Most colorful of all Nebraska's town names is the one selected for this community. Acres and acres of wild roses grew in the vicinity in 1875 and were the inspiration for its post office to be called "Roseland" by the wife of the first postmaster, B.F.Evans.
Many settlers in the area came from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New England. Others emigrated from Prussia (Germany), Luxembourg, and the Scandinavian countries.
Originally located a mile northeast, the location of the post office was changed when the railroad came through. The site for the north side of the village was purchased from Walter Davis, first homesteader in the community, and from C.C.Rhine, who owned the land wanted for the south half. The town was platted in 1887 when grading began for the Kansas City & Omaha Railroad. Rails were laid and a depot built in 1888. The town incorporated in 1889 and the name, Roseland, was given official status.
J.S.Richards operated the first mercantile business in town. Richards had relocated from Silver Lake (four miles south) to Ayr (several miles east) before moving to Roseland. Duncan Bros. operated the first elevator.
Parts of Roseland were built on a buffalo wallow. This was evident in 1901 when board walks were built over the mudholes.
Roseland experienced a major fire on its main street, Lincoln Avenue, in 1913, and of course the area was plagued by the grasshoppers, jack rabbits, drought, and dust of the 1930s.
Roseland had many churches. From the early days, these included: The German Baptist, Cambellite, United Brethern and Methodist. Today the Sacred Heart Catholic, built in 1921, is the only church in the village. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, established three miles north of town in 1883, also serves the community.
It had been said that if a town was to grow, it must have a brickyard. The Trausch Brothers operated a brickyard in Roseland from 1909 to 1919. Some of the buildings and homes in Roseland were built from the locally-made bricks. The business was sold and operated as Roseland Brick Manufacturing Company until it ceased operation in 1925.
The land around Roseland was very flat and was made more so in the 1950s when the farmers leveled it for gravity irrigation. The average corn yield for Adams County at that time was 27.3 bushels per acre. By 1985, the average per acre yield had increased to 125 bushels with many individual fields yielding as high as 210 bushels per acre. This kind of production has made grain elevators a thriving business. Roseland Co-op was formed in 1906, and is now known as Co-op Grain and Supply. Mid-Rivers Grain Company, started in 1958, was sold to Garvey Elevators in 1981.
Since Roseland was named for the wild roses, one of the goals the residents set in their centennial year, 1987, was to make the village one of the prettiest and cleanest in America. This tradition will continue every year with a community clean-up, a "Most Beautiful Rose" contest, village rosebeds, tree board conservation program, a senior citizen garden, and other projects. The unique part of all this great effort is that every group in the area is involved. The Roseland Area Girl Scouts, South Adams 4-H Club, Roseland Club Scouts, Roseland Senior Citizens, Lions Club, Village Board, Roseland Fire Department, Summerfest Group, extension clubs, and many individual citizens are enthusiastically working together.
In May 1988 the Roseland Area Economic Development Group was organized by village chairman Andy Shaver and local business people. They are working with the Adams County Extension agent and an agricultural economist from UNL. Their goal is to encourage small businesses to locate in our area and to help insure growth for the community in future years.
Today Roseland has about 230 inhabitants and is surrounded by some of the finest agricultural land in Nebraska.
By Betty Ramspott Trausch, Rte 1 Box 50, Juniata, NE 68955
Roseland, Nebraska, 1887-1987, Where the Roses Grow Wild. (464 page, indexed) available locally
Assumption Church, School, and People of Adams County, Nebraska 1883-1983, by Betty Ramspott Trausch, 1983, available by author.