ROWE, Fred H. - The early idea that the lawyer was the best educated as to the rights of man and the limitations of government, both of them prescribed by law, still prevails to an appreciable extent. Thus law and politics ever were akin, and many who desire the largest compensations for their calling, gravitate irresistibly toward this combination of opportunities. In this dual role Fred h. Rowe had been prominently identified with Jacksonville ever since his admission to the bar of Illinois in 1888. Mr. Rowe's youth had, as surroundings, the rugged hills of Vermont, among which he was born December 20, 1857. His parents were Harvey and Annie (Lyon) Rowe, both natives of the Green Mountain State, the former born in 1831, and the latter in 1830. The elder Rowe, who was a marble and granite dealer, broadened his activities to include a keen interest in politics, and served in the Legislature of Vermont, and otherwise contributed to the well-being of his community until his removal to Jacksonville, Ill., in 1886. An appreciation of scholarship, and a firm determination to brush away all obstacles to success, seem to have been distinguishing traits of the early, as they are of the later life of Fred H. Rowe. Having insufficient means to pursue his studies beyond the high school, he created his own opportunity for a college education by working in the post office at Poultney, Vt., while preparing for college at Troy Conference Academy, from which he was graduated in 1876. He thus earned his tuition at Williams College, from which he graduated with honor in 1880. He was President of his class, and took honors for oratory and debating. During the following year he taught in the St. John's School, at Poultney, and in 1882 came to Jacksonville, where he became identified with business affairs for six years. In the meantime he began to read law in the offices of Morrison & Whitlock and Judge Thompson, of Jacksonville, and was admitted to the bar in 1888.
Mr. Rowe cast his first presidential vote for James A. Garfield in 1880. In 1889, the year after his admission to the bar, he was elected Attorney of the city of Jacksonville, and was reelected to the same office for a second two years' term in 1891. In 1898 he was a candidate for County Judge. During the 'nineties he developed excellent campaigning ability, drew large and interested throngs throughout the State, and served as Chairman of the committee which resulted in the nomination of Richard Yates, Jr., for Governor of Illinois, at Peoria, in 1900. During 1901 he was private secretary for Governor Yates, and from 1901 until 1905 was State Insurance Attorney. He has served on county, State, city and Congressional committees, was Chairman of the Republican State Committee from 1900 to 1905, and has been prominent in the local deliberations of his party ever since comint to Illinois. Mr. Rowe is eminently social in his tendencies, and is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and the Masonic fraternity, of the local lodge of the latter order being Master during 1896-97.
The wife of Mr. Rowe, whose maiden name was Marietta Mathers, was born in Jacksonville, in 1857, the daughter of Wesley and Millicent (Yates) Mathers, the former a brother-in-law of the first Gov. Richard Yates, and for a time a hardware merchant of Jacksonville, and Mayor of the city in 1875. Mrs. Rowe is a graduate of the Illinois Woman's College, and has been a Trustee and President of the Alumnae Association of that institution. Mr. and Mrs. Rowe are the parents of three children: Cole Y., who was born June 16, 1886; Richard Yates, born December 12, 1889; and Millicent Emily, born August 17, 1891. Mr. Rowe is the personification of twentieth century energy and resource, and with his extended and many sided experience, broad knowledge of men and affairs, and excellent professional equipment, would seem destined to fill an even more important place in the future than he has in the past.