Louis Henry Rose

LOUIS HENRY ROSE. That quality of citizenship which gets things done in a wise and constructive manner and at the same time is constantly looking out for the economy and welfare of the individual is wonderfully well illustrated in the career of Louis Henry Rose, one of the oldest business men of Rosedale. Mr. Rose identified himself with this village of Wyandotte County when its population did not consist of more than 500. He helped make it a city and in recent years has headed the fight to secure its consolidation with that larger metropolitan and industrial group of communities known as Kansas City, Kansas. For thirty years Mr. Rose has been in the real estate and loan business, his headquarters being at 1000 Suth Boulevard in Rosedale.

Mr. Rose was born February 7, 1860, near Waukesha, Wisconsin. His birth occurred on a small farm of forty acres where his father for a number of years had been engaged in the nursery business. He was the youngest of four sons and three daughters. His parents were Thomas and Sybil (Jeffries) Rose. The Rose family is an old one in America Mr Rose's paternal ancestors were English people and early in the seventeenth century joined that religious and high minded group of people who went across the channel to Holland and subsequently immigrated to America. One of his forefathers, Elijah Rose, saw seven years of active service in the French and Indian wars and a like period in the Revolutionary struggle. Thomas Rose was born at Rochester, New York, was reared there and was married in that city to Miss Jeffries, who was a native of Toledo, Ohio. About 1850 they went west and became pioneers in the State of Wisconsin. Thomas Rose on his small farm near the City of Waukesha developed a business as a horticulturist and nurseryman and also did considerable truck farming. In 1870 he removed with his family to Springfield, Missouri, and after a year in that place went overland with wagons and teams to Cherokee County, Kansas. He acquired 320 acres of railroad land six miles north of Columbus. This land was broken with ox teams. Here he became a prosperous farmer and his thorough experience as a horticulturist was valuable to him and to a large community and he was responsible for the introduction of many of the orchards set out in that section of the state. Eventually a town was founded on his land and it was named in his honor Roseland. His farm in Cherokee County was close to that of the Ware family, and the great Kansas statesman and poet Eugene Ware was a close friend of the Rose family. Thomas Rose though a man of moderate education had good ability and expressed his talents in worthy service to his family and to his community. He was a republican and later an active leader in the prohibition movement. He was also a devout Baptist and did much to build up and support union Sunday schools. In 1898 Thomas Rose sold his Cherokee County farm and removed to Rosedale, Kansas, where he lived among his children. His wife died there in 1904 and he passed away in 1910. Their children are all still living. One of them is George E. Rose, a highly successful farmer in Wyandotte County and now president of the Kansas Building and Loan Association of Rosedale, in which L. H. Rose is secretary. Another member of the family is Laura E, now the wife of William Middlekauff, a banker of Argentine.

Louis H. Rose was eleven years of age when he came with his parents to Kansas. In the meantime he had attended to some extent the public schools of Wisconsin. He early showed a disposition and ability to perform a man's work, though only a boy in years. He did his share toward the development of the raw and virgin prairie soil of Cherokee County and whenever possible he attended terms of winter school. He went to school at Columbus, Kansas, and subsequently taught two years in the old home district. He then entered the University of Kansas at Lawrence and for two years was a student in that institution.

Mr. Rose came to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1885, and for two years taught in a district including the northern part of Rosedale and that portion of Kansas City, Kansas, lying south of the Kaw River. From teaching he entered the real estate business when Kansas City, Kansas, was on its great boom, and his work in that field has been accomplished chiefly in the Rosedale section. For one year he lived at Armourdale when there was not a single brick house in the village.

As already stated, Rosedale when Mr. Rose first knew it as a resident had only 500 people. It is now a city of 10,000, with all the improvements and facilities of an industrial center. Whenever anything has been needed for the community Mr. Rose has been found stanchly aligned with the promoters. He did much to secure the municipal water plant, the lighting system and other public improvements, and also brought about a substantial reduction of telephone rates. He was one of the organizers of the consolidation party, of which he is treasurer. This is not a political body but an organization maintained for the purpose of bringing about the consolidation of Rosedale with the larger civic unit of which it is essentially a part, Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Rose has worked effectively to educate the people to the benefits of such consolidation and has graphically shown in many ways how the consolidation would bring about a reduction in public expenses as well as a material improvement and increase in those services which are vital to city life and the protection of property, health and personal safety.

Mr. Rose has worked in politics not as a partisan but for the good he could accomplish. The chief office he has held was that of postmaster, to which he was appointed by President McKinley in 1896. He served continuously for thirteen years. Through his efforts the Rosedale postoffice was made a substation to Kansas City in 1902. He has attended as a delegate state and congressional conventions of the republican party and for eight months served as city attorney of Rosedale in 1898. He has also been active in the Commercial Club and he organized the Cross-Town Traffic Commission, of which he is chairman. He also served as president of the Wyandotte County Traffic Ways Commission, an organization of official and semi-official bodies representing the various commercial and civic interests in Wyandotte County that are essentially part and parcel of the Greater Kansas City, Kansas.

Mr Rose assisted in organizing the Rosedale State Bank and Commercial State Bank, but the business connection in which he takes greatest pride is the Kansas Building and Loan Association, which he helped organize in 1908, with an authorized capital of $2,000,000. His brother George is now president of this association and he is its secretary. At the close of 1916 this association had total resources of almost $81,000 and has a record of steady growth and wise and conservative management throughout the nine years of its existence.

Mr. Rose is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Modern Woodmen of America, is a member of the Mercantile Club, the Rosedale Commercial Club, and attends the Christian Science Church.

On November 28, 1889, he married Miss Abbie E. Bell. Two children were born to them: Harold, who died in 1900, at the age of eight years; and Robert Bell, who was born in 1893 and is now finishing his law course in the University of Kansas.

The late Dr. Simeon B. Bell, father of Mrs. L. H. Rose, was the donor of the Bell Hospital to the State of Kansas and one of the most prominent citizens the state ever had. He lived to a remarkable age, passing away in 1914, at the age of ninety-two. He had come to Rosedale in 1865 and he laid out the Southwest Boulevard as a thoroughfare 100 feet wide. He was in many ways identified with early and later Kansas.

Dr. Bell was born in New Jersey May 13, 1820, one of the fifteen children of Jabez and Gertrude (Nichols) Bell. He was reared in Ohio, attended Norwalk Seminary, and in 1852 graduated from Starling Medical College at Columbus. He practiced in Ohio until the spring of 1856, when he moved to Iowa and from there to Kansas in the spring of 1857. He first located in Johnson County and was one of the founders of the old town of Aubry, the present Stilwell, where Mrs. Rose was born. Not only as one of the pioneer physicians there but as a man of strong and positive convictions he played a notable part in the border warfare times and the redemption of Kansas from the slave influence. He fought in the battle of Brush Creek, and gave his professional assistance in caring for the survivors of the Quantrell raid. He was captured and taken to Missouri and only his record for deeds of kindness saved him from death. In Johnson County he had a large farm of 1,000 acres and also operated a general merchandise store. In 1865 he came to Rosedale and was one of the real founders and upbuilders of that city. He did not practice medicine to any extent after the Civil war but became very successful as a farmer and land owner. His name will always be associated with the founding of the Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital at Rosedale, which he founded as a memorial to his wife. It was long his ambition and desire to locate a medical institution upon his property at Rosedale. While the eminent Doctor Snow was chancellor of the University of Kansas Doctor Bell offered him land to the value of $100,000 on condition that a medical hospital and school should be located upon the park. This offer was accepted and Doctor Bell lived to see his cherished plan realized.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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