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Rose Family papers

Identifier: BUSC-1985-002

Scope and Contents

Documents and letters pertaining to a family of prominent landowners in Broome County and northern Pennsylvania during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


  • 1785 - 1912
  • Majority of material found in 1806-1870

Biographical Note

Dr. Robert Hutchinson Rose was born in 1776 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. His parents had come to Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary War, his father being from Scotland and his mother from Dublin. Dr. Rose was educated in Philadelphia and graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania (although he never practiced medicine). After being invited on a hunting trip to northern Pennsylvania by Colonel Timothy Pickering in 1804 or 1805, Dr. Rose was so enamored with the area that he bought all of what is now Silver Lake Township (99,200 acres) in 1809 from the Francis estate (Anna, widow of Tench Francis). This area of the country was known as “Hibernia.” The original 99,200-acre tract was added to until it encompassed 140,000 acres. Dr. Rose resided on the South side of Silver Lake. It is interesting to note that Montrose, PA was named around 1812 by Dr. Robert H. Rose, combining the French word "mont" with his last name. Dr. Rose was Silver Lake Township's first major developer and sub-divider, promoting the sale of his holdings through advertisements in newspapers throughout Pennsylvania and offering land along the turnpikes at $6 per acre and off them at $5 per acre. Indeed, Dr. Rose is credited for much of the development of Susquehanna County, PA. He built mills and roads, and was instrumental in bringing in many settlers. Dr. Rose appealed to African-American and Irish families to move to the Silver Lake Township and the latter gradually replaced the English settlers and became a majority in the Township. This accounts for many roads having Irish names and also for the term "Out our way," referring to a section of the Township. It is also interesting to note that Rose established a farming community of runaway slave families, exchanging free land and equipment for labor and shares, although this colony only lasted two years.

In 1816, Rose built the first bank in Susquehanna County, the Silver Lake Bank. This bank, the oldest building in Montrose, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The building now serves as headquarters, educational center and museum for the Center for Anti Slavery Studies (C.A.S.S.) a local non-profit organization formed in 1996. Dr. Rose also established a sawmill below Silver Lake as early as 1810 and later built a gristmill. Still later he constructed a woolen factory. Dr. Rose was also the first postmaster of Silver Lake. Dr. Rose was married in 1810 to Jane Hodge, daughter of Andrew Hodge of Philadelphia. He died in 1842, at the age of 66, leaving behind his widow, three sons (Edward W., Andrew H., and Robert H.), and four daughters (Ann, Ellen, Caroline, and Emily Rose). The Silver Lake mansion burnt in 1850.

Ann Rose, eldest daughter of Dr. Robert H. and Jane (Hodge) Rose, married William Main, a mining engineer and chemist. They resided on a farm on the borders of Quaker Lake, four miles from Silver Lake, and Ann bore five children (two died in infancy). In 1853, they moved to Philadelphia for the education of three of the children, Alice, William, and Anna. The farm was retained for many years as a summer residence. William Main died in 1876. Ann (Rose) Main died at age 87 in Brooklyn in 1898. Their eldest daughter, Alice, died in Philadelphia at the age of 20. Their youngest daughter, Anna, married George Giles.

William Main, son of William and Ann (Rose) Main, was born at the Old Rose Mansion at Silver Lake on February 10, 1845 and eventually became a chemist and mining engineer. He fought in the Civil War in the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns, 1862-1863. In 1871 he married Fannie A. Fillebrown.

Caroline Rose, third daughter of Dr. Robert H. and Jane (Hodge) Rose, married Francis Dudley Ladd on June 16, 1846. Ladd was the son of Gen. Samuel G. and Caroline Vinal Ladd, a niece of President John Adams. He became a tutor at the Rose Family Estate, which is where he met Caroline. Ladd became a pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Silver Lake. In 1851, he became pastor of Penn Church in Philadelphia. Francis died in Philadelphia in 1862 and Caroline died in Philadelphia in 1866. They had one child, Ellen Rose, who was born in 1849 and died in Silver Lake in 1851.

Prior to 1873, Dr. Robert H. Rose’s sons Edward W. Rose and Andrew H. Rose lived on estates along Silver Lake. Edward W. later moved from Silver Lake to Montrose, Susquehanna County, and was in the mercantile business. Andrew H. died prior to 1873.

Edward W. Rose’s son Robert H. Rose graduated from Cortland Academy (Homer, Cortland County, New York) in 1868 and, then studied in the law office of Fitch & Watson, attorneys in Montrose, PA. In 1873, he was admitted to the bar in Susquehanna County. In December 1873, Robert H. came to Smethport (McKean County) as attorney and agent for the Bingham Estate. Robert served as attorney for the McKean County commissioners; he was involved with the oil trade beginning in 1878 and belonged to the Bradford Exchange. He represented his district in the State Legislature; he was a thirty-second degree Freemason, a Knight Templar, and a member of the consistory at Pittsburgh; he was also a member of the Mystic Shrine. On September 5, 1877, he was married to Laena D. Hamlin, daughter of Hon. Henry Hamlin. Laena Rose bore two children, Robert Craig and Marion. Robert H. Rose eventually moved his law practice and settled in Binghamton in 1890.


4.25 Linear Feet (Five small document boxes, two large document boxes, and one oversize box.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Rose family, September 1985.

Related Materials

Another collection of Rose family documents and papers is in the Susquehanna County Historical Society, Montrose, PA.

Guide to the Rose Family papers
Jean L. Green
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Binghamton NY 13902 USA