Rowe, Ill. History

            On the completion of the Chicago & Paducah Railroad, among the many little towns which sprang up along the line was Rowe.  It was surveyed and platted by A. C. Huetson, from the southeast quarter of Section 32, for James Rowe, the proprietor, July 24, 1871. As will readily be guessed, the name was for the originator of the scheme. The project has been scarcely as successful as many who lived in the vicinity hoped, though it has proved a great convenience to shippers of grain and stock, and as a minor trading place; and the road has been quite an accommodation as a means of communication with the county seat. The village contains one time about fifty inhabitants, one store, a tile factory,  two grain elevator, one blacksmith shop and a depot for the Paducah, and later the Wabash Railroad..The earlier settlers had to go to Dayton, Ill., north of Ottawa to get their milling done, and to Ottawa to do their buying of supplies as there were no other towns closer. Later, Pontiac, Cornell and Graymont became their trading centers. J. M. Rowe still owns the plat of the town, though he has removed to the town of Sheridan in this State.

            St. Paul’s Lutheran church was built in 1865 .

            The Norwegian settlement in the vicinity of Pontiac is originally a branch or extension of the Fox River Valley or Leland and Lisbon settlements north. As early as 1853 two or three families moved in from Otter Creek. In 1862 six or eight families were scattered over an area of fifteen miles. Houses were built wherever convenient regardless of roads. The prairie was covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, but swampy. A writer of the time says: “Where the frogs do croak and the ducks do quack down in the pond country, Pontiac.”  Then the price of land was from five to ten dollars an acre; now it sells from one hundred twenty-five to two hundred dollars an acre. (1890) Due to the efficient tiling practically no swampy land is to be found. The first Lutheran congregation was formed in 1864, in the settlement with ten families. Various problems faced the little congregation including the split of the congregation for a number of years. But in 1890 the two congregations merged back into one, naming it St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.