Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ROWAN, John, jurist, born in Pennsylvania in 1773; died in Louisville, Kentucky, 13 July, 1853. He moved with his parents to Kentucky in 1783, and was educated in Bardstown. In 1795 he was admitted to the bar, and in 1799 he became a mere-bet of the State constitutional convention, He was chosen secretary of state in 1804, and was elected to congress from Kentucky, serving from 9 January, 1807, till 3 March, 1809. During 1819-'21 he was judge of the court of appeals, and he attained a high reputation as a lawyer in criminal cases. Subsequently he was elected to the United States senate, serving from 5 December, 1825, till 3 March, 1831, during which time he made able speeches on the amendment of the judiciary system and on imprisonment for debt. Later he was appointed commissioner of claims against Mexico under the treaty of 11 April, 1839, and was sent in 1848 as minister to Naples, where he remained until 1850. Judge Rowan was president of the Kentucky historical society in 1838-'43, and published in 1830 his speeches in the senate on Henry S. Foote's resolutions and on imprisonment for debt.
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