Welcome to the Rowan Sheffler Family History Blog

Rowan Sheffler Family Reuion c 1947

I am Ellen Rowan Taylor, daughter of Charles Hammond Rowan JR and Evelyn Bearden Rowan. I call myself a genealogist, I was always interested in family history, even as a small child. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask the right questions before it was too late. I started thinking about it, but that was all I did until 1978, when we moved to Fort Wayne Indiana which has the second largest genealogy library in the world. I was hooked.
In 1977, my Grandmother Bearden was dying, and I came to Pekin to help take care of her. While I was there, I decided to visit Aunt Nannie Rowan Ambrose my dad’s oldest sister and see what she could tell me so I could start the research. Aunt Nannie was the oldest of Charles and Nora Rowan’s nine children. She helped to rear the younger Rowan children and was beloved by all of them. She was the most likely person to have any information. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing or even what questions to ask, but I already had that genealogy bug, a whole year before we moved to Fort Wayne.
 I asked Aunt Nannie about the family history. She told me that James Latta Rowan was the rich doctor in Cincinnati that we had always heard about.

I asked her where he was born.

She said, “Ireland.”
I asked,

“Where in Ireland?”

She said, “County Cork”.

James Latta Rowan was correct, as far as who he was, our second great grandfather, who lived near Cincinnati Ohio, He was a Doctor, and he did have a big house, but he was not wealthy. The house was sold at auction and his poor second wife ended up living with other relatives. He was not the immigrant ancestor. He was born in Ohio, in 1808, and was at least third generation. I spent at least eight years chasing this elusive immigrant all over the US (at the Fort Wayne Library) and into immigration records and even into Ireland. I was off and running on the wrong track. It took me a few years and and an early home computer with access to AOL and another service called Genie to get on the right track. I connected someone researching the surname Latta, who had my Rowan information back to Henry Rowan who was born in 1719 and showed up in Gettysburg Pennsylvania in 1739. Aunt Nannie did get me started in the right generation, though. Without James, I’d probably still be out there in the wilderness, lost.

Rowan Home in Pisgah Butler County Ohio

By now, after 30 or more years, I have much more information and it’s probably much more credible , as I have learned much about resources and computer genealogy has made it much easier to search now.
I will fit as much as I can into this blog. I can’t tell the story of everybody in the family tree, because there are just too many people, and I only know the stories of some of them. It’s an interesting family history, in spite of that. We were not nobility, as least not that I have found yet, and we were probably peasants. I think we were mostly Scotch Irish and English and those German/Polish folks, who came with Grandfather Sheffler. Other than the Germans we were 100% Presbyterian. We have a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, which is about as close to nobility as we can get. His name was Abraham Clark, and he was married to the sister of Isaac Hatfield who was a grandfather about 5 generations back. There are Revolutionary War Soldiers and Civil War soldiers, and at least two Doctors and lots of farmers. Most everyone came in before the Revolution, which makes it very hard to find the country of origin. They were adventurous, and headed west in the early 1800’s and kept going after that, and, at least in my line they are still moving.I decided that the family tree was not pretty enough so I found this picture of a Rowan tree, which is what I always thought was the origin of our surname. Surnames in Great Britain did not occur until the 1200’s, for the non nobility, and usually took on the occupation or something else that was descriptive. There are links over on the right hand side of the page for origins of some of our surnames. Take the information with a grain of salt and don’t buy anything.

As you follow the Rowan family tree back, you will see the surnames, in addition to Rowan, Ayers, Williams, Hatfield, House and Tanner.   They all came to Southwestern Ohio at about the same time, from 1796, for the Williams to about 1810 for the rest.  They were some of the very first settlers in the Cincinnati area.  Around 1780, we began to see the first land speculators.  Judge John Cleves Symmes purchased land from the government, covering what is now Hamilton (Cincinnati), Butler and Warren County. For want of space, here is a link to more detail   The Williams and the Ayers families came from New Jersey, and Joel Williams, brother of our direct ancestor, Samuel and his family came soon after Joel.    Michael Ayers Sr. had purchased land, but died in 1796, before he could migrate  Our direct ancestor Michael Jr, and all but one of his sisters and their families came out around 1800.  Alexander Rowan came from Pennsylvania before 1800, with his family.  The House and Tanner families came from Virginia at about the same time.  I have found court records of disputes and land records for most of them.

You have two ways to access the family trees: click on Rowan Tree which will link you to the family tree or just click on the family tree page. Just click on the tree that you want to view, and it should enlarge to the right size. I separated the tree into two trees, one for Rowan and one for Sheffler to make for easier viewing.

Rowan Tree


Posted by on April 18, 2010 in Family History


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