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Farr and Rowe Civil War archive

Identifier: C-108

Scope and Contents

This collection includes 2 boxes containing 42 holograph letters, 30 photographs and photographic items, sent between members of the Rowe family. The majority of the letters were written to John Rowe of Jersey City, New Jersey, by family serving in the Union Army. These letters were sent from battle locations throughout the deep south and Missouri, describing in clear detail, camp life, troop movements, scouting expeditions, battle details and personal observations of other soldiers, officers and war-related news. In addition, the collection includes photographs of Dennis H. Farr and members of his family, as well as an original dovetailed storage box owned by Dennis H. Farr, containing his personal belongings. There are a total of 42 letters ranging from 1786-1872, with a few of undated. Most of the letters have been sent to John Rowe by James S. Stiller, George A. Lewis and Henry C. Bidwell. The letters are written on clear white or lined paper. They are relatively short in length and have visible folding lines, due to having been sent in small envelopes. Photographs There are 21 photographs, including seven full-length images of Dennis H. Farr (six of which he is in uniform); one carte de viste of Abraham Lincoln; two images of E.W. Carter of the Vermont Vols.; one head and shoulder portrait of Farr; one portrait of Mary Brown (Farr’s future wife), two portraits of the children of Mary Brown and Dennis H. Farr; and six images of Farr’s relatives. Realia The storage box is accompanied by four cased tintypes (one of which contains an image of Farr in a fireman’s uniform and another a portrait of Farr), one army and navy hymn book, one engraved (with the initials M.B.F.) and tarnished silver spoon, an empty leather clasp photo album (contained the 21 photographs mentioned above), six cheques, three receipts, three empty envelopes, a cloth, an insurance company payment note, a guide to furs and skins, a certificate of a proxy vote, an invitation, a bullet, a wooden escutcheon, a handle, five medical uniform pins and buttons, two military eagle buttons.

See "Other Finding Aids" for a more detailed index of collection contents.


  • Creation: 1786-1872
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1861-1865


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

Dennis W. Farr was born on January 7, 1840, in New Hampshire, to Worcester Farr and Abial Kneeland. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in Company F, Fourth Vermont Regiment on September 7, 1861, was promoted to First Lieutenant on January 19, 1862, and was promoted to Captain of Company C on August 13, 1862. Farr and his family were Universalists, and often went to Brattleboro, VT, to hear the popular Rev. Addison Brown. On July 31, 1863, Farr married Mary Hannah Brown, daughter of Rev. Addison Brown and Ann Elizabeth Wetherbee. Farr was one of the first Union soldiers killed in action in the wilderness in northern Virginia on May 5, 1864. He was waving his sword to encourage the troop advance when he was struck in the head by a minie ball.

Mary Brown Farr Dunton was born July 5, 1842. She died in Chesterfield in 1935.

John Rowe was the cousin of James S. Stiller, and lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. He received letters from James S. Stiller, George A. Lewis, and Henry C. Bidwell, who were serving in the Union Army.


2 Boxes


Collection is arranged into three series: Correspondence, Photographs, and Realia.

Series 1: Rowe Family Correspondence Correspondence of the Rowe family is arranged chronologically within folders. Within a particular year, major correspondents (having 3 or more letters) are filed first, alphabetically, and then the letters by that correspondent are filed chronologically.

Series 2: Dennis Farr Photographs Twenty-one photographs of Dennis Farr and family, numbered sequentially.

Series 3: Realia Miscellaneous items from the Farr and Rowe families within folders in Box 1 and in a storage box in Box 2.

Other Finding Aids

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States