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Noah Hamilton Rose, famous Menardville photographer and 1937 Presidio photo

2011 November 20

Menard is the site of many historical events and famous people. One of those is a famous photographer from the 1800’s and early 1900’s; Noah Hamilton Rose, who spent his early years and began his career in Menardville.

The Rose family came to Menardville in 1884 and at the age of 14 in 1888 Noah began working as an apprentice in the office of the Menardville Monitor working for William Columbus Redman. This is where Rose began his self-taught photography career and took many early-day Menard county photos. There are many originals still being viewed today.

One original is the Rose photo of the 1937 event celebrating the rebuild of the “Old Fort San Saba” or the correct name is the Presidio de San Saba in Menard. I got this photo scanned and since 2007 you can buy a copy of this poster from the Menard County Historical Commission with funds benefiting the Menard Museum and the Presidio de San Saba Restoration Corporation.

 

Owned by Jan Wilkinson @wilkinsonranch.com
The photo is 26″ long and 6″ wide, too big to see on this page.

Those known in the photo above; at the time of this writing, are shown below:


My husband’s mother, Laverne Bradford Wilkinson, in center with bangs and short hair, age 11.  One of the many Menard Elementary School students attending.


Buddy’s father, Francis Lamar Wilkinson, photographer for Menard News


Identified are Roger and Emmie Luckenbach Landers holding hand of son, Jake Landers (hat and overalls) and baby brother Fritz Landers in baby buggy (called the Luckenbach buggy at the Menardville Museum) with sister Susanna Landers Brown and two cousins Angela Luckenbach Crawford Connor and Sandra Spiller wearing bonnets.


Frank Tillman, Menard High School Indian


Bill Wilkinson (he told me he was age four) but by his birth date closer to six and sitting on the fence


Henry Reeve, producer of the celebration

I can’t help but think how different our little town would have been if we had been able to maintain and expand the use of the Presidio after the 1937 celebration and if we could have had a Historical and Research Center in conjunction with the museum and purchased the Noah H. Rose collection!

Unfortunately, the Noah H. Rose Collection was purchased by the Western History Collections in 1969. For more information visit the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma, Room 452, Monnet Hall, 630 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma, 73019. http://libraries.ou.edu/locations/docs/westhist/Rose/intro.html

Biography:

Noah Hamilton Rose (April 9, 1874 – January 25, 1952), printer, photographer, and collector of photographs of the frontier West, was born seventy-five miles northwest of San Antonio in Kendall County on April 9, 1874, the son of Newton C. and Loutilda (White) Rose. In 1884, his father, a carpenter, moved his family to Menardville (now Menard). Rose was educated in rural schools and in 1888 at the age of 14 began working as an apprentice in the office of the Menardville Monitor. His family subsequently moved to Ballinger, where Rose worked on the local paper. In 1891, he returned to work on the Menardville Record. During this period he taught himself to take and develop photographs with a small box camera and printing supplies that he had received as a premium for selling subscriptions to the Youth’s Companion, a popular family weekly.

In 1892, he left Menardville to work at the Mason Herald. He spent the next thirty years working as an itinerant printer and photographer in Sonora, Menardville, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, and numerous small towns in West, Central, and North Texas. In addition to standard portrait work, he documented events such as the flood at Menardville in June 1899 and the 1902 land rush in Junction. While working in the Eagle Pass-Del Rio area in 1901 Rose began taking pictures of news events and developing them into lantern slides ready for projection the same day. He focused on such violent events as hangings and shoot-outs and interesting frontier figures-gunmen, sheriffs, politicians, judges. Rose began seeking out old photographs and corresponded with Emmett Dalton and other noted personalities to obtain pictures. From 1904 to 1919 he operated a photography studio in Del Rio and continued to build his collection of frontier photographs. He subsequently worked in central west Texas before settling in San Antonio in 1921. Rose’s early years there were inauspicious: he endured a long illness and thereafter suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a car. Faced by a large debt for medical bills upon his recovery, he decided to focus his business exclusively on photographs of the old West. He made up a list of negatives that he had collected, printed a catalogue, and soon developed a booming mail-order business selling photographs to magazines, collectors, and writers.

According to Rose, pictures of such outlaws as Jesse and Frank James, Billy the Kid, Belle Starr, Jim and Bob Younger, and the Dalton gang were most in demand, followed in popularity by pictures of peace officers, Indians, Texas Rangers, and pioneers. He supplemented his stock by buying the rights to photographs owned by A.A. Brack, owner of Brack’s Studio of San Antonio, and eventually collected over 2,000 images. With his childhood friend John Marvin Hunter, Rose published an Album of Gunfighters in 1951. His collection of photographs was sold and is now in the collection of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Sources

  • J. Marvin Hunter, “Noah Rose, A Frontier Photographer”, Frontier Times, November 1935.
  • J. Marvin Hunter, “The Passing of a Life-Long Friend”, Frontier Times, February 1952.
  • Oran Warder Nolen, “Noah H. Rose, Frontier Cameraman,” Old West, Spring 1968.
  • Noah Hamilton Rose, A Catalog of the World Famous N. H. Rose Collection of Old Time Photographs of the Frontier (Houston: Frontier Pix, 1952).
Here are some of Noah Rose’s originals of the Presidio de San Saba in Menard with captions from the OU Collection.  Rose called it San Saba Mission incorrectly.


San Saba Mission ruins, 1895.
Destroyed by Apaches.
ROSE 294

San Saba Mission ruins, west side entrance, 1895.
ROSE 295



San Saba Mission ruins,
looking east, 1895.
ROSE 296


Stone at main entrance, San Saba Mission ruins, inscribed
with names, 1895.
ROSE 297


Men at San Saba Mission ruins, 1898.
ROSE 298

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