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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Rowe, Gilbert Theodore

by Louise L. Queen, 1994

10 Sept. 1875–10 Feb. 1960

Gilbert Theodore Rowe, Methodist minister, editor, and seminary professor, was born in Rowan County, the son of Joseph Columbus and Nannie Brown Rowe. He received an A.B. degree from Trinity College in 1895 and the S.T.D. from Temple University in 1905. Later Duke University awarded him two honorary degrees.

Rowe was admitted to membership in the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1896. He served pastorates at Greensboro, Hendersonville, Bessemer City, Albemarle, Concord, Asheville, Charlotte, High Point, and Winston-Salem, and as presiding elder of the Greensboro District. In addition, he was professor of Greek at Hendrix College in Arkansas (1895–96), editor of the North Carolina Christian Advocate (1920–21), book editor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review (1921–28), and professor of Christian doctrine at Duke Divinity School (1928–46). He was the author of two books, The Meaning of Methodism and Reality in Religion.

A member of the Conference Board of Education for forty years, he also served for a long period on the General Board of Education of the Church. For many years he was a trustee of Greensboro College. Rowe was a delegate to eight General conferences, as well as to the Uniting Conference of 1939 and the Ecumenical Methodist conferences of 1921 and 1931. He was a fraternal delegate from his denomination to the 1928 General Conference of the Methodist Protestant church. At the 1930 General Conference of his own church he received ninety votes for the office of bishop.

Rowe married Pearle Bostian of Albemarle on 26 Nov. 1902, and they had two children, Theodore Bostian and Charles Gilbert. His funeral was held on 12 February in Duke Chapel, with interment in Maplewood Cemetery, Durham.


O. Lester Brown, Gilbert T. Rowe: Churchman Extraordinary (1971).

Nolan B. Harmon, ed., The Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974).

Journal of the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church (1960).

Additional Resources:

Inventory of the Gilbert Theodore Rowe Papers, 1878-1965, Duke University:

Gilbert Theodore Rowe in WorldCat:



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