Rev. Thomas Rowe, Rector of St. Mary's Catholic Church at Strawberry Point, was born at Castle Comer, County Kilkenny, Ireland, June 21, 1854, being the son of Nicholas Rowe, a wealthy farmer and stockman. On the family estate, in the parish of Clough, are located the most extensive coal fields in all Ireland. There were eight sons in the family, all of whom had the advantages of a liberal education, and three are Catholic priests. Patrick, the eldest, is at Kimberly, South Africa, in the diamond fields. The second brother, Michael, a Catholic Curate, has charge of a Catholic Church near Kilkenny, Ireland. William, also a priest, emigrated to America about the year 1874, and is now connected with St. James' parochial school in New York City. John is Justice of the Peace in Clough, Queen's County, Ireland, and owns a large estate. Edward is living on the old homestead at Castle Comer, where the father died in 1874. James is extensively engaged in the commission business at Dublin. Richard is a commercial traveler in England. Julia lives on the old homestead with her mother and brother. Lizzie is married and resides in Abbeyleix, Queen's County, Ireland.
In the parochial schools of Castle Comer our subject gained the rudiments of his education. In 1865 he entered St. Keiran's College, of which the late Very Rev. Edward McDonald, D. D., was President. He and his brother Michael were ordained November 11, 1877, by Cardinal Moran, now Archbishop of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Our subject being ordained for the diocese of Dubuque, he at once came to this country, and was made Rector of St. Aidens Church, in West Dubuque, where he remained until 1883. His pastorate was an eminently successful one, and by his efforts the large debt hanging over the church was paid off.
Coming to Strawberry Point in 1883, Father Rowe was made Rector of St. Mary's Church, which was established by Father John Hackett, of honored memory. Aside from this pastorate, he has charge of the church at Cox Creek, in Clayton County, and that at Greeley, Delaware County. During the years of his pastorate at this place, his superior ability has resulted in great benefit to the church. The congregation has increased in numbers, and the interest has steadily grown from the first. A genial and agreeable gentleman, he is popular, not only with his parishioners, but also with all the citizens of Strawberry Point and the surrounding country. He is indefatigable in his efforts to advance the cause of his church, and is a tireless laborer for its welfare. His religious duties require the closest attention on his part, but he nevertheless finds time to keep himself posted upon current events pertaining to the local or national welfare, and is a law-abiding, patriotic citizen, cherishing an affection for, and allegiance to, the country of his adoption.