1793 – 1864
Stow was born in Paisley on 17 May 1793. In 1811 he began a long involvement with the Port-Eglinton Spinning Company, but his most lasting work came in education.
In 1827, Stow converted a house and garden in Glasgow’s Drygate into a school for 100 scholars. The Glasgow Educational Society was soon founded, and in 1836 Stow laid the foundation stone of the first Normal School, in Dundas Vale. He was officially the school’s honorary secretary, but the post combined the offices of rector and director. Students came from across Britain.
A legal ruling in 1845 decided that the school belonged to the established church, and that no one could hold office unless they were with the church. Stow and his teachers were with the Free Church, so the Free Church Normal School was built and Stow transferred his work here until his death on 6 November 1864.