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Rosaline Brooke Spotswood


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At a Glance

Rosaline Brooke Spotswood of Petersburg, VA was a closely related member of Mrs. M.A. Burwell's family, the Spotswoods [1].


Rosaline Brooke Spotswood was the daughter of Dandridge Spotswood, a younger brother of Mrs. M. A. Burwell's beloved Aunt Bott (Susan Catharine Spotswood), and of his wife, Catherine Brooke Francisco, daughter of the legendary strong man of the Revolution, Peter Francisco. Rosa was by direct descent a great-granddaughter of Gov. Alexander Spotswood, the Royal Gov. of Virginia for twelve years (1710-22). Her father's marriage on October 29, 1818, to Catherine Brooke Francisco thus united two of Virginia's most distinguished early families.

Mrs. M. A. Burwell was Rosa's cousin, a great-great-granddaughter of Gov. Spotswood, a situation which teacher and pupil undoubtedly resolved with finesse. Rosa's arrival at the Burwell School in Hillsborough, NC in 1844 is described by her daughter Ann Spotswood Strudwick Nash in her book, Ladies in the Making [2].

"My mother, eight years old and already studying Virgil, arrived there by stage coach from her home in Petersburg, VA."

Ann S. Nash (Ann Spotswood Strudwick) further mentioned that her mother together with the other little girls in pinafores delighted in rolling over and over down the long grassy incline to Churton Street, thus wearing out their pinafores prematurely and marking them with grass stains. So far is known, Rosa Spotswood remained at the Burwell School throughout her entire course of study.

Another Spotswood cousin wished to attend the school in 1856, but there was no available space. Mrs. Burwell wrote regretfully to Frances Armistead Burwell  on January 19, 1856:

"Eliza Spotswood is very anxious to come here to school but Cousin Wm. says they cannot afford it. I do wish we had room we would send for her to come at once & let pay come when it could or never----it seems to me so all important that girls should have educations to qualify themselves to help themselves."

Rosaline Spotswood on November 13, 1860, married, as his second wife, lawyer and planter Frederick Nash Strudwick, son of Dr. Edmund Strudwick and Ann Nash. Frederick Nash Strudwick's first wife was Mary Susan Burwell , the Burwell's oldest child, who died unexpectedly after the birth of their son,Robert Cincinnatus Strudwick .

The Frederick Nash Strudwicks apparently settled down on the Strudwick Plantation in Marengo County, AL. Rosa raised her stepson, Robert Cincinnatus Strudwick, Mary's son and the Burwell's first grandson, as her own; he later became a judge. Rosa's first child, Kate Spotswood Strudwick, was born in 1861 but died in 1865. Her tombstone in the Arcola Cemetery at Strudwick Plantation in Hale County, AL reads,  "Kate Spotswood Strudwick, dau. of F.N. & R.B. Strudwick, died Arcola, Alabama, Sept. 22, 1865, in the fourth year of her age."

Eventually the Strudwicks came home to Hillsborough, NC and settled at Meadowside Plantation in Hillsborough, NC (now the site of Daniel Boone Amusement Park), a 132-acre plantation purchased on February 6, 1872, for Rosaline Strudwick by her brother, William Francisco Spotswood of Petersburg, VA. The Strudwicks had one surviving child, Ann Spotswood Strudwick, who became a librarian and author (Ladies in the Making [2])----who was the second wife of lawyer and historian Frank Nash, later the Assistant Attorney General of North Carolina.

Ann S. Nash (Ann Spotswood Strudwick) gives a charming picture of life at Meadowside Plantation in Hillsborough, NC in Ladies in the Making [2]. She also gives a brief insight into her mother's character:

"...her dark eyes sparkled...the spirit of fun was part of her charm.  "Darling,"  she said,  "do not on any account suggest it [that there should be dinnertime prayers at the [school_names(22):Nash & Kollock School]]. I am sure that the only reason our blessed aunts fail to have family prayers for dinner, is that the possibility has not yet occurred to them."

Rosaline Spotswood Strudwick, her husband Frederick Nash Strudwick, her daughter, Ann S. Nash (Ann Spotswood Strudwick), and Ann's husband, Frank Nash, all lie buried near each other in the Hillsborough Townl Cemetery in Hillsborough, NC [1].

Biographical Data

Rosaline was called Rosa.

Important Dates

Rosaline Brooke Spotswood was born on January 17, 1836, in Petersburg, VA. She died on August 9, 1901, and was buried in Hillsborough Townl Cemetery in Hillsborough, NC.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended



  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  2. Nash, Ann Strudwick. Ladies in the making (also a few gentlemen) at the select boarding and day school of the Misses Nash and Kollock, 1859-1890, Hillsborough, NC<./i> Hillsborough, NC: Seeman Printery, 1961.