While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


A. E. Skinner

ROWENA, TEXAS. Rowena is on U.S. Highway 67, Farm roads 2872 and 2l33, and the Santa Fe Railroad, eight miles from Ballinger in southwestern Runnels County. The town was laid out in November 1898 by Paul J. Baron, who called the site Baronsville. A railroad section house there was named Rowena Station by railroad officials in 1888, but the post office rejected the name because it resembled that of Ravenna in Fannin County. When Gustav Schuhmann became the first postmaster in 1900, the office was named Bolf for land agent John Bolf. The post office took the name of Rowena in 1901, and local residents persuaded Baron to rename the town Rowena in February 1904; the name was either that of the girlfriend of a son of Jonathan Miles, who helped obtain the railroad extension through the town, or that of the wife of Santa Fe Railroad clerk James Spillane.

Rowena was settled principally by German and Czech Texans from Central Texas. In 1904 the population was fewer than 100, and the town served as a trading point for local farmers and stock raisers. Flourishing cotton production and an influx of immigrants caused a boom by 1908 and a population of between 400 and 600. Rowena had a population of 800 in 1930, then declined to 750 in 1940. Oil and gas were discovered near the town in the 1960s. Rowena is noted as the birthplace of Bonnie Parker, companion of bank robber Clyde Barrow, and was the scene of a bungled bank robbery that made national news in 1968. A Catholic school, St. Joseph's High School, is located in Rowena. The Rowena Independent School District was organized in 1901, but the school closed in 1966, and the district was divided. The town had 446 residents and twenty-one businesses in 1970 and seven businesses and an estimated population of 466 in 1980 through 2000.

A. E. Skinner, The Rowena Country (Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1973).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, A. E. Skinner, "ROWENA, TX," accessed August 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlr47.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on TexasAlmanac.com!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...