|Birth: ||Aug. 21, 1885|
|Death: ||Jan. 3, 1970|
My Great Uncle Tom Rose - known to all of us as Uncle Tom - was born the 12th of 14 surviving siblings out of a total of 17 children to Samuel Adam Burney and Elmira Almeda (Hargrove) Rose, just older than my Grandfather Jim Rose, one year younger than Great Aunt Truda Belle (Rose)Thompson and two years younger than Great Aunt Mattie Rose. Most of this narrative of his life is information gathered by Lynn Parham, son of Mildred (Rose) Parham who is a niece of Great Uncle Tom. This information came from different family members both close and extended as well as from Tom himself.
He was only about 8 years old when his Mother Elmira died in 1893. His very early life was spent in a southern state that was just coming out of reconstruction after the Civil War. One would wonder what was Tom Rose's state of mind when he left his boyhood home area in Limestone County located in Northern Alabama with several of his siblings around the year 1901 to migrate westward when he was about 16 years old, leaving his Father Samuel behind and - as far as we know - never to see him again. It is believed that he may have stopped for a while in Arkabutla, Mississippi and/or Oklahoma before venturing on westward and down into Mexico(which he called "Little America"), working as he went, one of his trades being a gunsmith. He would be in Mexico anywhere from 1901 to 1911, those years are not certain. In Mexico he mined for silver, had run-ins with bandits, and even met Pancho Villa who came riding into camp with some of his officers and warned the group that Tom was with to make themselves scarce because there was going to be a fight with the "federalies". The Americans then moved up into the hills and watched a ferocious battle down in the valley they had previously vacated. It is believed that his group lived at least for a time at Valles, Mexico, mining for silver in the mountains. It is said that they made a strike, but apparently none was brought out of Mexico. They had a shootout with bandits one night when word got around about their strike. The bandits road up on horses and the shooting started as soon as Tom and his group stepped out on the porch of their shack. The bandits were at a disadvantage because the Americans had shootguns at short range and the bandits were on horses which did not make a good platform for shooting. When the shotguns stopped firing, the bandits were no longer standing and even some of the horses were killed. None of the Americans were seriously hurt.
After coming out of Mexico Tom worked as a rancher and travelled around. He hunted and spent a lot of time in and around the lakes and mountains of Southeast Oklahoma. At this time he was a young man striking in appearance dressed in typical cowboy attire with duster, hat, boots, spurs, a rifle in his saddle and a six-gun on his hip. He came riding into Ft. Towson, Oklahoma asking about his brother Simp. A young girl of 10 came running into her house to tell her sister Priscilla, "I've just seen the prettiest man there ever was". Her name was Mary Abbie Gentry. Seven years later the awstruck girl would marry Tom Rose.
A 1920 census showed Tom living with Mary Abbie and their year old daughter Emma Ruth in McClain County near Oklahoma City with his father-in-law and two of Mary's siblings. From there they moved to Milam County, Texas in 1925, on to Rusk County, Texas 5 years later where son Bernie was born, and then to Kerens, Texas near Corsicana about 1938. In all, he and Mary Abbie would have 7 children, 5 of which live on into adulthood, the last one Morris born in 1936. Tom and Abbie would not stay married. They moved to Mary's brother's farm to share a joint farming venture and around 1940 something traumatic happened between Tom and Mary that has never been revealed or discussed by any of his immediate family. Tom left and came back to Kerens and Mary divorced him.
Tom lived with his sister Truda Belle for a while and then moved to a 600 acre ranch at Chambers Creek Bottom. Richland Chambers Lake now covers some of it. He never married again. Here is where I remember him, a gregarious tall Texan, full of yarns and song. He had traded his horse for a Model-T Ford. He was very religious and very earthy at the same time, a crack shot with a rifle even into old age. He would spend the rest of his life on this ranch in the Kerens area, temporarly traveling to see relatives, some he had not seen in decades. In 1946 he came back to Alabama to visit my Grandfather Jim Rose. They had not seen each other for nearly 50 years. Together they went on to Florida to visit brother Simp who had years previously moved there from Oklahoma. The story of the visit was so unusual that it made the local Athens, AL paper. Tom and Jim saw and visited each other several times before my Grandfather's death in 1963. Tom would live on to 1970 having become a family legend and icon. He will always be remembered by those who had the privilege of meeting him as a very unique person who had spanned the era of the old West into now not so modern later 20th Century.
Created by: Wayne Rose
Record added: Jan 14, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17435033