Royal Rosamond and Thomas Benton

With brush and typewriter, my grandfather, and Thomas Hart Benton, rendered a Country Masterpiece that many claim as their own – especially some politians who claim for your vote they will take you back to the good old days. They preach about Family Values, but, they can’t play the fiddle and do a square dance. One of my Rosamond kinfolk could play a mean saw.

John ‘The Highwayman’ Rosamond and the Delta Clodhoppers
Name: John ROSAMOND “The Highwayman” – Surname: Rosamond · Given
Name: John · Suffix: “The Highwayman”

“Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade”

“In 1724, my ancestor John ROSAMOND and his friend William Ray were
arrested in Abingdon, Berkshire, England for stealing a hat, periwig,
30 pounds British sterling, five pairs of shoes, and a brown gelding.
They were held in the gaol in Reading, Berkshire, after their trial
where they were sentenced to be exiled to the colonies for 14 years
hard labor. By March 1725, they were transported to Newgate Prison
and held there until they boarded the convict ship “Forward” owned by
Jonathan Forward, and captained by Daniel Russell. The ship set sail
on 28 September 1725 from London via the Thames River. The ship
arrived disbarked at Annapolis, Maryland on 8 December 1725. We don’t
know who bought his indenture, but he is recorded as being in CPT
Beall’s militia of Prince George Co, Maryland between 1734-1737. By
1747-1765 we find John ROSAMOND living in Augusta Co, Virginia and
listed as a master shoemaker, owned land, paid tithes, served in the
militia, etc. His wife Sarah Wilson, a daughter of Thomas and
Elizabeth Wilson, arrived with her mother, brothers:”

· Name: John ROSAMOND “The Highwayman”
· Surname: Rosamond
· Given Name: John
· Suffix: “The Highwayman”
· Sex: M
· Birth: ABT. 1710 in County Leitrim, Ireland (?)
· Death: BEF. 1790 in SC
· _UID: 91F534475BFDD511920DBCD0308C862DD9EC
· Immigration: 1725 Annapolis, MD
· Occupation: Farmer, shoemaker
· Change Date: 3 Apr 2006 at 01:00:00Father: James “Jacob?” ROSEMOND
b: 1 Jan 1654 in Basle, Switzerland Mother: Ann D’ORRMarriage 1 Sarah
WILSON b: ABT. 1726 in County Antrim, Ireland
Married: ABT. 1740 in Augusta County, Virginia
Jean ROSAMOND b: ABT. 1743 in Augusta Co., VA
Margaret ROSAMOND b: ABT. 1745 in Augusta Co.,VA
Samuel Null ROSAMOND b: ABT. 1751 in Augusta Co., VA
James ROSAMOND b: ABT. 1754 in Augusta Co., VA
Sarah F. ROSAMOND b: ABT. 1760 in Augusta County, Virginia

The Highwaymen were a country supergroup comprising four musicians
well known for, among other things, their involvement and pioneering
influence on the outlaw country subgenre: Johnny Cash, Waylon
Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Outlaws and good old
boys Jennings and Cash had worked together previously and had great
respect for each other; Jennings was a good friend of Cash’s, the
latter calling him his “blood brother.”

I was a highwayman. Along the coach roads I did ride With sword and
pistol by my side Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade Many
a soldier shed his lifeblood on my blade The bastards hung me in the
spring of twenty-five But I am still alive.

I was a sailor. I was born upon the tide And with the sea I did
abide. I sailed a schooner round the Horn to Mexico I went aloft and
furled the mainsail in a blow And when the yards broke off they said
that I got killed But I am living still.

I was a dam builder across the river deep and wideWhere steel and
water did collide A place called Boulder on the wild ColoradoI
slipped and fell into the wet concrete below They buried me in that
great tomb that knows no sound But I am still around.

I’ll always be around..
and around and around and around and around

I fly a starship across the Universe divideAnd when I reach the other
sideI’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I canPerhaps I may become
a highwayman again Or I may simply be a single drop of rain But I
will remain

And I’ll be back again, and again and again and again and again..

“One half to two thirds of all immigrants to Colonial America arrived
as indentured servants. At times, as many as 75% of the population of
some colonies were under terms of indenture. Even on the frontier,
according to the 1790 U.S. Census, 6% of the Kentucky population was

The progenitor of the of the Rosamond family in America, was John
Rosamond. He was an indentured servant, sold into slavery after
stealing a hat and a horse in England. I declare; “Let my people go!”

