The Correspondence is arranged chronologically beginning with several letters written to the patriarch of the family Squire Washington Rowe by a cousin and a nephew. There are also letters from the Civil War period, including several of James Delos Rowe's letters home, telling of his money shortage during the war and his marriage to Helen Putnam in Detroit during a 30-day furlough in December, 1864. After the war, James Delos Rowe wrote of his job teaching at a rural school in Texas Township. The collection also includes his 99-page handwritten retrospective about his Civil War experiences, based on letters he wrote to his wife, Helen, during the war. These letters have not survived as part of the collection, but there are many letters to Helen from her soldier brother, William Putnam, including some written while he was imprisoned at Camp Parole, Maryland.
Within this series are several letters written to Grant Rowe by his mother, Helen, while he was teaching school in the Dakotas, particularly after the catastrophic Blizzard of 1888, which caused her to worry. There are also three letters of Josiah Rowe's letters written before the war: one describing a great renewal of religious interest at the college in the spring of 1860; another relating his experiences teaching school; and one telling of a visit to Mt. Vernon and the final resting place of "the immortal Washington." After the war Josiah went West for his health. One letter written by Josiah from Omaha after the war talks of his prospects there and his views on local agriculture.
Letters written by Benjamin Rowe to his parents describe his efforts to find a job in Washington in the last months of the Civil War. He eventually found work as a clerk in three different hospitals (Lincoln General, Harewood, and the "Washington" Post), which he describes in his letters. There is one charming description of Christmas at the Harewood Hospital, written in 1865 on Christmas Day. Benjamin also eventually went West for his health. A letter written in June, 1876, from Greeley, Colorado, tells of his recent marriage to Amy Brockway; the need for Colorado farmers to fight grasshoppers; and the general fear of war with the Indians in the light of recent raids.
The collection also contains correspondence of Rowe in-laws, particularly Spencer Lee, a brother-in-law of Helen Putnam Rowe, and his wife, Sarah Lee, during Spencer's Civil War service. These letters, written as frequently as once a week during some months of the war, offer Spencer's war news (the activity of Mosby's raiders, the fall of Richmond, Southern reaction to Lincoln's assassination and Spencer's participation in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth) and his opinions of the soldier's life (elections in camp and his appreciation of a "box of goodies" from home). There are also letters from Spencer's sister, Fanny Lee, to her sister-in-law, Sarah, on such diverse topics as hairstyle, social climbing, and local religious experiences.