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Helm's History




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Source: NMHS Newsletter Feb 2004

Remembering Rosehill

(or…Where is Rosehill?)

By Jack Miller - former curator; Wabash County Historical Museum

"What in the Sam Hill." I cried out in disbelief as I scanned the state road map of Wabash County. My wife, Bea, reading nearby, spoke up in alarm, "What's wrong?" "What happened?!" "Can you believe this, some fool state employee didn't put Rosehill on the map," I yelled back. "Was Rose some relation to the Sam you just mentioned?" she asked.

"Hey lady, Rosehill was one of our fine little villages, located right up on the north line of Wabash and Kosciusko counties. I remember it as a kid back in the 1920s, when my folks would drive through there once in a while, on our way from North Manchester to Silver Lake. I remember my dad saying the town on the north side of the main drag pays taxes in Warsaw and those on the south side to Wabash. Oh, and the scary stories of the sinkholes and bogs located in that region, so typical of the Packerton Moraine left by the ice age."

"Okay!" my wife said, "show me Rosehill." We got in the car and headed north. It's easy to find the location. Just drive north in Wabash County till you hit the Rangeline Road. Ride east or west until you get to the railroad crossing. You are there - Rosehill. "This is it?" my wife said. "But for the church and cemetery, there isn't much to fit on a state map.

What is the history of this spot with the railroad crossing as its only marker?"

"Well, you are right about the railroad. It was the reason for Rosehill being where it was." In 1871 the Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan Railroad started building south from Warsaw headed for North Manchester and Wabash. Living in this region were two men named Clawson and Richardson - somehow just where the railroad would cross the county line. They had a brilliant idea and they went out all over this region buying up the best black walnut trees they could find. They set up a sawmill on the Kosciusko side of the road. Here in 1871 and 1872 they cut 12 inch-thick slabs, tree-wide, of the trees and stacked them.

When the railroad reached them in 1872, they have over one million board feet of slab walnut ready to go. They stamped R&H on the ends of each slab. The slabs were shipped to England to become the mantels in the rich estates being built in England in the 1870s and 1880s. If you, by chance, visit some of these estates in England, look on the butt ends of some of those fireplace mantels. Don't be surprised to see R&H stamped into the wood.

With the coming of the railroad in 1872, the railroad crossing became known as Rosehill. Due to the lumber mill's success it wasn't long until there was a store, depot, post office, stockyard, grainhouse and a Lutheran Church. At its peak, Rosehill contained ten buildings. It seemed pretty much that way when this kid rode through there in the 1920s with his folks. The Rosehill church and cemetery are still both well kept, as is the railroad, but all other signs of a village are gone.

Sometime we will talk about the terrible Rosehill railroad wreck that took place there April l, 1903. Are any of these families still living around there; Kreamer, Snure, Isley, Percy, Helser, Nelson, Drudge, Feigley, Delauter?

Reprinted from the Paper. Used by permission of Jack Miller

Added by the editor -

Some of those found in the Rosehill Cemetery:

  • Kreamer, Henry and his wife, Agnes.. and children
  • Kreamer, wife of Jacob and daughter of H. L. Groninger and his wife
  • Isley, Orlando and his wife, Nancy
  • Isley, Henry and his two wives Catharine, died 1855 and Elizabeth died 1881 and children
  • Feigley, Peter K. and his wife Margaret
  • Feighley, M. E.
  • Feighley, Gell, son of D an R.
  • Feighley, Cassie, daughter of J.S.
  • Feighley, Cassandra M. daughter of P.K and M.
  • Feighley, Solomon
  • Feighley, Francis X. and wife, Hannah and children
  • Feighley, Emma, wife of Ross
  • Snure, George and wife, Mary E. Isley