Update on who built the house, and when

It seems appropriate to publish the first picture of the Roseberry House after the windows and shutters have been installed on the day that Dennis Bertland, the architectural historian we’ve engaged to assist us, provided a briefing on his investigation into the date of construction and for whom the house was built.

Contrary to my earliest inference, that it may have been built for John Tabor Kempe before the American Revolution, it appears it was erected in the 1780s or even 1790s for either John Roseberry or Joseph Roseberry, his son. The land was bought at a sheriff’s sale in 1787 by John Roseberry. It is clear that it was owned by Peter Kinney, who had purchased it from Daniel and William Coxe and John Tabor Kempe in 1772. Kinney was deeply involved as a soldier in the war, and his financial affairs were a mess, which resulted in the sheriff’s sale. He almost certainly was not in a position financially to erect the house.

It is unclear which Roseberry had the place built. Joseph purchased the property from his father in 1797, but may have been living there prior to that time. The preliminary dendrochronology report indicates the major timbers for the building were cut in 1788-1800, so it is probable the house was erected then. We may never get a definitive answer on the individual responsible, but we now have a pretty firm date.

Incidentally, by tracing immigration records and ships’ passenger lists Dennis found that the family’s original name was Rosenburger, and the family was German rather than English or Scottish. He says the evidence is not definitive, and genealogies can be confused, but that’s the most likely story based on what he found. There’s much more to come in the next several months; he expects to complete his research by the end of May.

Roseberry House - March 6, 2012

6 Responses to “Update on who built the house, and when”

  1. Sandy Says:

    The house looks great! What an interesting history to this marvelous house. I’ve never seen this house, but I’m assuming it would be on Roseberry St.?

    Also, I love the blog but would appreciate a larger font :)

    Actually it is on Warren Street, right in front of the Middle School.

  2. Kelly Caswell Schreiner Says:

    John Roseberry is one of my great grandfathers. We have quite a few relatives still in Phillipsburgh. We have a picture somewhere of my grandma sitting on the steps of one of the houses. I don’t know if it was Mr Phillips or Roseberry. But it was a white house. I heard years ago that they were talking about fixing the houses and making them historical. I can not wait to come see them!!! It was funny that you mentioned that we were German. I was always told growing up that we were German and everyone will say that sounds English. But I knew we were German. Thank you so much for sharing this sight. It brings such wonderful memories of my times in Phillipsburgh and when my grandma was still here with us.

  3. Diane Roseberry Says:

    What a wonderful job on the house. John Roseberry is my multiple great grandfather (not taking the time to count the greats!). I saw this house online several years ago and it was in great disrepair. I am glad to see it fixed. I am also very personally interested in any further history you have on John Roseberry. A German by the name of Rosenburger. Very interesting!


  4. steve Says:

    time for update!

  5. Thomas Wolfe Says:

    My grandmother, Mary Ellen Roseberry (Wolfe), was a direct descendant of John Roseberry.

  6. Katherine Houghtby Says:

    I just ran across your website while looking up family history, and I am related to John Roseberry (descendent of the Remsburgs who came here from Saxony Germany) — John Roseberry is my 4th great grandfather. I am very interested to know more & excited to come across his house :) I live in California, but may need to include this on my stops when I travel!

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