Last update:Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 08:40:22 MDT

History of Rosemead

This material was written 8 May 1937 by A.J.M. Perry, Historian and was then copied by Mrs. John Perry, daughter-in-law of A.J.M. Perry, Sr. and also published in the 250th Anniversary Issue of the Bertie-Ledger - Sept 28, 1972.(Section B page 1) Thank you to Clyde W. Miller for making a copy the History of Rosemead available.

Rosemead is a small town, or Village located in Colerain Township Bertie County, N.C. Formerly it had two stores, Grist Mill, and a Saw Mill and a Cotton Gin and several dwelling houses; and was quite a business center for the surrounding Community.

In a few years fate seemed to have visited this little town; As the post office, which was located at this place, was a rural Mail route from Colerain, N.C. Some of the older people died out and some failed in business. And the once alive Saw Mill, and Grist Mill, and also Cotton Gin went to naught. And one of the leading stores was discontinued, and the business drifted to other near by Centers. And to new built up places. Rosemead at present seems to have taken on new life. It now has two stores, two Filling stations and a repair or Blacksmith shop, and several new dwellings have been erected of late, to take the place of some that were torn down, and some that were destroyed by fire. There is no church and no school at this place, although there is a large Baptist Church, and a large high school and a dormitory two Miles North of this place by the name of 'Mars Hill'.

The most historical spot of this section is the 'Old Perry School House' site, about 1.2 mile south of Rosemead. This was a gathering place for the whole of the community, for miles around, for more than fifty years. Where schools were taught, and Sunday Schools were held, and religious services were carried on for more than two generations.

Many of the largest religious revivals of this section of the County were held at old school house site. This site has been abandoned and nothing remains here except the reminscence of the past.

The writer, A.J.M. Perry, now 72 years old was born and reared on a farm about 1 1/4 Miles south of Rosemead and received his first educational training at this 'Old Perry School House'.

Originally, Rosemead was once a part of the Freeman and Garrett Plantations, and was located at the junctions of the Freeman and Garrett Cross Roads, about two hundred yards apart on the Mars Hill Road. It is an ideal spot, being on an elevated plateau. About 1/2 mile from Mire Branch on the East, and about 1/2 mile Barbecue Swamp on the the West.

There are several fine homes within a radius of 1/2 mile of this place. And within this radius the population is approximately 100, and they are mostly white people and speak the English language, and are practically all Baptist and are people of much intelligience.

The name Rosemead is a contraction of the words Rose-meadow; a name that the George Thomas Byrum had given his home and farm, which was located within 1/2 mile Rosemead on the East.

The name Rose Meadow derived and grew out of the profusion and fragrance of the wild rose that abounded in the vales and along the streams of this section. Thence Rosemead is a delicious and Metheglin drink made from the wild rose, Honey and water; and partly gathered from the vales and branches of the Rose Meadow farm. Thus we have Rose the flavor used from the petals of the Wild Rose Flower and Mead, a Metheglin drink from Honey and Water, and these two words combined made Rosemead; thus came forth the word Rosemead, which name was given this little town, and also a name for the post office, by the late George Thomas Byrum.

The late George Thomas Byrum a near-by native, and the namer of Rosemead, N.C. was a practical man, a miniature poet, a noted historian and a distinquished orator; and his father, the late Henry H. Byrum was a noted songster in his day, and a near-by native of Rosemead.

Rosemead loxographically means a drink made from Honey and water flavored with the petals of the Wild Rose; and was much used as a delicious beverage by the early settlers of Rosemead and vicinity.

Rosemead, formerly was a part of a wild wood section, and the late Wm. R. Jones, the founder of this place, and the first settler thereof was the first person to fell a tree, or to erect a building of any kind at the place. He built a small cottage at this place in about the year 1882, and a few years afterwards he build a small store; and this was the beginning of what is now Rosemead, N.C.

The said Wm. R. Jones in about the year 1880 came from the Aulander N.C. section of Bertie County to teach school at the 'Old Perry School House' which was the only school of any importance in this section of Bertie County, N.C. and in a few years hence he married a daughter of the late Wm. H. Freeman, the former owner of what is now a part of Rosemead.

The said Freeman owned a Vast estate, and was one of the largest planters within the Vicinity of Rosemead. The said Wm. R. Jones shortly after his marriage moved to what is now Rosemead and thereby became the first settler of this place. He was a highly educated man and taught school in the vicinity of Rosemead and nearby section for many years. He also conducted a successful Mercantile business at this point until his death. He was a good citizen and highly esteemed for his learning. He had a son who succeeded him in business and is now a successful Merchant at this place.

