made his home circa 1971 in Windham, OH.
~ Son Richard Lee "Dick" Rowan Sr. ~
Son Richard Lee "Dick" Rowan Sr. (1931-2018) was born on May 10, 1931 in Vanderbilt.
Richard was twice married. His first bride was Garnet D. Mowry (April 24, 1931-1957), daughter of Earl and Edih (Brown) Mowry of White, Fayette County. The couple made their home at 223 South Street in Connellsville.
The couple produced an only son, Richard Lee "Ricky" Rowan Jr. They were members of the First Baptist Church of Connellsville.
Heartache blanketed the family when Garnet contracted a deadly case of bronchial pneumonia. She suffered for 36 hours and was admitted to Connellsville State Hospital. There, she succumbed at the age of 26 on Oct. 12, 1957. Her remains were placed into repose in Maple Summit Cemetery, following funeral services led by Rev. H.L. Davis at the Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mill Run. A death notice in the Connellsville Daily Courier noted that she was survived by 11 siblings.
After almost two years as a widower, at the age of 28, on Sept. 20, 1959, he wedded Nancy Jo Shallenberger ( ? - ? ), daughter of Harry K. and Anne Shallenberger of Vanderbilt.
The Rowans produced these known children -- Shawnee Sue Olinzock, Michael Scott Rowan, Lyn Ann Hone, Jamie Lin Rowan, Cynthia Umbel and Laurie Roadman.
Their home in 1963 was in Hickory Bottom near Connellsville and in 2018 was in Dunbar Township near Connellsville. The Daily Courier once said that:
Dick was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was a successful and highly respected salesman and businessman for 56 years. Dick was a faithful member of the Vanderbilt United Methodist Church for 58 years and served as a Sunday school superintendent and Sunday school teacher. He served on the Dunbar Township School Board in the 1960s and was part of the construction of Dunbar Township Elementary School. Dick was a longtime member of the Dunbar Township Lions Club and a member of the planning and zoning commission in the 1970s.
Sadly, having been treated in the Excela Frick Hospital ICU unit, Richard died at home at the age of 86 on April 26, 2018. Funeral services were held in the family church, co-officiated by Rev. Robert Rabenstein and Rev. Dr. Marvin Watson. An obituary was published in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Son Richard Lee "Ricky" Rowan Jr. (1957- ? ) was born in July 1957. On his first birthday, he was pictured in the Daily Courier.
Daughter Shawnee Sue Rowan (1960?-living) was born in about 1960. She married (?) Olinzock ( ? - ? ). Their children were Andrea Olinzock and Keith Olinzock.
Daughter Lyn Ann Rowan (1963-living) was born in about 1963. At her third birthday, her photograph and a short article of celebration were printed in the Daily Courier. She wedded Arthur Lee Hone (1964-2010). The Honeses made their residence in Vanderbilt. They were the parents of Jeffrey Hone and Samantha Hone. Sadly, Arthur died at the age of 46 on Feb. 15, 2010 in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. Rev. David A. Bell Sr. and Rev. H. David McElroy jointly led the funeral service followed by burial in Dickerson Run Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Daily Courier.
Son Jamie Lin Rowan (1973-1978) was born on April 18, 1973. He only lived to the age of five. He passed away on Aug. 29, 1978. His tender remains were placed into eternal repose in Dickerson Run Cemetery.
Son Michael Scott Rowan (1965-living) was born in about 1965. He was joined in marriage with Rhonda.
Daughter Cynthia Rowan ( ? -living) was born in (?). She was united in wedlock with (?) Umbel ( ? - ? ). They produced these offspring -- Lindsay Umbel and Joshua Umbel.
Daughter Laurie Rowan ( ? -living) was born in (?). She married Jayme Roadman ( ? - ? ). Their children were Loryn Roadman and Hunter Roadman.
~ Son John D. "Jack" Rowan ~
Son John D. "Jack" Rowan (1933-1999) is believed to have been born in 1933 and to have wedded Lois E. (1932-1969). They rest together in Green Ridge Memorial Park north of Connellsville.
~ Stepson Spencer Lonzo Clemmer ~
Stepson Spencer Lonzo Clemmer (1919-1957) was born on Feb. 10, 1919 in Point Marion, Fayette County, the son of Virgil D. and Naomi (Latt) Clemmer. He was a boy when his mother died and then his father remarried Margaret E. Thomas and then age eight when his father passed away.
Spencer served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.
He married Jane Lettie Ball (1919-2011), daughter of N.J. Ball of Blosser Hill, PA. They lived in Lake Lynn, Fayette County and were members of Fallen Timbers Methodist Church.
They were the parents of Warren Lyle Clemmer, Noele Clemmer and Virgil Clemmer.
The Clemmers enjoyed camping and are known to have traveled to Great Valley, NY circa 1956 to camp with relatives.
