Fannin County, Texas

Marker to be placed on Dr. Daniel Rowletts grave

(Bonham Daily Favorite, Oct. 1, 1986)

On Oct. 5 a ceremony will take place to dedicate the monument placed upon Dr. Daniel Rowlett's grave at 2:30 p.m.  His grave is located in the old Inglish Cemetery, Highway 82 East, north on Katy to 6th St.  The cemetery is located between 6th and Lynn.  The stone was purchased with funds collected by the members of the nine Masonic lodges of Fannin County.  This dedication ceremony is one of the official Fannin County Sesquicentennial events scheduled this year.

Dr. Daniel Rowlett was born in Virginia in 1786 and moved to Texas in 1836.  He is known as the "Father of Fannin County."

He made plans to emigrate to Texas in the fall of 1835.  At this time Dr. Rowlett was living in Memphis, Tenn. and a group of families made the decision to relocate.  Included in the group were the families of Richard Locke, Daniel Slack and brothers John and Edwards Stephens.  In Memphis the group chartered the steamboat Rover, commanded by Benjamin Crooks, and set sail down the Mississippi River to the juncture with the Red River and then up Red River to the settlement of Jonesboro in present day Red River County.  It is not known whether Jonesboro was their destination, but the Rover reportedly struck a snag in the river and sank with loss of four lives.

Soon after their arrival they were joined by the families of Jabez Fitzgerald and Mark R. Roberts, who had traveled overland from Tennessee.  Rowlett later established their date of arrival at Jonesboro as late Feb. 1836.

The men left their families at Jonesboro, and with some of their slaves rafted further up Red River to the mouth of Bois d'Arc Creek and stopped at the cabin of Carter Clift, who had recently moved into the area of Jonesboro.  Rowlett then led the men to various points along Red River and Bois d'Arc Creek where they established claims to tracts of land, and using their slaves erected cabins to shelter their families upon their arrival from Jonesboro.

By May several other families had settled in the area and under the leadership of Rowlett, a frontier militia company was organized to make contact with various Indian tribes scattered throughout the region.  On May 12, 1836, they encountered a party of Kickapoos who told them about the battles in south Texas between the Mexican army and the rebellious settlers who had declared their independence from the Mexican government.  In July Rowlett, Richard Locke, and Daniel Slack left for Victoria where they joined a company of men from the northeast Texas area commanded by Capt. John Hart.  Although the Mexican army had surrendered some weeks before the Red River pioneers arrived on the scene, Capt. Hart's company continued to serve for three months as a detachment of the army of the new Republic.  After the three month enlistment was up, all the men returned to their homes along the Red River to begin the business of establishing their homes and communities in the Republic of Texas.

In addition to this professions of medicine, law, and surveying, Rowlett also found time to be active in the governmental affairs of his new homw.

After Texas established itself as an independent nation, the area along the Red River was made part of Red River County with the seat of justice located at Jonesboro.  Dr. Rowlett was elected to serve those settlers in the western reaches of Red River County in the House of Representatives of the Second Congress of the Republic, which met in Houston in 1837 and 1838.  When he left to take his seat in the Congress he carried with him a petition signed by 118 settlers requesting the creation of a new county from the western area of Red River County  By 1837 many new families had settled in the are and they found it difficult to make the 70 or so mile trip to Jonesboro to transact business.  Rowlett also introduced the bill to creat the new county in early Dec. 1837; and by Dec. 14, an act of Congress created the new county of Fannin.  Initially an attempt was led by Rowlett to have the new county named Independence, but the Texas Congress decided on the name of Fannin to honor James W. Fannin, hero who died at Goliad.

Dr. Rowlett had been active in the Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge of Dover, Tenn. before his emigration to Texas.  On Nov. 3, 1840 a group of men gathered at Warren, the county seat of Fannin County, and by virtue of a warrant issued from the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas, organized the thirteenth Masonic Lodge in Texas, Constantine Lodge no. 13.  At the first meeting Danial Rowlett was installed as Worshipful Master, a position he held until March 1845.

ainr. Rowlett died at his home on Red River sometime in May 1848.  Minutes of the Constantine Lodge contain the following statement, "The Lodge is notified that the funeral of our worthy brother Dr. Daniel Rowlett will be preached on the first Sunday in next month by Rev. Bro. Graham."  The records of the Lodge show that on Sunday morning June 4, 1848, the members of the Lodge formed a procession and marched to the place where the funeral was preached.  Dr. Daniel Rowlett was buried in Inglish Cemetery.  In "A History of Constantine Lodge No. 13" written in 1897, the author states that "His remains now rest in the old Inglish Cemetery, in East Bonham, but no marble shaft marks the place.  How appropriate, and what a graceful thing it would be for Constantine Lodge to place a beautiful monument at the head of the grave of its first Worshipful master!"  Almost 100 years later the "marble shaft" has been placed on Dr. Daniel Rowlett's grave.

Dr. Daniel Rowlett

(b. Virginia, 1786 - d. Texas, 1848)

Marker Text:

Came to Texas 1836. Caused Fannin County to be created, 1837. Served as Congressman, Republic of Texas, 1837 - 38, 1839 -- 40, 1843 - 44. Helped (1840)

organize Constatine Lodge No. 13, A. F. & A. M., and was its first Worshipful Master. Was most versatile pioneer here.

Location:  In Inglish Cemetery, Bonham.

​Read more about Daniel Rowlett in the Handbook of Texas and on the Fannin County GenWeb site.