Rowell, William R.
Age: 19, credited to Troy, VTVITALS
Birth: abt 1844, VermontADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Walnut Grove Cemetery, Methuen, MA
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
William R. Rowell, the son of Hon. A. J. and Lucy A. (Richardson) Rowell, was born at North Troy, Vt., March 18, 1844, and attended the common school of that village and Missisquoi Valley Academy. Subsequently he attended "New Hampshire Institution" at Fairfax, Vt., for a year. In the winter of 1860 he taught school in Mansonville, P.Q. In the spring of 1861 he was appointed a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point on the recommendation of Hon. Homer E. Royce, member of congress from the third congressional district of Vermont, and entered that institution in June of that year. In the winter following he resigned his cadetship, and entered the army with his father, Hon. A. J. Rowell, who was on the staff of Gen. Gover and remained there until the fall of 1862, when he returned home. In the fall of 1863 he enlisted as private in the 3d Battery of Light Artillery of Vermont Volunteers, and was mustered into service as first sergeant in January, 1864. Soon afterward the batter was ordered to Camp Barry, a camp of instruction near Washington, D. C., for drill, equipment, etc. In the early spring the battery was ordered to the front and attached to the 9th Army Corps in the Army of the Potomac, and remained in that army until the war ended with the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox court-house. In July, 1864, young Rowell was promoted to be second lieutenant, and in the winter of 1864 was promoted to be first lieutenant of the battery, and commanded the battery a portion of the time in the winter and spring of 1865.
Of their gallant conduct on the 25th of March, 1865, Capt. Romeo H. Start, in the adjutant and inspector-general's report of Vermont for 1865, appendix "C," page 50, says: "On the 25th of March it was decided to advance the picket line in front of Fort Fisher. The movement commenced near mid-day, and, contrary to the general opinion, the enemy contested the advance very stubbornly. The advance of our infantry was so much annoyed and retarded by a battery nearly in front of Fisher and beyond the effective range of its guns, that it was decided to move out a section of artillery to silence this troublesome battery; so a section of this battery from Fisher, under the command of Lieut. William R. Rowell, was ordered to move forward upon the skirmish line, and report to Brevet Brigadier-General Jas. M. Warner, commanding the troops of the 6th corps, operating in our front. The order was obeyed by Lieut. Rowell with commendable promptness and energy, under a severe artillery fire from the enfilading batteries of the enemy on the left of Fisher. In obedience to orders from Gen. Warner, Lieut. Rowell took up a position within seven hundred yards (and in advance of the skirmish line) from the enemy's battery in question, and at once opened fire, to which the enemy vigorously replied. This artillery duel lasted some twenty minutes, when the enemy's guns were silenced by the well directed fire of Rowell's guns, and the troops moved forward and occupied the desired position. The object of the movement having been attained Lieut. Rowell was directed by Gen. Warner to return to Fort Fisher with his section. During this skirmish the section suffered no loss in men or material. The conduct of Lieut. Rowell and the men of his section on this occasion was such as to elicit from Gen. Warner a very complimentary notice for gallantry." On the 2d day of April a severe engagement took place in front of Fort Fisher, in which the same report says: "The behavior of officers and men during the entire day was splendid. Lieutenants Rowell and Perrin deserve special mention for coolness and gallant conduct during the entire day."
At the close of the war Lieut. Rowell came home, and the following winter taught school in his native village. In November, 1866, he was appointed deputy collector of customs for the port of Troy by Gen. G. J. Stannard, collector, which office he held for three years, during which time he pursued the study of the law, under the direction of Hon. H. C. Wilson of Troy. In 1869 he resigned as collector of customs and attended the Albany Law School, taking a full course and graduating from that school, and at the same time was admitted to the bar of the state of New York.
In September, 1870, he was admitted to the bar of Franklin county, and soon afterward entered upon the practice of his profession at Springfield, Vt., where he remained two years, one year of which he was in partnership with Hon. Samuel W. Porter. In the fall of 1872 he returned to North Troy, and opened an office for the practice of his profession.
In 1876 he was elected state's attorney for the county of Orleans and held the office one biennial term, during which period there was a very large docket of criminal causes, including the celebrated Hayden murder case, which was tried and Hayden convicted during his term of office. He discharged the arduous duties of the office with great credit to himself and the satisfaction of the county. In the fall of 1880 he was again appointed deputy collector of customs for the port of North Troy, and about the same time was appointed aide-de-camp to Gov. Roswell Farnham with the rank of colonel. The office of collector he held until 1886. Col. Rowell, during his long service, conducted the affairs of this office with fidelity. In private life, also, he sustains a manly, upright character, and is universally esteemed for his frank, honorable dealing. He was married May 20, 1886, to Miss Imogene Gleason of Methuen, Mass.
Source: Frederick W. Baldwin, Biography of the Bar of Orleans County, Vermont.,Vermont Watchman and State Journal Press, Montpelier, Vt., 1886, pp. 254-256.