Behind the Asphalt is Queen City Survey’s periodic look (and rip-off of VH1’s Behind the Music) at the people behind the names of our city streets.
Robert Hosea was born February 15, 1811 in Boston, Massachusetts. His family moved to Chillicothe in 1816. In 1826 he moved to Cincinnati, becomes involved in mercantile pursuits but eventually joins his father here in a steamboat supply business. In 1835 he begins working the steamboats in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys until 1844 when he comes back to Cincinnati. In that year he forms Hosea and Fraser, a grocery business which would eventually become Robert Hosea & Company in 1854 and later Hosea & Company when his sons took over the business.
A man of a variety of interests, he is elected to the State Legislature in 1857 and serves until 1858. He becomes friends with Salmon P. Chase and he would continue his public service in 1871 by becoming Mayor of Clifton, a town which he helped build. It was while he was Mayor of Clifton that Hosea Avenue was named after him. He would leave office in 1876. (It should be noted that Hosea Avenue in Lockland is also named after Robert Hosea, as he was an investor in the Lockland-Wyoming Improvement Company.)
His first wife Harriet died in 1875, and they had 10 children. Two served in the Civil War including Lewis Montgomery Hosea who rose to rank of Major. Lewis is equally as interesting as his father, becoming a lawyer after the Civil War and becoming involved in a wide range of organizations from the Cincinnati Society of Natural History and the Ohio Mechanics' Institute to the Literary Club and the Symphony Club. At the time of his death in 1924, Lewis Hosea resided at 3430 Brookline Ave, on the corner of Brookline and Hosea Avenues.
The Major Lewis Montgomery Hosea House
In 1876, Robert Hosea marries Lucy Klinck Rice. Forty-one years younger (!) she was a very active woman herself, serving as President of the Women’s Club, President for the Ohio Hospital for Women’s & Children Hospital, and Treasurer of Kindergarten Union, an advocate group for Kindergarten education. (Her last residence was on Bishop.)
Among Robert’s activities and interests were President of the Board of the Unitarian Church and member of the Literary Club. And, for over forty years he was a trustee of Spring Grove Cemetery, from 1864 to 1906. On February 20, 1906, at the age of 95, Robert Hosea passed away. His last residence was in Clifton at 320 Resor Road, now home of St. John’s Unitarian Church. I am trying to find if there is any connection between him and St. John’s.
He is buried on Spring Grove Cemetery in Section 23, Lot 2, a prominent site in the lower portion of the cemetery.
Hosea Avenue is a beautiful street on the more densely populated, originally German, east side of Clifton. Running east-west it runs from Clifton Avenue near the intersection of Clifton and Ludlow to Bishop Street. Fantastic homes ranging from Queen Anne to Classical and Tudor Revivals dot the streetscape. One home currently for sale near Bishop has an asking price for just a tad over half a million.
Of course, most know Hosea Avenue as the home of Dewey’s Pizza in Clifton.
Cincinnati, The Queen City. 1788 - 1912
The History of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, 1894.
Federal Writers Project. Cincinnati, A Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors. City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. 1943