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One of the prominent farmers of Camas prairie is Joshua Graham Rowton, who was born in Benton County, Missouri, June 16, 1850. He is of English descent, his ancestors having been early settlers of Kentucky, where the family was founded by John Rowton, the grandfather of our subject. He afterward removed to Missouri and was numbered among the pioneers of that state. William Willis Rowton the father of Joshua, was born near Louisville, Kentucky, and when a young man accompanied the family on their emigration to Missouri. He made his home in Benton County but died at the early age of twenty-seven years. He married Martha Graham, who was left a widow with two little sons. She was ever faithfully devoted to her children and is still living, in her seventy-first year, her home being in Kansas. She has long been a member of the Baptist Church and is a most estimable lady.
Mr. Rowton of this review was only a year old when his father died. He had little opportunity for acquiring an education, and as the family lost all their property during the civil war his school privileges were necessarily more limited than would otherwise have been the case. However, reading and experience in the practical affairs of life have added greatly to his knowledge, and he is today a very well informed man. When fourteen years of age he removed with his mother to Kansas, and since that time has been dependent entirely upon his own resources for his livelihood, so that whatever success he has achieved is due entirely to his own efforts. In the fall of 1872 he removed to Montana, and the following year packed over the mountains to Camas prairie. Here he located the homestead upon which he now resides, a rich tract of land seven and a half miles northeast of Grangeville. Here, as the result of his industry and energy, he has now a fine country place, and from time to time has extended the boundaries of his farm until it now comprises six hundred acres. His cozy home, attractive grounds, good orchard and many other improvements all indicate the progressive spirit and good taste of the owner, who is regarded as one of the leading representatives of the agricultural interests in this part of the state. He follows general farming, but has given his attention chiefly to stock raising, including cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. He has had as many as three hundred head of cattle at one time, and in this branch of his business is meeting with very gratifying success.
In 1877 Mr. Rowton was united in marriage to Miss Emma L. Clarke, a native of Ohio, and three children grace their union: Eva, Homer C. and Jessie. Mrs. Rowton is a cultured and amiable lady, and presides very gracefully over their hospitable home, being to her husband a worthy helpmeet.
Since coming to this state Mr. Rowton has been actively connected with many of the events which form its history. At the time the Nez Perces Indian war broke out he was at Mount Idaho, and was one of the first to volunteer in the service of quelling the uprising. He aided in building the stone fortifications at Mount Idaho and was one of the party that routed a band of Indians in that vicinity. He also served with General Custer in Texas in following a band of Indians who had captured a white woman on the Red river. After a long and arduous chase they overtook the Indians and rescued the woman, a fact of which the participants in the affairs have every reason to be proud.
In politics Mr. Rowton has also been an active factor. He belongs to a family of Republicans, and had an uncle who was a slaveholder in the south, but who nevertheless espoused the cause of the Union and fought in the northern army in support of the supremacy of the government at Washington. Our subject has always been a stanch advocate of the Grand Old Party, and in the fall of 1893 was elected on its ticket to the state legislature, where he served most creditably and was the chairman of the committee on roads and bridges. In 1896 he was again nominated, but the entire ticket met defeat in Idaho in that year. Mr. Rowton, however, has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote his energies to his business interests. Socially he is a representative of the Odd Fellows society. Both he and his wife have a wide acquaintance on Camas prairie and are very favorably known.