Birth of the California Dream

Above are photographs of my grandfather and grandmother camping on Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Los Angeles. After John Fremont and his wife Jessie Benton secured the West Coast for the United States of America, they came, the Poets and their beautiful Muses.

The first three images are of Mary Magdalene Rosamond who rode on the back of her boyfriends motorcycle all the way from Iowa to Los Angeles. In Ventura she fell in love with the poet and writer, Roy (Royal) Reuben Rosamond whose poems and short stories appeared in Out West Magazine. The bathing beauty lying on Ventura Beach, is my mother Rosemary. Rosemary dated two Hollywood Stars that I know of, and is dressed the part. Here is the Genesis of the California Dream, that would launch the greatest real estate deal of all time, and attract Bohemian non-conformists from all over the world. The poet George Stirling dedicates a poem to Browning in this issue where Rosamond describes a blonde beach goddess coming out of the water, an image that launched a million commercials – and desires!

Jon Presco

Copyright 2011

— In, “John Presco” wrote:
Philip Boileau’s portrait of a young boy in tattered hat, reminds me
of the images we grew up with of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Here are
three artists and a writer who lived “a Huck Finn-like childhood.”
When I published by webpage ‘Royal Rosamond Press’ I dedicated it to
my grandfather and author, Royal Rosamond, who grew up in a log cabin
on the Missouri river, collected quilts and played the fiddle.

I titled my family “A family of Foundlings”. Huck Finn was a
Foundiling. To have found Philip hiding in our family tree, completes
the destiny I foresaw in my Quest, and Christine’s, to found a Family
Dynasty of Artistic souls. That Quest is now complete. Here is real
American History as made by the Creative Ones, the lover’s of Beauty.

Jon Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

Thomas Hart Benton
1889 – 1975


Thomas Hart Benton, Missouri’s “regional” artist, died as he lived-
brush in hand-just three months shy of his 86th birthday. As the
sturdy, stubby bear of a man sat studying a just-completed mural, he
tumbled lifeless from his studio chair.

Tom Benton was born April 15, 1889 in Neosho, Missouri into the
illustrious clan which included Senator Thomas Hart Benton, the great-
uncle whose name he bore. Young Tom’s father was a Neosho lawyer. He
served as U.S. Representative (1896-1904), and later as U.S.

Hence Tom Benton lived a Huck Finn-like childhood between small-town
Missouri and big city Washington, D.C. However, young Tom showed a
proclivity not for law, but for drawing. In 1907 he headed for
Chicago where he enrolled at age 18 in the Art Institute.

Next came Paris, New York and the Navy (where he was flyweight boxer,
coal-shoveler and architectural draftsman). Then back to New York to
teach at the Art Students League.

By the 1930s, Tom Benton had become the most important muralist in
America. In 1935 he returned here to teach at the Kansas City Art
Institute. A dispute with the school led to his dismissal in1941. But
the years following were his most productive and lucrative. With
canvases, murals and books, Benton made the big time.

The irascible artist lived in casual comfort in a rambling three-
story stone and shingle house at 3616 Belleview. There in his
carriage house/studio out back, Thomas Hart Benton died on Sunday
evening, January 19, 1975. Now his home and studio are open to the
public as a museum.

Christine Rosamond Presco, a ‘Rose of the World’ was born October 24,
1947 in Vallejo California. Christina was the third child of Victor
and Rosemary, our mother one of four beautiful daughters born to the
writer and poet, Royal Rosamond, and Mary Magdalene Wieneke. Royal
and Mary met in Los Angeles where Mary went to live after leaving her
father’s farm in Iowa. Seeking her independance, as a young woman
Mary worked as a seamtress in Downtown L.A. The Wienekes were said to
have owned castles in Germany. Mary was a frequent guest at
Krishnamurti’s retreat in the Ojai Valley where her brother had a
farm and may have delved in the philosophy of the Theosophic Society.
Royal wrote stories for ‘Out West’ the ‘Arcadian’ and several Romance
magazines, he sailing to the Anacapa Islands with is friend, Dashiel
Hammet, the author of the ‘Maltese Falcon’, a mystery novel that was
made into a movie about the search for a golden falcon once belonging
to the Knights Templars. Royal taught Earl Stanley Gardner the
rudiments of writing. Royal’s poem ‘Your Name’ could well acompany
Rossetti’s painting of the young man writing his lover’s name in the

