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Local Origins: Roseville


Roseville, originally called “The Settlement”, was first farmed by Abraham Johnston, George Reynolds, John Bricker, John and Jacob Wisman, Jacob and John Detweiler, Henry Clemens, Daniel Sleighter, Benjamin and Elis Wildfong, Christian Becker, Jacob Rosenburgher, Adam Unger, and Jacob D. Hallman. The families lived in log homes, usually one room and a loft, heated by an open fireplace.

By 1864, Roseville, located nine miles from Berlin (Kitchener), had a sawmill owned by Henry Bricker, a general store, a school, two hotels, and a post office; the population was about 150. In 1880, the population had grown to about 200. There were some stores and shops, a school and churches.

Photo: Region of Waterloo Archives

During its history, Roseville has had two taverns, two hotels, four churches, three schools, a sawmill, and a shingle factory. There has also been a wagon and carriage works, a blacksmith shop, a printing shop, two cooper shops, a turnip factory, a post office, a candy store, a shoe shop, and a general store.


Andrew Taylor’s Roseville chapter in his 1967 book “Our Todays and Yesterdays” notes that local Pennsylvania-Mennonites in the 1840s were unhappy with the first name of the community: “The Settlement.” While calling for a change, they also wanted the new name to end in “ville.”

There are three different versions about the origin of the name “Roseville”.

It could have been named after a local shoemaker named Mr. Rose, who was widely known to enjoy his alcoholic beverages. The locals called him Rose Will (the word ‘will’ in Pennsylvania German is pronounced ‘ville’ and means ‘want’), indicating that he would always want another drink. In the 1927 Waterloo Historical Society report, archeologist W.J. Wintemberg says “(Roseville) was adopted as the name of the village” and “this man was said to have sold his wife at auction for fifty cents.”

Kitchener researcher Reg Good wrote a detailed analysis of the Mennonite aspect of Roseville and said Jacob Rosenberger was the name’s source. In 1824, Jacob Rosenberger and wife Polly Detweiler, recently arrived from Montgomery County Pennsylvania, purchased 160 acres of land in Concession 12 abutting the north side of Roseville Road. The Rosenbergers remained less than a decade, but in that time sold off several smaller lots upon which some of the first village buildings were erected.

Others suggest that an Englishman named Rose suggested Roseville as a pleasant name.

To this day, no one really knows which story is right.

Source: Wikipedia

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