Harry E. Rosebach

Harry E. Rosebach.  Researched and written by Camille Arbogast.

Harry E. Rosebach was born on November 8, 1893, at 8 Exchange Street in Dorchester.Exchange Street ran between Tenean Creek and the Old Colony Railroad, near present-day Mapes Street in Fields Corner. The middle name on his birth record was Ellsworth, though later in his life he used Ellwood. His father, George E. Rosebach, was a house painter, who had grown up in New York. His mother, Florence (Pratt), was from East Weymouth, Massachusetts. George and Florence had eight other children: Edward born in 1894, Grace in 1895, Clarence in 1897, Frederick in 1898, Ruth in 1900, Marian in 1901, George (who went by Warren) in 1907, and Helen in 1909. Three of their children died in childhood: Clarence died at seven months of cholera infantum (a form of gastroenteritis), Ruth at six years of diphtheria, and Frederick at two years of scarlet fever.

A year after Harry’s birth, the Rosebachs were living in South Boston at 61 Baxter Street. By 1897, they were back in Dorchester at 10 Howe Street. They had returned to South Boston by 1907, when they were living at 175 H Street. The family moved a short distance to 133 Mercer Street in 1911.

The 1910 census recorded that Harry, age 16, was still attending school, though on the 1940 census he reported only attending school through the eighth grade. Harry was employed by 1910, working as an errand boy at a dry goods store. The 1913 Boston directory listed him employed at 450 Washington Street, the location of the Jordan Marsh department store. In January 1914, while employed as a department store teamster, Harry and a coworker were accused of selling their uniform coats, which were the property of the store and valued at $65, then reporting the coats as stolen. No employment information was listed for Harry in the 1914 or 1915 Boston directories. By 1917, he was a cable splicer, his profession for the rest of his life. On July 5, 1917, he was initiated into Electrical Workers No. 396 (Cable Splicers). A year later on his World War I draft registration, he reported he was employed by the James Sugden Company, electrical contractors, of 126 Worcester Street, Boston.

Harry’s draft registration also states that he joined the Massachusetts National Guard in early 1917. His Veterans Administration Master index record lists an enlistment date of April 20, 1917. By November 1918, he was a sergeant in the Electrical Section, Casual Detachment, Coast Artillery School. He was stationed at Fort Monroe, in Hampton, Virginia, in December. Harry was discharged on December 12, 1918.

On June 29, 1919, Harry married Julia F. Finn, a shoe factory operator from Boston. They were wed by Reverend George J. Patterson at Saint Vincent’s rectory in South Boston. Harry and Julia had one son, Frederick. In the early 1920s, they lived at 671 Second Street. In 1924, they resided at 15 Vale Street in Roxbury, then the next year they moved to 5 Navillus Terrace in Dorchester.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Harry was very involved with his union. During that time, union members were trying to get legislation passed in Massachusetts that would ensure safety measures and “provide for licensing cable splicers, linemen, and operators.” The Journal of the Electrical Workers and Operators, Local No. 396 shared some of the hardships in their line of work: “The winter is upon us now, and no fooling. Cold and threats of pneumonia are prevalent … The annual slack period is rearing its horrid head, ever threatening, but so far always just ahead.” In an update in 1939 they reported, “Our business agent, Harry Rosebach, has been doing a wonderful job this year and, due largely to his efforts, the brethren have had, as a body, more continuous employment than they have enjoyed during any one winter since the big slump.” That year, “after voluntarily relinquishing all salaries for the past six months, the officers of Local No. 396 have been handed a cut in their already meagre salaries.”

By 1940, Harry owned a home on High Street in Norwell, Massachusetts, which was valued at $4,000. He was still employed by the James Sugden Company, earning $3,300 a year.

Harry died suddenly on December 1, 1945. A Requiem Mass was celebrated for him at Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart Church in Hanover, Massachusetts and he was buried in Saint Paul’s Cemetery in Hingham, Massachusetts. On the 11th anniversary of his death, Julia and Frederick remembered him with a memorial notice in the newspaper: “Loving and kind in all his ways. Upright and just to the end of his days. Sincere and true in his heart and mind. Beautiful memories are left behind.”


Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA; Ancestry.com

1900, 1910, 1920, 1940 US Federal Census; Ancestry.com

“Four Accused in Theft,” Boston Globe, 7 January 1914: 9; Newspapers.com

“In Memoriam,” The Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators. May 1946. Washington, DC: International Electrical Workers and Operators; IBEW.org

United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration; Archive.org

“United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940,” database, citing Military Service, NARA microfilm publication 76193916 (St. Louis: National Archives and Records Administration, 1985), various roll numbers; FamilySearch.org

“United States, Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939,” database; FamilySearch.org

“Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915,” database, citing Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FamilySearch.org

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Labor and Industries. Time Rates of Wages and Hours of Labor in Massachusetts in 1926 (Labor Bulletin NO 150). Part I of the Annual Report on the Statistics of Labor for the Year Ending November 30, 1927; Archive.org

“Correspondence: L.U. 396 Boston,” The Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators. February 1938. Washington, DC: International Electrical Workers and Operators; Archive.org

“Correspondence: L.U. No. 396, Boston, Mass.” The Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators. February 1939. Washington, DC: International Electrical Workers and Operators; Archive.org

United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, National Archives and Records Administration; Ancestry.com

“Death Notices,” Boston Globe, 2 Dec 1945: 45; Newspapers.com

Harry E. Rosebach, FindAGrave.com

“In Memoriam,” Boston Globe, 1 Dec 1956: 2; Newspapers.com


Posted on

April 9, 2022

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