Harry & Sussie Roseberry

Harry and Sussie Roseberry

Harry & Sussie RoseberryHarry and Sussie Roseberry were tenants at the Dinsmore Homestead for many years and raised their family there.  We at Dinsmore are very thankful for Harry’s presence because he was instrumental in keeping the buildings and the artifacts in the main house in good order.  Had Harry not lived on the property, Dinsmore might not even exist today as a museum.

Harry Roseberry was born in 1881 to George and Mary Jane Sebree Roseberry.  The descendants of the family believe that George’s family originated in Madagascar.  The couple may have lived in Boone County prior to 1880, but that is the first year they appear in the Census records.  There was one daughter older than Harry and four younger sons.  In 1894 Harry first came to work on the Dinsmore farm, though George had been working for Julia on a seasonal basis previous to that.  One story has it that George did not like taking orders from a woman so he moved his family over to Rising Sun, Indiana, where a group of African Americans from Boone County lived.  However, he does show up in the 1900 census as living in Boone County and living very near the Dinsmore farm, so he may have moved back and forth.  Harry remained in Kentucky for the next seventy-four years.

When he was in his early teens, Harry only did odd jobs for Julia Dinsmore, but as he grew older, she began relying on him more.  On November 23, 1904, Harry married Sussie Riley a Boone County native.  Julia had a one-room office that had been built adjacent to the main house and had that fixed up for the newlyweds.  As the Roseberry family grew, the building was enlarged until it had four rooms.  There were four daughters born to the family – Cleopatra, Essie, Annie Myrtle, and Mary Ruby.  Harry sent Cleo and perhaps Essie to Rising Sun for their education, but the younger girls and those of his granddaughters he raised were educated in Boone County.

In 1941, perhaps suffering from depression, Sussie committed suicide.  Harry continued to stay on at the Dinsmore farm though each year he was able to do less and less.  In the 1960s Margaret Utz began coming out to clean and check up on Harry, reporting back to Dinsmore descendants.  Because his home had no plumbing or heat, Robert Ferguson (son of Isabella Greenway King) bought a trailer for him to live in so he would not have to move.  Eventually in 1968, his daughter felt that he could no longer live by himself and she took him to Cincinnati.  He died in 1970 and was buried next to his wife and Essie in the Belleview Baptist cemetery, less than a mile from the farm where he spent so much of his life.