Tag Archives: Lexington OK

Pvt. John Wesley Rose, Co. B 314th Infantry

Ed Rose
Oklahoma City, OK

April 20, 1944

Dear brother and family

I got your letter today. Sure was glad to hear from you all but I sure have been places since I seen you all last. I have been in Boston, Mass. A friend and I went on a pass and went to Providence, Rhode Island and stayed overnight. …
Well I am a long ways farther from  home than Boston now. I am in England somewhere, I can’t tell you just where. I went on a pass and went to Liverpool, England. …
Tell the kiddos hello. Will try to write more next time.
So long, your loving brother, John.

May 2, 1944

Dear Brother and family

I received your letter today that you mailed the 17 of April, I sure was glad to get it too. Well this much I can tell you all, I am still in England and pretty good. … Ed when have you been down to Willies last and how was he? You can tell him when you see him again that I am getting ready to pay a visit to the Germans. …tell him that I am in England going further some of these days. …
Well our camp is located on a golf course and we are all living in tents. We have a nice camp and pretty good eats. …
Well Bub, I think of you all every day and I know you all do me. I will quit for this time. I have to go write to my wife yet.

When Uncle Wes wrote that letter seventy years ago he was in Company B, 314th Regiment of the 79th Division of George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. He was billeted at Goldbourne Park, a golf course between Liverpool and Manchester. It was April 1944, late in the preparations for the invasion and quartering was scarce. Plans were for the 79th to remain in reserve with the 3rd Army until it was time to break out of Normandy and onto the plains of France. But German movement caused a change in plans and in May they were reassigned and moved to an assembly area near Southampton on the southern coast of England.

On June 13, one week after the initial D-Day invasion, the 79th was en route across the channel. Battle debris still filled the crossing. When they disembarked they marched up Utah Beach, through the messy remains of the D-Day battle, seven days past. They marched toward Cherbourg and on June 19 orders came down committing the regiment to its first combat. It was October 24—127 days later—before the 314th Regiment was withdrawn from combat for a needed break at Luneville. For the first time in months the men ate hot meals, slept in beds with a roof over their heads, enjoyed hot showers and clean clothes.

In the meantime, in a letter of September 23 Uncle Wes writes that he has been in the hospital “2–3 weeks.” I haven’t been able to find out when or where he was wounded and when he returned to his unit, but he was back on the front lines in October and November 1944. Sometime in November, Pvt. John Rose was separated from his unit and lost behind enemy lines. Several letters to him were returned stamped Missing. He survived his time behind German lines and managed to rejoin his unit November 27. Three days later, Nov. 30, 1944, he was killed in action in the difficult fighting to take Haguenau in the Alsace region of France.

Uncle Wes was 36 years old when he died. He and his wife Ruby didn’t have any children, and they spent a lot of time with my mom and her brother. Wes never failed to ask about “the kiddos” in his letters home. He wrote his wife Ruby every few days but since they didn’t have children I don’t know if anyone else in the family has those letters. My mom has the half-dozen or so letters he wrote to his brother Ed “and family.”

Private John Wesley Rose was first buried in France and then disinterred and returned home after the war to be buried in the Lexington Cemetery. He is listed on the veterans memorial in Lexington, Oklahoma.



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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in Rose


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More about John and Mittie Rose

I’m on a mission to scan “all” the pictures my mom has in our family stash. When going through the last batch we came across the original photo of the John Henry Rose family I posted recently.

John Henry Rose family, 1894 ~ American Saga

John Henry Rose, his wife Mittie (Bryant) Rose, Ora and Will.

Turns out there’s a wealth of information on the photo mat. First off it’s easy to see the photo was taken while the family lived in Ardmore after moving up from Texas. And it looks like it was taken about 1894.

It also provides additional information about Ora Pearl. I’ve been looking for details about her and was finding all manner of confusion. I found Ora Barnes, Ora Northcutt, Ora Williams… which one was she? Or was she any of them? Turns out she was all three, and thanks to the note on the bottom of the photo I was able to figure it out.

Ora Pearl married Almer Asbury Barnes in 1901 in Ardmore, Indian Territory. They had a son, Almer Asbury Jr., in 1902. Then sometime before 1910 Almer Asbury Barnes Sr. died. In the 1910 US Census Ora was listed as widowed and living with her 7-year-old son Almer, in Cleveland County with her parents.

Ora Barnes and her son Almer on American Saga

Ora Pearl Rose Barnes and her son Almer Asbury Barnes prior to 1910.

Have you ever seen such a cute little towhead? His mom isn’t too shabby either and in 1912 she married Columbus Northcutt in Lexington, Oklahoma. In 1913 they had a son, Marcus Northcutt, and in 1914 Columbus Northcutt died. Now she has two kids and in 1916 she marries for a third time. In 1918 she and Guss Williams have a daughter, Marguarite Williams.

In 1910 John Henry and Mittie Rose had a houseful. In addition to the minor children who were still at home, Ora and Almer were there and Will, who was also widowed, was there with his baby son, Thomas Edwin, my grandpa. Grandpa was just over a year old and his big brother, 2-year-old John Wesley, was living nearby with the other grandparents, John Wesley and Mary Louisa Belew. Will’s wife, Bessie Jane Belew died a year earlier when my grandpa was two months old.

Sons of Will and Bessie Rose: John Wesley (Wes) and Thomas Edwin (Ed) about 1910.

Sons of Will and Bessie Rose: John Wesley (Wes) and Thomas Edwin (Ed) about 1910.

A few months later, in November of 1910, Grandpa Will married Lizzie Black—I recently discovered her given name is Tilda Elizabeth. Before long Will and Lizzie added three more kids to the Rose family: James Earldon, who we called Uncle Earl, Aunt Dorothy, and Aunt Wanda.

