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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Rowland, Alfred II

by Maud Thomas Smith, 1994; Additional research provided by Kelly Agan; Revised December 2021

9 Feb. 1844–2 Aug. 1898

Alfred II Rowland, lawyer and congressman, was born in Robeson County, the son of John A. and Florah A. Rowland. His mother was a native of South Carolina. In May 1861 young Rowland, then a student, enlisted in the Confederate army and was chosen lieutenant of Company D, Eighteenth Regiment, North Carolina Troops. This was an action company throughout the war, serving under Generals James H. Lane and A. P. Hill. On 12 May 1864 Rowland was taken prisoner during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House and imprisoned at Fort Delaware until his release in June 1865.

After returning home, he read law with Giles Leitch in Lumberton and obtained his license to practice in the county court in January 1867 and in superior court in January 1868. In 1867 he was elected register of deeds, the first of many local offices that he held. He served in the General Assembly (1876–77 and 1880–81), where he was a member of the judiciary committee and the committee on the jurisdiction of magistrates. In 1884 he represented the Sixth Congressional District as a presidential elector in support of Grover Cleveland and Thomas A. Hendricks.

Running for Congress on the Democratic ticket in 1886, Rowland defeated his independent opponent by more than two-to-one. He served in the Fiftieth and Fifty-first congresses (4 Mar. 1887–3 Mar. 1891). Afterwards he retired to Lumberton to resume his law practice; he also served as master of St. Alban's Masonic Lodge. After his death in Lumberton and funeral at the Presbyterian church, of which he had been a member, he was buried in Meadowbrook Cemetery. The town of Rowland (incorporated in the year of his death) in the southwestern part of Robeson County was named in his honor.

Rowland married a Miss Blount, and they were the parents of a son, John A., and three daughters, May, Penelope, and Winifred.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1971).

Jerome Dowd, Sketches of Prominent Living North Carolinians (1888).

Fayetteville Observer, 4 Aug. 1898.

Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr., comp., North Carolina Troops, 1861–1865: A Roster, vol. 6 (1977).

Robert C. Lawrence, The State of Robeson (1939).

Legislative Record (1887).

Lumberton Robesonian, 26 Feb. 1951.

Raleigh News and Observer, 4 Aug. 1898.

Additional Resources:

"Rowland, Alfred, (1844-1898)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washignton, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed August 31, 2014).

"Rowland." Robeson County North Carolina. (accessed August 31, 2014).

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