My aunt Lillian told me about the time her father, Frank (Royal)
Rosamond, took her to a shantytown that the poor and disenfranchised
has built on the beach in Ventura California. In one makeshift
shelter Lillian was introduced to a Scotsman, an old man with a long
white beard who played the fiddle. As he played, other musicians
joined in. Frank began to dance, then took his five year old daughter
by the hands and danced with her. With a big smile on his face, Royal
Rosamond exclaimed;

“These are my people.”

This was the last time Lillian and her three sisters would see their
father. A year earlier he had returned to the home of his Ozark
ancestors and began to write novels about them. Rosamond was a
Regionalist Writer. Thomas Hart Benton was a Regionalist Artist. When
my late sister Christine Rosamond married the artist Garth Benton,
the cousin of Thomas Hart Benton, Rosamond’s people, and Benton’s
people, were united.

A few days ago I found the history of the Bowie-Rosamond family.
Alas, we have names for the fiddlers and dancers we see in Benton’s
paintings, and a brief history of how these kinfolk lived. You will
find old man Rosamond sitting on his porch playing his fiddle, he
sporting a long white beard.

The there is Doctor Rosamond, a midwife who healed the sick, made
potions, and heard our human complaints in person, and not the
filtered whimpers through the accountants of the HMOs.

Royal played the fiddle and collected quilts. At the end of his life
he operated a newspaper stand on a corner in Oklahoma City. He had
become a cripple after a automobile accident, and lived on the third
floor attic of a Victorian home. I have a newspaper clipping I got
from the Oklahoma Historical Society, titled `A Kingdom in a Attic’.
It has a photograph of Royal in a rocker reading one of his books. On
the wall in back of him is a photograph of his four beautiful
daughters. This article says Royal tutored students on poetry,
something he may have had in mind when he bought forty acres in
Arkansas for a Poet’s Retreat. He and Otto Rayburn discussed this
colony in a letter.

What is so clear to me, is that my grandfather is a failure, a poor
man who had hoped he would be famous so he could redeem himself in
his daughter’s eyes, and have them be a part of his life again.
Royal’s wife, Mary, had thrown him out the house, she concluding he
would never be anything but a Dreamer and fare-thee-well. However,
his dream became my dream, and I turned around and taught Christine
how to paint, and she made millions as a highly commercialized artist
whose beautiful women were sold all over the world. Royal Rosamond
was the Progenitor of our Creative Family Legacy.

In the last ten years I have found scattered pieces of Royal’s
history inside his books I had sent to me from Libraries all over
America. I get the impression my grandfather was sent to work for his
uncle against his will. He was ten years old. Royal says his mother
died around this time, but, he never writes fond memories of her.
This leads me to suspect Royal had much anger towards her for
allowing him to be shipped off to a life of hard labor. I wonder if
there was an exchange of money. Did Royal’s father, William Thomas
Rosamond, fall on hard times?

From all accounts Royal was a hard worker, and a drifter, but you get
the sense he got tired of his lot in life, and wanted to better
himself. He taught himself how to write poetry, and began to dream in
earnest. His dream will travel in time, to the future, and as fate
would have it, his genetic material, and Garth’s genetic, merged to
flow through the veins of the images of these poor folk, these men
and women of a long gone Agrarian Nation, and bring them back to
life, again.

In Benton’s painting of a wheat harvest, you see a red truck like the
one my father used to own in his produce business. When I came to
visit my daughter, Heather, and my grandson, Tyler, we took the
Larkspur ferry to San Francisco. Looking up at the Bay Bridge I
painted a picture for Heather. I put my father’s red truck on the
lower lever of the bridge with his two young sons inside. Mark and I
were eight and nine when we went to work for Acme Produce that my
father ran out of a Victorian warehouse in Jack London Square. Vic
knew Jack London’s wife.
We were heading to San Francisco’s produce market to pick up some
specialty items that were not found in Oakland’s produce market,. We
did this once a week. Mark and I worked very hard, sometime ten hour
a day. We rose at 4:30 A.M. and were at the market when it was still
dark. We Lumpers. We did the job of grown men.

Vic was born in San Francisco, and I wanted to make it clear to my
daughter that the folks who built that glorious city were Blue Collar
workers, and not the New Rich who had taken it over.

‘You and Tyler are the rightful heir of these beautiful cities by the
bay. Never in the history of the common working man has such a place
been built, a place so glorious, a Utopia that catered to the working
men and women. The logo `Acme Produce’ is our finest Coat of Arms.”

