JAMES A. ROSE - Through fifty-three years Mr. Rose has ben a resident of Illinois. This covers the entire period of his life history thus far. Through more than half of this time he has been a representative of the people in official service and has steadily progressed from the time when, at the age of twenty-two years, he accepted the position of county superintendent of schools to the present, when in the prime of life he is serving for a second term as secretary of state in the great commonwealth of Illinois. He has decided opinions and a forcible way of expressing them. He is not a politician, but a statesman. His study of political situations, issues and possibilities gives him a thorough understanding of the great questions involving the policy and progress of the state, and, while he is not offensively partisan or bitterly aggressive, he is absolutely honest and never afraid to express his views concerning any issue before the people.
Born in Illinois, October 13, 1850, and reared in Golconda, the county seat of Pope county, he there attended the public schools and for one term he was a student of the Northern Illinois Normal University. Attracted to the profession of teaching, he entered upon his business career in the capacity of an educator in the country schools of his native county. It was early manifest that his choice of work was well made, for he governed his school wisely and well and imparted with clearness to others the knowledge that he had acquired. Advancement came in recognition of his ability, and after four years from the time when he became connected with the profession he was elected principal of the graded schools of Golconda. Still further advancement in this direction awaited him, for upon the Republican ticket, when only twenty-two years of age, he was elected county superintendent of schools of Pope county, discharging his duties so capably that, after four years, he was re-elected. Ere his second term was ended, however, he was petitioned by the citizens of his county to resign that office in order that he might become state's attorney for the county, which he did, receiving a very flattering endorsement from his fellow citizens - being elected without opposition. When he had concluded a second term in that office, he refused to again become a candidate.
From county to state service Mr. Rose was called in 1889, when he was appointed by Governor Fifer to the position of member of the board of trustees of the Pontiac reformatory. He had filled that office hardly one year when Governor him one of the commissioners of the southern Illinois penitentiary, at Chester, and in that capacity he was retained until a change of administration in 1893. In the meantime Mr. Rose's power in political circles, his influence with the people, his fitness for leadership and his comprehensive understanding of the political situation and needs of the state were facts widely recognized, and in the spring of 1896 many of his friends and acquaintances throughout Illinois urged him to become a candidate for the office of secretary of state. Consenting, he was nominated by the Republican state convention in the spring of that year and at the polls was given the flattering majority of one hundred and thirty-seven thousand, six hundred and eleven. Four years passed and again he was chosen to the office for a second term, which will expire in January, 1905.
On the 14th of July, 1874, James A. Rose was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Young, of Golconda, and to them were born a son and two daughters, the daughters now being married. The family is prominent in the social circles of Springfield and Mr. Rose has a very wide acquaintance throughout the state, numbering among his friends many of the most distinguished residents of Illinois. He has for a number of years been active in campaign work, addressing the people from the platform on the momentous issues affecting the welfare of the commonwealth. These he has studied closely, viewing them from every possible standpoint, and in the campaign of 1896, perhaps, no speaker or candidate traveled greater distances or delivered more public addresses than did Mr. Rose. In his office as secretary of state he has instituted several needed reforms and improvements, discharging the duties of this responsible position in a manner to merit the commendation of the entire public. Of keen
intellectual energy, possessed of rare foresight and clarity of view, he has pointed out the way to what has probably been the only practical solution of many difficult problems that have arisen in connection with the office. he believes that the world should go forward, and has done his full share to move it in this direction.