Living by the sea in Ventura California, Rosemary, and her sister,
Lillian, were courted by the famous actor, Errol Flyn, thus, there
was a powerful sense of the Romantic in our household that would
influence both Christine’s and my work. All the Rosamond women were
beautiful, they the arhetypes for the rosy women that began to peer
gracefully from their canvases in the early seventies at a changing
world, their beauty and strength heralding in the Woman’s Movement,
the very idea women could now own their own Creation and Creations.
In the words of Swineburne’s Fair Rosamond;

“But that I am
Part of the perfect witness for the world.”

My dear sister drowned off the Coast of Carmel on March 26,1994. The
legacy this complex person left behind is an important one as we were
both influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite artists who are at the core of
Grail Mysteries that have surfaced once again in the Quest for
Religious and Spiritual pertinence. The name Rosamond means ‘Rose of
the World’ and is one of the names applied to the Shekinah which is
the ‘Light of the World’ that I believe is found at the center of the
Labyrinth, like the one King Henry the second built for the love of
his life, Fair Rosamond. He also built a Well and Arcadia for her
after the story of Tristan and Isolde. A Grail Cup entwined in a vine
was engraved on her tomb. She has been compared to Mary Magdalene by
some authors, and a Catholic Bishop upon seeing how she was being
worshipped by Knights about to go on Crusade, had her remains removed
from the Nunnery at Glascow, and scattered to the wind; he calling
her a whore.

Christine gave me credit for being her teacher, my art touring the
world in a Red Cross show when I was twelve, and then again when I
was sixteen. In 1970 I discovered Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Pre-
Raphaelite Brotherhood, they modeling their movement after the
Nazarene artists of Germany, a guild dedicated to bringing back a
spritual base to Germany’s fine art. The Rossetti family were all
gifted. Christina Rossetti was an extraordinary poet and was
considered a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Her father
translated ‘Dante’s Inferno’ and owned a Publishing firm that her
brother Michael opperated. Dante was a close friend of the famous
poet, Algernon Swineburne, whose poem ‘The Queen Mother and Fair
Rosamond’ became a model and inspiration for all the Pre-Raphaelites
who resurected themes from the Grail Romances, breathing new life
into the Knights and Fair Maidens of our Ancient Dawn, raising a new
light in the search for the Truth.

Many genealogist claim King Henry Plantagenet married Fair Rosamond
Clifford, who like his uncle, Robert Guisgard, King of Sicily, was
allowed more then one wife, as they are of the Seed of King David, a
theme of one of Rossetti’s paintings, who also painted a painting
titled ‘Fair Rosamond’.

New information has surfaced that the Rosamond name comes from
Rougemont Switzerland, there a Rougemont/Rosamond family crest
depicting a cross surrounded by roses, which is the discription of
the crest belonging to Rosenkrantz the founder of the Knights of the
Rose Cross.

Rosamond passed into another Realm on her first sober birthday in AA,
we both sharing a Program that gives its Brothers and Sisters a coin
that says this upon it; “Unto they own self be true.”

