Some of the Rosekrans family. L to R: Eliza, Eunice, Edith O'Neal, (back) Chauncey Rosekrans, (front) Harriet Rosekrans, Fennimore, Gordon. At side of house at the farm on Park Hill Rd, Erin, Chemung County, NY
Note: Eunice is my Mother, picture ca. 1930.
THE ROSEKRANSES OF ERIN
by James L. Smith
In writing this brief history of the Rosekranses we have confined our efforts to those members of that family who have resided in the town of Erin, at one time or another, during the past century and a quarter.
The name has several variations of spelling, the members of the families of Erin being Rosekrans.
The name is of Holland Dutch origin and translated means literally "Wreath of Roses." Such was the motif employed by the late George A. Personius in designing the Rosekrans Coat of Arms that is on display here this evening.
George A. Personius, the noted Elmira photographer, was a cousin of the Rosekranses of Erin, his Mother being a Rosekrans, but of a branch of the family who, so far as is known never lived in the town of Erin.
On a genealogical chart also prepared by George Personius, several years ago, we find listed several generations of the family who lived in the 17, 18, and 19 centuries but is not now known who were the first of the family to come to this country or when they came.
However it is known that the Rosekranses of Erin are direct descendants of Harmon Hendrick Rosenkrans, who according to the records available was born in Holland in 1635.
Warren Rosekrans, the first of the family to set foot on the soil of Erin came, as a very young man, about 1830 and took up his abode on what has long been familiarly known as the Lew Thomas farm. Warren had not been here long when he built a sawmill on the lower end of that farm, utilizing the water of Newtown Creek to turn his water- wheel, furnishing the power to operate his mill. That mill was probably built about 1830, but less than twenty years ago some of the timbers, either of the mill or the milldam, could still be seen protruding from one of the banks of the stream.
Soon after the Erin Historical Society was organized Warrens grandson, Merritt Rosekrans described that mill in complete detail. This inspired the writer to construct a model of the same which is now in the collection at the Chemung County Historical Center in Elmira, where it has been exhibited on several occasions.
The saw, used for sawing lumber, was of the up and down type. When the mill first began operations, the log while being sawed was carried to the saw on a crude, hand made carriage that was inched up to the saw by two men using peavies in connection with a notched oak timber underneath the carriage, a slow and laborious method to say the least. Later the carriage with the log aboard was drawn to the saw by the use of a winch and rope. This mechanism was at first operated by hand. but sometime later was connected with water power.
"Mett" Rosekrans also told the story about the finest of white oak timber that grew on some of the Rosekrans land. That choice timber such as is now so highly prized for manufacturing high-grade oak flooring and other purposes, at that time had no commercial value, hence many of those sound trees were given to a cooper who specialized in making a special type of pattern of white oak churns. We mention those things here as further examples of the early lumbering days in the town of Erin.
Warren and Susan Cole Rosekrans became the parents of seven children: James, Norman, Lyman, Nelson, Alvah, Emily and Mary.
James who was born in 1830 and died in 1902, spent his adult life in the west and very little is now known about him, other than that he had four children: Melvin, Satira, Edith and Lee.
Norman Rosekrans, the second son of Warren, was born in 1831 and died in 1915. He was a lifelong resident of the town of Erin and spent his entire life on the old Rosekrans farm, now occupied by a great grandson, Robert Rosekrans. (Incidentally, this farm should have been included among the Century Farms of Chemung County when the list of such farms was compiled a few years ago. This farm has been in possession of the Rosekrans family for well over a century.)
Norman Rosekrans was numbered among the most prominent and highly respected citizens of the township; he was a farmer and a carpenter by trade; a pillar of the Simpson Methodist church, of which he served as trustee for many years. So far as is known he never aspired to public office. He married Jane Swazy and they became the parents of five sons: Edgar, Warren, Merritt, Fred who died in infancy and Chauncy.
Edgar, the oldest son of Norman and Jane married Christiana Teeter. He was a farmer and they lived on the Breesport-North Chemung Road in the town of Erin. Like his brothers, Edgar was a musician and while living there he played a snare drum in the original old time Erin Martial Band. Later the family moved to Burdett. They were the parents of two daughters, Lelia and Susie and one son Lawrence. Lelia married Edward Berry who is still operating a saddlery and harness shop in Montour Falls. She has been dead several years. Susie married Ralph Sackett and the son Lawrence married Mildred Pierson.
