John Rowan (politician)

John Rowan (politician)

John Rowan (July 12, 1773 – July 13, 1843) was an American lawyer and Democratic-Republican politician from Louisville, Kentucky.

Born near York, Pennsylvania, Rowan moved to Kentucky around 1783. He received a thorough classical training, and studied law in Lexington, Kentucky. He was admitted to the bar in 1795 and commenced practice in Louisville.

Rowan was a member of the second State constitutional convention held at Frankfort, Kentucky in 1799. He was Kentucky's Secretary of State from 1804 to 1806. He was elected as a Republican to the House of Representatives for Kentucky's 3rd district, serving from March 4 1807 to March 3 1809. He was also a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1813 to 1817 and in 1822 and 1824. He served as a judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals from 1819 to 1821. He supported the New Court faction in the Old Court-New Court controversy.

Rowan was elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4 1825 to March 3 1831. There he was chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. Rowan was appointed commissioner for carrying out the treaty of 1839 with the Republic of Mexico. He served as president of the Kentucky Historical Society from 1838 until his death in Louisville in 1843. He was interred in the family burial ground at Federal Hill, near Bardstown, Kentucky. He was the uncle of Robert Todd Lytle. Rowan County, Kentucky was named in his honor.


* American National Biography
* Dictionary of American Biography
* Fackler, Stephen. "John Rowan and the Demise of Jeffersonian Republicanism in Kentucky from 1819 to 1831." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 78 (Winter 1980): 1-26
* Jillson, Willard Rouse. Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground: A Group of Fifteen Original Papers on the Early History of Kentucky. Louisville: Dearing Printing Co., 1930.


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