valiant-hobbit’s Favorite Women of Middle Earth:
“And so it was settled. Sam Gamgee married Rose Cotton in the spring of 1420 (which was also famous for its weddings), and they came and lived at Bag End.“
Rose "Rosie” Gamgee (T.A. 2984 - Midyear’s Day Fo.A. 61) was the daughter of Tolman Cotton Senior and Lily Brown. She married Samwise Gamgee at the end of the Third Age, and bore him a record thirteen children.
Rose Cotton was born in the year 1384 by Shire Reckoning, the second child and first daughter of Tolman Cotton and Lily Brown. The Cotton family lived in a farm on the South Lane, which was fairly close to Bywater. Not much of her youth is known, except that she and her brothers - Young Tom, Jolly, Nick and Nibs - frequently swam in the Bywater Pool with the children of the Gamgee family, to which the Cottons were close.
Rosie was still fond of Sam when both grew to adulthood, and when he announced he’d be going with Frodo Baggins to Crickhollow, she did not like it. Even though everyone had given up hope of seeing Sam - or any of the other Hobbits - back, she waited patiently. Since the Spring of T.A. 3019, she had expected Sam to return.
At the time, Ruffian rule over the Shire had lasted some three months, having started earlier that year. Old Tom Cotton had been itching to get his hands on them, but he refrained from doing so as he had his wife and Rosie to look after. Rosie was relieved to find Sam on the doorstep on November 2, though she was somewhat oblivious to the dangers he had already faced.
Rosie and her mother tended to Sam, Frodo and several others that night, as they prepared to drive out the Ruffians. With shining eyes and a smile on her face she heard Frodo tell of Sam’s adventure and fame abroad. Sam and Frodo lived with the Cottons until Bagshot Row and Bag End were restored, the following Spring. Sam later joined Frodo in Bag End, but was torn in two - he wanted to stay loyal to Frodo, as well as marry Rosie.
Frodo solved this problem by telling Sam that he and Rosie would both be welcome to live with him at Bag End after the wedding. Sam and Rosie married on May 1, T.A. 3020, and moved into Bag End. There, they lived happily, and begot Elanor, their first daughter, who was born on the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron.
The Fourth Age started with one child, but many more would follow. Rose bore a record thirteen children, beating Adamanta Chubb, the wife of the Old Took, by one. Frodo was born in Fo.A. 2, Rose-lass in Fo.A. 4, Merry in Fo.A. 6, Pippin in Fo.A. 8, Goldilocks in Fo.A. 10, Hamfast in Fo.A. 11, Daisy in Fo.A. 12, Primrose in Fo.A. 14, Bilbo in Fo.A. 15, Ruby in Fo.A. 17, Robin in Fo.A. 19, and their last child, Tom, in Fo.A. 21.
That year, 21, marked the only major undertaking of Mistress Rose. She and Sam travelled to Gondor, and stayed with King Elessar for well over a year. In the meantime, Rose’s brother Tom took over Sam’s tasks as Mayor. After their return, Rose would continue to live by her husband’s side, until her passing at the age of 98 at Mid-year’s Day of Fo.A. 61.
The name Rose is a translation of an unknown Westron name. She is, like many female Hobbits, named after a flower, the rose. The surname Cotton comes from a Westron Hlothran, which roughly translates as “Cottager”.
In the King’s Letter, which was not included in The Return of the King as published, Elessar translated the name Rose as Meril in Sindarin. In his linguistical analysis of the King’s Letter, Carl F. Hostetter noted the resemblance to Meril-i-Turinqi, the queen of Tol Eressëa in the earliest stages of the The Book of Lost Tales Part One. Hostetter could not connect it to any entry in The Etymologies, which mirrors Christopher Tolkien’s observations on Meril-i-Turinqi, for which no root could be found in the Qenya Lexicon - however, a Gnomish translation was translated as “Queen of Flowers”. As the second element represents the “queen” part, Meril appears to be one of the oldest words for “Flower” in the legendarium.