The Dr. James Murray Rowe Family of Barnstead and Concord New Hampshire

Photograph marked “Dr. James M. Rowe and his cows.” Barnstead NH. Property of J.W. Brown. Original scanned and enhanced.

James Murray Rowe was one of New Hampshire’s early dentists.  He was born 18 January 1834 in Holderness, New Hampshire son of John B. & Susan (Evans) Rowe*.   You may wonder why I am writing about him.  A few years ago I bought two photographs that show him with his cows and also posing in front of his home in Barnstead NH with a horse and carriage.   Dr. James Murray Rowe died on 18 June 1896 in Barnstead NH of liver cancer, and so these photographs would have to be taken prior to that date.

He left behind a generation of dentists and physicians, for most of his children followed in his medical footsteps, and his daughter married a physician.  They practiced in Concord and Manchester New Hampshire for many years.

Regarding Dr. Rowe’s education, in those years immediately following the Civil War, there was less than a handful of dental schools in the entire United States.  Most dentists apprenticed with a practicing dentist and this seems to be the case for James M. Rowe.  His biography [see later] states that “with a fair education he studied dentistry in Lynn, Mass, with a Dr. A. Trowe, after which he took up practice in Rochester NH.”

In reviewing the 1858 (and later) Lynn Massachusetts directories I found:
Trow, James M., dentist, Central Square, house 21 school.  Dr. James Trow(e) was the only Trow in the directory for several years, and the only dentist by that name.  He was born in Wendell NH, son of Josiah & Mary Trow, and married 7 July 1850 in Danvers MA to Mary E. Buckby. He died in March of 1880 in Lynn MA of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Photograph marked Rowe Home, Center Barnstead NH. Post a note added shows, Dr. James H. Rowe, wife, Emma S. Clark. Property of J.W. Brown, original scanned and enhanced.

The Biographical Review, Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Stafford and Belknap countries, New Hampshire, 1897 shows:  “JAMES M. ROWE, D.D.S., a successful dentist of Barnstead for many years was born in Holderness N.H. January 18, 1834 His parents, John and Susan Rowe, had several children of whom four are living, namely, George, Elizabeth, Hannah and Marion. With a fair education he studied dentistry in Lynn, mass, with a Dr. A. Trowe, after which he took up practice in Rochester NH. A year of work there caused his health to give way; and he came to Barnstead, and resided here for a number of years. Then his strength returned, and he went to Concord and resumed professional work. Soon after, again obliged to abandon city work on account of the confinement incident thereto, he returned to Barnstead and took up his work in a way that permitted of his being more or less in the open air. After a while his dental practice covered a circuit of twenty miles about Barnstead. Outside of his profession he took especial interest in educational work, and he was prominent as a member of the Advent church. On November 11, 1857, Dr. Rowe married Miss Emma S. Clark of Ipswich, Mass. [she was b. abt 1840 Ipswich MA, and d. 22 May 1899 in Pittsfield NH] She is a daughter of Enoch Clark, who was born in Barnstead, son of Enoch Sr., a large landowner in Barnstead. Mr. Clark, a carpenter by trade, removed to Newburyport, Mass., where he was a building contractor Before leaving Barnstead he served as Town Treasurer and Selectman, and also represented the town in the legislature for two years and in an extra session. In politics he was a Democrat. He married Sabrina Thurlow, a descendant of Lord Thurlow, of England. She was born in 1799, and died January 8, 1889. Her ancestor, Lord Thurlow on Nov 19 1664 in the 16th year of the reign of Charles II, was granted a coat of arms representing Jacob’s staff fixed horizontally on a field. The first of the family in America was Thomas Thurlow, who came over in 1633, and settled finally in Newburyport, before its incorporation as a town. This son, Thomas, was the father of Stephen Thurlow, a sea captain who married Eunice Thurlow. Stephen and Eunice were the parents of Sabrina Thurlow, who became the wife of Enoch Clark. Besides Mrs. Rowe, Mr. Clark had three other children–Sarah Ann, Rufus and Harriett. Sarah Ann married William B. Clark, Rufus married Emily Hodgdon, and Harriet is the wife of George H. Cilley.  Dr. James M. Rowe and his wife had nine children; namely, Eugene a., Edward W., Arthur J., Frank H., Walter C., Florence E., Forrest C., Charles F and Freddie. Edward is practicing dentistry in Manchester, and Eugene and Frank are following ths same profession in Concord. Arthur was in trade a few years, and during that time served as Postmaster of South Barnstead. He is now, with his brother Walter, attending Dartmouth College, taking a medical course in the same class. Florence, Forrest, and Charles are at home. Dr. Rowe died in Barnstead, June 18, 1896.

