Alfred Theodore Roos

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Alfred T. Roos (b. October 12, 1869 in New York City; d. October 13, 1937 in Deadwood, SD) was the illegitimate son of Regina Roos, born while she was married to William Steinway. Alfred's father is not known with absolute certainty. Alfred never married.

In May 1876 after Regina's adultery was confirmed, Alfred left with his mother to live in Nancy, France. William was heartbroken to part with his "little Alfred" and said good-bye with "bitter tears in my eyes."(Diary, 1876-01-26; 1876-05-20) Regina was later joined in Nancy by Louis Dachauer, who may have been Alfred's father, although Louis Stern was the adulterer cited in the divorce proceedings.(6) Regina had Alfred baptized according to the catholic rite in 1881, giving him the name of Alfred Charles Marie Roos.(Diary, 1882-03-15)

In January 1882 Regina died and William paid for Alfred, age 12, to live with a couple named Balhorn. William noted that Alfred then visited C. F. Theodore Steinway who resided in Germany, promising to be good to the Balhorns.(Diary, 1882-09-17) When in Germany in 1888, William met with Alfred and gave him 100 marks.(Diary,1888-09-28) Two years later William again met a number of times with Alfred in Germany. William said that Alfred was a "fine young man, strong and somewhat taller than I."(Diary,1890-09-15). In November 1890 William assisted Alfred in obtaining an American passport.(Diary,1890-11-20)

Alfred studied chemistry, physics and botany at Heidelberg University from 1890 to 1893. From 1894 to 1897 he took three semesters in arts and history at the University of Munich. Although Alfred later assumed the title of "Dr.", records of Heidelberg indicate he failed the oral examination and was not awarded the degree.(3)

William visited Germany again in 1892 and saw Alfred once more, giving him 2000 marks to "pay part of his debts, take out a patent ... with Prof. Kraft of Heidelberg for a new invention in chemistry and to take a trip through Sweden and Norway."(Diary, 1892-07-29) Shortly before his death, William wrote an "important" letter to Alfred, but he did not say what it was about.(Diary, 1896-10-29) William bequeathed Alfred a legacy of $25,000, characterizing him as his [William's] nephew.(6)

In 1898 Alfred left Hamburg, Germany for New York, which the passenger list shows as his residence.(5) By 1900 Alfred was living in Deadwood, SD.(6) The census of 1910 identifies him as a chemist, working as a metallurgist. (4) He was one of the organizers of the Heidelberg Mining company in South Dakota and later was active in the Black Hills Mining & Industrial association, serving as the secretary-treasurer when he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was known as an excellent chess player. He was buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood.(1,2)



1. “Dr. A. T. Roos Dies Suddenly Hospital Here.” The Weekly Pioneer-Times, Deadwood, SD, October 14, 1937, p. 3.
2. “Dr. A. T. Roos Passes Away Suddenly.” The Black Hills Weekly and Whitewood Plain Dealer, Deadwood, SD, October 15, 1937, p. 1.
3. “Karen Donfried Research.” Memorandum from Deborah (DW) to Richard K. Lieberman, Sept. 25, 1985.
4. Riley, Richard J. Letter to Henry Z. Steinway, March 21, 1989.
5. Staatsarchive Hamburg: Volume 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 099: Seite: 567; Mikrofilm Number: K_1758.
6. Steinway,Henry Z.  Note, “Alfred T. Roos,” William Steinway Diary Project files, January 1996.