A Long and Colorful History
Located in the second oldest town in Indiana, first established by a treaty with Tecumseh before the land north of the Ten O clock Line was thrown open for settlement. Home of notable historical figures, such as Chauncey Rose of “Rose” - Hulman, Doc Wheat, Mordicai-3 Fingers Brown of the Chicago Cubs and of course Hollywood “Bad Man” Tex Terry.
We have to travel back in time nearly 200 years to a parcel of land where a young man at the young age of 23 after traveling 5 states in search of a place to conduct business. Chauncey Rose, and his associates Captain Andrew Brooks, a trader, interpreter and Indian Agent (later appointed by then Governor and future President Henry Harrison in 1822 as first sheriff) and one Moses Robbins had set their sights on the newly envisioned “American dream”, by the spring of 1819 they had felled timbers for a grist mill (Raccoon Mills) (which was located across the street) and purchased this lot for a trading post and general store, they stocked it with just about everything one would need back then.
They built a sawmill (Roseville Sawmill) and later supplied lumber to build the Parke County Courthouse. A tannery and distillery was built and they started packing hogs which they would send to market via flat boats down the Big Raccoon creek over to the Wabash.
Roseville was a bustling little frontier town, the first courts were held here. We were complete with stage coach stop, a post office (1823), school, church, doctors office. The town was expanded in 1849 and then again in 1859.
Then about 1878 coal was discovered along with the need for consistent, reliable transportation due to boats being everywhere except where they were needed in times of low rainfall. Chauncey Rose had already realized the future was not in the canals, but in the new “technology” of the day "a railroad", Chauncey prudently invested his savings in farmland in Terre Haute and was instrumental in developing many of Indiana’s railroads. He bore the principal effort in building the Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad, Evansville, Terre Haute and Chicago Railroad, among others. A line was built and ran along the creek and just in front of the Roseville bridge.
Chauncey in the end had amassed a fortune, and was very generous with his money in Terre Haute, where his philanthropic activities were reported in an 1875 New York Times article to have exceeded $2,000,000 in currency of that day. Among his numerous benefactors were the Providence Hospital, the Free Dispensary and the Rose Orphan Asylum. He along with several friends, created the Terre Haute School of Industrial Science in 1874 to provide technical training after encountering difficulties in local engineer availability during construction of his railroads. Mr. Rose donated the land on 13th and Locust St. and the majority of the funds needed to start the new school and later named Rose Polytechnic Center.
In 1890 the town’s name was changed from Roseville to Coxville for a short period of time in honor of Mr. William Cox of the Brazil Block Coal Company who had been the lessor of extensive coal rights in the area, by 1910 the coal mines were exhausted.
Along the way they discovered and mined a superior grade of sand on the east side of Roseville that would later be used to make the first coca cola bottle and also as a building material.
The Roseville Covered Bridge across the street is the second bridge on the site built in 1910 to replace one destroyed by arson which had been there since 1865. It is a J.J. Daniels built two span burr arch construction and the second longest bridge (263’) amongHistoric Parke County Indiana's. 31 covered bridges. Mordicai Peter Centennial Brown or 3 Fingers Brown as he was often called was seven years old when lost 2 fingers at his Uncle David Beasley’s farm in the summer of 1883. When he was 14 he worked as a mine checker in the Coxville coal mines, often pitching balls and lumps of coal. By the age of twenty he got his start playing 3rd base for the semi-pro Coxville Reds team in 1896, where this was the day he new he was a pitcher after a 9-3 win against Brazil. By 1906 he was considered one of the best pitchers in Baseball with 26 wins. The Cubs went on to win 4 National League Pennants and two world Series in 1907 and 1908 He was the 1st Indiana player inducted into the baseball hall of fame. He was making a salary of $7000.00 in 1912 and retired from the majors in 1916 with a ERA of 2.06 and 55 shut outs.