Barnstead NH Soldier’s Monument. From an old postcard.

Children of Dr. James M. & Emma S. (Clark) Rowe:
1. Eugene A. Rowe, b 5 Nov 1858 Barnstead NH, died 11 Dec 1917 Concord NH, aged 59. Dentist. He was placed in the Blossom Hill Cemetery tomb and later transferred to the So. Barnstead Cemetery. He married 5 Oct 1884 in Barnstead NH to Emma F. Clark, daughter of Isaac H. & Abby A. Clark. She was b Sept 1860 in Barnstead NH. They had a daughter Mildred Eunice Rowe who was born 25 Sep 1892 in Concord NH, and d. June 1976 in Concord NH.
2. Edward W. Rowe, b 16 Sep 1863 in Barnstead NH, died 16 June 1934 in Concord NH. Dentist. He m. 19 Oct 1893 in NH to Jennie Louise Bean, daughter of Frank E. & Mary J. (Noyes) Bean. She was b 16 Sep 1873 Penacook NH and d. 29 Dec 1938 in Concord NH. They are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Penacook NH. She was a music teacher.
3. Arthur James Rowe, b 1 Sep 1868 South Barnstead NH, died 9 Sep 1942 in Penacook NH; m. 24 April 1901 in Everett MA to Ida M. Avery, daughter of Charles H. & Paulina (Hatfield) Avery. She b. abt 1869 in Strafford NH. 1899. He received a Doctor of Medicine degree at Dartmouth College. They lived in Concord NH. Physician. They are buried in South Barnstead NH.
4. Frank Herbert Rowe, b 19 Sep 1870 in Barnstead NH, died 31 Dec 1919. Allopath physician/Dentist, graduate of Medico-Chirugical College of Philadelphia, licensed in NH in 1897. Practiced in Manchester NH. Buried South Barnstead Cemetery NH. In 1930 census occupation listed as dentist. Death cert shows him as “dentist”
5. Walter Cilley Rowe, b 1 Apr 1873 in Barnstead NH, d. died 14 May 1956 in Concord NH at Ericson Convalescent Home. In 1920 living in Concord NH a physician. He married by 1918 to Margaret Leggett, daughter of William & Janet (Cochran) Leggett. She b 17 April 1881 in Glasgow Scotland d 4 April 1954 in Concord NH at Concord Hospital. She immigrated to the US in 1892. Child: Paul K. Rowe, b. abt 1913 NH. Buried Blossom Hill Cemetery, Concord NH.
6. Florence Emma Rowe, b 18 Dec 1876 in Barnstead NH, d died 13 Apr 1953 in Manchester NH. She m. 27 June 1905 to Dr. George Barnard Hoitt, son of James B. & Nancy M. (McKean) Hoitt. He was b 6 October 1869 in Nashua NH and d. 14 Sep 1953 in Manchester NH. They are buried in Last Rest Cemetery, Merrimack NH. In 1940 they were living in Manchester NH where he had a medical practice. Daughter Dorothy E. Hoitt, b abt 1901 who married 15 Aug 1945 in Manchester NH to Ralph Brook Linton, son of Walter & Ellen (Brooks) Linton.
7. Forrest Clark Rowe, b 24 Nov 1878 Barnstead NH, died 5 July 1933 Concord NH. Dentist. Buried Village Cemetery, Barnstead NH. He m. 27 Aug 1906 in Straford NH to Clara T. Avery, daughter of Charles H. & Pauline (Hatfield) Avery. Child: Marjorie P. Rowe b 22 March 1908 in Penacook NH. dau of Forrest C. Rowe & Clara T. Avery. She m. Hrant Garabed Gulumian.
8. Charles Fred Rowe, b 15 Nov 1882 Barnstead NH. In 1942 living at 75 Washington St., Penacook NH., foreman for Hoyt Electrical. He married 16 June 1906 in Manchester NH to Martha Jane Morrill, daughter of Henry & Elflossie “Florence” (Truett/Truit) Morrill. She b. 5 March 1882 in Penacook NH. Children: Evelyn F., Denzel M., Gwendolyn, Erdine and Sallie M.
9. “Freddie” Rowe, b 1880+ (unable to discover, possibly same as Charles Fred).


