Rebecca Carnes Rowan perhaps experienced the greatest majority of hardships within the Rowan family. Rebecca was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1813. Rebecca was the daughter of Major Peter A. Carnes and Mary Eden Briscoe Carnes. The Carnes family was affluent which had located in Maryland for several generations. Rebecca had connections with the Keys of Baltimore and was related to Francis Scott Key, the author of the lyrics of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Rebecca possessed exceptional spirit was a well regarded by her friends and acquaintances. When John Jr. became the ambassador to Italy, Rebecca made the journey to Naples to be with him. She was well liked by the Americans there and became affectionately knowns as the “Belle of Naples.” She was eager that her children should benefit from the cultural offerings of Europe and it was toward that end that she arranged for her family to travel widely.
After the death of John Jr., Rebecca managed 10 children aged 2 to 18, and Federal Hill, relying only upon the income that the farm could provide since John Rowan Sr.’s estate was too difficult to settle. She struggled to satisfy her husband’s debts, in addition to the debts created by the farm. Throughout her tenure at Federal Hill, there was little money to care for the mansion which suffered greatly from a lack of repairs.
Rebecca lived to the age of 84 and was never able to settle her father-in-law’s estate, which would have provided for enough funding for her to have lived at Federal Hill comfortably.