We moved to West Los Angeles when I was sixteen. In an art class at
University High School I did a watercolor from memory of the produce
market. It was chosen to tour the world in a Red Cross art show. My
friend Bryan McLean, titled me “The Painter of Trucks”. My father’s
red truck was in the foreground.

Bryan became a famous musician, as did he sister, Marian McKee..
Bryan taught me how to play the guitar. My ex-wife was a good friend
of Richard and Mimi Farina the sister of Joan Baez. Jesse Benton, the
daughter of the famous artist, married Mel Lyman a banjo player who
played with Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band.

On January 22, 1964, I put some clothes in a duffle bag, put a piece
of rope on my guitar, and in the middle of winter hitch-hiked to New
York It was the most magical seven days of my life.
Outside Santa Fe, a Banker and his family picked me up and invited me
to dinner. After a hot meal he asked me to play my guitar. I told him
I only know three cords, and that’s all the cords I wanted to know,
because I like to improvise, search for sound no one has heard.

I played. This Banker was moved, and it was all he could do to not go
out the door with me when I left and got back on the road. He told me
I was fulfilling his dream, the American Dream. I know I took a big
chunk of that man’s soul with me, down the road. We were companions
in the Great Conspiracy.

When I went down to L.A. to visit my family, I met Tim O’Conner, he a
friend of my little sister, Vicki. He was just fourteen, and became a
good friend of my family. He was Christine’s lover around 1975. I
taught Tim the three cords Bryan McLean taught me, and Tim took his
guitar on the road. Tim is the infamous the Hitchhiking Poet who
logged over 300,000 thousand miles hitch-hiking all over the world.
Tim sailed a famous yacht to Holland through a hurricane and now
lives on it in a canal. We lived with the Loading Zone in 1967, a
Rock Band that played at the Fillmore.

Bryan was a Lover to my late sister, Christine. He wrote the
song `Don’t toss us away’.. Here we a video of Patty Loveless singing
this song. Bryan does a walk-on, then walks across the bridge into
the darkness. Bryan died Christmas Day 1999.

“Before the Beatles I had been into folk music. I had wanted to be an
artist in the bohemian tradition, where we would sit around with
banjos and do folk music, but when I saw A Hard Day’s Night
everything changed. I let my hair grow out and I got kicked out of
high school.”


In the song `You set the Scene,the group Love touches on the subject
of reincarnation, that is the core theme of the song `The Highwaymen’.

“I see your picture It’s in the same old fram eWe meet againYou look
so lovelyYou with the same old smile Stay for a while This is the
only thing that I am sure of And that’s all that lives is gonna die
And there’ll always be some people here to wonder why And for every
happy hello, there will be good-bye This is the time and this is the
time andIt is time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time, time…”

“Perhaps I may become a highwayman againOr I may simply be a single
drop of rain But I will remainAnd I’ll be back again, and again and
again and again and again.”

I am going to see if it is possible to get the Benton-Rosamond Family
Legacy declared a National Treasure, for it is imperative to keep the
runways open and lit for the Artists, the Poets and the Highwaymen –
who might be guilty of stealing a wig and a bauble – but there are
dark men on the road who are taking everything in this Country that
poor folk have long held dear.

These Frauds, Grifters, and Loan Sharks have reduced us to indentured
cotton pickers, who bring our bags of cotton to the filling stations,
where they are exchanged for some gasoline, just enough to get us to
work. The Oil Middlemen in Houston, then sell the cotton the Arabs
own when they bought up American, to China, who turn the cotton into
clothes via very cheap labor, then ship it to America.

I come from a ancient family of Weavers! It was the Weavers and their
revolts in Europe who brought about real Change in the West. Its time
for the Highwaymen on the Left and Right to join forces and take back
our Country. It’s time to restructure our Hone Loan Industry so that
it caters to the poor, and the idea that everyone in America should
be a home owner, own a decent home wherein they can proactive Family
Values and our American traditions.

We got stop them from working us to death so the Super Rich can be
that much richer. We need quality time. We need to get out on front
porches, and break out our string instruments, our banjos and
guitars, and sing about the Highwaymen that founded many American
families, and this Democracy.

Some of the Rosamond’s were slave owners, and sold or willed slaves
to their kin. Those days are gone. Being just a Good Ol Boy does not
cut it anymore. We got a Nation to Rebuild. Its time to be untied in
our Pursuit of Happiness.

And – Its time to stop cowering in fear as the crack that whip of
False Terror over us. And then when they got our heads stuck firmly
in the sand, they come and pick our pockets. Its time to take that
whip from them, and force them to do our bidding! These ravenous
wolves in sheep clothing gave us lessons on how to be Selfish, so
they could divide and conquer us. I say, “Every dog has their day!”

