Thursday, October 20, 2011

Clarence Rose and the Courthouse

Lucas County Historical Society Collection

I love it when patterns emerge serendipitously to enlighten something or another, and that's what happened yesterday when Wanda Frye Horn added a comment to the previous post here, a post that contained a photograph, perhaps dating from 1894,  of the north side of the Chariton Square showing clearly that Rose's (photography) Studio was located on the second floor of a building known as the Mallory Brick.

"Your photo showing Rose's Studio caught my eye because the photographer, Clarence Rose, was an older half-brother of my grandmother, Charlotte Rose Roberts," Wanda wrote. "We have several old family photos from his studio. Clarence left Chariton in the early 1890s and went to New Mexico hoping to find a cure for his "consumption." However, when his health continued to deteriorate, he went to the home of his aunt in Benedict, Nebraska, where he died in October of 1899."

I have several family photographs taken, too, at the Rose studio and was really pleased to find out more about the photographer. One distinctive feature of every Rose photo I've seen is that the images have a rose-colored cast to them, causing me to wonder if that wasn't kind of a trademark of Clarence's work, based upon his surname. That, however, would be difficult to prove.

I went to the online version of Darlene Arnold's Chariton Newspaper Index and found reference there to a story in The Patriot of Jan. 18, 1893, stating the Clarence had just purchesed the "photo gallery of J.H. Needham," probably adding a date to the start of his photographic venture.

The index also points to articles reporting his marriage to Helen Losier (or Looser) during 1894; and to reports of his death in Nebraska in all three Chariton newspapers during July of 1899 --- Herald and Patriot issues of July 6 and the Democrat edition of July 7. These imply a date of death prior to October.

One of the most beautiful examples of Clarence Rose's work is the portrait of the brand new Lucas County Courthouse at the beginning of this post (from the LCHS collection). Because the perspective is perfect, I'm guessing it was shot from a window of his studio in Mallory Brick, perhaps even from the roof. The view must have been taken during late winter or early spring, 1894, since leaves have not yet emerged on the trees.

Turn the photo over and you discover "Some descriptive facts" about the courthouse printed on the back of the mounting card, a notice that the image had been "Copyrighted by Rose, 1894" and, in very small print, notice that the mounting card had been printed by the Herald Printing House, Chariton, Iowa."

I'm guessing that this was a souvenir card prepared by Clarence for sale prior to and/or during the dedication of the courthouse on May 22, 1894, which was quite an occasion in Chariton.

Wanda, by the way, is the only person I know who remembers me as a very young vacation Bible school scholar at First Baptist Church in Russell (extremely precocious, she began teaching VBS at age 5 I believe). Her late husband, Charles, was First Baptist's pastor for a time. I also discovered, reading the newspaper index, that she was valedictorian of her Russell High School graduating class --- and county spelling champion. That's a little intimidating for someone who struggles sometimes with spelling, but uses a dictionary with a reasonable degree of competence.


Martin said...

too bad that we can not see John Pierce's cannon!

Lynne said...

Very interesting post, Frank. I enjoyed reading it very much.

Wanda Horn said...

Thanks for the kind words, Frank. I can milk a cow, too!!