Francis Harold Rowley was born in Hilton, New York on July 25, 1854. He was the son of a doctor, John R. Rowley, and his mother was Mary Jane (Smith) Rowley.
He graduated from Rochester University in 1875, and Rochester Theological Seminary of New York in 1878. He was ordained in New York on June 22, 1878.
In 1878-1879, he was the Baptist minister at Parker City, Pennsylvania.
In 1879-1884, he served at Titusville, Pennsylvania.
On June 1, 1880, he was pastoring in Titusville, Pennsylvania. He was 25 years old, and his wife, Ida was 22. Their twins, John and Alice, were eleven months old. Their house was at 102 Spruce Street.
In 1884-1892, he was a Baptist pastor at First Baptist Church of North Adams, Massachusetts.
While pastor in North Adams, he wrote the following hymn:
He applied for a passport so he could travel abroad in Aug. 1890. He was described as 35 years old, five feet and 5 ½ inches tall, with a medium forehead, brown eyes, a straight nose, a mouth that was not large, a round chin, dark brown hair, an olive complexion, and a round face.
From 1892 to 1896, he was a Baptist pastor in Oak Park, Illinois.
From 1894 to 1902, he was the secretary of the American Humane Association.
From 1896 to 1900, he was a Baptist pastor in Fall River, Massachusetts.
On June 1, 1900, Francis Rowley was 44 and his wife, Ida was 42. They had four children, and were living in a rented house at 163 Winter Street, Fall River, Massachusetts. The oldest two children were twins: John and Alice, and they were 20 years old. They also had 17 year old Charles and 16 year old Esmond. The older two were in college and the younger boys in school.
From 1900-1910, he was the pastor of the historical and ornate First Baptist Church of Boston, where several pastors suffered civil persecution in its early years.
In 1903, he applied for a passport to go abroad, and he was 48 years old. His description said he had a high forehead, hazel eyes, a small nose, an ordinary mouth, a dimpled chin, gray hair, and a fair complexion.
In 1905, he was a visiting professor at the Divinity School of Harvard University.
On June 3, 1907, he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Mission Union board.
In 1910, he followed George Angell as president of the American Humane Education Society. He brought his experience from the pulpit to the organization to help it grow. He obtained the society’s first ambulance, and in 1915, the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital was officially organized. The first year it treated 4,382 animals, and the next year, 10,813 animals! During his term, law enforcement officers were given full legal power, and their first animal shelter was opened to provide care for retired police horses and other working animals. He continued to serve the organization until he retired in 1945.
On January 1, 1920, he was 65 and his wife was 62. He was the president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Massachusetts. They were living in a rented house on Beacon Street, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Alice, their daughter was 40, single and living with them.
He served as the vice president and director of Robert Brigham Hospital for the Incurables.
He served as the vice president of the Children's friend Society of Boston.
He served as the director of the N.E. Baptist Hospital of Boston.
He lived at 180 Longwood Ave, Boston, Massachusetts.
He died on February 14, 1952, Boston, Massachusetts.
Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, named the Rowley School of Humanities after him.
First Baptist Church of Boston’s website: www.firstbaptistchurchofboston.org/history/history.html, accessed in July, 2010.
Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1982), pp. 114, 115.
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website: www.mspca.org, accessed July, 2010.
Photo from The Baptist Missionary Magazine, Vol. 87, No. 8; Aug. 1907, p. 343.
Erik Routley, edited by Peter W. Cutts. An English Speaking Hymnal Guide (Chicago, Illinois: GIA Publications, 2005), p. 87.
Uncredited copy of information at KeanMacOwan’s “MacOwan Family Tree.” Ancestry.com (Provo, Utah: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), www.ancestry.com.
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 Record for Francis H Rowley. (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007).
Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. CensusPlace: Titusville, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll 1121; FamilyHistoryFilm: 1255121; Page: 255D; EnumerationDistrict: 123; Image: 0265.
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. CensusPlace: Fall River Ward 7,Bristol,Massachusetts; Roll T623_ 636;Page: 10B; EnumerationDistrict: 152.
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. CensusPlace: Brookline, Norfolk, Massachusetts; Roll T625_721; Page: 14B; EnumerationDistrict: 175; Image: 913.
Rochester Theological Seminary General Catologue, 1850 to 1920 (Rochester, New York: E.R. Andrews Printing Co., 1920). pp. 128-129.