Through an interesting turn of events, southern-born Rose’s (Maria Rosetta) marriage to Dr. Robert Greenhow ushered her from a life of poverty to one of financial and social status.  In fact, Rose often hob-nobbed with Dolley Madison and other well-known socialities of her day. It’s said that Rose’s influence helped elect President James Buchanan in 1856.

However, when the Civil War began, Rose became a Confederate spy. Though imprisoned on several occasions, she continued to leak Union information to aid the Confederates. Then, a diplomatic excursion brought her to France, where she wrote her memoirs and sold them for two thousand dollars in gold.

Far wealthier than when she’d arrived, Rose boarded a ship bound for home with her handsome salary sewn into the hem of her gown. But when her ship reached the mouth of Cape Fear River (Wilmington, N.C.), a Union ship gave chase.

Not to be outwitted, Rose and two soldiers hopped on a lifeboat to avoid capture. When the stormy seas capsized the small vessel, Rose and her gold perished.

We know that God’s word says in 1 Tim. 6:6 that our relationship with Him is what brings contentment and is of great gain. I wonder if Rose had ever read this verse: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9, NIV).

My parents had framed a poem by Charles Thomas Studd on a wall of my childhood home. Its impact is the same as the first day I’d read it. I pray it blesses you too:

By Author eMarie

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  1. I’ve always thought: If only Rose had dumped the gold … To her credit, she intended to give it to the Confederate government, a cause she wrongly but strongly supported, but it wasn’t worth her life. And I do wonder if she knew the Lord.

    Regarding her spying, she helped the Confederates win First Manassas by beguiling a number of Federal officers into talking freely at her house.

    I didn’t know anything about her past before the Civil War. I enjoyed the post:)

    1. I learned a lot while writing this post – one of the reasons I love blogging! God always shines His truths through others’ lives. 🙂

  2. Wow, great post eMarie! I think we do tend to hold on to and value our worldly possessions, not taking the time to realize they are worthless when this life is over!

  3. Oh, I love that plaque–such a great message. It must have really impacted your life since after a number of years, you’re still remembering it. Thank you for sharing this plaque with all of us! Poor Rose.

    1. Amen!! Perfect example of how tightly we hold on to possessions when that’s not what this life is about!!! Thanks for stopping by, Becky!! 🙂

    1. Hi Valerie. Good question!!! But, knowing God’s love, He gave her ample time to repent – I pray she did!!! Thanks for stopping by, Valerie!! 🙂

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