Wallace W. “Doc” Wheat was one of Roseville/Coxville’s most famous citizens. Born in 1870 he was the son of Edward L. Wheat who ran a local pharmacy and general store in Roseville and also owned a farm in Florida Township. Wallace studied medicine at the Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he learned a medical practice based on botanical medicine. The Eclectics, as they were called, were especially prominent in Indiana and Ohio at the turn of the twentieth century. They believed that the body would heal itself and that it was the job of the physician to simply aide the body in that process primarily through the use of plant-based medicines.
Wallace graduated in 1899 and soon returned to Parke County. After a few years of practice in Mecca he returned to live in Coxville next to the covered bridge. He became well-known as a healer, especially for his treatments for goiter, kidney and liver disorders and external cancers. Patients came from all over the United States and even Europe to take his treatments. He made most of his own herbal medicines and created a formula to fit the individual patient. He was also considered eccentric by many. He built a very large greenhouse for his herb plants and lemon trees. He was rumored to have buried his money all around his property. He was a lively person who did much to support his community through hard times. He died in 1948.
Fast forward to 1979 when a cowboy named Tex Terry and his wife Isabel Drasemer retired from Hollywood and returned to the place he was born and had worked the coal mines driving mules as a young man-Coxville after an extensive movie career playing the “Bad Man” along side his friends Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, John Wayne.At this time we were known as Tex’s Longhorn Tavern where Tex would tell his Hollywood old west stories behind his old “Wheat Penny Bar” which still remains among much of his movie meorbillia.
Tex was also a western recording artist and band leader and a skilled craftsman in leather goods having made most of the belts and holsters “The Duke” John Wayne wore. Tex was a World champion master with the bull whip (driving those mules came in handy) as witnessed by many children since Tex would travel all over America performing his rope and bull whip tricks to school children. His first movie using the bull whip was in the 1924 movie with Douglas Fairbanks in “Don Juan”
During his long career he starred alongside many well known actors; Joel McCrea, Will Rogers, Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Sunset Carson, Allan Ladd of the “The Badlanders”, and the Duke himself-John Wayne, his 10th and final movie with John Wayne was in the “War Wagons” One of his most famous roles was Brizzard in the 1958 version of The Oregon Trail alongside Fred McMurray. Tex also performed in several television series, “Death Valley Days”, “Gunsmoke”, “Wells Fargo” and “Two Faces West” .
Tex’s wife Isabel was his agent along with Buddy Ebson of The Beverly Hillbillies, Hugh O'Brien, Vic Taburn of the Alice Show. She always told the story that she was the one who discovered James Dean since she had hired him for a Pepsi commercial before he got his start in the movies.
Then on a first date and a drive in 1982 Tom and Alice Hyatte purchased the place from Tex, and during the next 26 years Tom and Alice transformed the tiny place with an expanded kitchen and dining room along with a menu filled with Alice’s good home cooked meals.
As one can imagine, with this came the need for more space, In 1984 Tom moved what is currently known as the upstairs dining and ice cream shop – the 150+ year old barn from a local farm. He reassembled the barn using the same wooden pegs and care that showcases the enduring craftsmanship of the hand hewn logs. The barn is filled with timeless antiques that showcase the uniqueness and ingenuity of the American spirit. Many of them have been in the Hyatte family for over 75 years. Over the years Tom & Alice's friend Denzil Omer "Salty" Seamon stopped by and drew the Longhorn Restaurant for one of his famed landscape prints.
In 2008 Tom and Alice retired and the name was changed to Rock Run Cafe' Bakery to reflect the nearby tributary into the Big Raccoon Creek that began it all. Tom’s (5 sons) continue to operate the restaurant with the same respect, dedication and vision for all those that have traveled before them for nearly 200 years. Chauncey Rose, Captain Andrew Brooks, Moses Robbins, Tex and Isabel Terry, Tom & Alice Hyatte.
Welcome to Rock Run Cafe & Bakery!
“Across from the bridge for a TASTE of the PAST”
Thank you for joining us for dinner!