It might be well at this discourse to mention some of late and former patriarchs of this Vicinity of Rosemead; namely, such men as the late Richard H. Garrett, a former owner of what is now a part of Rosemead. He was a large land owner and had a fine education, and he was the first school teacher who taught school at the 'Old Perry School House' in the Rosemead Vicinity, and was the first teacher of whom the writer ever went to school. He has a son, who was once a roaming kid around Rosemead, but now is a successful man in the town of Ahoskie, N.C. Having accumulated considerable wealth, and owns the largest hotel in town, and conducts a large Mercantile business there, and he and his son now own and operate the only theatre in town by the name of 'Richard' in memory of his father. The late Richard H. Garrett was a brother of the distinquished Captain who was a prominent young Lawyer who volunteered in the southern cause in the great 'Civil War' or 'War of the 'Rebellion'. He mustered a large company of soldiers, which was known as the 'Tom Garrett Company' and was greatly admired for his bravery and heroism. He was slain in the foremost of battle in the exploits of his bravery while leading his Company of patriots on the battlefield. He goes down in history as one of the bravest Captains that ever waved a sword across the battle fields of the 'Great Rebellion.'

In memory, it is appropriate to mention the late Samuel M. Pearce of the Rosemead Vicinity. He was a noted Coffin maker of this section for 35 years. He was a godly man and a Christian, and it has been well said, by all who knew him, that he was the most devout and the most pious man that ever lived in this community. He was a deacon of Mars Hills Church for many years, and was the most prominent leader in the Sunday Schools and religious services at the 'Old Perry School House.' For more than a quarter of a Century his influence as a Christian leader still lives and exists in the lives of this community.

It might be Component at this point of this narration to name the most prominent Contemporarier of the Rosemead Vicinity, Namely: The late Hon. Daniel W. Britton, who lived across the Barbecue Swamp, west of Rosemead. He was an ex-representative of Bertie County in the state legislature at Raleigh, N.C. and was a successful Merchant and Mill man, and owned a large plantation, and was esteemed by all who knew him. He had a brother, the late Hon. John C. Britton, who was a ex-representative of Bertie County in the state legislature at Raleigh, N.C. and who was a successful business man and owned considerable wealth in and around Powellsville, N.C. They were both born and reared just across Barbecue Swamp 1/2 mile from Rosemead, and the sons of the late John L. Britton, who was a man of much prominence, and owned one of the largest plantations in the Rosemead section.

The late Wm. Delk Perry was one of the Vicinity or Rosemead, worthy to be mentioned. He was a consistent Christian and a deacon of Mars Hill Church for a number of years, and was a superintendent of the Sunday School at the 'Old Perry School House' for more than thirty years and owned a plantation near the Rosemead settlement.

The late John W. Perry, the Writer's father also one of the near by Vicinity of Rosemead, and was instrumental in the upbuilding of this Community, and the surrounding Vicinity of Rosemead. He had a great influence with his fellowman, and his advice was sought by many. He had a fine education, and was a school teacher of many years experience. He was at one time Deputy Sheriff and tax collector for this part of the County. He was known as a Christian gentleman, and was a deacon of Mars Hill Church, and a Justice of the Peace until his death. He owned a large plantation south of Rosemead, and was a large planter.

It might be well to name some of the most Conspicuous men of early Rosemead and the surrounding Community, in order to let the reader know what type of people this section was made of. Namely: the late Wm. R. Raynor, A School teacher for many years, a noted songster, and Justice of the Peace, and an officer of the law and a surveyor.

The late G. Norfleet Green, a Justice of the Peace, a trial officer, and a legal advisor for 25 years.

The late Jesse Miller, a Christian gentleman, and a talented brick Mason by trade, whose works still exist in this community.

The late Reddick N. Freeman, a man of great energy and perseverance, wno moved into the wild woods, and cleared one of the largest farms in this vicinity. He went from a log hut to a spacious frame building; and was a good man and raised a large family of refined chidlren.

The late John Harrell a great entertainer, and the jolliest man in the Rosemead Vicinity. He was a pioneer of the forest, having started in a log hut and went to a large frame building. He raised a large family and was a good Citizen.

The late Wm. Henderson Brown, a good Man and a pious Man; a great leader in the church work and religious service. He was a good Citizen and of the highest type, and worthy to be remembered for the life he lived.

The late Kader Bass, a refined gentleman and a Christian worker, and a leading songster in the community. He owned a large estate and had a great influence in this section, and was a worthy Citizen.

