NAME: Rebecca Rouse
DATE OF BIRTH: October 30, 1799
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salem, MA
DATE OF DEATH: December 23, 1887
PLACE OF DEATH: Cleveland, OH. She and her husband are buried in Lake View Cemetery.
FAMILY HISTORY: Her parents were John and Rebecca Elliot Cromwell. In 1821 Rebecca married Benjamin Rouse; they lived in Boston and New York and then settled in Cleveland in 1830. The couple had four children: Benjamin Franklin, Edwin Cooleridge, Ellen Rebecca and George W. Rebecca also gave birth to three other children who died in infancy.
EDUCATION: Rebecca's family educated her in the classics and in religion. She acquired her knowledge through travel.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rebecca Rouse is known as "the founder of woman's work in Cleveland," a phrase applied to her by Mary Bigelow Ingham. Rebecca Rouse dedicated her life to serving families and children. She did so through her efforts in various organizations: Her work began in the Ladies Tract Society where she visited each home in her village to serve those in need. She became a member of the First Baptist Society and in 1842 she founded and became the first president of the Martha Washington & Dorcas Society. The mission of the Martha Washington Society was to be a family based organization and as such originated the Protestant Orphan Asylum, which later became Beech Brook, where she served as the director. This organization also served to save women new to Cleveland from becoming involved in prostitution.
In June of 1850 Rebecca was one of the founding members of the Cleveland Ladies Temperance Union. Temperance was a popular movement of the day which drew its supporters from Native Americans who viewed immigrants as excessive drinkers; employers who blamed alcohol abuse for poor work performance; doctors who viewed physical and mental health risks with drinking and by woman who looked upon alcohol abuse as a destructive force in families.
In Cleveland, Rebecca's Ladies' Aid Society became the Soldiers' Aid Society. As President, Rouse was responsible for developing its financial base and for distributing large amounts of nursing and living supplies to soldiers in the Civil War. Rouse's efforts are memorialized in a bronze panel as part of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Cleveland's Public Square.
Adella Hughes Family Papers [Western Reserve Historical Society]
Rebecca Cromwell Rouse - Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
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