Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara

Rosalie’s Roses

A Rose by Any Other Name
A Deeply Rooted Story
By Larry Mixson

Rosalie's Rose

Rosa Lee Mixson, daughter of James Joyce and Mary Mixson, was born in 1850 in South Carolina. A few years later, James moved to Florida following the path of his brother Charles who had moved to Florida in 1849, settling in the Flemington area of Marion County.  Tobias, son of Anders Olesen and Beret Anna Holgersdatt, was born in Norway in 1848 and migrated to America with his family and in 1885 also ended up living in Marion County Florida.  Rosa Lee at the age of 35, thought she would never marry when Tobias Anderson entered her life and they fell in love and married in the spring of 1885.  They were happy together, but no children came from their union when in 1889 Rosa Lee suddenly died.   

Tobias was devastated at the loss of Rosa Lee and thought he would never marry again until ten years later when he met Frances Etta Belew, or just Fannie as she was called.  Fannie, born in 1867 in Florida, was eighteen years younger than Tobias but their love flourished, and they married in 1900.  The following year, in 1901 they had a daughter who they named Rosalie after Tobias’s first wife Rosa Lee.

Fannie had a love for flowers, especially roses and sent much of her time tending her garden, a love she instilled in her daughter, Rosalie who described her mother’s garden, “The yard had a white picket fence around it with a large cedar tree that stood in the corner of the yard. A large rose arbor was beside the house with a Marci Neil rose growing over it, also the yard was full of all kinds of roses. One was special because it was so sweet you could smell the odor far down the road. Our mail carrier said he could smell it before he got to our house.”

Tobias fell upon hard times and when his only horse fell into a burning stump hole and was burned so badly Tobias had to shoot her, and he fell into despair.  Fortunately, Fannie got a letter from her brother Billy Belew who lived in down south in Brevard County on the Indian River who knew someone who needed someone to take care of an orange grove.  Tobias accepted the job and packed up everything they owned, including the chickens and moved to Micco on the Indian River.   

The job went well for a few years when the owner of the grove decided to sell the grove, so Tobias gathered Fannie and Rosalie and asked what they wanted to do, and they all said move back to their home in Flemington, and so they did.  Upon arriving at their old house, Rosalie was crushed when she saw her mother’s beautiful rose garden gone, the man they rented the house had plowed it under to plant corn, but there, up close to the house there was one remaining rose bush, a small but hardy variety, not the biggest, not the most beautiful, not the sweetest smelling, but a survivor.  Over the next few years Rosalie helped her mother plant a new flower garden, but it never equaled the one she remembered when she was younger.  

In 1918 Rosalie attended a party giving in honor of a young man who had just returned from The Great War and upon first sight of him, fell in love and in 1920 Rosalie and Wilbur Darlington Mixson married.  A few years later Rosalie and Wilbur built their first house and Rosalie went to her mother’s flower garden, got a cutting from the rose that survived and planted it at their new house.   The rose flourished and so did Rosalie and Wilbur and in the following years had three sons and a daughter.  

Their daughter died at the age of five, but the three sons grew, married and had children of their own with the first granddaughter named Rosie after her grandmother.   The middle son had two sons, and two daughters, I being the oldest son.  Years later with a family of her own my sister visited Grandma who gave her a cutting of the rose bush that had survived all those years.  She planted the rose cutting in the yard of her house and it flourished.  Some years later a devastating hurricane destroyed the city they lived in, but their house and the rose bush survived, and my sister gave me a cutting of the rose which I planted in the yard of my new house in Florida where it now flourishes.

See Rosalie's list of roses in her memoirs, Name of a Rose

Updated: 04-25-2022