Warren J. Rosekrans, the second son of Norman and Jane, married Electa Hollenbeck for his first wife. She was a daughter of Garrett Hollenbeck and a grand daughter of Anthony, one of the three Hollenbeck brothers who came to Red Chalk in 1819. They had five children, one daughter and four sons. The daughter, Rose, became the wife of Dr. Frank Bunnell, a veterinary surgeon of Lockwood. Charles, the oldest son married Bessie Hunter. He was employed by the Young Lumber Co. in Elmira many years. Joseph, the second son, went west and married. After several years they returned East and resided for a time at Park and oater at Caywood, NY after which they returned to the west. Chauncey the third son, never married, so far as is known. He was a veteran of WWI. He died in New Jersey a few hears ago and is buried in the National Cemetery at Elmira. Ira, the youngest also a veteran of WWI married Dorothy Hunter and is living on the old homestead farm at Park.
Warren J. Rosekrans, "Warry" as he was better known, was noted as a man of exceptional strength. He was a farmer and woodsman in his younger days and later in life was a section hand on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. When his first wife died he married Rose Moulter Garman. They had one son Norman and daughter Eleanor.
Merritt H., the third son of Norman and Jane Rosekrans, served a wide area around Erin, operating a threshing machine for many years. At one time he operated a feed and shingle mill at the foot of Laurel Hill, on the site now owned by Mrs. Edith Dickerson.
"Mett" Rosekrans was a natural born musician, played the violin and fife and at one time led the Erin Martial Band. He was an accomplished artist with the snare drum. Anyone who heard and saw him play the solo on the snare drum which he called merely, two-four time with a compound beat would never forget it. How he could make those drumsticks fly as he executed the most difficult rolls, interspersed with perfectly timed rhythmic beats is beyond all comprehension.
We like to believe that today, somewhere in the great beyond, Mett Rosekrans with head erect and shoulders thrown back is leading one of his martial bands, and during an intermission with a group of little folks gathered around him, he is entertaining them with his inimitable selections on the snare drum. He would be happy in no other role.
He married Hattie Torrey, an Aunt of Fay Torrey. They resided for a time on a farm known as "Prospect" in the town of Cayuta, after which they moved to Erin. Merritt and Hattie Rosekrans became the parents of eight children.
Merritt Rosekrans was a remarkable man in more ways than one. As a young man, working with his father, he learned the carpenter trade and after a long career as a thresher and miller, he again took up carpentering and did considerable work as a contractor. When in his eighties when most men reaching that venerable age, have retired to their easy chair, he built a house in which he spent the rest of his days. A familiar sight, riding about the countryside in his Ford Coupe, because of his advanced age, he was notified to come to Elmira and take a driving test. He replied that he did not drive in the city, if they wanted him to take the test, they should come to Erin to give it, which they did. And he continued to drive his Ford!
Otis, the oldest son of Merritt and Hattie Rosekrans, has also had a varied career. He is also a carpenter and has followed that trade at different times. At other times he was engaged in the mercantile business. At one time, in partnership with Burr Mitchell (another Erin boy) they operated a grocery and market in Horseheads. Otis married Nettie Rumsey and they became the parents of six children. As his second wife he married Mrs. Christiana Patterson, Past seventy years of age he is now residing here at Erin.
Fred, the second son of Merritt and Hattie, was employed by the Hoffman Nursery in Elmira many years and later was a machine operator at the Eclipse. He married Anna McDowell, a great-granddaughter of Varnum McDowell who came to Erin from Vermont in 1816, the next year after the first settlement was made in the township. They are the parents of three children.
The Reverend Clyde Rosekrans, the youngest son of Merritt, a member of the Central NY Conference of the Methodist Church, held pastorates at several appointments. Before entering the ministry he operated a grocery at Elmira Heights. He married Eva Cornelius, now deceased, who after their marriage also became a Methodist minister. They had three children, two sons and a daughter. He married as his second wife Mildred Garrabrant. He is now retired and they are residing at Syracuse. Later retired to Zephyrhills.
Georgia, the oldest daughter of Merritt, married Ralza Goodyear, now deceased. They became the parents of four children. Ruth married William Palmer. Frank married Sharle WaIters. Earl died while still single. Mildred married Bert Cook.
Euna, second daughter of Merritt, died in 1902 and never married.
Grace the third daughter of Merritt, married Clarence Davis. She died in 1936. They were parents of Dorothy who married Percy Chapman, Pearl who married Otto Bowman, and Marjorie who married Earl Collson the proprietor of Collson's Grocery and service station here in Erin.
Helen, another daughter of Merritt, married Judd S. Hall a farmer and carpenter who is retired and they live in Erin. They have three sons: Gerald, George, and Gracy.
