Anne Rowe was the grand lady of Fredericksburg in her last couple decades of life–wise, accessible, kind, gracious, and really smart.

John Hennessy, email message

Anne Wilson Rowe

Anne Wilson Rowe, born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, lived from December 31, 1934 to January 24, 2009. Rowe was an accomplished woman and civic leader who participated in numerous organizations in the Fredericksburg area.

From a young age, Anne Wilson Rowe was an exceptional woman. Her ambition and desire to help others became clear when she began teaching at the Presbyterian Church’s Sunday School as a teenager. Anne also dedicated herself to her studies and frequently participated in school events and contests, as well as writing her own family history. As she grew older, she set her sights on college, where she spent her first two years at Sweet Briar before transferring to Mary Washington College to complete her higher education, graduating with a degree in English.

Throughout her adult life, Anne maintained a giving spirit and a commitment to giving back to the community she held so dear. Anne was actively involved in the Presbyterian Church and served on boards across the city, lending her time and effort to promoting preserving Fredericksburg’s history and improving local schools.

Anne Wilson Rowe accomplished many things in her life: from founding the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center to helping save Market Square as well as the stone wall surrounding the Masonic Cemetery. Anne’s accomplishments have been recognized by various organizations, such as the Women’s Club of Fredericksburg, Friends of Mary Washington College-Community Symphony Orchestra, and the Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia.

Oral History Interview

Anne Wilson Rowe became one of the first Fredericksburg natives to participate in a local oral history project. Rowe first participated in an interview with Debra Nidel in 1997, followed by an interview with Jane Rasmussen on February 5, 2008. This interview greatly aided in creating this narrative. The transcript of this interview can be read here.


Dyson, Cathy. “Rowe Estate Sale Shows the Life of a Fredericksburg Family, Through the Centuries.”, June 26, 2019.

Hennessy, John. Email Message. February. 20, 2020.

Obituary of Anne Rowe,, Jan. 26, 2009,

Rowe, Anne Wilson. Anne Wilson Rowe (Fredericksburg, Va.: Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, 1997-1998).

Rowe, Anne Wilson. Oral History With Anne Wilson Rowe (Fredericksburg, Va.: Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, 2008).