Rosie Anderson Joseph, born and raised in Panola County and a long-time resident of Shreveport received a rousing celebration for her 100th birthday on June 29.
Approximately 100 family members from California to Georgia gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn in Shreveport for a luncheon to honor “Aunt Rosie,” as she is affectionately called. The celebration continued Sunday, June 30 at the Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church featuring the youth of the church.
Joseph is a descendant of the first known family male patriarch, Shade Anderson, a former slave who in the 1870s married Easter, also a former slave. Easter was said to have grown up on an American Indian reservation in eastern Oklahoma and later migrated to East Texas, where she met Anderson. Historical records suggest that both Shade and Easter Anderson may have been related to the Choctaw/Chickasaw Indians for whom Panola County was named.
Of note, the founder of Panola County, Jonathon Anderson (1798-1890), donated several hundred acres of land to establish the county in the 1800s. However, there is no known record of a relationship between the two Anderson families.
Three sons were born to the couple — Doss, Thomas, and Bob, who was the father of Rosie Anderson Joseph. Her father married Zella Cole in Panola County, in the early 1900s, and she was the sixth of nine children born to them in DeDerry. The couple raised their children on share-cropper farms during and after the Great Depression of our country.
Like many Americans, Joseph sought a better life and moved to Chicago, Illinois as opportunities emerged during World War II. She returned to Shreveport in the early 1950s and built the home where she still resides. Upon her return, she endured the failure of an early marriage and the tragic loss of her 12-year-old son to a brain tumor.
Nevertheless, she settled into a job as a Watkins Products salesperson and other job opportunities over the years. Later, she met Lee Arthur Joseph who proved to be the true love of her life. They were married in 1955 and had three and one-half beautiful years before Lee died due to heart failure on June 23, 1958.
“I had the rare privilege of witnessing the love between Aunt Rosie and Uncle Lee up close and personal,” her nephew, retired Air Force Colonel Richard Toliver said. “Although just out of my teens, they were a marvelous example for me of the love that is possible between a man and woman when God is at the center of their lives. I would emulate these two beautiful people later in my own married life.”
Joseph devoted her life to serving the Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church where she has been a loyal member for over 67 years. She has faithfully served as a member of the choir, rebuilding and renovation committees, and as lead housekeeper for many years.
She attributes her long life to hard work, healthy living and service to God. Her main hobbies over the years were gardening and fishing. Her mantra is “The fullness of life is measured not by how long one lives, but by how well love is given and shared with others.”