Rosetta Agnes Brant was born on January 27, 1860, into a pioneer family already overflowing with the laughter and tears of young children. Ten years earlier, Rosa’s German father, Joseph, and his Irish wife, Louisa Burgett Brant, had made their way on a journey of close to 2000 miles from Dayton Ohio, to Clark County, Washington. They followed the Oregon Trail. Joseph had taken out a donation land claim on the Lewis River, but as his family expanded, he moved his wife and children to the town of Vancouver, on the North bank of the Columbia River. A wagon and carriage maker by trade, Joseph also owned a livery stable and built and operated a hotel on Main Street with a dance hall and a theater; for several years he served as justice of the peace. But suddenly, on New Year’s Eve, 1872, Joseph died, leaving his 44-year-old wife with 12 children, six were still under 13. (Rosa was the seventh of the Brant children.) Without the support of the Sisters of Charity of Providence it might have been quite difficult for Louisa Brant and her family to survive. Rosa never forgot her schooling with these dedicated women dressed in long black habits and blue aprons. And the fates she acquired as a child would shape her response to the horrifying death of her oldest son many years later.
Joseph and Louisa Brant and some members of their family are buried in Vancouver, Washington. Much of what I learned about them came from the Clark County Genealogical Society. The CCGS discovered information about the Brant family and even material about Lieutenant Sutton’s close friend who disappeared, Edward Roelker. Dozens of people in Vancouver have the surname of Brant and probably some are descended from Rosa’s large family. Go to http://www.ccgs-wa.org ” for the latest news from Clark County.