Novenber 9, 2008: It's All "Relative"

My friend at Engineered Garden recently called himself "Notorious EG", which reminded me of something that happened to me a few years ago, while doing research on my family history.

I was in an LDS library, scanning through a census CD, when the lady next to me asked in what state I was doing this research. I replied"Missouri".

"Oh", she said "so am I. What county is your family in?"

"Mainly Miller and Maries Counties", I replied.

"Why, those are the same counties my family resided in", said she. "May I ask the family name?"

I replied "Rowden".

"Oh, my goodness! That is the family I'm looking at right now! I am researching the Breeden family, and I ran across this old newspaper article. I think it might interest you."

KILLING OF THE NOTORIOUS "JIM ROWDEN" AT VIENNA, MARIES COUNTY, MISSOURI; Jefferson City Peoples Tribune, October 18, 1865____

We are informed that, on Monday, the 9th. instant, while the Maries County Circuit Court was in session at Vienna, the county seat of that county, the notorious Jim Rowden was shot while engaged in a difficulty with a citizen by the name of William Breeden. It is stated that Rowden came into Vienna on that day and got somewhat under the influence of whiskey, and being in that condition, and naturally a man of extraordinary physical strength and overbearing in his disposition, raised a general row, knocking down several persons, drawing his pistol on others, and threatening to perpetrate violence to their persons.

He finally became involved in a difficulty with Breeden, and one Crissman, knocking Breeden down and severely injuring him; and while in the act of drawing his pistol he was shot by Breeden with a pistol, from the effects of which shot he died in a few minutes. Before he fell, however, he succeeded in firing one shot at Crissman. Rowden had been a terror to the peaceable people of Maries County for some three or four years past, and had, in that time, unmercifully and brutally beat and wounded quite a number of persons for no cause whatever, except to make a wanton show of his strength and play the bully.

Judge Miller, on the happening of the above occurrence, at once called the Grand Jury in, and gave the matter in special charge to them, and they refused to find a bill of indictment against Breeden.

It is thought the killing of Rowden will have a salutary effect upon the public peace and tranquility of Maries County.

It is believed that persons and property, particularly horses, will now be in less danger in that county.

Do you have any "notorious" people in your family history?



  1. Great story! I live in Maries County, MO and I'll pass this along to the Historical Society.

    King's History of Maries County and Godspeed's History of Maries County can be found online at:

  2. Wow....what a coincidence! Her kinfolk shot your kinfolk. He was a real meanie, wasn't he? Now we know where you get your "mischevious" ways from...Ha!

    Just plain "EG"...lets see you blog about that!

  3. Anonymous, what a small world! I researched this line for probably 20 years, and my information was submitted to Maries Co. GenWeb years ago, but I don't know that this article was included.

  4. Yes, EG...some weird things happened during my research. It got to the point where I actually felt my Grandpa had to be helping me from "up there"!

  5. HA! Only you, Granny. :) Bet that woman at the drug store didn't know whose kin she was messin' with.

  6. You got that right, Ribbit! Persons and property, particularly horses, better watch out for old Granny! It runs in the family *wink*.