John Rowan (July 12, 1773 – July 13, 1843) was a 19th century politician and jurist from the U.S. state of Kentucky. Rowan's family moved from Pennsylvania to the Kentucky frontier when he was young. From there, they moved to Bardstown, Kentucky, where Rowan studied law with former Kentucky Attorney General George Nicholas. He was a representative to the state constitutional convention of 1799, but his promising political career was almost derailed when he killed a man in a duel stemming from a drunken dispute during a game of cards. Although public sentiment was against him, a judge found insufficient evidence against him to convict him of murder. In 1802, Governor Christopher Greenup appointed Rowan Secretary of State, and he went on to serve in the Kentucky House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1819, Rowan was appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, serving until his resignation 1821. He was again elected to the state legislature in 1823. With the state reeling from the Panic of 1819, Rowan became the leader of a group of legislators dedicated to enacting laws favorable to the state's large debtor class. He believed the will of the people was sovereign and roundly denounced the Court of Appeals for striking down debt relief legislation as unconstitutional. He led the effort to impeach the offending justices, and when that effort failed, spearheaded a movement to abolish the court entirely and replace it with a new one, touching off the Old Court – New Court controversy. New Court partisans in the legislature elected Rowan to the U.S. Senate in 1824. During his term, the nascent Whig Party ascended to power in the state legislature, and at the expiration of his term in 1830, the Whigs replaced him with John J. Crittenden, an ally of party founder Henry Clay.
After his term in the Senate, Rowan returned to Kentucky, where he served as the first president of the Louisville Medical Institute and the Kentucky Historical Society. In 1840, he was appointed to a commission to prosecute land claims of U.S. citizens against the Republic of Mexico, but resigned his commission in 1842 because of failing health. He died July 13, 1843 and was buried on the grounds of Federal Hill, his estate in Bardstown. According to tradition, Stephen Collins Foster, a distant relative of Rowan's, was inspired to write the ballad My Old Kentucky Home after a visit to Federal Hill in 1852, but later historians have been unable to conclude whether or not Foster ever visited the mansion at all. The mansion is now owned by the state of Kentucky and forms the centerpiece of My Old Kentucky Home State Park.