Any questions?

Upcoming stories will include:

  • Wes Rose in WWII, letters home to his brother Ed
  • Scott family migration from North Carolina to Alabama to Oklahoma
  • We’re so Scots-Irish we should talk with a brogue
  • Grandma always said we were related to Davey Crockett
  • The Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, the Blue brothers, and cannibalism on the Smokey Hill Trail
  • If you’re related to a president that branch of your family tree is already filled in
  • We fought for the Blue and the Gray
  • Our Revolutionary War Patriots
  • Twelve of thirteen original colonies

Be sure and follow American Saga so you won’t miss a bit of it.



Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Rose


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And Now a Little Something About Grandpa

My Grandpa was a farmer, a rancher and a highway construction worker. He lived on a farm, raised some cattle and worked full-time bulldozing and operating a crane on highway construction all across the state of Oklahoma.

He worked on the original Shield’s overpass to I-35 that survived the May 3 tornado. And for ages he worked on the Little River, first excavating for the lake and then building the Little River Dam, which resulted in Lake Thunderbird here in Norman. He never missed a day of work. On the iciest, coldest snowiest days he got up extra early in order to be at the job site on time—no matter where it was. More than once I got up to find him in the kitchen having coffee with mom after going to the job site to find out work was called off for the day.

Grandpa and me

Grandpa, Thomas Ed Rose, age 45, and me, age 3, Easter Sunday 1956. The dump truck in the background was what Grandpa was driving to his job at the time.

Grandma and Grandpa moved from Oklahoma City to a farm east of Lexington, Oklahoma when I was nine years old. I just recently learned the move was prompted by the Cuban Missile Crisis. They immediately planted a large garden and started putting up food in order to be self-sustaining. If things went bad they wanted to have food enough to feed us all.

Shortly after the move I spent a week with them. It was the first of many such weeks on the farm. After a tiny bout of homesickness, that first week on the farm with just me, Grandma and Grandpa was fairly eventful.

I got my finger pulled into the rollers of the wringer washing machine while helping Grandma do the wash on the back porch. As she put it, “Purt near broke it.” Grandma’s padded bra saved me. That’s what I was feeding into the wringer when I got caught, with my index finger sandwiched inside.

I asked Grandpa to wake me up in time to see the sunrise on Saturday… in the days before Daylight Savings Time, sunrise came at about 4 am in the summer. Grandpa and I sat on the tailgate of his red Ford pick up and watched the sun come up over the horizon while Grandma made breakfast. A hearty farm breakfast of bacon, eggs over easy cooked in the bacon grease, gravy and toast or biscuits filled us for a good start to the day.

After breakfast I helped wash the dishes and clean the kitchen while Grandpa started on the porch we were going to build that day. The house was about 3–4 feet off the ground and we had to climb a set of steps made of concrete blocks to get to the front door. At the time it was the only door into the house.

I’m sure I wasn’t a lot of help, but Grandpa made me feel like I was. I do recall him asking “How come you say ‘How come’ so much?” Evidently I talked a lot and was full of questions. He built an old-fashioned deck-type porch on a base of concrete blocks. The decking was 1 x 4 slats and I hammered all day long with my swollen and bruised index finger still wrapped and bandaged from the wringer incident. The porch was a temporary fix since the house would soon be moved to another location. As I recall, we were nearly finished by the time mom and dad and my brothers arrived later in the morning. The porch was finished by the end of the day and coated with barn red paint.

Grandpa only had part of his right hand. He lost most of his thumb, index and middle fingers in a crane accident. My brother knows more about how that happened than I do. It happened when my mom was a girl, so by the time I came around Grandpa was totally at ease with the parts he had left. There were very few things he hadn’t figured out how to do with the 8 whole fingers he had left.

That first summer on the farm we found out Grandma was severely allergic to wasp stings. Each sting put her in the hospital a few days, and living so far from town and alone all day it’s really a wonder one of those stings didn’t kill her. Grandpa was her knight in dusty overalls. As soon he heard that familiar bzz he would grab the offender and kill it with his bare hands. He received a few stings, and as painful as wasp stings are, I’m sure it didn’t hold a candle to having half his hand ripped off. Everything is relative.

If he hadn’t smoked, there’s a chance my Grandpa would have celebrated his 102nd birthday yesterday. I heard he started that nasty habit when he was 14. He smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes (LSMFT for those old enough to remember cigarette ads on TV).  He developed emphysema and had a stroke which he recovered from fairly quickly. Another stroke just before Memorial Day 1985 put him in the hospital in Purcell. Memorial Day the whole family gathered together to visit him. He couldn’t talk very clearly, but he knew all of us and had a bit of a conversation and even cracked a few jokes. We thought we were there to say goodbye, but it didn’t seem like he was ready to go yet.

Soon after, he was moved to a nursing home in Norman. Grandma drove up from Lexington every day to visit him. Mom visited almost every day. The rest of us visited every week or so. He’d finally quit smoking, although not by choice. If he could have managed on his own, he would have smoked until the last day. As it was, he continued the gesture of bringing the nub of his thumb and forefinger to his lips in the repetitive movement he’d made hundreds of times a day for over 60 years.

It was on my dad’s birthday, July 10, that we got the phone call he was gone. He was only 76 years old. I think of him every time I slide a pan of raw peanuts in the oven to roast them. He always had a bag of roasted peanuts and a trash can close to his chair in the living room. If he was sitting in front of the TV he was smoking a cigarette or shelling and eating peanuts.

Wish he’d eaten more peanuts and left the cigarettes alone.


Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Rememberies


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