Rowe Historical Society
Kemp-McCarthy Museum

Please scroll down for detailed information on our books

Forty-two years ago, the Rowe Historical Society commissioned a special plate in honor of its museum. It shows a view of the original museum, framed by two gold-colored circles. The     writing on the plate is: "The Helen McCarthy Museum of the Rowe Historical Society, Rowe, Massachusetts."


We just discovered 19 of these lovely plates in our archives, and are offering them for sale for    $15 on a "first-come" basis.


The plates each measure approximately 10" in diameter. They were made in Appomattox, VA.


What a nice gift for someone who loves Rowe!




CD: Katherine First, "Sweet Spot"

Katherine First and Friends perform a delightfully eclectic repertoire of Celtic Music on her

CD "Sweet Spot."  $12.

1881 Hoosac Tunnel Route Map Reproduction

The Rowe Historical Society is making available for sale a limited number of framed       reproductions of an 1881 Hoosac Tunnel route map. It measures approximately 24" x 36".         The cost is $95. An unframed image is shown below.The framed map can be viewed at the      Rowe Historical Society.


Books for Sale

The Rowe Historical Society has a notable collection of outstanding publications for sale. 


Please scroll down to learn more about books currently available.


To place your order for any book, email us at




The History of Rowe Massachusetts

Nancy Newton Williams and Percy Whiting Brown

Rowe Historical Society, Inc.

Fourth Edition, 2006

Hard cover, 474 pages

$25.00 (plus $5.00 S/H to addresses in the U.S.)


The History of Rowe Massachusetts is a meticulously researched and superbly written     history of the town by Nancy Newton Williams and Percy Whiting Brown. It contains many         rare photographs that chronicle the rich and interesting saga of this Franklin County hilltown.       An 1871 Beers’ Atlas folding map of Rowe and Monroe is included for easy reference.              The book has a very detailed and useful index. Each appendix provides remarkable          information on Rowe, ranging from census and taxation figures dating from the 1700s to pew assignments in the meetinghouse in 1802. The book even contains a glossary of interesting      place names, including “Siberia” (anywhere in North Rowe) and “Hoot, Toot and Whistle"           (the nickname of the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad).


There are twenty-four chapters in The History of Rowe Massachusetts:


1.        Geologic History of Rowe (by Norman L. Hatch, Jr.)


2.        Topographical Description


3.        King George's War: The French and Indian War


4.        Fort Pelham (by Michael D. Coe)


5.        Rev. Cornelius Jones and the First Permanent Settlement


6.        From Myrifield Plantation to the Town of Rowe


7.        Obstruction and Rebellion


8.        Early Settlers, Traditions and the Layout of the Town


9.        Establishment of Roads


10.      Early Industries


11.      Churches in Late 18th and 19th Centuries


12.      Churches and Affiliated Organizations: 20th Century   


13.      Military History


14.      Economic Development


15.      Mines and Minerals


16.      The Story of Davis Mine, 1882-1911


17.      Electric Power Generation on the Deerfield


18.      The Yankee Atomic Story


19.      Town Departments


20.      Community Organizations


21.      Interesting People Associated with Rowe


22.      Celebrations


23.      Center Stage: Our Rowe Family, 1985


24.      Wildflowers of Rowe (by Susan A. Williams)  











Wild Side Adventures: A Memoir

Nan Williams

Illustrations by Mary Jo Phelps

Published by Nancy N. Williams

Hard Cover, 518 pages

Photos and illustrations in black and white

$25. (plus $5 S/H to addresses in the U.S.)


Nan Williams is a talented and prolific author of a number of excellent books about Rowe. The History of Rowe, to cite but one example, is the definitive resource on the town and its      history.


Her latest work, Wild Side Adventures: A Memoir, highlights “the wonderful natural           world found all around us in Rowe.”


The book contains the Wild Side columns townspeople loved when they were first published   during Nan’s tenure as the editor of the Rowe Goal Post.


This narrative starts in 1982, with “The Very First Wild Side,” and includes all the columns she  wrote through 1994. Nan’s son, Rob, is her favorite hiking guide, although many others often accompany her on her treks.


Beyond Rowe, Nan’s travels took her far from home. Some of these delightful trips are        included in the book as well ("Eleutherian Adventure," Utah, and the Everglades).


This 518 page hardback has many photographs, as well as illustrations by the gifted local        artist, Mary Jo Phelps. There is a handy reference map of Rowe on the last page.


Wild Side Adventures: A Memoir will please the hiker, the naturalist, the adventurer, and      the historian.


Signed copies are available at the special price of $25. from the Rowe Historical Society.




Wildflowers of Rowe, Massachusetts

Susan Alix Williams

Rowe Historical Society Natural History Series Number Two, 1991 

Soft cover, 104 pages

Photos and illustrations (in black and white) by the author

$12.00 (plus $5.00 S/H to addresses in the U.S.)


Wildflowers of Rowe, Massachusetts is a detailed and comprehensive resource on the abundance of wildflowers found in this scenic Franklin County hilltown.


Author Susan Alix Williams spent ten years hiking throughout the hills and valleys of Rowe  to locate, research, record, photograph and illustrate the wide variety of wildflowers found in      the town's diverse habitats. Her flower hunting led her to the "secret treasures" and rare  specimens catalogued in this interesting and informative book.


The book is logically organized to appeal to both the novice and the expert alike. Plants are arranged alphabetically, by community (deciduous woods, open land, wetland, etc.) and by         the month when they flower. There is detailed information on each flower, including its color and special characteristics. A map of the town assists the reader in discovering the sites where these many different wildflowers may be found.  