The late Charles S. Pearce, a son of the late Deacon Samuel M. Pearce. He was an esteemed Christian, and a great worker in the educational cause, and did all he could for the promotion and growth of the schools in his community. He raised the largest family in the Rosemead Vicinity, and was a man worthy to be remembered.

The late Joseph M. Phelps is worthy to be named in the make up of this narration. He did more in the building up of what is now Rosemead that any man who lived in this immediate vicinity. He built a large commodious dwellling and a spacious store, and practically owned nearly all the land around the Rosemead settlement. He built up a Gin and Mill and carried on an extensive business at one time. His wife died and he became despondent, and sold out of a lot of his real estate, and let his business go to naught. He did more for the building up of Rosemead than any of his predecessors. He was a business man and a deacon of the church, a leader in the Sunday School work at the 'Old Perry School House.'

There were several transcients that were worthy men and did much in the elevation and uplifing of the Rosemead Vicinity but space will not allow the mention of their names at this time.

One Thomas F. Wiggins, a Christian gentleman and the old men in the Rosemead Vicinity who are now living should be remembered and not fogotten.

A great many of the original owners and patriarchs of the Rosemead Vicinity have passed from the stage of action and new comers and the present generation have taken charge of the affairs and now own the property of the community: and many changes have developed from the original. And the once sparsedly settlement, has grown into a thickly settled community.

About the year 1891 the U.S. Govrnment established a post office at this place, which was then known as Jones Store; and the late George Thomas Byrum selected the name Rosemead for the name of the post office, getting the name from Rosemeadow, the name of his home and farm. The late Wm. R. Jones the founder, was appointed the first postmaster and served in this Capacity until the post office was discontinued in about the year 1908. This office was first supplied by Star route mail from Colerain, N.C. Then changed from Cremo and Powellsville, N.C. In 1905 when Rural Mail route #2 was established from Colerain, N.C. and this office was then supplied by Mail pouch from the Rural letter Carrier of which A.J.M. Perry, the writer, was the Carrier and he continued to supply this office with mail until the same was discontinued, and he then continued to supply the patrons with mail until he was appointed postmaster at Colerain, N.C. in 1914.

The patrons of this late office are still being served by a mail letter carrier route from Colerain, N.C.

A.J.M. Perry, the author of this narration, is a native of the Vicinity of Rosemead. He married a daughter of the late Reddick N. Freeman of this Vicinity, and raised a large family; and was a teacher in public schools in Bertie County for 20 years and a rural letter carrier from Colerain, N.C. for 10 years and was at one time Mayor of the town of Colerain, N.C. and has been a County surveyor and a Justice of the Peace for the past 12 years or more and now owns the 'Old Perry School House' site.

There is no connection or tie up of this Rosemead, N.C. with the Rosemead of California and there is not anything unusual, different, or real famous about this place - There is no community near named Achambra- A few people from Rosemead Community have visited some parts of California, and there are a few families from near here who moved to California and now live there. The writer's wife had two brothers who were soldiers at Fort Monroe, VA. about 40 years ago that were transferred to a fort in California and served there several years. They were soldiers in the state not far from Rosemead Calif. and really knew something of this place at that time. It is very evidently that the name Rosemead, Calif. was really selected by some of the transcients there from Rosemead, N.C. It is a matter purely Coincidental that these two places should have the same name; they being only two places of this in the U.S.; and one being located in Eastern, N.C. and the other situated in Calif.; so remote from one another.

The Vicinity of Rosemead, N.C. is a high level County well drained, and fertile land, and good water and a healthy place for one to live.

The main crops grown around this place are Corn, Cotton, peanuts, tobacco, and various trucks and garden Crops, and fruits of Various kinds.

There is right much history in connection with the Country around and about Rosemead, N.C.

Bertie County in which Rosemead is located is the largest peanut producing County in the U.S. and on Chowan River abounding tributary of the County, is the largest White Shad Fishery in the world; and Colerain, a nearby town on the Chowan, is one of the greatest fish Markets in N.C. and on the Chowan river, and in the Albemarle Sound is the Catch of the Herring in the U.S. All of which are in the invironment of Rosemead, N.C.

Bertie County is one of the largest and one of the oldest counties in N.C. and dates back to some of the first English settlers' of America. And in it, there is on the banks of the Chowan the historical 'Edenhouse,' once the homes of the Tuscarors Indians.

Of these the sad requiems of the past are the only memento that now exist. Here is where the placid waters of the silvery Chowan flows by the home of the late 'Eden' and where the rippling waters of the golden Roanoke journeys towards the sea.


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