Stephen C. Rowan, born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1805, came to the United States at the age of 10 and lived in Piqua, Ohio. Appointed midshipman in the U.S. Navy on 1 February 1826, he took an active role in the Mexican War, serving as executive officer of Cyane during the capture of Monterey on 7 July 1846 and in the occupation of both San Diego and Los Angeles. Captain of the steam-sloop Pawnee at the outbreak of the Civil War, he made gallant attempts to relieve Fort Sumter and to burn the Norfolk Navy Yard. In the fall of 1861, he assisted in the capture of the forts at Hatteras Inlet; then, taking command of a flotilla in the North Carolina sounds, he cooperated in the capture of Roanoke Island in February 1862. Promoted to captain for gallantry, he then supported the capture of Elizabeth City, Edenton, and New Bern. During the summer of 1863, he commanded New Ironsides on blockade duty off Charleston and the following August assumed command of Federal forces in the North Carolina sounds.
Commissioned rear admiral on 25 July 1866, Rowan served as Commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard until 1867, when he assumed command of the Asiatic Squadron. Returning in 1870, he was appointed vice admiral in August of that year and served as Commandant of the New York Navy Yard from 1872 to 1876, as Governor of the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia in 1881, and as Superintendent of the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., from 1882 until his retirement in 1889. Vice Admiral Rowan died in Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1890.
(TB - 8: displacement 182; length 170’; beam 17’; draft 6’ (mean); speed 26 knots; complement 24; armament 4 1-pounders, 3 18” torpedo tubes; class Rowan)
The first Rowan (Torpedo Boat No. 8) was laid down on 22 June 1896 by Moran Bros. Co., Seattle, Wash.; launched 8 April 1898; sponsored by Mrs. Edward Moale, Jr.; and commissioned on 1 April 1899, Lt. Reginald F. Nicholson in command.
After trials in Puget Sound, Rowan was decomissioned [sic; decommissioned] on 1 May 1899. She was recommissioned on 23 April 1908 and on 21 June she departed Bremerton, Wash., for Mare Island. For the next year she cruised off the west coast, from the Canadian border to Magdalena Bay, Mexico, as a unit of the 3d Torpedo Flotilla. Then assigned to the Reserve Torpedo Group at Mare Island, she resumed operations with the torpedo flotilla in December 1909 and continued that duty until 1912.
Rowan was decommissioned at Mare Island on 28 October 1912. Her name was struck from the Navy list the following day and her hulk was sold for scrap on 3 June 1918.
21 October 2005