Spencer earned a living as a stone driller. Circa August-September 1955, he was engaged in a project in Winchester, VA. Almost two years later, while working in a mine in March 1957, he was involved in an accident which crushed his hip and was hospitalized in Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV.
Having suffered with "necrotizing renal papillitis" -- better known as kidney lesions -- Spencer was admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. After a stay of a month and six days, he passed away at the age of 38 on June 14, 1957. Interment was in Oak Grove Church of Christ Cemetery at Morris Crossroads, with Rev. Harry Farrier of the family church leading the funeral services.
Jane outlived her spouse by more than half a century and remained in Lake Lynn. She succumbed at the age of 92 on Christmas Eve 2011.
Son Warren Lyle Clemmer (1938-1986) was born in 1938. He served in the U.S. Navy. Sadly, while in Winchester, VA, at the age of 47, he died on Aug. 16, 1986. His remains were returned to Pennsylvania to rest in Mount Olive Cemetery in Connellsville.
~ Stepdaughter Virginia (Clemmer) Guynn ~
Stepdaughter Virginia P. Clemmer (1925-2011) was born on Dec. 11, 1925 in Point Marion, Fayette County. She was two years of age when her father died.
At the age of 17, on April 26, 1943, Virginia wedded 23-year-old Richard T. Guynn (July 8, 1919-1991). The ceremony was held at Leisenring No. 1, and the following day Richard left for military service in the midst of World War II.
Their offspring were Deborah Hinklie, Beverly Guynn and Duane R. Guynn.
Richard passed away in September 1991.
Virginia outlived her husband by about two decades and remained in Connellsville. The Daily Courier once noted that she "loved to bake cookies, play 500 Rum and take care of all of her grandchildren." Toward the end, she was admitted to Latrobe Select Specialty Care. She succumbed there at the age of 85 on Feb. 26, 2011. Rev. Dr. Marvin Watson oversaw the funeral service, with burial in Green Ridge Memorial Park. In an obituary in the Daily Courier, the family thanked her longtime physician Dr. Setty and the nursing staff at Frick Hospital.
Daughter Deborah Guynn married George Hinklie and lived in Connellsville.
Daughter Beverly Guynn dwelled in Connellsville.
Son Duane R. Guynn married Karen. In 2011, their home was in Scottdale, Fayette County.
~ Stepdaughter Genevieve "Jackie" (Clemmer) Dunham ~
Stepdaughter Genevieve "Jackie" Clemmer (1921-2017) was born on May 27, 1921 in Fallen Timbers near Point Marion.
On Aug. 24, 1940, she eloped to Oakland, MD with Harry S. Dunham (Sept. 25, 1917-1983). The nuptials were held in St. Paul's Methodist Church.
They dwelled in Fallen Timbers and produced an only child, Naomi June Ganocy.
Henry was employed by National Coal Company in Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV, just over the state line. The Dunhams were members of Fallen Timbers Methodist Church.
Genevieve made news in March 1982, at the age of 77. Several months earlier, in July 1981, when she became lost while driving near Haydentown on a "gravel access road full of potholes," reported the Indiana (PA) Gazette. "She was delivering a baby shower gift and had been in the area before but lost her way that evening. She apparently got stuck on the rocks and left the car to ask for directions. She walked 50 feet up a steep hill into the woods, where authorities speculate she may have wandered around for a day or two before she feld about halfway down a 40-foot ravine." In all, she spent about four days lost in the heavy woods near an abandoned limestone quarry, trapped between a rock and log. When she did not return home, her family called authorities. Rscue parties fanned out through the area, located her automobile and eventually heard her calls for help. Physicians diagnosed neck injuries, a collapsed lung and other bruising and cuts.
Harry died at the age of 65 in June 1983. Burial was in Oak Grove Cemetery in Uniontown.
Genevieve lived for another nearly 34 years as a widow. She made her home in Uniontown, Fayette County. In 2011, she celebrated her 90th birthday with the Uniontown Herald-Standard writing a profile.
At the age of 95, she passed away on Feb. 11, 2017. Rev. Don Kephart officiated at her funeral. In an obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to White Oak Animal Safe Haven in White Oak, PA.
Daughter Naomi Dunham ( ? -living) was born in (?). On May 30, 1964, she was united in marriage with Terry Kent Ganocy ( ? -living), son of Sylvester and Doris Ganocy. The wedding was held at the Mapletown Methodist Church. The Ganocys resided in Uniontown, where Terry was employed for 39 years with the Carmichaels Area School District. They have a son, Dr. Terry "Kent" Ganocy. On May 30, 2014, the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a dinner dance at the Holiday Inn in Uniontown, with Rev. Don Kephart offering a prayer.
~ More ~
We express our thanks to Bill and Tina (Conn) Forster for sharing their genealogy research for this biography, and to the late Olive Duff for her work on the Rowan-Smith family.
Copyright © 2007-2009, 2012, 2014, 2017-2018 Mark A. Miner