The “Hidden Americans”: The Roma of Rose Hill

Their long journey from the Old World to the New World, from India to Fort Worth has been a colorful one but also one beset by tribulation.


The very word conjures images of horse-drawn caravans, golden earrings, trained bears, exuberant celebrations around campfires, and, of course, fortune-telling and the nomadic lifestyle that has made the word gypsy synonymous with wanderer. (Less benignly, the verb gyp comes from the noun gypsy.)

Gypsies. The stuff of Shakespeare (Othello), Hugo (Les Miserables), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Ian Fleming (From Russia with Love); the stuff of myth: Gypsies are condemned forever to wander the Earth as the cursed descendants of Cain.

Gypsies. The word Gypsy derives from the word Egypt and stems from the belief (a belief perhaps encouraged by early Gypsies themselves) that Gypsies originated in Egypt. But Gypsies no more came from Egypt than Native Americans came from India. In fact, it is the Gypsies who came from India!

Gypsies, originally a Hindu low caste, left India a thousand years ago, give or take, and migrated first into the Middle East and then into Europe and north Africa and eventually the United States.

And forget the term Gypsy. The preferred term now is Roma or Romani (although the Roma also did not originate in Rome or Romania).

Roma indeed traditionally were great travelers—one way or the other. Columbus is said to have brought two Roma women—Catalina and Maria—to the Caribbean on his third voyage in 1498. The Spanish crown had freed the two women—convicted murderers—on condition that they immigrate to the New World.

Like many other outgroups, during the centuries of their migration, Roma—speaking a strange language, practicing strange customs—faced harsh treatment by ingroups: Roma were, at best, marginalized, scapegoated, and stereotyped as abductors of children, seducers of ingroup menfolk, and thieves. The label of “con artists” has been difficult for Roma to outlive. Members of ingroups have claimed that Roma rationalize stealing from gadje (non-Roma) as compensation for centuries of persecution by gadje. There is even the Roma crucifixion legend: God spoke to a Gypsy blacksmith in a dream, telling the blacksmith to make four nails for the crucifixion of Jesus but to hand over to Roman authorities only three because the fourth nail was intended to pierce the heart of Jesus. The blacksmith obeyed. In return, God granted the descendants of the blacksmith the right to steal from gadje without breaking the Eighth Commandment.

Such a legend, of course, might be created and perpetuated by an ingroup as well as an outgroup.

In past centuries Roma were, at worst, deported, enslaved, exterminated. During World War II the number of Roma killed by Nazi genocide has been estimated at 200,000 to 1.5 million.

Roma, like other ethnic groups, migrated to America to find a better life. And here they fared better, in part by keeping, for the most part, a low profile and by keeping their distance from gadje. In fact, the Roma have been called the “hidden Americans.” Two factors have helped Roma to hide in plain sight. (1) Because the United States has minority groups of all complexions, Roma can present themselves as Hispanic, Native American, southern European, etc. rather than identify themselves as Roma. (2) Most Americans are much more familiar with the Hollywood Gypsy stereotype than with authentic Roma, and because modern Roma usually do not match that stereotype, they go undetected.

Sani Rifati, president of Voice of Roma, which promotes Romani cultural preservation, said in 2011: “There is a good reason why Roma separate themselves from non-Roma; it’s a form of protection. If you look at the non-Roma communities throughout the world, they’re not so kind to Roma. You have this form of protection with other groups like the Amish, who don’t live with any Western values, or Orthodox Jews. In Roma culture the most important value is the family and the clan. If you don’t protect that then you are completely lost.”

Today, of the American Roma, there are two major subgroups, both Christian: The Vlax typically are Eastern Orthodox; the Romanichals are Protestant. But being of Indian descent, many Roma have retained some Indian/Hindu customs, including the Romani language and Hindu purity laws: Certain parts of the body, certain animals, certain life processes (childbirth, death) are considered impure.

Traditionally a Roma groom’s family paid a “bride price” to the bride’s family; marriages were often arranged, sometimes in childhood.

Texas Monthly wrote in 1997:

“They [Roma] practiced ancient rituals designed to appease the ghosts and spirits they said were hovering over their lives. They wouldn’t comb their hair on Fridays, which they called the Devil’s Day, and made sure to leave the clothes of their dead—neatly folded—in the nicest spot in the forest. They wore coral shells to protect themselves from what they called the Evil Eye, and they refused to go near bodies of water after dark, believing the waters to be inhabited by the spirits of the drowned.”

