Another of Rowan's old landmarks went up in smoke on Saturday
when the old residence on top of the hill known as the heights of Gowerie,
at Trading Ford on the Yadkin river, eight miles east of Salisbury, was
destroyed by fire. The house was built by some one of the wealthy
families of that neighborhood more than a hundred years ago and was finished
in walnut and plaster, but in the last 25 years has been badly used and
allowed to go to decay. Some tenant or owner of it, in an effort
to repair and improve it, had a coat of paint put on all of the walnut
doors and wainscoating. No one knowns how the fire originated and
nothing much was saved, the parties living in it barely escaping with a
small amount of wearing apparel.
From several notes found in Rumple's history of Rowan
we reproduce the following as of most interest at this time:
''Just below the Trading Ford, on a high bluff, stood
the residence of Albert Torrence. The house is still conspicuous
from afar, and has been named of late years, by a poetical friend, ''The
Heights of Gowerie.'' It was from these ''heights'' that Lord Cornwallis's
artillery cannonaded Gen. Greene while writing his dispatches in the cabin
on the other side of the Yadkin. Albert Torrence, an Irishman, chose
the airy situation for his residence, and from the edge of the bluff he
could watch the windings of the silver stream, dotted with a cluster of
beautiful islets, and beyond could see lying the fertile farms of the famed
Jersey Settlement. Albert Torrence married Elizabeth Hackett of Rowan
county. In this family there grew up four sons and one daughter.
Hugh the eldest married a Miss Simonton of Statesville and died early.
Albert married a daughter of Judge Toomer of Fayetteville, and settled
in that city. James died young. Charles married first Miss Elizabeth
L. Hays of Rowan county, and after her death, Miss Philadelphia Fox, of
Charlotte. His residence was south east of Charlotte, on the Providence
road, about a mile from the public square. The daughter of Albert
Torrence married Wm. E. Powe of Cheraw, and settled at the Bruner place
five miles east of Salisbury on the Chambers' Ferry Road, where they reared
a large family of sons and daughters, only two of whom remain in Rowan
- Dr. Albert Torrence Powe, and his sister, Mrs. Hackett, who reside at
the family homestead. At the organization of the Presbyterian Church
in Salisbury, Albert Torrence became a member, and one of the first bench
of Elders. His remains, with those of his wife and several of their
children, and of Mr. Powe, are sleeping in the English graveyard in Salisbury,
under broad marble slabs, near the entrance. Albert Torrence died
in 1825, aged 72 years.''
The following beautiful poem was written by Dr. Isaac Jones,
after visiting the place with Albert Torrence's daughter, Mrs. W. E. Powe
[Kate Torrence][Dr. Isaac Jones lived at another location on Gowerie heights,
overlooking the Trading Ford. His original journal is at the Rowan
HEIGHTS OF GOWERIE
Pensive I stand on Gowerie's height,
All bathed in autumn's mellow light,
My childhood's happy home;
Where Yadkin rolls its tide along,
With many a wail and mournful song,
As its waters dash and roam.
And memory's harp tunes all its strings,
When I catch the dirge that river sings,
As it sweeps by Gowerie's side,
And viewless tongues oft speak to me,
Some in sorrow and some in glee,
From the river's fitful tide.
On yon isle just up the river,
Where sunbeams dance and leaflets quiver,
Three fancied forms I see,
That blest - that sainted trio band,
Together walk adown the strand,
And wave their hands at me.
A father 'tis, whom yet I mourn,
And sisters two, who long have gone -
Gone to the other shore.
They beck me to the goodly land,
Where with them, I'll walk hand in hand,
Ne'er to be parted more.
When from the fount hard by the mill,
Just at the foot of Gowerie's hill,
I drink the sparkling water;
Echoes from yon cedar grove,
From which the sighing zephyrs rove,
Say, ''come to me, my daughter.''