James Rowell was brought up in the industrial East Midlands of England. His parents were very affectionate and godly people. They belonged to a Strict and Particular Baptist Church. James’ mother died before the war ended, on 28th March 1918, two days before he returned to Canada on a hospital ship. Her obituary filled two and a half pages in The Gospel Standard magazine (July 1918, Vol. LXXXVII). On the back of a photograph of his father, James wrote;
“My beloved father, his saintly life has spoken to me through the years.”
Also, of his mother he wrote;
“my darling mother, her loving gracious influence I can never overestimate.”
Similarly on the back of a picture of the house where he spent his childhood James wrote these words;
“The house, and home, called “Providence” where I was born. The home and household of a thousand mercies.”
When the war broke out in Europe, James’ mother was pleased he was so far from the danger. In a letter dated 26th April 1915 she wrote to him at Brandon College;
“My main reason for writing is to try and impress you not to come to England which is so unsettled. How often I say, ‘I hope James won’t come’…stay where you are for everywhere is in such a state of turmoil.”
Now, one year later he is returning home as a soldier, and he had not yet informed his mother.
Am now in the city visiting friends. This is dear mother’s birthday and I wish her every blessing both temporal and spiritual. Soon I shall see her (DV) and yet she does not know it. I hope all will be well.
The Obituary of Anna Rowell (1851-1918) in The Gospel Standard