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April 27, 2004 > The Antonio Rose Family

The Antonio Rose Family

Antonio Rose was a Portuguese seaman on a whaling vessel. He left his ship in the 1850's and settled in Washington Township where he secured land for a farm. He farmed the land and received a government patent. The 1878 Atlas shows his home and ranch near Lincoln School.

Antonio married Rose Gloria Rose and they raised 11 children on their ranch. Frank, the oldest son, lived on the ranch. Dominick and John bought their own ranch at Longvale. John was also an attorney and was elected to the California Assembly in 1915. Philominia graduated from Mills College, Victoria was a nurse near Oakland, and Maria, a nurse in San Leandro. Constance worked near Oakland. Anthony became principal of Galileo High School in San Francisco and later a Modoc County Supervisor. Manuel was killed on a destroyer in World War I, and Joseph was killed on the battleship Oregon. Gloria was the youngest child.

Antonio and Rose erected an elegant three-story mansion on their farm. The bottom floor had three living rooms, two bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, and a huge entrance foyer. Twelve bedrooms and a bath opened to a central hall on the second floor. A stairway led to a third story attic for storage or work rooms. There were five fireplaces faced with Italian tile and topped with marble mantles. Dark oak paneling decorated the rooms and formal gardens helped make the mansion "the showplace of Newark."

The Newark School District purchased the Rose property from Amerigo Orsetti for the new John MacGregor Intermediate School. Trustees stipulated that the house remain on the property and offered it to the City of Newark for restoration as a city museum. The Newark Park and Recreation Commission recommended in March 1964 that the mansion be preserved and restored as a city project. The building was seen as a combination museum and community center.

City inspectors reported that the house was structurally sound and could be moved. It had to be moved by mid-April so construction of the school could begin. Moving costs were estimated to be from $5,000 to $6,000. People rallied to save the house. Mayor George Silliman was an enthusiastic leader. Editor Viola Johnson suggested that developers donate the house for a museum and proposed an organization to handle contributions.

The Argus editorial read, "A lost opportunity rarely returns, but one came back to Newark this week. Newark has been offered another chance to preserve a mansion of its early days, a house well over 100 years old."

Everyone agreed the house should be saved, but nobody saved it. In spite of all the support and endorsements, the house was destroyed.

Philominia married John Vierra Santos in 1913. Their son John was born in 1915. He attended local schools and had to run the farm when his father was gored by a bull. He milked cows before and after school for years. Attorneys and judges came to the ranch to get fruit, hunt ducks, and play whist and cribbage by the fireplaces evenings.

John became a moulder at James Graham Manufacturing Co. and then made valves for ships and submarines during the war. After the war he worked at Wedgewood until he joined the Newark School District. He served as custodian, bus driver, maintenance man, and was director of operations for 20 years. He retired in 1913 after 26 years of service to the district.

John served as a reserve police officer and then was elected to the Newark City Council in 1959. He also served a term as mayor.

John has always been a volunteer, eager to help where needed. He brought his tractor from the ranch to help build Muller School in 1949. He was awarded Fremont's first "Home-town Hero" award in 1995 for his work at the senior center. He was president of the Coordinated Association of United Seniors board, chairmen of the senior commission at the Senior Center, and vice president of the builders fund. Each morning he gathered up the surplus food from around the city and delivered it to the Senior Center for meals. People of Fremont were grateful for John's volunteer services.

John died in 2001 at the age of 86. He was a pioneer leader in Newark, then a friend to Fremont where he spent the last 26 years of his life helping people. "He lived a life that mattered."

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