More from Texas Monthly in 1997:

“For centuries Gypsies have believed that the gadje are mahrime (‘unclean’) and that their germs cause many diseases. Spending too much time in the presence of the gadje puts a Gypsy at risk of contamination. If Gypsies move into a home previously occupied by the gadje, they will diligently clean the entire place with bleach, repaint it, and replace the carpets and drapes. There are elderly Gypsies who are so uncomfortable about eating at a gadje-owned restaurant that they bring their own silverware. They will never use public restrooms except to wash their hands—and even then they still can be seen using paper towels to turn on the water faucets.”

But assimilation inevitably erodes the customs of an ethnic group. Although traditional Roma trades have been fortune-teller (drabardi), musician, metalworker, carnival worker, today in America Roma are more likely to hold mainstream jobs. You may buy your next car or house from a Roma.

And increasingly Roma live in a permanent residence. But even after Roma stopped wandering and traded horses for house payments, some of the traditions continued. Perhaps the Roma tradition that has best resisted dilution by assimilation is the Roma emphasis on family and on the extended family—the clan. A clan is composed of families related by blood or marriage, but the clan families share the same surname—an “American” surname adopted to blend in. A clan traditionally has been ruled by a king or a queen.

Another surviving tradition is Roma courts, known as kris. Kris adjudicate important issues, such as divorce and violations of purity laws. For example, two of the most powerful Roma clans in Texas are the Evans clan and the Mitchell clan. The two clans had long competed for status and had feuded, ala the Hatfields and McCoys, over perceived affronts and even, ala the Montagues and Capulets, over star-crossed lovers. In 1991 Joey Mitchell, son of Mitchell clan leader Buckey Mitchell, was accused to violating Roma law by becoming involved with a not-yet-divorced Roma woman. A kris was convened in Dallas to determine punishment for Joey Mitchell. A thousand Roma attended. Walter Evans of Houston was kris prosecutor and demanded that Joey Mitchell pay the offended family a globa (fine) of $2,500. That sentence was imposed, but the Evans clan claimed that Mitchell ignored the sentence. As a consequence Mitchell was blackballed—banned from Roma social life. As a consequence of the blackball, the Evans clan said, the Mitchell clan retaliated with threats and violence to the Evans clan. The feud continued.

Fort Worth and Houston have the largest Roma populations in Texas, which is home to about twenty thousand Roma out of a U.S. Roma population of one million. Fort Worth has long had a large Evans clan.

evans feud 1 51Old headlines show that the “hidden Americans” have not always been so hidden. The Evans clan first made headlines in Fort Worth in 1951. In Brownsville the Green clan had claimed that a teenager of the Evans clan had shot a teenager of the Green clan. The Green clan claimed that the Evans boy shot the Green boy because the Evans boy was jealous of the Green boy’s new car. The Evans clan claimed the shooting was an accident. The Green clan demanded that the Evans clan pay half the hospital bill of the Green teenager. The Green clan claimed that the Evans clan refused. Five hundred members of at least six clans gathered in Dallas as the boy underwent surgery there.

“If that boy dies,” one Roma told Dallas police, “there is going to be a lot of shooting going on in Dallas.”

evans feud 2 51Meanwhile in Fort Worth, other clans had gathered to try to negotiate a peace treaty between the Green and Evans clans. Police responded to a “trailer court clash” and arrested seven Evans clan members in a “drunken brawl.” The Evanses claimed that they had been robbed by members of a clan allied with the Green clan, who in turn claimed that they had been robbed by the Evans clan.

evans raids 56In the 1950s some Evans clan members lived and worked in four “fortune-telling houses” in south downtown, the old Hell’s Half Acre. In a raid in 1958 police arrested thirteen downtown Evaneses for vagrancy. The Star-Telegram said state law identified all Gypsies as vagrants. Police said members of the public had complained that Gypsy fortune-tellers had “gypped” them. A police vice sergeant said a favorite “trick” of Gypsy fortune-tellers was to ask a customer for some “lucky charm” he or she had, put it inside the customer’s billfold, and then “bless” it. The Gypsy would then send the customer home with instructions not to look in the billfold until the next morning.

The next morning, the sergeant said, the customer would find that his money was gone from his billfold.

Joe S. Evans, king of the local Evans clan, was among those arrested in 1958. He protested the raid, saying, “This ain’t Germany. And this ain’t Russia. . . . How can we be vagrants if we own property?”

