This collection relates to Southern California rancher and horse-breeder Leonard J. Rose (1827-1899) and his family and
chiefly consists of
drafts of the memoirs and descriptions of 18th and 19th century California social life and customs
created by Rose's son Leonard John Rose, Jr. (1862-), an amateur historian. In addition
there is some family correspondence, printed material and ephemera, Leonard John Rose's account of leading
a failed California-bound emigrant train from the Midwest, and the diary of Martha
True Fargo, L.J. Rose Jr.'s mother-in-law. The diary provides a social history of
women in Portage, Wisconsin in 1864.
Leonard John Rose (1827-1899) was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1827. His family moved to the
United States in 1839, where they lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, and then moved to
Waterloo, Illinois. Rose attended Shurtliff College in Alton, Illinois. He became a
mercantilist, trading goods up and down the Mississippi River, and opened his own
general store. Rose married Amanda Markel Jones, daughter of Elizabeth and Ezra Jones, in Keosauqua, Van Buren
County, Iowa, in 1851. They had ten children: Annie (Sanderson), Nina R.
(Wachtel), Daisy (Montgomery), Maud (Easton), Mabel (Pike), Harry Ezra Rose, Leonard
"Leon" John Rose Jr., Guy Rose, and Roy Rose. After a child died in the 1850s, Rose
took advantage of his economic success and pursued his dream of establishing a horse
breeding ranch in California. He sold his store and organized an emigrant train of
ox driven wagons. The Rose Party, as it came to be known, set out for California
from Iowa in 1858. They took the southern route to avoid Utah, passing through the
territory of New Mexico instead. Native Americans assaulted their party by the
Colorado River, forcing the emigrants to retreat. The Rose family spent close to two
years in Santa Fe, where they bought a small inn called "La Fonda."
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