« PreviousContinue »
JUDGE U. M. ROSE
Requested to write an account of his ancestry and youth, Judge Rose wrote the following:
“My father was Dr. Joseph Rose, son of Charles Rose. Joseph Rose was born near Petersburg, Va. While he was a child the family removed to Western Pennsylvania, where Charles Rose purchased a farm. His son, Joseph Rose, received a fairly good education in the local schools, and on his approach to manhood he was sent to Philadelphia, where he entered upon the study of medicine. Having completed his studies, he located in Pittsburgh. His father, Charles Rose, dying about that time, left him a small estate, which led him into a disastrous enterprise that burdened his whole life. He and a few of his friends started a manufactory of glass, then a new industry in this country, at Pittsburgh, which was then but a small town in comparison with what it now is. The venture was signally unfortunate. In a few years the firm failed, and the partners gave their joint note for a large deficit.
“My earliest recollections are painfully connected with that terrible debt, the skeleton in the family closet. Creditors must have been very indulgent in those early times. Some of the partners died, and others were never able to pay anything, so that the burden that fell on my father greatly exceeded anything that he could have
expected. By some arrangement he was to pay a certain sum annually, which he managed always to do, though frequently with great difficulty. I think that it was in 1847, which must have been a quarter of a century after the debt was created, that it was finally extinguished, and the note or notes were sent to my father. I never heard him complain of the matter or blame any one about it.
“My father married a Miss Armstrong in Pittsburgh, and about the period that his financial enterprise was on hand she died, leaving him with two young boys. He had a friend named Bradford, who had emigrated to Kentucky, who, hearing of his misfortunes, wrote to him and finally induced my father to rejoin him there; which he did in 1824.
“In a year or so he married my mother, Nancy Simpson, who was much younger than himself. She turned out to be a very domestic woman, of delicate constitution, but of untiring energy, and a most affectionate wife and mother.
“My father then bought a farm of 300 or 400 acres, I should think, on which was an oldfashioned two-storied brick house, built on a hill, and surrounded by a grove of trees. To the west was a cliff overlooking a bright and beautiful river, which within a mile formed a junction with another river of the same kind and of nearly equal size, neither of them being navigable. On the farm there was a very large orchard, judging by the standards of those days. The house, which had no architectural pretensions, built by some pioneer, was large and roomy and had a cellar,
which every winter was filled with apples. There my parents kept an open house for many years, exercising that kind of hospitality which was not uncommon then; but which, under changed conditions, has become almost obsolete. In that home I was born, the third son of my parents, on March 5, 1834. As my father and Bradford owned the land between the two rivers, they laid off a town there never destined to be important, which, when I first remember, contained 300 or 400 inhabitants. According to the fashion of the times it was called Bradfordsville. My father's house and most of the hamlet was burned during the Civil war in a skirmish between Morgan's Confederates and some Federal troops. My father had a notion that education should begin in the cradle. He had a passion for teaching his children, and I cannot remember when I could not read. At five years
I was put to studying Latin. Not being satisfied with the village school, my father employed a private family tutor, James Martin, a man of fairly good classical education, from the north of Ireland; but Scotch rather than Irish, a bachelor of fifty years, a Presbyterian of the strictest type. I think that this excellent man was well fitted for the place. He remained in the family until the summer of 1847, after which I was sent to an academic school in the country.
“My mother died at the age of 43 in September, 1848, and my father died in the following April. Then everything seemed to come to an end. I was fifteen years old. The estate went into the hands of an administrator, and I was thrown on my own
resources. I first got a place in a village store; but I soon found that that would not do, as the store kept open until ten o'clock at night, leaving me no time to read or to continue my studies. I threw up the place and hired myself as a field hand to a farmer at five dollars a month and my board. I worked very hard, and so improved in health, and I had my evenings to myself. I kept this up for several months until one day an eminent, very intelligent and kind hearted lawyer, R. H. Roundtree, whom I had never seen, but of whom I had heard much, living at Lebanon, the county seat, nine miles off, called at the farm house where I was staying, and remained all night. I was much overawed by this tall man of mature years, of simple manners and grave but kindly expression of countenance; but during the evening he managed to draw me out to some extent. Next morning he told me that if I desired it he would give me a home in his house, and would have me appointed to the position of deputy clerk at Lebanon; and this offer I was only too glad to accept. This fortunate circumstance gave me an experience that proved immensely useful in my later career; for here I learned a great deal about legal forms, and had an opportunity to witness the proceedings of the local courts and to hear some very distinguished lawyers at the bar. Among these was the celebrated Ben Hardin, by far the greatest trial lawyer that I have ever known, and Joshua F. Bell, of Danville, whose pleasing, persuasive and powerful eloquence was always the
delight of every one that heard him; with many others of lesser note.
“Under the care and tuition of my patron and benefactor, I began the study of law, striving in the meantime to make up as far as possible the defects of my early education; an enterprise in which I have never succeeded.
“After the time thus spent I attended the lectures of the law school of Transylvania University at Lexington, Kentucky, where I graduated in September, 1853. I obtained a license to practice law from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, but did not expect to engage in the practice of the law in that state. My health had always been frail, especially in the winter season; and I desired to go to a warmer climate. On the advice of friends I made up my mind to go to Batesville in the northern part of this state. In the meantime I engaged to be married, and was married on the 25th day of October, 1853, to Miss Margaret T. Gibbs, of Lebanon. My wife and I celebrated our golden wedding in 1903.
“On the 5th day of December, 1853, we started for our new home, traveling nearly all the way in river steamers, consuming fifteen days in the journey. I have since traveled from Liverpool to Little Rock more than once in less time. When I made my trip from Kentucky I did not know a single human being in this state. I found Batesville a pleasant village of about 1,000 inhabitants, agreeably situated on the upper White River, about the head of navigation on that stream. I
** Ar Känge.