Rose, John Washington (1817–1867)

By: Craig H. Roell

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: January 26, 2019

John Washington Rose, Republic of Texas statesman, state senator, and planter, was born in Washington Parish, Louisiana, on November 8, 1817, the son of Mary Vardeman (Smith) and William Pinckney (Hell Roaring) Rose. He was the grandson of John Frederick Rose, a veteran of the American Revolution, and Mary Washington, niece of the first president of the United States. He graduated from Clinton College, Mississippi, and held a law degree from Transylvania College, Kentucky. He came to East Texas with a large family group about 1839 and later moved with his wife to Victoria County, where he served as chief justice of the municipality of Victoria from 1842 to 1846. After annexation Rose was elected to the House of Representatives of the First Legislature in 1846, in which he served as correspondence secretary for the Central Democratic Committee of Texas. He was elected to the Secession Convention in 1861. With Alexander Somervell and J. W. Denison, he also had interests in developing the port of Saluria, on the northeastern bulge of Matagorda Island in Espíritu Santo Bay. Like his brother, Preston Robinson Rose, Rose was a major planter in Victoria County; he owned a large plantation east of the Guadalupe River and north of Victoria. He was the county's fifth wealthiest man by 1860, when the census recorded the value of his estate, which included forty-six slaves, at $83,600. (Of the 21,898 slaveowners in Texas that year, only 241 owned forty to forty-nine slaves.) The plantation, Forest Grove, was lost to Reconstruction, however. Rose died of tuberculosis on February 28, 1867, leaving his widow, Margaret Malinda (Scott), whom he had married in 1838, and a number of children, including the historian Victor Marion Rose, an uncle of historian Kathryn Stoner O'Connor.

Abigail Curlee, A Study of Texas Slave Plantations, 1822–1865 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1932). Roy Grimes, ed., 300 Years in Victoria County (Victoria, Texas: Victoria Advocate, 1968; rpt., Austin: Nortex, 1985). Victor Marion Rose, History of Victoria (Laredo, 1883; rpt., Victoria, Texas: Book Mart, 1961).

  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners
  • First Legislature (1846)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Craig H. Roell, “Rose, John Washington,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995
January 26, 2019