James Washington Rowden, son of James E. and Margaret (Lawson) Rowden, was born in Maries County, Missouri, on Sept. 1, 1843. James was the grandson of Nathaniel Rowden and his first wife and a great-grandson of Abraham and Rachel (Cheek) Rowden of Henry County, Virginia. The brothers and sisters of James Washington Rowden were John G. Rowden, Abram E. Rowden, Jehu Rowden, William N. Rowden, Nancy Rowden, Elizabeth Rowden, Emeline Rowden, Malinda Rowden and Mary Rowden. James and Margaret Rowden were the first of the Rowden family to move to Central Missouri. They settled in western Maries County and reared their large family there. They homesteaded land in the area in 1839 and about 1841, other Rowden families came to Missouri from Tennessee and Alabama. On Jan. 1, 1865, James W. Rowden married Matilda Jane Whitaker, their marriage performed by Elder Charles Mayfield. Matilda Jane was born in Miller County in June 1846, a daughter of Thomas and Susan (West) Whitaker. They were parents of 12 children including:
1. Joseph Rowden b. 1865 m. Mary Burks 2. George Rowden b. 1866 died 1867 3. Adeline Rowden b. 1868 died 1876 4. Susan Rowden b. 1872 died 1876 5. Margaret Rowden b. 1872 died 1873 (twin to Susan) 6. Alcena Rowden b. 1873 m. Gideon M. Durham 7. Mary Rowden b. 1874 m. (1) William Burd (2) _____Steiner 8. Cora Rowden b. 1877 m. George Shelton 9. Thomas Rowden b. 1878 died 1879 10. Daisy Rowden b. 1882 died 1888 11. Livonia Rowden b. 1884 m. Isaac Sherrell 12. Emma Rowden b. 1887 m. Everett Jones
Matilda Whitaker Rowden, wife of James, was connected with the Rowden Hotel in Iberia for a number of years (per his obituary). I suppose that meant she was the owner or proprietor of the old hotel. Matilda died March 23, 1908. Joe Rowden, one of the sons, met almost instant death when a team of horses ran away with him on March 3, 1914. Cora Rowden Shelton, the youngest child of James and Matilda, died three days after the death of her father on December 15, 1923 (James had died three days earlier on Dec. 12). At his death in December 1923, James Wash Rowden was 80 years old. According to his obituary, his death was caused by heart disease. His funeral services were held at the Bray's schoolhouse with Evangelist Bessie Evans officiating. James was an old Civil War veteran and member of the Iberia American Legion gave an impressive burial service at Brays Cemetery where he was laid to rest. The few remaining local Civil War veterans, who were members of the G.A.R.(Grand Army of the Republic), were unable to attend so the American Legion volunteered.