Rose, Victor Marion (1842–1893)

By: Craig H. Roell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1995

Victor Marion Rose, historian, editor, and poet, was born on October 1, 1842, in Victoria, Texas, the third of twelve children born to Margaret (Scott) and John Washington Rose. Undoubtedly his family background influenced his interest in history. A great-grandfather, John Frederick Rose, was a veteran of the American Revolution and married Mary Washington, a niece of the first president. A grandfather commanded a company under Gen. Andrew Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. Rose's father served as chief justice of Victoria County in 1842–43, was a member of the first Texas State Legislature in 1846, and was elected to the Secession Convention in 1861. Victor Rose grew up on a large plantation in Victoria County and was educated by his father, an attorney, before attending Rutersville College in Fayette County and Centenary College in Louisiana. In June 1861 Rose joined Company A of the Third Texas Cavalry, known as the "Texas Hunters," under Col. Elkanah Greer. The regiment was attached to Benjamin McCulloch's command and later to Ross's Brigade. Rose was wounded at least three times, once severely, in various campaigns, and ultimately imprisoned at notorious Camp Chase, Ohio, where he almost died of starvation. He was released in 1865 and recovered at Vicksburg.

In the spring of 1866 Rose married Julia Hardy. After giving birth to a daughter the young wife died during Victoria's yellow fever epidemic of autumn 1867, and Rose himself almost succumbed. The family plantation, Forest Grove, was confiscated by Reconstruction forces that same year. The strong-willed Rose committed himself to work. He was admitted to the bar at Victoria in 1870 but devoted his energy to the Victoria Advocate, of which he was coeditor and publisher from 1869 to 1873. In 1872 he represented Victoria County in the state Democratic convention at Corsicana. Sometime between 1880 and 1883 he moved to Laredo, following a reportedly scandalous love affair, became editor of the Laredo Times, and devoted himself to writing poetry and historical works. His published volumes of poetry include Los Despenadores, A Spanish Story (1878), Demara, the Comanche Queen and Other Rhymes (1882), Celeste Valcoeur: A Legend of Dixie (1886), and Stephen F. Austin in the Balances (1890?). Rose is most widely known as a historian. He published The Texas Vendetta; Or, The Sutton-Taylor Feud (1880); Ross' Texas Brigade (1881); Some Historical Facts in Regard to the Settlement of Victoria, Texas: Its Progress and Present Status (1883; reprinted in 1961 as A Republication of the Book Most Often Known as Victor Rose's History of Victoria), which he dedicated to John J. Linn; and The Life and Services of Gen. Ben McCulloch (1888). Rose also was the ghostwriter of Linn's celebrated memoirs, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas (1883). "I was intimate with [Linn] from my earliest recollection to within a year or two of his death," he wrote John Henry Brown in 1889. "I wrote his `Fifty Years in Texas,' and had in my possession for weeks all his papers." About 1891 Rose left Laredo for Rains County in North Texas, where he edited the Emory Star. Approximately a year later the paper was moved to Myrtle Springs, where Rose died of pneumonia on February 5, 1893. He left unpublished a manuscript on the life of Henry McCulloch and also several short stories. His often-cited history of Victoria was among the items placed in the cornerstone of the Victoria County Courthouse completed in June 1892.

Sam Houston Dixon, The Poets and Poetry of Texas (Austin: Dixon, 1885). Victor Marion Rose Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Publishers and Executives
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Authors and Writers
  • Historians
  • Literature
  • Poets
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Craig H. Roell, “Rose, Victor Marion,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995

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