Throwback Thursday: Josephine’s tragically true story
One of our favorite stories to tell during Throwback Thursday segments is sharing namesakes
for famous landmarks, streets, and communities. The Landmark Association of Bowling Green
and Warren County recently gave us the inspiration to tell the story of Bowling Green’s
‘Josephine Street.’ With the help of research by the late Josephine’s relative, Nick Rabold, this
is the tragically true story of the real-life Josephine.
Born in Bowling Green in 1842, Josephine was the daughter of Martin Rohmer. Twenty years
her senior, Andrew Rabold, married young Josephine just around the beginning of the American
Civil War in the early 1860s. Their first child, Samuel, was born and died in 1861, the official
year the ‘War Between the States’ began. Their second child, Willie, was born in 1862, but
passed away in 1864.
Wars are always fought on more than just a battlefield. During the Civil War years, many states
suffered famine and disease as a result of the war. Not that those things can’t happen on their
own, but war certainly doesn’t help. In fact, famine and disease ran so rampant that Pioneer
Cemetery in downtown Bowling Green was absolutely overrun. It forced the creation of a new
cemetery on what was then the outskirts of town. This was the beginning of Fairview Cemetery
on, you guessed it, modern Cemetery Road.
Famine took the lives of infant Samuel and toddler Willie. The young Josephine never
recovered. She herself passed away just after the war’s end in 1866. Samuel, Willie, and
Josephine’s headstones were some of the first ever erected in Fairview Cemetery; you can find
them there today.
Josephine’s name lives on in Bowling Green today, preserved in the form of
Josephine St. off Lehman Ave., where the Rabold gardens were developed into a
neighborhood. And yes, the modern day Bowling Green rock band, The Josephines, is named
for her street. Band members live on the lane that bears her name.