Note: A tree on Ancestry dot com attributes Dr. James M. Rowe’s parentage to a different (and incorrect) set of people.

John B. Rowe was born abt 1800 in NH and died 2 July 1875; He married 24 May 1821 in Rochester, Strafford Co NH to Susannah “Susan” Evans. She was b Dec 1800 and died in 6 Aug 1867. In 1830 they were living in Strafford NH. In 1840 they lived in Holderness NH. They are buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Dover NH.
1870 US Census > NH > Strafford Co. > Barrington
George E Rowe 40
Elizabeth E Rowe 39
Carrie A Rowe 1/12
Charles H Rowe 2
John B Rowe 70, b NH,
Children of John & Susan A. (Evans) Rowe:
1. William E. Rowe b 26 Aug 1821 Strafford NH, d. 16 Jan 1897 Alfred Town, York Maine. He m. in 1843 to Olive N. Low, daughter of Jeremine & Sarah (Nason) Low. She was b 20 Nov 1817 in Alfred, York Maine and d. 23 Dec 1901 in Alfred, York Maine. Occupation: boot and shoe making. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, Private in Co F of Maine’s 8th Regiment.
2. Mariam Rowe, b. 23 June 1824 in Holderness, Grafton Co. NH, d. 20 Oct 1901 Dover NH. She m. January 1847 in Barrington NH to Isaac W. Cater/Kater, son of James O. & Priscilla (?) Cater. He was b 28 Apr 1820 in Barrington, Strafford Co NH and d. 11 Oct 1885 in Barrington NH. Children: Orilla, Walter, Charles E.
3. Daniel Rowe b 15 May 1825 in Holderness NH, d. 17 Oct 1885 in Mason, Cerro Gordo Co. Iowa. He m. 14 Nov 1847 in Lowell MA to Julia A. Vose, daughter of John B. & Elizabeth (Hills) Vose. She was b. 17 Oct 1824 in Berlin, Washington Co. VT and d. 24 Dec 1901 in Mason City, Cerro Gordo, Iowa. He m2d) 28 Feb 1884 in Mason City Iowa to Sarah P. Squier Campbell, daughter of Benjamin & Polly Ann (Hattis) Squier.
4. George Washington Rowe, b. 25 Dec 1824/1830 Holderness NH. He d. 22 Nov 1910 aged 85y 11m 28d in Barrington NH. He had lived there since about the Civil War 1865 previously in Rochester NH. He married 1853 in MA to Elizabeth E. Branen, dau of John & Hannah (Stickney) Branen. She was b 30 Sep 1853 in Salem MA and d. 8 Jan 1914 in Barrington NH. Buried in Family Cemetery in Barrington NH on 25 Nov 1910. Children: Carrie A., Charles H.
5.Elizabeth Rowe
6. Hannah Rowe
5. +James Murray Rowe 18 January 1834 in Holderness, New Hampshire. This story is about him, see above.


125 Years of Developments in Dentistry 1880-2005 — British Dental Journal

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2 Responses to The Dr. James Murray Rowe Family of Barnstead and Concord New Hampshire

  1. Amy says:

    It makes me wonder just how skilled these practioners were, given the limitations of their training and of the tools available to them to do their work. Did they do fillings? Certainly not crowns, I’d assume. Probably lots of pulling of teeth…

  2. Janice Brown says:

    Amy, for the time period it would depend entirely on the skill of the dentist, and the skill of the person who taught him/her. I found an excellent article on early dentistry to today that I will add to the end of my story. Thanks for making me think about it.

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