With the Roma emphasis on family and clan, in recent decades the Fort Worth Evanses were most often in the news when they gathered to hold a vigil when a member was in crisis.

evans denies queen 54For example, in 1954 members of the Evans clan gathered at a Dallas hospital, just as they had in 1951 after the Green-Evans shooting. This time the clan was “waiting and praying” for their queen, Rosa Evans of Fort Worth. Rosa was the mother of Joe S. Evans, listed here as a “skull reader” (phrenologist). At the time, Joe was reluctant to refer to his mother as “queen” of the clan.

evans joe nickie 11-2-56Likewise, in 1956 clan members gathered at a Dallas hospital when Nickie Joe Evans was seriously injured. Clip is from the February 5 Dallas Morning News.

evans prince dead 10-30-64 dmnIn 1964 the clan gathered in Austin after a teenage Evans clan prince shot himself and died. This article refers to the clan as having traveled around Texas for twenty-five years. Clip is from the October 30 Dallas Morning News.

evans yoani ill 11-12-70 dmnIn 1970 the Evans clan gathered in Temple when Yoani Yogi Evans faced cancer surgery. Clan King Joe S. Evans said it is “part of our belief” to gather when a clan member faces a crisis. Clip is from the November 12 Dallas Morning News.

evans heir dies 2-5-75 dmnIn 1975 Mary Evans, heir-apparent to Queen Rosa, who was again seriously ill, herself died. A clan adviser, Mary Evans had lived in Fort Worth all her life. Clip is from the February 5 Dallas Morning News.

evans queen rosa 1976A year later Queen Rosa herself died. Hundreds of members of the Evans clan gathered for a vigil at Meissner-Brown Funeral Home. Rosa’s son, King Joe, was now comfortable with referring to his mother as “a true queen.” He predicted that the Evans and Mitchell clans would not elect a new queen. “The younger generation has different ideas.” Joe estimated that his mother, born in Oklahoma, had been queen seventy-five years. Evans’s family had immigrated to America in the late nineteenth century, settling first in Chicago.

King Joe talked to the Star-Telegram about his people: “There is no country they come from. They have no alphabet. They have no special religion. My parents and I are American-born. But, yes, we do have a language that has been handed down for centuries. My children learned it right along with English. It’s a mixture of twenty different languages. It can be spoken, but it can’t be written.”

evans rosa 9-13-76 sarasota herald tribUpon Queen Rosa’s death King Joe spoke of how the Roma were being assimilated into mainstream American culture: “We live in a different world. Tradition and old-fashioned ways are going out. . . . In the past, when we roamed the country and lived in tents, no one learned to read and write. Now that we are settled, most of our men are used car dealers and our wives work as fortune-tellers. We own our own homes and now the younger ones are getting an education.” Clip is from the September 13 Sarasota Herald Tribune.

King Joe himself had certainly been assimilated. He wore a business suit, tie, and fedora and drove a Rolls-Royce. His children attended public schools, could read and write. As king, Joe collected a monthly $100 “tax” from all the Gypsy families in town. Some people said that if a Gypsy crossed Joe, Joe would simply go to the police and claim that the offender had robbed Joe. Rather than risk being arrested by the gadje, the offender often would leave town.

evans repays money 1960On the other hand, in 1960 when a man claimed that a local Gypsy had robbed him of $2,000, King Joe reimbursed the man out of his own pocket.

evans joe 55 cdKing Joe owned ten fortune-telling parlors, some of them on East Lancaster Avenue.

evans hemphill 1423In fact, Tarrant Appraisal District still lists the owner of this 1925 house at 1423 Hemphill Street, wherein psychic advisor and palm reader Maria receives clients, as King Joe S. Evans. (Joe S. Evans would be about 118 years old now.)

