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WILLIAM H. ROWE



When I started my search for my gr-gr-grandpa, William H. Rowe, I ran into brickwall after brickwall. I almost resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to make any discoveries of his past. I was wrong. Growing up my mom had always been told that Grandpa Rowe had been abopted by a Rowe family as an infant after his mother had abandened him on their doorstep, this is the myth, now for the facts.

William H. Rowe was born as William H. Francis in Pike County, Kentucky in 1864 (1). He was a twin and his brother was Elisha J. Francis. In the 1870 Pike County census both boys are found living in the household of Elisha Hopkins and his daughter Dorcus Hopkins, both boys are listed as 6 years old and carry the Francis surname (2). I have not been able to find any trace of Elisha J. Francis after the 1870 census. The next info I have on William is his marriage record to (Sarah) Isabelle Ramsey on 10/20/1887. The marriage took place in the home of Dorcus Hopkins and William had changed his last name to Rowe (3). This record is the reason I started looking for a connection from William to Dorcus as a possible mother, aunt or even a half sister. My cousin Bruce Hopkins furnished me with the marriage records of Dorcus Hopkins sons Harrison and Joseph Hopkins, William H. Rowe provided the suriety for both boys when they married.

My Gr-Gr-Grandfather was the son of T. Rowe & Elizabeth Hopkins Francis (4). I speculate that Elizabeth died soon after the twins were born and they were raised by their Aunt Dorcus Hopkins. This would explaine why people thought William was a half brother to Harrison Hopkins. Dorcus would have been the one to tell William the name of his father, T. Rowe and that is the reason he changed his last name.

Source 1: dob taken from the headstone of William H. Rowe.
Source 2: 1870 census of Pike County, Kentucky.
Source 3: Marriage record of William H. Rowe to Isabell Ramsey 10/ 20/1887.
Source 4: Death Certificate of William Rowe.