D.J. Rose – Movie Star or Contractor? – Part 2

thI could make up a story about D. J. Rose, and tell you he was a movie star. Based on this photograph, would you doubt me? This gorgeous man has long settled into his place on the family tree, yet he is not forgotten. I’ve gazed at this photograph, hoping Mr. Rose would reveal himself. He sent me in search of some facts to help imagine his surroundings. We know he arrived in Rocky Mount in 1890 at age 29. Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President (1889 to 1893), elected after conducting one of the first “front-porch” campaigns, delivering short speeches to delegations that visited him in Indianapolis. (In today’s political climate, I was drawn to the word short.) Amazing people were born in 1890, which could easily side-track us. People like Dwight Eisenhower, Rose Kennedy, Agatha Christie, Charles de Gaulle and Boris Pasternak.

HERE is a youtube link to the popular songs of 1890-1920.

713px-StateLibQld_2_167751_Group_of_men_wearing_three-piece_suits,_posing_for_a_portrait,_1890-1900            In search of clothes worn at the time of Mr. Rose’s arrival, I found this  photo of men wearing three-piece suits, posing for a portrait, 1890-1900. With his handsome face, I hope Mr. Rose never wore a mustache.

We know that in time, David Rose married Anna Phillip Woodall. They had three children: Mary Lucille Rose Ward, Ira Woodall Rose and Vera Durham Rose. After Anna’s death he married Vira Benton with whom he had five more children. With apologies to these two women, their stories must wait.

peoplesbank3-323x400Between 1890–1918: D. J. Rose and Company’s new business is established. In 1900, offices are opened on Rose Street, where Mr. Rose partnered with fellow builder S. S. Toler until 1910. The company oversees notable projects such as the city’s first electric power plant in 1901 and the Bank of Rocky Mount (right) in 1918. We salute Rose and Company for their numerous projects. You can read HERE about the Ricks Hotel, one of his many contributions to Rocky Mount.  Don’t miss Part 3 to learn more about the accomplishments of D. J. Rose, and an upcoming event you won’t want to miss.

Who was D. J. Rose? The Setting of His Story – Part 1


David Jeptha Rose 1861-1940

In writing about David Jeptha Rose, the protagonist in today’s story, it is my pleasure to honor him. I hope to renew your interest and give reason anew to care about him. We must have a setting that gives us a sense of the world he inhabited. Let’s step back in time by exiting through the back of the preverbal Narnia wardrobe. When we emerge from the fur coats and step out, we find ourselves in Rocky Mount, NC. It is 1890 and David Rose, at twenty-nine years of age has relocated from rural Johnston County, NC., and from the farm where he was born.  Our hero in this story, in his late teens and early twenties, developed a talent for carpentry and building.  He arrives In Rocky Mount with a population of 650 and establishes the D.J.Rose and Company.

What has brought David to Rocky Mount?  I’d like to believe he recognized that the arrival of the Rocky Mount Tobacco Market that began in the 1880’s, at the turn of the century, was already bringing new people and vitality to town. Perhaps he anticipates that a thriving regional center is emerging because of jobs the railroad, textile, fertilizer and tobacco provide.

The setting for David Roses’ story will include the first bank that appears in 1889, the direct result of large sums of money transacted at market time. A burst of expansion creates a sizeable business district built from the 1890s into the 1920s. The early tobacco factories and warehouses are clustered around the railroad tracks at the northern end of downtown on Goldleaf, MacDonald, and Pearl Streets and Falls Road. Fenner’s Warehouse and J.O.W. Gravely’s Warehouse both stand in the 200 block of Falls Road, south of the Falls Road Historic District. Now that you are reminded of the setting for our story about D. J. Rose, we will continue about the man himself  in Part 2.

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