Ironically, in Fort Worth there is one place where these “hidden Americans” are the least-hidden members of the population: Rose Hill Cemetery on the East Side.

evans skylineAt Rose Hill the two dozen or so large upright monuments of the Evans clan are a major element of the “skyline” of the cemetery.

evans most have photoAnd most of the Evans monuments feature a photo of the deceased.

evans sodaAfter a clan death, especially that of a clan leader, Roma traditionally celebrate with food, drink, merriment, and storytelling. Roma may picnic in the cemetery near the graves of family members. Some Evans graves at Rose Hill are decorated with empty soda cans left instead of candles or flowers as mementos.

evans nicki joeAfter his injuries in 1956 (see clip above), Nickie Joe rallied and lived another thirty-five years.

evans prince millerClan Prince Miller Evans, who took his own life at age fifteen (see clip above), would be retired today.

evans yoani grave fullAfter his surgery in 1970 (see clip above), Yoani Yogi Evans died on August 21, 1971. The 1968 city directory listed him as a carnival worker.

evans rosa fullevans rosa duo

Rosa, queen of the Evans clan.

evans heir duoMary, the heir-apparent who died before her queen did.

evans bootsGeorge “Boots” Evans was Queen Rosa’s grandson and a spokesman for the Evans family council.

evans sam duoSam Evans lived on the East Side, worked as a clothing jobber, was a lieutenant (troubleshooter) of the clan. In an interview in 1976 he said, “We try to work and make a living and take care of family like anyone else. . . . I’m as American as I can be.”

In 1976 Roma were not as assimilated as they are now. Sam Evans at the time estimated that 200,000 Roma lived in the United States—95 percent of them illiterate. However, the Evans clan was a leader in making sure that Roma children were educated.

evans epigramsSome Evans monuments are personalized with not only photos but also with “last words.”

evans mitchell gravesBut the Evanses are not the only Roma clan in Rose Hill. Surrounded by Evans tombstones is this triplex mausoleum of members of the rival Mitchell clan. As of 2015 Mitchell clan leader Buckey and wife Patsy were still living. Son Joey died fourteen years after the feud-feeding kris in Dallas.

evans panel“Hidden Americans”? Not at Rose Hill.

A poem entitled “Hidden Americans” by Sojourner Ahebee describes a Roma gathering in a Fort Worth cemetery:

The family comes in increments. Black Hondas and bicycles arrive like slow dinner guests.
We laugh about our dead
and crunch on potato chips to console the silence of the deceased,
and when the buried have had enough of our talk,
and we enough of salt and vinegar on the tongue,
we leave them our soda cans: mementos heavy with our breath, our grief and our music.
We place the cans around the tombstones ’cause flowers die
and we’ve no time to mourn them too. [. . .]
Mama’s taught me to tell no one I’m a Roma
but to never forget I am one.

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63 Responses to The “Hidden Americans”: The Roma of Rose Hill

  1. Alex says:

    I have a genuine question. Before my great aunt passed we asked her about her mother (my great grandmother) — we consider her our modern matriarch. She looks nothing like the rest of her family and the common myth was that she was a child of a plantation owners guest. But her mother used to be afraid that “river gupsys” would take her child away. Now the crazy thing is My great grandmother shared all of the characteristics of these “river gypsys”. Her first name was a generational name in the family of these “river gypsy”.

    Are “river gypsys” real? Who are they? It was thought that they came from East Texas or around the Liberty Texas area? My great aunt said the term “river gypsy” was meant to be a slur. So I apologize if it is.

  2. Alex says:

    About a year ago, I noticed them in Austin. Panhandlers in the median at stop lights. Dressed and behaved differently. Sign was different – a posterboard with some long paragraph of information. Always have some family nearby sitting down and looking pitiful. The person with the sign tries to talk to people through their closed window and she (usually mother figure doing this) walks out in to the street between cars then pretends to make an effort to get out of the way when the light turns green but is still a nuisance. We don’t need to import people to beg and I am sure they are scamming every welfare service available, too.

  3. Troy McKelroy says:

    On the way to and from Saturday matinee at the Tivoli theater, I used to walk past another home closer-in on Hemphill with palm reader signage. It was the second structure from the southeast corner of Hemphill and Pennsylvania. Sometimes a Roma lady would be sitting on the porch with a beckoning (in my mind) smile. ‘Always wondered if she knew something I needed to know.

    • hometown says:

      I can just see Rod Serling sitting on a bus stop bench at Hemphill and Pennsylvania, puffing away. “Our story tonight . . .”

  4. Lisa says:

    The sad romance Frankie and Janet from the Mitchell and Evans tribes was told in a 1979 article in Texas Monthly written by Skip Hollingsworth. Do you know if they stayed together?

    I enjoyed your post. Wonderful research on fascinating people and times.

  5. Karven Fox says:

    The Evans married into the marriots who in turn married into the English Traveller groups of Texas, thats one of the reasons he was in Brian, TX for a marriage. English Travellers have danced between Roma and Irish Traveller groups a lot.

