- Andrew Summers Rowan
Andrew Summers Rowan (
April 23, 1857- January 10, 1943) was an American Army officer who served as the liaisonbetween the United Statesand Cuban rebels led by General Calixto Garcíaduring the Spanish American War.
Rowan was born in Gap Mills,
Virginiain 1857. He enrolled at West Point at the age of twenty and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1881. In the years before the Spanish American War, Rowan served several frontier posts and with military intelligencein Latin America. He was interested in Cubain particular and co-wrote a book about the island (see writings listed below).
With tensions between the United States and the Spanish (who then ruled Cuba) growing, President
William McKinleysaw value in establishing contact with the Cuban rebels who could prove a valuable ally in case of war with Spain. McKinley asked ColonelArthur Wagner to suggest an officer to make contact with Garcia's rebels. Wagner suggested Rowan who then traveled to Cuba via Jamaica. Rowan met Garcia in the Oriente Mountains and established a rapport. Rowan garnered information from Garcia who was eager to cooperate with Americans in fighting the Spanish. Rowan returned to the US and was given command of a force of "Immunes", African-Americantroops assumed to be immune to tropical diseases found in Cuba.
In 1899 artist and publisher
Elbert Hubbardwrote a passage entitled " A Message to Garcia" extolling the virtues of Rowan and urging Americans to unquestioningly follow any directive. Finding appeal in this message, industrial and military leaders ordered millions of copies of the text to distribute to their workers and soldiers making it a best-seller. It was translated into several languages and sold internationally.
In 1908, while Rowan was commander of
Fort Douglas, Utah, his wife, Josephine, established a reading room for the blind at the Salt Lake City Library. This may be the longest, uninterrupted, service project in the city's history. cite web|url=http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_10483264 |title=Paul Rolly: Teacher saves a life in Delta |last=Rolly |first=Paul |date=2008-09-17 |publisher=The Salt Lake Tribune]
Rowan died in the
Presidio of San Franciscoin 1943. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
* "The island of Cuba; a descriptive and historical account of the "Great Antilla" (written with Marathon Montrose Ramsey) (New York: H. Holt & Co., 1896; 2nd ed 1897).
* "How I carried the message to Garcia" (San Francisco: W. D. Harney, 1922).
* "A Message to Garcia" (Elbert Hubbard. Filiquarian Publishing, LLC, 2006).
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