Christina and I were Brother and Sister in Recovery, and in this
Quest that has come full circle, I see how we did climb the Spiritual
Mountain together, with Courage and Imagination so that we may own
the very awakening Rose of our soul. Like an errant Knight who has
made his way through the heavy thorns, roses taking bloom as I go
forward, I now find myself before the Tower of Beauty. And she
assures me as she hands me my reward:

“Spiritual Courage, will be me with, Spiritual

Royal Rosamond

My grandfather, Royal Rosamond, authored several books, numerous
short stories, and countless poems that were published in ‘Out
West’ ‘Liberty Magazine’, and several Romance magazines. He was good
friends of Dashiel Hammet according to my mother Rosemary, and my
Aunt Lillian recalls falling asleep to the sound of her father, and
the author Earl Stanley Gradner, typing away in their home in Ventura
California, they honing up on their literary skills. Dashiel and Earl
were members of the ‘Black Mask’ a society of mystery writers.

Royal was born in a log cabin on the Missouri River, the only known
child of William Rosamond and Ida Louisiana Rose. He met my
grandmother, Mary Magdalene Wienke while working in Brakey’s Cash
Bizaar in Ojai, and would later own the first general store in
Ventura. A short biography of Royal is found in my link to my
newspaper ‘Royal Rosamond Press’.

Royal was a good friend of Otto Rayburn, the Ozark historian, they
meeting when Royal returned to the Ozarks to become a Regional
writer. Royal published in Rayburn’s ‘Arcadian Magazine’ “A Journal
of the Well-flavored Earth” printed in Eminence Missouri. Royal would
later found ‘Gem Publishing’ in Oklahoma City, and publish his
books ‘Bound in Clay’ and ‘Ravola of Thunder Mountain’.

I have corespondence between Royal and Otto. I wonder if he met the
Regional artist, Thomas Hart Benton, who was also good friends of
Otto Rayburn, there photographs of both men in Volume 1. of
Rayburn’s ‘Enchanted Ozarks’ an archives of Ozark Folk Life found at
the University of Arkansas. That the offspring of these men, were
destined to meet is quite extraordinary. Benton and Rosamond have
done much to make Folk Art, Folk Music, and Folk Lore, the Gemstones
of our American Tradition. My sister, the world famous
artist ‘Rosamond’, married Garth Benton, the grandnephew of Thomas.
Garth is an accomplished artist and muralist. My niece, Drew Benton,
has shown she has inherited a real gift, and her artwork can be seen
on my link to her mother’s page, my late sister founding ‘Rosamond

My daughter, Heather Marie, is also a very talented artist, singer,
actress, and aspiring songwriter. We co-wrote a Country Western song

Royal lost his mother when he was nine, and his father abandoned him
when he was ten. Thomas Benton grew up in boarding schools, and
Heather did not know her father until she was sixteen. From these
uprooted beginnings has risen some true Gifts who have established a
Literary and Artistic Legacy that hopefully will last many lifetimes,
and be there for members of Rosy’s family to enjoy.

Christine Rosamond’s gallery is still flourishing in Carmel
California, and ‘Royal Rosamond Press’ will be publishing her
biography, as well as my fifteen year study of the Arcadian and Grail
Legends that are associated with the name Rougemont, a family from
Switzerland who are related to the Habsburgs, who along with the de
Anjou, Gonzaga, and Medici family, have done much to promote Art,
Music, and Literature. Christine and Garth were good friends of the
J. Paul Getty family whose Museum and Foundation are mainstays in
American Fine Art. My niece, Shannon, and Garth completed a large
mural in the Getty mansion.

On other webpages, that are linked in a circle to this one, I compare
the Rosamond family legacy with that of the Dante Gabriel Rossetti
family, whose siblings were also at the core of the Pre-Raphaelite
art movement, Michael and Christine Rossetti publishing in ‘The
Germ’, they taking over their father’s printing company. In a record
of immigrant names, Rossetti, in French, is Rosemond. Christine and I
were inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, several of them Knighted
Artists of England where lived other Royal and Rosy people that are
now being linked to our Family Tree, a Rose Bush if you will, for
alas in the finding of my lost daughter, the roses now harken to the
legend of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ who lay aspleep in her bower at the
center of a hedgerow of thorns. May this family of the Royal Rose
restore the Forsaken Garden

About Royal Rosamond Press

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