    • Paul woods says:

      Umm no I’m sorry the reason my great uncle Joe was in Bryan Texas is his mom my great grandmother queen Rosa was living in Bryan in the home I’m living in now and his brother James Evans also lived here in Bryan also I don’t know when this was posted I just saw it Tonight my grandfather is Harry Evans his and my grandmother’s mausoleum is in the front it’s the big double red stone behind the chapel for Shanon Rose Hill and Bucky was my cousin also if the creator reads this Lisa was correct there was a post on Frank and Janet in Texas monthly magazine in 1989 not 79 anyway good night

  6. Rob says:

    If you are talking about English Travellers that’s complicated. If Irish Travellers then no. Evans were sometimes married into the English Travellers. English. Travellers were cantered around Bryan and you will see in the articles above he was in bryan for a wedding.

  7. Tashana Garrett says:

    Can someone contact me regarding this story. I believe one of these Evanses ripped me off on a vehicle earlier this week and need to speak with you ASAP>

    • hometown says:

      Tashana Garrett, I researched and wrote about only the history of the Evanses. I have not kept up with their current events. Perhaps another reader will read your query and offer help.

  8. Bernard says:

    Love this blog. I’m going to spend more time looking it over. I used to bury Gypsies in Los Angeles. Quite an interesting group and I never seem to stop being fascinated by them. I always search for where the Gypsies are buried when I visit any cemetery where I think they might be.

    • hometown says:

      Thank you, Bernard. I visited Rose Hill Cemetery many times before I learned their story.

  9. This is an amazing and interesting amassment of information. I shall be referring to it again and again in my seventh novel which I am currently writing. I write historical fiction imbued heavily with true facts and research. My latest will take the characters from Texas to Mexico to Argentina and China. ~ Jodi Lea Stewart

  10. Vashti Stanley says:

    Hi, just a couple of things. The theory that we originate from the dalits (caste theory) has not been proved and there is a compelling argument that we were originally a group of soldiers.
    Secondly, you say “Today, of the American Roma, there are two major subgroups, both Christian: The Vlax typically are Eastern Orthodox; the Romanichals are Protestant.”
    Romanichal are not Roma; we do not identify as such. The word has been used recently as an umbrella term for Romani, but we don’t use that term ourselves, we are part of the Romani group of peoples and our subgroup or vitsa is Romanichal.

  11. bessie a stanley says:

    when i was yong i remember when gypsies died the famaly wood morning for a long time not using soap covering all mirrors no music were black no make up and 40 days there would be a table made for the dead person on the 40 th day all the food thay liked to eat and all there clothing would be given to a person thay pick to repersent that dead person and thay would speak words then 2 people would go by a river or woods and put some of ther stuff there the dead persons stuff clothing. and people would take food back home with them after thay all eat and thay would leave the table set all night till the next morning then thay would clean the table up thay would allways do this out side thay would make cabage burn a fire for 3 days and set with the body burn incents the third day burry the body when the 40 day table full of all foods thay wood rost a lam thay call this a pomona we boyash gypsies dont do this any more we just set with the body 3 days and morning for the person that die and thay dont cover the mirrors any more now days a lot has changed i dont no were that custom came from if some one nos let me no what custom that is

  12. bessie a stanley says:

    im a roma gypsy boyash these gypsies are rusia gypsies thay speak rusia we are sirbs gypsies were simaler but little defrence and we dont mixs together or get a long thay are the ones that advertize there selfs not us there in the lime lite. and thay do palm reading.and i dont think we are the line of cain. read the bible dutaronomy blessings and curses. were the 10 tribes that aseryen army scatterd. and became gentiles cast out by god the 2 outher tribes was not cast out by god thay are the jews

  13. Suprina says:

    Who gave permission to. Put this on the Internet

    • hometown says:

      Suprina, the text, photos, and the research behind the post are mine. But you are free to use any and all.

  14. Suprina says:

    This is all my family we’re did the rights come from to post all these pictures ???

    • hometown says:

      Suprina, the photos, like the blog, are my own, most of them taken at Rose Hill Cemetery. The clippings are from local newspapers. One clipping is from a city directory.

  15. Annmarie Schultz says:

    Hi love history of gypsy life . My mom said her mother’s family is from Posen Poland and Roma. I think great grandma played the violin also they made musical instruments. Some died at the holocaust not for sure. That’s all that I have on my family.
    The was great to read about

  16. Kristi Potter says:

    Thank you for sharing that. I really enjoyed reading your learning about your family.