Jon Presco

“Thomas and Nancy (Rosamond) were known to have taken in and given a
home to at least six persons, if not more, at som e time or other. He
was known to have a long white beard and would often sit under a tree
in his front yard and play his fiddle. Tommy was the son of John
Rosamond and Sarah Graham.”

Notes for William Monroe Free: William Monroe Free died of a heart
attack in his sleep. He and his bride, Warner Thelma Rosamond moved
from the Choctaw County hills around Weir to Drew in Sunflower
County, MS in 191 9 where they are shown on the 1920 census. He was
26 and she was 23 years of age. They had t en children with two dying
as infants. They also had a set of identical twin girls, Arlene an d
Earlene. According to Arlene Free Carter, “Warner and Monroe’s
children were talented. They could play several stringed instruments:
guitar, fiddle,and mandolin as well as piano, org an, and drums. They
could also sing. In the late 1930’s the boys played together in a ban
d and called themselves the ‘Delta Clodhoppers.’ They played at barn
dances around the country side. They would all jump into the wagon
and go to the barn dances.”

“Highwayman” is the first single released by country music group The
Highwaymen, a supergroup consisting of established singer-songwriters
Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
It was the lead-off single on the Highwaymen’s first album,
Highwayman. The song is a Jimmy Webb cover and remains the most
popular and widely-known of The Highwaymen’s songs, having reached
No. 1 on the US country charts.
[edit] About the song

It is distinctive in that it utilizes the voices of all of the
members of the group and has no chorus between the four stanzas, sung
by Nelson, Kristofferson, Jennings and Cash, respectively.
The song’s main theme is death and rebirth, either physical or
through one’s legacy. In the first three verses, the characters
mentioned meet their demise in some way, yet all are noticeably
interconnected. Nelson’s character is a wanted highwayman, beginning
his verse with what are probably the most famous lyrics of the
song, “I was a highwayman / Along the coach roads I did ride”. The
man’s adventures were brought to an abrupt end when he was caught and
hanged “in the spring of ’25”. Nelson’s verse ends with the
words “But I am still alive”, signifying a recurring theme throughout
the song and much of The Highwaymen’s work.

“Citizens of the colonies would deal with indenture on a daily basis.
My intent is to give the reenactor or interpreter some of the
background about working beside, owning or having been an indentured
This was a labor system, not a system of apprenticeship. (Galenson,
6) The historic basis for indenture grew out of English agricultural
servitude and began because of labor shortages in England and in the
colonies. It developed at a time when England had a great number of
people being displaced from farming. This led to an early growth of
the indentured labor system.
The importation of white servants under contracts known as indentures
proved more profitable as a short-term labor source than enslaving
Indians or using free labor. Eventually, the final attempt to ease
labor shortages was enslavement of Africans. Wherever you find
slavery, you first find indentures.

An original Irish American Folksinger / Bluesman. Born in Chicago,
grew up in Hollyweird. Tim spent an eight year period of his life
hitchiking over 300,000 miles in 26 countries. O’Connor has three
songs in the feature film “Dead Calm”. A high seas chiller thriller,
starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill and Billy Zane.

Notes for William Richard Rosamond I Will:William Richard “Will”
Rosamond and his wife Virginia Lee Knight are buried in Evergreen
Cemetery, Carrolton, Carrolton County, MS., Lot #403. Will was an
excellent bask et weaver and as a young boy he spent many hours at an
Indian Reservation near Ackerman, Choc taw County, MS., squatting and
watching them weave baskets. Ila Mae, his daughter, remember s him
stating that he was a “hobo for a few years and that he rode the
train through Meridia n [MS].” He was a good singer with a fine bass
voice. He could even make music by slapping h is knees and chest. He
could also play a cross cut saw, and make it sing! He was an excellen
t story teller and a lover of riddles. His daughter, Maxine, stated
that in the 1920’s afte r his mother, Nancy Bowie Rosamond sold the
old home place, Will and wife Virgie moved from t he hills around