Millie, the youngest daughter of Merritt married Frank Patterson who recently retired as the proprietor of Pat’s Point Grocery and Filling Station in the Scotchtown area. They are parents of Stanley, Carl, Abie, Francis, Euna, Mildred.
Fred, the fourth son died in infancy.
The fifth son of Merritt, Chauncy E. Rosekrans married Gertrude Elston, a descendant of another family who were prominent in Erin history. They lived for many years with his parents on the old homestead farm. They had one son Clayton who married Angie Cowell and they had one son, Robert, who married Elma Yenei and with their two daughters they are now living on the old homestead farm.
Agnes, the oldest daughter of Chauncey and Gertie Elston Rosekrans married Ivan Hummer, also a descendant of a family of early Erin. They reside here in Erin and he is employed at a machine shop in Elmira Heights. They are both active in this society and have no children.
The youngest daughter of Chauncey and Gertie is Myrtle who married Ralph Georgia. She is a nurse and they reside in Elmira and have no children.
The popularity enjoyed by "Chance" Rosekrans is best attested by the fact that back in the "good old" days when Democratic victories at the polls in the town of Erin had become a tradition, he was consistently one of the few Republicans elected. He served several terms as town superintendent of highways and one term as town clerk. When the County Highway Department was organized he was one of the first foremen hired and continued in that capacity until he retired because of illness. He served as trustee of the Erin Methodist church for many years.
Lyman Rosekrans, the third son of Warren and Susan Rosekrans, owned and operated the farm on Park Hill in the town of Erin which is now occupied part of each year by his grandson, Gordon Rosekrans. Lyman besides being a farmer gained an enviable reputation as a "horse doctor" of the old school, before it became compulsory that one must be a graduate veterinarian to practice that profession.
Lyman Rosekrans married for his first wife, Rosanna Park, a daughter of David J. Park, who came to the town of Erin in 1820. Thus again, two families prominent in the early history of Erin were united. They had one son Fennimore C. Rosekrans. (Will of Roasanna PARK Rosenkrans)
Lyman married as his second wife, Theresa Ennis, the widow of Miles Ennis who died of a stroke the day the Erin Methodist Church was dedicated, Feb. 10, 1875. The fami1y, returning from the dedication services found that he had suffered the seizure and fallen on the kitchen stove.
For his third wife Lyman married Ann Newkirk a member of the family by that name of South Erin. He had no children by his last two wives.
Fennimore C., the only child of Lyman Rosekrans, married Armilla Park for his first wife. They had one son and one daughter. Gordon married Myrtle Beebe. Aileen married Theo Tupper. As his second wife Fennimore married Eliza Blauvelt once again joining two families of early Erin history. They had no children.
|Fennimore C. Rosekrans, 1833-1899,
son of Lyman Rosekrans and Roseanna Park. unknown date
|Armilla Park, (1861-1909)
daughter of David Park and Cornelia Hummer. Unknown date.
Nelson, fourth son of Warren and Susan Cole Rosekrans, following the family tradition, was a farmer-carpenter. He married Hannah Elya, who lived in the Red Chalk section. They had three children. Wilson the oldest son married Eliza Goldsmith and they became the parents of 6 children. Olin, the other son of Nelson and Hannah married Mae Shoemaker and they had two daughters. Ella, daughter of Nelson and Hannah, married William Parlett and had no children.
It is doubtful if another two men ever left this earth who were more missed more people of their community than the two Rosekrans brothers - Wilson and Olin. Often, jokingly, referred to as "jacks-of-all-trades" they were carpenters, adept at all sorts of repair work at which they specialized. They both were painters and also did some masonry work. Olin was a horseshoer and kept shoes on the horses of his neighbors. Ever ready, willing and eager to lend a helping hand, their niche in the life of the community will never be filled. Wilson served several terms as Justice of the Peace, in which capacity he gained the respect and friendship of many of the leading members of the Chemung Co. Bar. Olin served as Town Tax Collector.
Alvah, fifth son of Warren, married Melissa Bogart and lived on a farm in the Red Chalk section. He died as a young man in 1876, at the age of 37. He was considered as the champion wrestler of the town of Erin in the days when that sport was a favorite pastime whenever men got together at auctions, town meetings, etc. Alvah and Melissa had one daughter, Hattie, who married Grant Davis, also had one son, named Alvah.
Emily oldest daughter of Warren and Susan, married Fletcher Van Gordon. They spent their lives in the mid-west. They had 3 sons.
Mary, the youngest daughter of Warren and Susan Cole, married Lewis P. Thomas and they lived in the farm where her grandfather built his primitive sawmill more than a century ago. They had no children.