  17. says:

    I am John Evans, nephew of king Joe Evans. That’s my grandfather’s brother. My grandfather is also at Rose Hill, James Jessie Evans. Thank you for all that you have posted about my family and our history.

  18. SHIRLEY L SMITH says:

    I really enjoyed learning about this culture and the people in it. From now on they are Roma to me. Gypsy seems rather derogatory. I am saddened by the losses they suffered over the years. Glad they have a “clan” to belong to and use for support. Makes me wish I had lived in the Roma style where family is # 1.

    • hometown says:

      Thank you. I have spent a lot of time in that cemetery, and I am glad I learned the story behind its Evans population.

  19. Keith Robinson says:

    Great story Mike! I have always wondered about that house on Hemphill. Have passed it many times. It has been there as long as I can remember.

  20. pam harris says:

    Thank you for this information. I grew up on the east side of Fort Worth and do not live far from Rose Hill. I remember the Fortune Tellers that were on East Lancaster and I believe there was also one on East Rosedale. I buried my mom at Rose Hill and spent a lot of time there after she died and that is when I discovered that there were a lot of Evans there and it was obvious that they were gypsies from the pictures on the tombs. I also noticed there were frequently open soda cans and candy bars left as if for the dead. Very interesting information about history of the east side of Fort Worth.

  21. Delores Mendoza says:

    I knew Sam, Meleva (Molly), Flossie, Sylvia and Debbie who was Flossie’s daughter. I always will remember my neighbors as the best and awesomest people. They lived next door to my Mendoza family. We lived at 108 W. Bolt Street in Fort Worth right across the street from what used to be Seminary South. Sam was a gentle hard working man. His daughter Sylvia was my very good friend and today is her birthday and I was thinking about her. November 15th was her special day. I wish I could tell her I always think about her. They moved when I was in middle school to Lancaster Ave in Fort Worth and we lost touch. We visited their new home and we even took care of their thrown when they first moved. That is what Sam called it. Either way, I remember so many of them that passed. Patricia and Darren were the younger kids and the family was so huge. I loved Sam…and Sylvia who was my friend. I hope Sylvia knows how much we loved her and we used to call her – Gypsy Queen.

    • Anthony Evans says:

      I am flossy and Mike Evans his son Debbie was my sister. It’s a pleasure to meet you. My mother died 2021 of February. My father died 2021 of September. Debbie tragically passed away 2019 August 15. I am their son Anthony Evans. it is a pleasure and an honor to meet you.

  22. Rita Vapes says:

    I have been visiting the Royal Rom Families at Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery for over a decade and have no proof but feel they are my kinfolk in my bones. I remember the first time seeing the beautiful portraits in ceramic on the tombs and the beautiful proud Elders in their finery…wishing and hoping that I could call them my family, secretly pretending that they are. I feel such a connection. Just so happy to see others who really do live the life of a Wanderer/Traveler and are authentic in every way. Peace to you all and Blessed Be! ~Rita Vapes

    • Rob Evans says:

      That’s dosent sound healthy. Why would you feel it on your bones lol. Do not fetishize my family weirdi

  23. Adam evans says:

    My name is Adam Evans, and the woman whom you wrote about was my grandmother (Mary Evans) and (nicky joe Evans) my uncle. Well done! I must say, except for the picture you say is king uncle joe, IS NOT!! Lol… No big deal though, I’m sure you went through a lot of trouble to resurch this, and thank you for your interest in our families history. Please contact me if you’d like..

    • hometown says:

      Thank you, Mr. Evans. I have made that correction. I made that ID of King Joe based on deductions from my research but was aware the ID was not guaranteed because the tombstone does not include first names and because more than one Joe Evans is buried at Rose Hill.

    • Julianne says:

      Hello Adam,
      I am a student at TCU doing a project on the Roma of Fort Worth. I feel I cannot do this projet ethically without including Roma voices, as opposed to just relying on other sources. If you would be wiling to, I would love to ask you a few questions so that I can gain a accurate and respectful understanding of the Roma families here. My research will not be published, and you only have to share what you feel comfortable sharing! Thank you for any consideration.