102. Nancy L.7 Bowie (James Price6, Richard Price5, Rhodi4, John3,
Abraham2, John1 Boye) was born Oct 1858 in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa,
Al, Usa, and died 25 Apr 1932 in Weir, Choctaw, Ms, Usa. She married
Thomas Neuton Rosamond Tommie25 in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Al, Usa.
He was born 1846 in , Choctaw, Ms, Usa, and died Abt. 1925. Notes for
Nancy L. Bowie:Nancy L. Bowie is buried in Buelah Baptist Church
Cemetery, Weir, Choctaw, Ms.,in an unmarke d grave. The church was
destroyed in a storm in 1993. She was a mid-wife and delivered a
baby , and the mother apparently died, because Nancy raised the child
till he was old enough to ea t. The father had several children and
could not feed this one. There was no nurse, cow, etc in the
community. She raised him on coffee and biscuit with a little sugar
in it. One relative said Nancy was called “Dr. Rosamond” and was “a
fine old lady.” She “doctored” everyone, not just delivering babies.
She and her husband took in at leas t 6 persons and gave them a home.
Another family member said she was left handed, and that sh e had
scarlet fever which caused her hair to fall out, and grow back curly.
She had brown hai r and brown eyes. -courtesy: Gwen Rosamond
Forrester Henderson, Arkansas

Notes for William Richard Rosamond I Will:William Richard “Will”
Rosamond and his wife Virginia Lee Knight are buried in Evergreen
Cemetery, Carrolton, Carrolton County, MS., Lot #403. Will was an
excellent bask et weaver and as a young boy he spent many hours at an
Indian Reservation near Ackerman, Choc taw County, MS., squatting and
watching them weave baskets. Ila Mae, his daughter, remember s him
stating that he was a “hobo for a few years and that he rode the
train through Meridia n [MS].” He was a good singer with a fine bass
voice. He could even make music by slapping h is knees and chest. He
could also play a cross cut saw, and make it sing! He was an excellen
t story teller and a lover of riddles. His daughter, Maxine, stated
that in the 1920’s afte r his mother, Nancy Bowie Rosamond sold the
old home place, Will and wife Virgie moved from t he hills around
Weir, Choctaw, MS to the Delta area and share-cropped. They lived in
several different counties, i ncluding Sharkey, Washington, and
Humphreys. When his sister, Lillie Mae, wife of Wade Rosam ond died
ca 1918 in Drew, Sunflower, MS., Will and Virgie took Lillie and
Wade’s three younge st children so raise (Arthur Borden age 9;
Arthena [Jackie] age 7; and Shirley Denver age 2) . From 1943 to 1946
Will and his family lived in Pascagoula, Jackson, MS., where he
worked i n the Ingalls Shipyard. In 1946 they moved to Carrolton,
Carrolton County, MS., where they fa rmed on Mr. Dale Mann’s farm.
From 1953 to 1973 they were living in California.

More About Warner Thelma Rosamond:Record Change: 17 Apr 1999


Generation No. 3 4. William Thomas Rosamond5,6,7,8,9, born 1860 in
Mississippi10. He was the son of 8. Samuel Rosamond and 9. Frances C.
Morrison. He married 5. Ida Rose 16 Feb 1881 in Bates County,
Missouri11. 5. Ida Rose, born in Louisiana; died Abt. 1890.More About
William Thomas Rosamond:Name 2: William Thomas Rosamond12,13Date born
2: Abt. 1860, MississippiResidence: 1900, Duke, Greer, Oklahoma14More
About William Rosamond and Ida Rose:Marriage: 16 Feb 1881, Bates
County, Missouri15 Child of William Rosamond and Ida Rose is: 2 i.
Frank Wesley “Royal” Rosamond, born 18 Dec 1881 in Missouri; died
Abt. 26 Nov 1953 in Prob Oklahoma; married Mary Magdalene Weineke
Abt. 1911 in California.

In Reply to: Re: Nora Rosemond of MS then to AK by Barbara Morgan
of 192

Please help. The Laura Rosemond you mention here, you say she was
born 1875. My great great grandmother’s name was Laura Rosemond and
she was born in 1875. I really do not know a lot about her. I do know
she married Joseph Thomas Elder. Could this be the same person. I
have been told her fathers name was Richard Benjamin Rosemond and her
mothers name was Elizabeth. Thanks for any help you can give me.

Choctaw County Mississippi Kin
Entries: 21171 Updated: 2008-02-05 20:21:07 UTC (Tue) Contact: Lloyd
E Campbell
Index Pedigree Ahnentafel Public Profile Add Post-em
· ID: I7332
· Name: William Thomas ROSAMOND
· Surname: Rosamond
· Given Name: William Thomas
· Sex: M
· _UID: EEFF34475BFDD511920DBCD0308C862D4052Father: William Richard
ROSAMOND b: 26 Dec 1887 in Weir, Choctaw County, Mississippi Mother:
Virginia Lee “Virgie” KNIGHT b: 14 Jul 1897

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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