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    Going through the few medals in my inherited collection the name Andrew Summers Rowan continued to pop up. His name was written on almost everything.

    Along with the medals, I found a large box of documents, photos, and books. Inside were lots of various size and color copies of "a message to garcia" – many scribbled on, a few numbered and signed, some hard back editions. These include a copy of Rowans book, "how I carried the message to Garcia" and a signed copy of "The Island of Cuba" written by Rowan and Ramsey. http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/book/The_Island_of_Cuba.pdf

    I’m in the process of putting together a list of the items that relate to Colonel/Major Rowan. it is a rather large box with lots of information. Here are some of the highlights:

    – I found what looks like an original carbon with handwritten notation of the message he actually delivered to Garcia, a 45-star american flag noted as being worn under Rowans uniform as he searched for Garcia in the Cuban Jungle, and what looks like a laminated copy of the orignal orders to get the message to Garcia. The famous 1898 delivery won him the DSC in 1922, led to at least two published books both selling millions of copies, and two movies.

    – I have what appears to be Colonel Rowans distinguished service cross, his name engraved on the reverse. Numbered 15723 (or 15728)

    – A Carlos Manuel de Cespedes medal and ribbon. Also the original document signed by then president in 1937, Federico Laredo Bru, awarding the medal to Colonel Rowan. I also have a letter from Cubas then secretary of state and Chancellor of the Order of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and the original letter of congratulations from JJ Zarza, the text of which is available here: http://apps.westpointaog.org/Memorials/Article/2920/

    – A West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal engraved with Andrew S Rowan on the reverse. One of the first recipients of that honor, see here: http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1036

    – An Army and Navy Union Gold Life Membership Badge, type 4 I believe, dated 1939 with a matching lapel pin and membership card, all belonging to Colonel Rowan.

    – 2 american legion medals, one from a convention in 1924 with Colonel Rowans signature, the other bronze and I know nothing about. Also, a few american legion ribbons.

    Rowan seems like quite a historical figure and the collection is unique. I have photographs of the medals available in a gallery here: http://s121.photobucket.com/user/tirelessirony/library/Andrew%20Summers%20Rowan%20Memorabilia?sort=3&page=1

    Just click on the sub-album with the name of the medal for photographs relating to it. Additional information and photos are available upon request.

    I would greatly appreciate if anyone can help me look up the number engraved on the side of the DSC. Even if you could point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate the insight.

    Finally, these medals and the collection will be for sale to collectors in the immediate future – any party interested in purchasing the collection or individual items should contact me via e-mail at tirelessirony@gmail.com

    Thank you for your time.


    Fascinating array of material, thank you for sharing… worthy of a book in itself!



    Fascinating array of material, thank you for sharing… worthy of a book in itself!

    Thanks Megan, I’d bet you’re right! There is enough here to be turned into a book… but the fans of Colonel Rowan will have to be satiated by the online galleries I’m constructing. My family and I are unfortunately not in a position to keep all the collection together, yet I loathe to think of all this history being broken up or lost. Even if things do get sold to collectors separately, while I have the pieces together my efforts will be to preserve and catalog them in digital form. I figure this will both help to list them and preserve the information about them. That’s kind of a book, right?

    I have many, many photographs and letters – Rowan as a boy, Rowan at West Point, Rowan in Cuba. There’s an old, almost falling apart leather bound scrapbook with business cards, photos, letters and more pasted to the brittle old pages. I have been weary of examining it completely, but I suspect it was made by Rowan himself and documented during or after his journey to Cuba. Getting proper scans and photos of that scrapbook (over 100 pages/items) may prove to be enlightening for anyone interested in the details of his exploits that may not be in his book on the subject, "How I delivered the Message to Garcia."

    Truthfully, these items and correspondences are already something akin to a book. It is my privilege to share them and I hope more members of the OMSA will enjoy what I find, document, and digitize.

    thanks for your comments and interest,
    -Sam (aka tirelessirony)


    Dear Sam:

    I recently came upon your listing and found it intriguing.

    It just so happens that I’ve written a soon-to-be-published full-length biography of Andrew Rowan. For over a period of six years my research took me to Charleston WV, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, the National Archives in Washington DC (six week-long visits), Guatemala, the Philippines, and Cuba. As a result, I’ve been able to draw a pretty complete picture of Rowan; however, biographers are never satisfied, and it occurred to me that I might find a tidbit or two – even some useful photos – in the scrapbook and photo collection you mentioned having inherited.

    Andrew Rowan’s life amounted to much more than than delivering a message to Garcia. He served with distinction in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War (1898), the Philippine War (1899-1902), and the Moro Insurgency (1902-1913). And there’s more – much more. It would be great if I could add a few more personal items about this much revered soldier.

    Is there any chance of my taking a look at your material?

    Cheers . . . Don Rice

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