  24. Evans says:

    Very interesting story and I’m sure you worked very hard on your research about my family I was shocked you found newspapers on my family but you see buckey Mitchell and his wife patsy Mitchell have passed on they are no longer living please do not think I am bashing your article I believe you worked very hard on it

    But I would appreciate you to not influence others to think my family buried in rose hill is a tourist attraction these people lived many years in secret and strong privacy they believed in that and we all must continue to respect that and leave my family and my mother R.I.P they all chose rosehill because they all lived in that area back in the day lanecaster holds a lot of their memories
    My family is very misunderstood and is mistaken to be theives and rob people but they was not

    They was friendly and took care of their families and holder strong homes they loved to BBQ and drink and dance

    I ask just leave my family r.i.p like I said they’re burial grounds is not a tourist attraction

    Why be interested in the dead? Why not be interested in the living flesh instead or is people afraid more of the living

    There is many of the Evans clan and Mitchell clan still very alive and still here

    • Rob Evans says:

      I agree. Some Evans married into our the English Travellers. Weird how its turned it fetish to want to be “Gypsy” it was and is a hard life

    • Andrew says:

      I’m interested because I know I’m Roma through Ancestry DNA. I was born to a 16 year old Roma girl in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1973 and she gave me up in a closed adoption when I was 5 months old. I joined Ancestry in 2017 in the hopes I’d find her someday.

      This past September towards the end of the month my dream came true. A half sister I didn’t even know about submitted her sample because she was trying to find out more about our mom’s biological grandfather. After messaging we realized we had the same mom. Mom is full blood Roma. I’m half Roma and half Scottish/English. My half sister is half Roma and half Nigerian. Her dad is from Barbados.

      Now that I’ve been talking to my mom I have some clues to go on and I actually stumbled across this blog while following some of them.

      My match list in Ancestry is full of both Mitchells and Evanses so this article is of great interest to me. I lived in the DFW area as a teen and young adult, completely unaware of how close I was to my biological relatives.

      I live outside of Houston now but my mom still lives in that area. The next time I’m there I’m going to visit Rose Hill. Not to gawk or fetishize the dead, but out of interest and respect for them.

      So, that’s the long answer as to why people may be interested in the dead.

  25. howard koor says:

    Amazing share! Thank you.

    Howard Koor

  26. sandy says:

    Since the Irish Travellers were mentioned, it would be great if you could do a piece on them too as “Hidden Americans” with a bit of research no doubt Ft Worth has their fair share too if not, then not far from Ft Worth.

  27. Cindy Hill says:

    What a wonderful and interesting story

  28. Ike Renfield & Sally Campbell says:

    We live walking distance to Rose Hill–we must visit these people.

    • hometown says:

      That would be a lovely walk. Don’t miss the little stone chapel at the top of the hill, the veterans memorial, the Nick Beef stone next to LHO. Most of the Evanses are near the front of the cemetery, especially to the east of the funeral home but also to the west. The ground may be saturated after all this rain.

  29. Donna Hampton Patton says:

    After graduating from Poly in 1969, I started working as a long distance operator for AT&T. We always knew when the gypsies were coming thru town because there was always an increase in police activity. I sure didn’t know there were so many in our midst. Very interesting.

  30. Jaime says:

    Interesting I live right across the cemetery didn’t know there was so much history there.

  31. Jane Ann Cassidy says:

    Mike, I always enjoy you writings. I always learn so much. Thank you for all you do!

  32. Judy Alter says:

    Mike, these aren’t the same as the Travelers, are they? I always heard the Travelers were still nomadic, spent winters in a trailer park in White Settlement, dressed their women from Neiman Marcus with fine jewels. On another note I think I remember my ex-husband a surgeon, being called to treat Queen Rosa. Interesting stuff. Thanks for a good column.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Judy. The Travellers are Irish but have a similar itinerant lifestyle. I ran across a mention of their White Settlement site in my research.

  33. Ramiro Garza says:

    Did you leave an empty soda can? Dr. Pepper perhaps?

    Now I have an urge to see the Hunchback of Notre Dame again.

    Is the “gate” open to the public during normal hours? I drove by there for a few years – from the FW east side near I30 to UTA. I never knew about the gypsies, thanks Mike.

    • hometown says:

      I coulda left a can full of sweat! It was hot and humid the day I trudged around that hill. Gates close at sundown, I think. Most of the Evanses are to the east of the funeral home but also some to the west. Most are south of the northern tip of the pond.

  34. Jo Nicholas says:

    Oh Wow! A million thanks for this History Lesson. I was aware of the Evans clan but not the Mitchell clan. I always had the impression they were thieves in one way or another. Thanks for correcting that!

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