The following is the table of contents for Wildflowers of Rowe, Massachusetts:


The Story of Rowe Wildflowers


        Introduction and Arrival


        Plant Communities


                    Woodland Communities


                    Open Land Communities


                    Wetland Communities


        Rare Plants


Catalog of the Wildflowers


        Flowers of Deciduous Woods


        Flowers of Open Land and Woodlands


        Flowers of Open Lands


        Flowers of Wet Meadows


        Flowers of Wetlands


Ferns and Fern Allies








Selected References






Map of Rowe - Centerfold






The Line of Forts:

Historical Archaeology on the Colonial Frontier of Massachusetts

Michael D. Coe

University Press of New England, 2006

Soft cover, 234 pages

Photos and diagrams in black and white

$15.00 (plus $5.00 S/H to addresses in the U.S.)


In this fascinating and informative book, author Michael D. Coe provides an in-depth analysis of forts built along the northwest boundary of Massachusetts in the mid-eighteenth century. These forts served as a line of defense by the English-speaking inhabitants of the region against the French and their Indian allies.


Mr. Coe provides a general history of the conflict followed by a detailed investigation of Fort Shirley in Heath and Fort Pelham in Rowe. There are numerous photographs and diagrams throughout the book illustrating and documenting the archaeological excavations conducted at these sites.


The Line of Forts: Historical Archaeology on the Colonial Frontier of Massachusetts has broad appeal. For the academic historian and historical archaeologist, it is a valuable resource written by a renowned expert in the field. For the casual reader, it chronicles a meticulous search for clues about life in the remote corners of western Massachusetts during the years between 1744 and 1763.


The book has a comprehensive index and an extensive bibliography.


There are eight chapters in The Line of Forts: Historical Archaeology on the Colonial Frontier of Massachusetts


1.    Introduction

            The River Gods

            The Forts

            The Documents


2.    The Natural Setting    

            Geology and Landscape





3.    General History of the Conflict

            The Indian Background

            King William's War (1690-1697)

            Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)

            The False Peace (1713-1744)

            King George's War (1744-1748)

            The Building of Fort Shirley and Fort Pelham

            The Siege and Capture of Louisbourg

            The Building of Fort Massachusetts

            The Fall of Fort Massachusetts in 1746

            The Rebuilding of Fort Massachusetts

            The Second Attack on Fort Massachusetts

            Another Peace (1748-1754)

            The French and Indian War (1754-1763) Begins

                Fort Massachusetts and Crown Point

                The Dark Days

                Turn of the Tide and the Close of the War

                The End of the Line of Forts


4.    Fort Shirley

                Construction and Occupation of the Fort

                Post-abandonment History of Fort Shirley

                Surface Features

                Excavations and Stratigraphy

                Excavation of the Well

                Interpretation of the Excavated Well and Its Construction

                Architecture and Activity Areas


5.    Fort Pelham

                Post-abandonment History of the Site

                Surface Features of the Site

                Excavations and Stratigraphy

                The "Powder Magazine"

                The Well

                The "Garden Area"

                Artifact Density and Distribution

                Architecture and Activity Areas


6.    The Artifacts of Shirley and Pelham



                Table Implements


                Clay Smoking Pipes


                Clothing Hardware

                Miscellaneous Brass Artifacts

                Bones or Ivory Comb

                Tin-Plated Iron Artifacts

                Miscellaneous Iron Artifacts



                The Wood in Shirley's Well



7.    Daily Life in the Line of Forts

                The People in the Forts

                Material Culture

                Military Artifacts

                Food and Drink

                Health and Sanitation

                Recreation and Self-improvement

                Religion on the Massachusetts Frontier


8.    Summary and Conclusions

                The Patronage Pyramid

                The Consumer Revolution on the Massachusetts Frontier

                Social Differentiation

                The Line of Forts as a Real Estate Venture

                Aftermath: Twilight of the River Gods



                Military Foodways at Fort Pelham, a Faunal Analysis (by Joanne Bowen)

                Paleobotanical Remains

                Forts in the Line and Related Forts

                Biological Sketches

                John Hawks's Journal








The Story of Myrifield Plantation 1762 -1785

Compiled by Helen McCarthy

Rowe Historical Society, 1975

Soft Cover, 32 pages

Illustrated in black and white

$5.00 (plus $3.00 S/H to addresses in the U.S.)


The scope of this very interesting and informative booklet is stated in the Introduction, as summarized below:


The Rowe Historical Society, Inc. feels it is fitting to use the money voted at a special town meeting on July 30, 1974 to the Historical Society as part of the Bicentennial Committee's efforts to further reserarch and preserve the history of Rowe, to delve into the records and the folklore of these early days (1762 - 1785) and compile in this small booklet the story of those stalwart men and brave women who first settled this lovely place now known as Rowe, and helped establish in their small way, these United States of America.


The sections of the booklet are:


The Coming of Cornelius Jones


The Settlement of Myrifield Plantation


The Church of Myrifield


The Growth of Myrifield


Myrifield in the Revolution


The Tale of Another Grandfather


The Caleb Blakeslee Story


After the Revolution


Appendix A

    Shay's Rebellion


Appendix B

    The Name of Myrifield


Appendix C

    The Town Seal



The Story of the Davis Mine

Compiled by Helen McCarthy

Rowe Historical Society, 1966 & 1977

Soft Cover, 29 pages

Illustration in black and white

$5.00 (plus $3.00 S/H to addresses in the U.S.)


This carefully researched booklet chronicles the detailed and fascinating history of the now abandoned Davis Pyrite Mine in Rowe (1882-1911).