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Below is a family biography included in The History of Barry County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Joseph F. Rowley, one of Barry County’s leading farmers, was born in Jackson County, Va. in October, 1827. He is a son of Joseph and Chloe (Buffington) Rowley. His father died before his birth, and he was reared by his grandfather Joseph Buffington, a pioneer settler of Virginia and Kentucky At the age of twelve years young Joseph Rowley left the home of his grandfather in Iowa, and started out in life alone with nothing but a pair of buckskin pants and a jean coat. He began work on a farm near Farmington, and continued working as farm hand until he reached manhood. At the age of seventeen he had saved money enough to enter a farm for himself, which was the first piece of land entered in Marion County, Iowa. In a short time he was able to dispose of his land at a profit and in 1845 he returned to Virginia to visit his mother. In 1851 he went back to Iowa and started for California, by the overland route. Arriving at Salt Lake City he remained there over winter trading in stock, and the next spring he resumed his journey as far as San Bernardino, where he remained a short time and then went to Los Angeles. He remained seven years in different parts of California engaged in stock dealing and farming, always displaying the same pluck and energy that helped him to success when a boy. A short time prior to his going to California he married Susan Carbaugh, who died on April 29, 1884, leaving three children, viz.: Napoleon B, Caroline (wife of Eben Leduhan) and Ann (wife of H. F. Leduhan). Mr. Rowley was married on July 5, 1885, to Adaline Wyrick, of Barry County, by whom he is the father of two children, Josie J. and Sally May. His health failing him, he left California in 1858, and located in Hays County, Tex., where he dealt in real estate and live stock. When the Civil War broke out he owned a wagon train, and was freighting cotton from Texas to Mexico, and desiring to follow a quiet life, he took no part in the troubles of those exciting times, but he was compelled to abandon his home and go to Mexico. He, however, soon returned to Texas to see his wife, who was sick, and, while on his way to California in company with Joseph Carbugh, he was surrounded by Confederate soldiers and captured after making a running fight for several hours, in which he was wounded through the thigh. He was held prisoner while his wound was healing, being subiected to very rough treatment. When he could use his limb, he was put in the artillery corps at Galveston, and soon after sent with the command to the camp near Hempstead to guard Federal prisoners. In a short time he succeeded in making his escape into Mexico by swimming the Rio Grande River, when it was at its high-water mark. He soon after purchased a horse, and started for the northeastern part of Mexico as leader of a party of travelers. After traveling together some three miles the party separated, after which the others were all killed by Mexican soldiers. Mr. Rowley was surrounded by a band of bandits, and was robbed barely escaping with his life. He soon after received news that hostilities had ceased in the United States,and returned to his home in Texas. He found his affairs in a very bad condition, but he set to work and was soon on the road to prosperity. He purchased a large tract of cotton land in Southern Texas which he managed very successfully, but in 1872 he located in Barry County Mo., on a farm near Cassville, and later removed to his farm near O’Day. Since coming to Missouri he has given his attention to raising grain. He owns 700 acres of land on Washburn Prairie and a farm on White River. He also owns a tract of land in Lawrence County, Mo., and 300 acres in Texas. Besides rearing his own he has reared two adopted children. During the winter of 1887-88 Mr. Rowley received an injury from a runaway horse, from which he has never recovered, and is compelled to remain a prisoner at home much against his will. He is a member of Lodge No. 367, A. F. & A. M., at Washburn.

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This family biography is one of 103 biographies included in The History of Barry County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Barry County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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