Sheila Martinez and Brad Hale

ROWDEN, TEXAS. Rowden is on State Highway 36 sixteen miles northwest of Cross Plains in south central Callahan County. Walter V. Roberts opened a store and post office at the site on the northwest corner of the Miller place in 1906. The community name, that of the Jack Rowden family, was drawn from a hat. The major occupation of the settlement was ranching along Pecan Bayou, which runs south of Rowden. Narbon Sikes built a new store in 1912. A new school was built in 1913–14 after the destruction of the first Pilgrim School, which was destroyed by lightning in 1912. The new school, Rowden School, was a two-story wooden structure located west of Sikes's store. The first teachers there were Mrs. Claude Sikes and a Mrs. Houston; others were Ola Ashbury, Ada Sikes, Gladys Slater, Arthur Slaton, and Garvin Hester. The building was changed to a one-level structure with two rooms divided by a partition, which was removed to make one large room for programs and community socials. The school was heated by a wood stove, and water was supplied by a well. In 1915 the blacksmith shop, previously owned by Ott Richardson, was purchased by Jesse Mauldin. The first Antioch Baptist Church was used by Baptists, Methodists, and members of the Church of Christ, who all met together in 1896 with A. T. Ford as minister. A new church building was constructed in 1916 across from the old one. The Methodists and Baptists met in the new building, while the Church of Christ met in the old Baptist church. After the town's only store was moved to Highway 36, the pastor of the new Antioch Baptist Church, E. L. Redden, and his congregation voted to move the church across the street from the store. The land was given to the church by Blan and Jessie Odom, and the church was renamed Rowden Baptist Church. With the completion of Highway 36, the store was moved to its present location. In 1986 the concrete structure was owned by Weldon Gary and was used for storage of farm implements. Rowden declined after Baird replaced Belle Plain as county seat. George Cunningham, who became postmaster in 1930, was the last to hold the job. In 1990 and again in 2000 the community had a population of thirty.


Callahan County Historical Commission, I Remember Callahan: History of Callahan County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1986). Brutus Clay Chrisman, Early Days in Callahan County (Abilene, Texas: Abilene Printing and Stationery, 1966).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Sheila Martinez and Brad Hale, "ROWDEN, TX," accessed January 22, 2020,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 1, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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