Abel W. Rowell, a retired farmer of Solon and the chairman of Solon’s Board of Selectmen, was born in this town, March 12, 1832, son of Frederick and Sophia (Wood) Rowell. The grandfather, Zebedee Rowell, came here with his family from Dracut, Massachusetts, about the year 1802, and occupied the place now known as the Norton farm for eight years. Then he went to Rowell Mountain, where he resided until his death, which occurred February 8, 1833. He was a soldier under General Stark in the Revolutionary War. Nine children were reared by him, namely: Frederick, George, David, Zebedee, Frank, and Daniel C., all of whom lived in Solon; Charles, who settled in Brighton, Maine; Elbridge, who located in Madison, Maine; and Elizabeth, who married Barnet Eaton. Of these none arc living. All the sons except Daniel became heads of large families, and their descendants arc distributed throughout the country.
Frederick Rowell, born in Dracut, Massachusetts in 1801, was reared in Solon. He tilled the soil of the homestead farm during his active years, was the chairman of the Board of Selectmen for some time, and died February 12, 1853. Sophia, his wife, who was a native of Norridgewock, Maine, became the mother of six children: Sybil S., who died in 1869; Abel W., the subject of this sketch; Frederick, who died in 1860; Zebedee, who died in California in 1864; Caroline, now the wife of Amos Jerald, of Fairfield; and Helen S., who married Albert Harbill, neither of whom is living. Sybil S. was the wife of Sextus Hobart, who is also deceased; and Frederick’s wife, whose maiden name was Miss Wilson, died some time ago. The mother subsequently married William Burgess, of Fairfield, and died November 30, 1875.
Abel W. Rowell acquired his education in a common school and an academy. At the age of nineteen he went to Calfornia, where he was engaged in mining and prospecting for two years. Then he returned to Solon, and resided at the homestead until 1859, when he again went to the Pacific coast, his second visit lasting three years. After this trip he resumed the cultivation of the home farm, and was extensively engaged in general farming, stock-raising, and butchering. In 1888 he sold his property, and he has since occupied a comfortable residence in the village. He is now engaged in looking after his real estate interests and attending to the duties of chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Deputy Sheriff, and of some minor offices. In politics he is a Democrat.
On March 26, 1854, Mr. Rowell first married Almeda W. Burns, of Madison, a daughter of Samuel and Annie (Weston) Burns, both of whom are now deceased. The father was a farmer and lumberman. Mrs. Almeda W. Rowell died March 21, 1882, leaving five children, namely: Ella F., who married O. A. Corson, and resides in Pasadena, California; Fred, who died in 1892; Annie, who married Daniel Jewett, of Solon, and is no longer living; Herbert B., who was educated at the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, and is now in business in Minneapolis ; and Cady, born in 1875, who now resides in Auburn, Maine. A second marriage on January 1, 1887, united Mr. Rowell to his present wife, who was Mrs. Lydia Bassett McFarland, widow of Edward McFarland, late of Damariscotta, Maine. She was born in Solon, daughter of Alanson Bassett, a native of Moscow, Maine. Mr. Rowell has been a member of Northern Star Lodge, F. & A. M., since 1853, and is widely and favorably known throughout this section as a citizen of ability and sterling character. Both he and Mrs. Rowell attend the Congregational church.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.